Former president Carter lauds US-China relations

Updated: 2014-07-21 11:49

By Rebecca Smith in Atlanta (China Daily USA)

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Former US President Jimmy Carter, saying "love of art will always transcend international boundaries," lauded relations between the United States and China on Thursday at a contemporary Chinese art exhibit honoring the 35th anniversary of normalization between the two nations.

The exhibit at the Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia, features work by 31 famous Chinese artists.

Carter remarked on his time in office and the historic decision to create diplomatic relations with China, which he said changed the world for the better.

"Despite our differences, this exhibition of artwork will be another demonstration of the relationship between the US and China," Carter said, "Love of art will always transcend international boundaries."

Carter also spoke of his friend and former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, who died in 1997, recalling his visits to the US and the impression that American consumerism, made on him. They worked together to form better economic and socio-political relations between the two countries.

Other speakers, including Madam Lani Wong, chair of the National Association of Chinese-Americans, and Ambassador Li Qiangmin, China's consul general in Houston, Texas, stressed the importance of Carter and Deng's efforts to develop economic and political relations between the US and China.

"Carter is the great man who, together with late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, blazed the path for our two countries," Li said.

Li said that before diplomatic relations were established, the US was a symbol of decaying capitalism and a "paper tiger" to the Chinese, and China was a scary red devil to Americans. Ordinary Chinese did not know what Coca-Cola is, and no Americans had ever imagined Chinese investment in the US, he said.

"History has proven that, shared interests between our two countries prevails our differences and great potentials lie ahead on our path of cooperation. I am confident that in the coming 35 years, we can make the pie of our shared interest and cooperation even bigger," Li said.

Wong said Carter and Deng "paved the way for China into the global marketplace by ending economic isolation."

Changjie Li, CEO and president of Golden Dragon Precise Copper Tube, also spoke. Golden Dragon Copper recently expanded its production to Alabama, an example of the kind of economic synergy Carter and Deng envisioned.

Li Xu, secretary-general of the China Artists Association (CAA) spoke about the importance of "ink diplomacy". He said a great deal of economic and political understanding can be acquired through art, and he thanked CAA for displaying the Chinese masterpieces to exemplify this. Xu ended the event by demonstrating Chinese calligraphy to the audience.

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 Former president Carter lauds US-China relations

Chinese Artists Association (CAA) Exhibit opens to celebrate the 35th anniversary of China-US diplomatic relationship on July 17 at The Carter Center in Atlanta, Georgia. From right: former president Jimmy Carter, Xu Li, secretary general of CAA, and Li Qiangmin, consul general of China in Houston. Rebecca Smith / for China Daily

(China Daily USA 07/21/2014 page4)