By the Des Moines River, Iowa, sits a century-old landmark, the World Food Prize Hall of Laureates. Chinese President Xi Jinping once visited the building to attend the U.S.-China High-Level Agricultural Symposium in February 2012 as then Vice President of China.
Kenneth M. Quinn, then president of the World Food Prize Foundation told People’s Daily in a recent interview that he was honored to have received and had conversations with the Chinese leader.
Ten years later, Quinn can still remember the visit. He called it the high point of U.S.-China exchanges after the two countries established diplomatic ties in 1979.
Iowa, known as the “granary of the U.S.,” shares a close bond with China. In 1985, Xi, then Party chief of Zhengding County in north China’s Hebei province, visited Iowa as a member of an agricultural delegation and stayed in the home of a local resident in Muscatine, where he made friends with a lot of hospitable locals.
The 2012 visit renewed this friendship. “I got a call from then Secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Tom Vilsack before the visit of the Chinese delegation to see if the World Food Prize Foundation could receive it, and gladly I said yes,” Quinn recalled.
At the agricultural symposium, Quinn introduced the exchanges between the World Food Prize Foundation and China to the Chinese delegation, and the two sides exchanged views on food security and international agricultural cooperation.
Quinn said Xi’s remarks during the visit left a deep impression on him. Xi quoted well-known American writer Mark Twain to greet friends who had received him, which was moving, Quinn told People’s Daily.
He said it was a wonderful experience for ordinary Iowans to hold a connection with a world leader.
The people are the creators of history. Xi, with a long-term perspective, has always stressed that the development of China-U.S. relations relies on the two peoples’ participation and support.—PR