Xi: Spirit of Flying Tigers should live on

Huang Panyue
2023-09-20 15:12:49

Members of the 1st American Volunteer Group, better known as the Flying Tigers, gather for a group photo at Zhijiang airport in Hunan province during World War II. [Photo/Xinhua]

Letters: Exchanges seen as vital for stabilizing relations

President Xi Jinping has said that China and the United States, as major countries, will shoulder even more responsibility in the future for world peace, stability and development, so it is crucial for both countries to achieve mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation.

The president made the remarks in his reply to a letter from Jeffrey Greene, chairman of the Sino-American Aviation Heritage Foundation, and Flying Tigers veterans Harry Moyer and Mel McMullen. The reply letter, dated Sept 12, was released on Tuesday.

The reply is the third within a month that Xi has made to friendly US citizens as part of his efforts to promote and build lasting bonds between the two peoples.

Xi said in his reply that, recalling the past, the peoples of China and the US jointly fought Japanese fascists, withstood the test of blood and fire, and forged a profound friendship.

He was referring to the American Volunteer Group of the Chinese Air Force, which was formed in 1941 by US General Claire Lee Chennault and widely known as the Flying Tigers. Under the program, a group of US volunteer pilots went to China, standing shoulder to shoulder with the Chinese people to fight the invading Japanese troops during World War II.

Xi also reiterated in the letter that to grow relations between China and the US, the hope lies in the people, the foundation hinges on people-to-people exchanges and the future lies with the youth.

He said the healthy and stable development of China-US relations in the new era requires the participation and support of "a new generation of Flying Tigers", and he expressed his hope that the spirit of the Flying Tigers can be passed down from generation to generation between the two peoples.

The Sino-American Aviation Heritage Foundation, established in 1998, is a nongovernmental US organization aimed at rekindling the spirit of cooperation between the two peoples and enhancing their friendship and understanding. By educating young people about the accomplishments of their forebears, the foundation seeks to provide the inspiration that will spark greater achievement and cooperation in the aviation sector.

Recently, Greene, Moyer, who turned 100 in 2020, and McMullen, who is in his 90s, jointly wrote to Xi, briefing him on the support of the foundation and the Flying Tigers veterans in promoting friendly exchanges between China and the US. They also expressed their willingness to inherit and carry forward the spirit of China-US cooperation.

Xi learned from them that more youths in the US are participating in the Flying Tigers Friendship School and Youth Leadership Program. Nearly 500 Flying Tigers veterans and hundreds of their family members have visited China.

Before this reply letter, Xi also replied to a letter from the US-China Youth and Student Exchange Association and friends from all walks of life in the northwestern US state of Washington, as well as a letter from John Easterbrook, grandson of the late US General Joseph Stilwell.

In his replies, Xi expressed the hope that the peoples of both countries would strengthen communication, enhance understanding and expand cooperation, injecting new vitality into the development of bilateral relations.

The interactions came amid the intensive high-level meetings between China and the US that have taken place since the start of this year. The latest was held in Malta over the weekend between Wang Yi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee, and US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan.

Experts said that people-to-people exchanges play a vital role in stabilizing and developing China-US relations. President Xi's dedication to fostering friendship and understanding between the two peoples through his personal interactions has pointed the direction, offered a pathway and boosted confidence for overcoming political barriers and strengthening people-to-people exchanges, they said.

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