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Xi says China-US friendship transcends time, space

BEIJING, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- China-US friendship transcends time and space, Chinese president Xi Jinping said in a written interview with the Wall Street Journal published on Tuesday.

The interview was ahead of Xi's US visit. He left Beijing Tuesday afternoon for the state visit to the United States at the invitation of US President Barack Obama.

Xi said that 30 years ago in 1985, he led a delegation to Iowa to study agricultural technology, adding it was his first visit to the US. He said he was deeply impressed with the advanced US technology and the warmth and friendship of the American people.

Since then, he has made several trips to the U.S. and hosted many American friends in China, the president said.

"I could tell from these personal experiences that the Chinese and Americans cherish very friendly sentiments toward each other," Xi said.

He said his wife is a performing artist and music professor, and that in recent years, as the WHO Goodwill Ambassador for Tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS and the UNESCO Special Envoy for the Advancement of Girls' and Women's Education, she has met many Americans and people from organizations of other countries.

"She shares my impressions," Xi said.

Interactions between countries start with their people, Xi said, noting exchanges and friendship between their two peoples have a long history.

Over 230 years ago, US merchant vessel Empress of China sailed across vast oceans to China. Over 70 years ago, American people resolutely defied sea and gravity to help the Chinese people in their heroic fight against the aggression of Japanese militarists, Xi said.

Thirty-six years ago, China and the US established diplomatic ties, turning a new chapter in the annals of friendly exchanges between the two peoples, Xi said.

"What has happened proves that China-US friendship transcends time and space."

As an ancient Chinese philosopher Mencius said, "It' s only natural for things to be different." Lack of understanding between countries is indeed a question, but this is life, Xi said.

Xi said with so much difference in ethnicity, history, culture, religion, social system, development level and lifestyle, there are things about others that one may find hard to understand.

"This is for sure, but that said, it is also true that anything that is seemingly incomprehensible can be understood provided that one is ready to learn and make an effort to understand it instead of dismissing it altogether."

Every civilization, distinct and colorful as it is, possesses the value for its existence, according to the president.

A country or a nation should cherish and protect its own culture and values, and at the same time, recognize and respect those of others, Xi said.

While feeling proud of one's own cultural achievements, a country or a nation must not shut its door to the outside, still less, indulge in self-aggrandizement, he said.

As an old Chinese saying goes, "Learning alone without exchanges with others will lead to ignorance." We should be ready to learn from other civilizations and carry forward their time-honored values that transcend national borders and retain appeal in modern times, he said.

Xi said China is ready to work with the US and others in the international community with a view to seeking common progress through win-win cooperation, so as to deliver greater happiness to the Chinese people and ensure peace and development for the people around the world.

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