BEIJING, Sept. 29, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — A report from People’s Daily: Chinese President Xi Jinping recently replied to a letter from Chairman of the Sino-American Aviation Heritage Foundation Jeffrey Greene and Flying Tigers veterans Harry Moyer and Mel McMullen.
In his reply dated Sept. 12, Xi said that “a sound and steady development of the relationship in the new era requires the input and support of a new generation of Flying Tigers,” and he hopes that the spirit of Flying Tigers will be carried on from generation to generation among Chinese and American peoples.
Founded in 1998, the Sino-American Aviation Heritage Foundation is an American civil friendship group aimed at promoting the study and commemoration of China-U.S. historical aviation events.
Recently, Greene, Moyer and McMullen jointly wrote a letter to Xi, in which they introduced the efforts of the foundation and Flying Tigers veterans in helping promote China-U.S. friendly exchanges, and expressed their willingness to inherit and carry forward the precious spirit of China-U.S. cooperation.
Greene said Xi’s reply was of important significance. He thanked President Xi for caring for Flying Tigers veterans and their families, saying the Chinese president’s recognition of the efforts made by the foundation in helping pass on and carry forward the spirit of the Flying Tigers was a huge encouragement to them.
Moyer and McMullen, both about 100 years old, are still working to promote people-to-people friendship between China and the United States. They are expected to visit China once again this fall to attend the “Remembering Heroes-the Flying Tigers and the 80th Anniversary of the U.S. Fourteenth Air Force’s Aid to China Photo Expo,” an event to be jointly hosted by the Sino-American Aviation Heritage Foundation, the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries and multiple Chinese provinces and municipalities.
After receiving Xi’s reply, Moyer told People’s Daily that the spirit of the Flying Tigers has bestowed upon the United States and China a multitude of invaluable lessons.
He said in the past, the military and civilians of both countries, who fought side by side and sacrificed their lives, have forged a profound friendship, and friendly cooperation between the United States and China has brought benefits to the two peoples.
In the present era, it is crucial for the United States and China to strengthen cooperation, as it will have a profound impact on their common future, he added.
Xi’s reply mirrored his cherishment of the friendship between the Chinese and American peoples, McMullen said. He noted the spirit of the Flying Tigers symbolizes the friendship and cooperation between the United States and China, and he hopes that the younger generations of both countries will continue to inherit and carry forward the spirit. He wished for the stable development of U.S.-China relations.
The Flying Tigers, initially known as the American Volunteer Group of the Chinese Air Force, was founded by U.S. General Claire Lee Chennault in 1941 to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Chinese people and was replaced by the American Army Air Forces’ China Air Task Force in mid-1942 and then by a larger and better equipped, American Army Air Forces’ 14th Air Force to fight the invading Japanese troops. It destroyed over 2,600 Japanese military planes, sank and wounded 44 warships, and wiped out more than 60,000 Japanese aggressors, writing a precious chapter in the history of China-U.S. relations.
“In the past, our two peoples fought the Japanese fascists together, and forged a deep friendship that withstood the test of blood and fire,” Xi stressed in his reply. “In the future, the two major countries shoulder even more important responsibility for world peace, stability and development.”
“We therefore should, and we must, respect each other, coexist in peace and pursue win-win cooperation,” he said.
Greene said the spirit of the Flying Tigers, transcending time and space and symbolizing friendship and cooperation, is a shared spiritual heritage of American and Chinese peoples.
Thanks to the Sino-American Aviation Heritage Foundation, nearly 500 Flying Tigers veterans and several hundred of their family members have visited China, with their footprints covering 25 Chinese cities across 12 Chinese provinces, where they have been warmly welcomed by Chinese citizens.
Flying Tigers veterans are amazed by the continuing development and remarkable changes they see, and all of them are very proud of China’s achievement.
Greene said it’s a firm conviction of the foundation that the United States and China should and must cooperate with each other, adding that the foundation hopes to spread the ideas of friendship and cooperation among the younger generations in both the United States and China through a series of activities that recall the shared American and Chinese Legacy of the Flying Tigers and Second World cooperation.
He told People’s Daily that the organization had told many Americans that China is different from what’s in their imagination, and friendship, respect and understanding are important for the two countries.
Kenneth Hammond, Professor of History at New Mexico State University, noted that Xi’s recent replies to letters from American friendly personages remind people that the United States and China have a long history of cooperation and the two peoples are connected by a profound friendship. A review of the friendship between the two countries established over 80 years ago would shed light on the development of their relations.
Xi’s reply encouraged the two peoples to march toward a brighter future, Hammond said, adding that the two countries face many common challenges and they should tackle these challenges through cooperation.
Xi noted in his reply that in growing China-U.S. relations, the hope lies in the people, the foundation lies among the people, and the future lies with the youth. This strikes a chord with Greene.
Green said that more than 80 years ago, many young Americans joined the Flying Tigers and fought side by side with the Chinese people to resist the Japanese fascist invasion, and this period of history reflected the strength of cooperation and friendship between the United States and China.
Today, although there are fewer living Flying Tigers veterans today, the younger generations, inspired by the stories of the Flying Tigers, understand the importance of establishing a good and solid cooperative relationship between the United States and China, Greene added.
Margaret Kincannon is the director of the Flying Tigers Friendship Schools and Youth Leadership Program under the Sino-American Aviation Heritage Foundation, and also a descendent of a Flying Tigers veteran. She told People’s Daily that Xi’s inspiring words made them believe that the Flying Tigers spirit forged by the American and Chinese peoples more than 80 years ago is still exerting positive impacts on deepening the friendship between the two peoples, and she is glad to join the efforts to carry forward the spirit.
Robert Lawrence Kuhn, chairman of the Kuhn Foundation, noted that Xi’s replies to letters from American friendly personages demonstrated the importance Xi attaches to the people-to-people friendship between the United States and China, and these replies are of huge significance for promoting the healthy and stable development of U.S.-China relations.
SOURCE People’s Daily