Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter walks past a poster during a symposium at the Carter Center in Atlanta, the United States on January 18, 2019, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of U.S.-China diplomatic relations. (Xinhua/Liu Pinran)
ATLANTA, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- The 40-year-long diplomatic relationship between the United States and China has contributed to peace, stability and prosperity of both countries and beyond, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said here Friday.
In late 1978, Carter and then Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping reached the historic decision to establish the full diplomatic relationship between the United States and China on Jan. 1, 1979, laying the foundation for the rapid growth of bilateral relations.
"At this moment, my heart is filled with thanksgiving to Deng Xiaoping, who had the wisdom, strength, and confidence in the Chinese people ... (and) decided to build the relationship between the U.S. and China," the former president said during a symposium at the Carter Center to commemorate the 40th anniversary of U.S.-China diplomatic relations.
Carter's breakthrough with China was also one of the major foreign policy accomplishments of his presidency from 1977 to 1981.
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter speaks during a symposium at the Carter Center in Atlanta, the United States on January 18, 2019, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of U.S.-China diplomatic relations. (Xinhua/Liu Pinran)
In front of over 200 leading scholars, experts and veterans of statecraft from both countries, Carter pointed out that since 1979, peace and stability have prevailed in East Asia, the hotbed of conflicts and wars for long, and that both China and the United States have been blessed with economic growth.
The 94-year-old said that both countries could realize further cooperation in areas such as the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsular and the blossoming of less-developed countries.
Many African and Latin American countries, Carter noted, would like to see the United States and China cooperate in harmony to address their economic and social challenges, instead of choosing between the two countries.
Chinese Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai (R) and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter (L) smile at each other during a symposium at the Carter Center in Atlanta, the United States on January 18, 2019, to commemorate the 40th anniversary of U.S.-China diplomatic relations. (Xinhua/Liu Pinran)
Chinese Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai said during the event that the entire region and the world have benefited enormously from the bilateral relationship.
"If we compare the past 40 years to a test, then we have delivered impressive scores to both our peoples and the world," said the ambassador. "Let's work even harder to get another A-plus on our score report."
Cui said that it has never been so important for China and the United States to work together in a world undergoing tremendous changes.
"The people of our two countries and the whole world are looking to us to do more for the shared interests of mankind," he added.
Echoing Carter and Cui, Susan Thornton, former acting assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, depicted the U.S.-China relationship as the most consequential relationship in the world.
The long-term peace, stability and prosperity depend on continued ability to navigate differences and find common ground between the two countries, said Thornton.
In her speech, she also refuted strategies to contain China or calling for a decoupling of the two countries, saying they are "hyperbolic and a huge waste of time."
The United States and China could work out a satisfactory outcome that will allow us to continue a productive relationship that will pay dividends to both countries and the world for the next 40 years and beyond, she said.