|Kids watch lion dance during the 48th Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington D.C., capital of the United States, July 6, 2014. The 48th annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival closed in Washington on Sunday. (Xinhua/Bao Dandan)
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WASHINGTON, July 6 (Xinhua) -- As a Chinese folk art festival closed in Washington on Sunday, burgeoning cultural exchanges between China and the United States has been deemed a more active and pivotal role in promoting bilateral ties.
The two-week 2014 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, having attracted about one million visitors this year to see the living traditions in China and Kenya, was credited by some critics as the largest cultural event in Washington.
The festival offered visitors a chance to watch craftspeople making paper cuts, New Year's prints, clay figurines, kites and sachets and to get close to artists specializing in embroidery, batiks and porcelain
As part of the festival, the Chinese folk art show, invited to the festival for the first time ever, have been well received by local audience and foreign travellers.
The success showed the Westerners' acceptance and understanding for the colorful Chinese culture, experts said, adding it will promote the cultural exchanges between Beijing and Washington.
Chinese Culture Minister Cai Wu said during the festival last week that such cultural event will lay a solid foundation for people-to-people exchanges, an important part of the new type of major-country relationship.
"The strongest bond linking the two nations I think should be culture," Cai said, adding that he hoped the festival "can help Americans better understand Chinese culture and the Chinese people, and promote mutual understanding."
Although some politicians attempt to mislead bilateral goodwill to rivalry for their own speculative purposes, their attempt is doomed to fail thanks to the consistent grassroots exchange and culture communication.
However, both sides know that they are still faced with the daunting task to tap the huge potential for bilateral cultural cooperation which is yet to be fully explored.
Speaking at a recent Congress hearing, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Daniel Russel underlined the importance of cultural exchanges between the two countries, a remarkable fruit obtained in the past 35 years since they established diplomatic relations.
"One key lesson is that to ensure that our relationship grows and matures, we need to build up the links among our two peoples," he said, adding "people-to-people exchanges are essential to enhancing mutual understanding and furthering U.S. strategic and economic goals."
To add more substance to their cultural exchanges, the two countries are expected to sign a cooperation agreement in Beijing next month.