WASHINGTON, Feb. 4 (Xinhua) -- China's Anhui Province and U.S. State of Maryland on Thursday held a virtual event to launch the commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the establishment of their sister relationship.
"Since the outbreak of COVID-19, sub-national governments, businesses and non-governmental organizations in both China and the United States, including Anhui and Maryland, rendered each other great support and fought the pandemic shoulder to shoulder," Chinese Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai said in a video speech.
Echoing Cui's remarks, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, who attended the virtual event with Maryland's first lady Yumi Hogan, said this relationship "has never been more valued" as it is now, "as our regions face the unprecedented challenges of the global COVID-19 pandemic."
"Donations of medical supplies between our regions played a pivotal role in our fight against this deadly virus and served as a powerful testament to the friendship between our regions," Hogan said.
The U.S. governor noted that countless citizens of both Maryland and Anhui have had "so much to gain" from this relationship, including shared experiences in arts, economic development, education and public service.
"We look forward to 40 more years of cooperation between Maryland and Anhui, as we work to promote peace and prosperity for the people we serve," Hogan said.
At the virtual event, leaders from Anhui and Maryland reflected on the key moments and achievements in the past 40 years, and exchanged gifts to commemorate the 40th anniversary.
Anhui and Maryland established sister relationship in June 1980, making them the second pair of sister province and state between China and the United States since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1979.
During the past four decades, Anhui and Maryland maintained close communication and conducted fruitful cooperation in economy and trade, science and technology, agriculture, education, culture and beyond.
In his remarks, Li Jinbin, Communist Party chief of Anhui, said Anhui and Maryland have established friendly relations over the past 40 years, which witnessed the continuous progress in China-U.S. relations.
Anhui and Maryland reached broad consensus and achieved fruitful outcomes in their cooperation, making contributions to the development of China-U.S. relations, Li said.
"State-to-state relations are underpinned by people-to-people relations. They require the people's support and also serve the people," said Cui, noting that the friendship between the Chinese and American people "goes back a long way," and there is "strong popular support for our ties."
"To engage with each other is the shared aspiration of the two peoples. We need to follow the people's will, remove obstacles for their engagement, and build more bridges for their exchanges and cooperation," Cui said. Enditem