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Remarks by Consul General Zhang Ping at the Reception Marking the 40th Anniversary of Guangzhou-Los Angeles Sister City Relationship
(December 8, 2021, Los Angeles)

It gives me great pleasure to join our friends in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the establishment of the sister city relationship between Guangzhou and Los Angeles. I feel heartened by the warm and encouraging remarks of the previous speakers and wish to join them in extending my congratulations to the people of the two cities on this auspicious occasion. 

40 years ago, on this exact date of December 8, the then mayors of Guangzhou and Los Angeles Mr. Liang Lingguang and Mr. Tom Bradley signed the sister city agreement at the Los Angeles City Hall. This was one of the first sister city relationships established between major cities of China and the US not long after the establishment of China-US diplomatic ties. 

The establishment of the Guangzhou-Los Angeles sister city relationship brought together these two great cities separated by the vast ocean and started the friendly exchange and cooperation which has been going on for as long as 40 years so far.  

Over the past 40 years, thanks to the joint efforts of the municipal governments, civic organizations and people of all walks of life of the two cities, the Guangzhou-Los Angeles sister city relationship has yielded fruitful results and tangible benefits in trade, investment, culture, education and personnel exchanges, playing an important role in promoting the development of our respective cities and in the building of a strong bond connecting our two cities and peoples. 

In recent years, this sister city relationship has expanded to new territory. The Los Angeles-Guangzhou-Auckland Tripartite Economic Alliance was built, creating a new model of pragmatic cooperation among international sister cities. By sharing and learning each other’s good practices and experiences in city management and development, it promotes common prosperity. 

The two cities have also maintained communication and coordination under the C40 framework, working together to tackle climate change in order to protect our common home of planet earth. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the two cities supported each other, and conducted video conferences on epidemic control and prevention, which demonstrated the spirit that a true friend in need is a true friend indeed.

As we look back at the journey this sister city relationship has gone through over the past 40 years, it is gratifying to see that despite the twists and turns in China-US bilateral relations and no matter whether we are in good times or bad times, there has been no absence of the forces supporting China-US friendship and cooperation. 

We heard many touching stories of those individuals such as Mrs. Caroline Ahmanson, founder of Los Angeles Sister City Committee, who played an important role in forging this sister city relationship, and Mme. Katherine Whitman, who traveled to China more than 80 times to do exchange programs with Guangzhou. Many other wonderful individuals in the Los Angeles-Guangzhou Sister City Association have also contributed a great deal to this relationship. We are also touched by the former Councilman Tom LaBonge for his enthusiasm in promoting Los Angeles-Guangzhou sister city programs, including those with Guangzhou. 

It is only because of their commitment and dedication that we are able to keep the relationship going all the way to today. Here I would like to pay tribute to all those friends and organizations for their relentless efforts and invaluable contribution.

City relationship is about friendship and goodwill. It is the people’s diplomacy. It is the diplomacy from the people, for the people and by the people. It connects the hearts and minds of our people and drives forward the development of China-US relations. There are 283 pairs of sister provinces/states and sister cities established between China and the US. Their role is essential to promoting mutual understanding and trust between our two peoples, and to enhancing our friendship and cooperation on the sub-national level. 

At this critical juncture when China and the US are trying to find the right way to get along with each other in the new era, it is important that we value the role of the sister city relationships and continue our efforts to ensure our cities and our people remain engaged and friendship and goodwill upheld.

Los Angeles, the largest city on the US west coast, is an important gateway for trade and international travel between China and the US. Guangzhou is one of the core cities in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. With its advantageous geographic location, favorable investment environment and sound development momentum. Guangzhou is making its way toward high-quality growth. 

Guangzhou and Los Angeles have huge complementarities with each other in multiple areas. There are great potentials for inter-city exchange and cooperation. We believe more can be done and more can be accomplished. The Chinese Consulate will do what we can to promote and facilitate.

We hope we will take the 40th anniversary of the sister city relationship as a new starting point to uplift this relationship to a higher level. We believe that with our joint efforts, we will be able to write a new chapter of friendship and cooperation and take a more productive and fruitful Guangzhou-Los Angeles sister city relationship into the next 40 years.  

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