LOS ANGELES, Oct. 5 (Xinhua) -- "China and U.S. relations will continue to improve. There's no other choice," said Elaine Chao, former U.S. secretary of labor, in a recent interview with Xinhua.
"The U.S. and China are the two largest economies, they must get along with each other," said Chao who served as U.S. Secretary of Labor in the cabinet of President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2009, the first Chinese-American serving in the U.S. cabinet.
"It is very important for the president of China to come to the United States as it is important for the president of the United States to go to China to show top level communications and interests in getting to know each other," Chao said.
It is only through repeated visits and greater communications that there will be better understanding and more harmony between the two countries, she said.
Trust is critical among different countries and peoples, she said, adding that having top level leaders' meetings such as the ones between the president of China and the president of the U.S. late September are good toward fostering greater trust.
To enhance the U.S.-China relations, Chao emphasized public diplomacy and increased interactions between both countries.
"There are more and more students coming to the U.S. from China. There are many American students going to China," she said.
"And we are beginning to see a great number of Chinese tourists. We welcome them. It is also good for Americans to go to China, tour China, and to understand several-thousand-year old of Chinese history. Americans can learn from that, and understand Chinese thinking, philosophy and culture,"she added.
Through public diplomacy, tourism, students and cultural exchanges, all of these are very helpful for the U.S. and China to better understand each other and construct mutually beneficial relations, she said.
Born in a Chinese American family, Chao has been devoted to promoting bilateral relations.
Her parents, Dr. James Chao, and his wife Ruth Mulan Chu Chao established the Mulan Foundation in 1984 to provide scholarships to help students in the U.S. and China access to higher education and thus promote U.S.-China cultural exchanges.
"Having a face of Chinese and learning from my father and mother who were devoted to improving the bilateral relations, I surely hope peoples from both countries can benefit from a better relationship between China and the U.S.," said Chao.
A Princeton PhD, was a US diplomat for over 20 years, mostly in Eastern Europe, and was promoted to the Senior Foreign Service in 1997. For the Open World Leadership Center, he speaks with
its delegates from Europe/Eurasia on the topic, "E Pluribus Unum? What Keeps the United States United." Affiliated with Georgetown University for over ten years, he shares ideas with students about public diplomacy.
The papers of his deceased father -- poet and diplomat John L. Brown -- are stored at Georgetown University Special Collections at the Lauinger Library. They are manuscript materials valuable to scholars interested in post-WWII U.S.-European cultural relations.
This blog is dedicated to him, Dr. John L. Brown, a remarkable linguist/humanist who wrote in the Foreign Service Journal (1964) -- years before "soft power" was ever coined -- that "The CAO [Cultural Affairs Officer] soon comes to realize that his job is really a form of love-making and that making love is never really successful unless both partners are participating."