U.S. town mayor receives letter from Xi

(Xinhua) 09:31, February 07, 2022

NEW YORK, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- A recent letter from Chinese President Xi Jinping has stoked a U.S. mayor's passion for China.

"Going to China is on my bucket list," Dick Muri, mayor of Steilacoom, a historic town on the U.S. Northwest Coast, told Xinhua after receiving the letter from Xi. The letter arrived during the Lunar New Year holiday and as the 24th Olympic Winter Games kicked off in Beijing.


Steilacoom has a long tradition of friendly exchanges with China, Muri said in a recent interview with Xinhua.

In 2006, the city established a friendly relationship with Wenchang City, in south China's Hainan Province. Inspired by his predecessors, the newly-elected mayor set his sights on promoting the traditional friendship and sent a letter to President Xi last month.

In the letter, he expressed confidence in China's successful hosting of the Beijing Winter Olympics and expectations to promote peace, friendship and unity in the Chinese Year of the Tiger.

He added that he and his family, as well as the 6,700 residents of Steilacoom, look forward to watching the games on television.

Xi soon replied. With the support of the Chinese people and the international community, Xi said, China will certainly present a simple, safe and splendid Olympic Games, practice the Olympic motto of "Faster, Higher, Stronger - Together," and bring people across the world together for a shared future.

In his reply, the Chinese president extended holiday greetings to the residents of Steilacoom.

"I imagine that a lot of letters are written to the President of China," Muri said, adding he felt honored to receive the reply from Xi during the Chinese Spring Festival. "I was very, very humbled and appreciative."


Established in 1854, Steilacoom was the first incorporated city in Washington State, also known as the "town of firsts." The city boasts the state's first port, territorial court, post office and school district.

"We're a major port of entry for goods and services from China and vice versa," said Muri, adding that Washington is a trade-dependent state, with China being a major partner.

From Muri's point of view, China and the United States are two countries economically dependent on each other. "We should continue to be that way."

He believed animosity breaks out when people are unfamiliar with each other.

"That's all done by getting to know each other better. Our systems are different, but that's okay. We just need to know what those differences are and live with them," he said.

Muri argued that Americans need to get to know China better and vice versa. He said the average Chinese student knows America better than the average American student knows China.

A lot of Americans tend to be insulated. "That's our fault," he said. "We need to continue to emphasize cultural exchanges, athletic exchanges, and student exchanges."

"China has a very interesting and different culture ... My Asia experience needs to grow," Muri said.


Muri said he was quite impressed when watching the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics on television.

"The graphic technology used is very impressive, the best I have ever seen. China has set a very high standard, very entertaining. We recorded the ceremony and will watch it again," he said. "It was that good."

The mayor reiterated his belief that China would make the Beijing Winter Olympics a success despite the pandemic. "I think if anybody can make it happen, it's in China."

Muri said the Olympic spirit could provide inspiration for better relations between China and the United States.

"Let everybody compete in a healthy way, and have good spirits," Muri said. "We all compete to be better, to be excellent, and get good things done."

The major also talked about his plan of "getting a Chinese panda."

"It's another great way to do some diplomacy, to have one panda for our Northwest. We don't have any here," Muri said, hoping someday the city will have a panda as a friendship ambassador from China.

"That would be a very nice attraction." 

(Web editor: Peng Yukai, Liang Jun)


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