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Rekindling memories of Nixon's 1972 visit

(China Daily)

09:29, May 04, 2013

State Councilor Yang Jiechi talks with Christopher Nixon Cox, grandson of former US president Richard NIxon, in a welcome banquet on Friday in Beijing. Feng Yongbin / China Daily

Forty-one years after former US president Richard Nixon's landmark visit to China, the two sides are seeking to improve bilateral ties, which are facing "another turning point", as a 40-member delegation from the United States retrace the trip's legacy.

"China has become a strong economy. I think the legacy of the trip will endure, and I've seen that through my travels throughout the world," said Christopher Nixon Cox, the son of the 37th US president's daughter, Tricia, on Friday.

"He always said we should never leave a billion of the world's most hard-working people in isolation," Cox said. "His philosophy was that a strong and prosperous China would be a pillar for the peace and stability of the world."

Cox, the head of the delegation, was born in 1979, the year that Sino-US diplomatic relations were established. After arriving in Beijing on Thursday, he is leading a 10-day "Nixon Centennial Legacy Journey" tour to the same venues in Beijing, Hangzhou and Shanghai that Nixon and his entourage visited in 1972.

Nixon's visit that ended 25 years of mutual silence, paved the way for the establishment of formal diplomatic relations between China and the US. The tour is also being regarded as a tribute to Nixon a century after his birth in 1913.

It was not easy for Beijing and Washington, with vastly different mindsets and economic strengths, to break the ice and the countries' current leaderships should learn from their predecessors how to properly address their differences. The shared interests of China and the US are much larger than before, said Jia Qingguo, a professor at Peking University's School of International Studies.

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