BEIJING, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- China and the United States on Monday kicked off a series of activities to mark their three decades' work of building one of the world's most crucial bilateral relationships.
"Like a scroll of vivid historic scenes, these pictures showcased significant progresses in the 30-year China-U.S relations and deeply inspired us," Chinese President Hu Jintao said in a congratulatory message set to a photo exhibition marking the relations.
With 360 pictures recalling milestones in bilateral relations, the photo exhibition on Monday drew nearly 200 people from the two countries, including some key figures in forging relations like former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger.
"It is very nostalgic," said former U.S. ambassador to Beijing Winston Lord, a member of the U.S. delegation during Richard Nixon's groundbreaking visit to China in 1972.
In his address, U.S President George W. Bush said the past 30 years had "strengthened the bonds between the two countries."
Bush said he personally witnessed China's transformation over the past three decades. "In 1975 I saw a nation just beginning its journey of modernization. In 2008, I was proud to watch Beijing host a successful and thrilling Olympic Games."
The year-long photo exhibition will be displayed in some Chinese cities, before touring the United States, with a finale to be staged in Atlanta-based Cater Center in December 2009.
On Monday afternoon, a seminar was held to review the past three decades of bilateral ties and look to future relations.
The two-day seminar gathered senior Chinese diplomats like Qian Qichen, Tang Jiaxuan, Li Zhaoxing and all living Chinese ambassadors to Washington D.C. as well as scholars and entrepreneurs.
In addition to Carter and Kissinger, former U.S. President's National Security Advisors Brent Snowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinskias well as some U.S. ambassadors in Beijing attended the seminar.
"As a Chinese saying goes 'when you drink the water, think of those who dug the well.' I want to pay high tribute to leaders of the older generations and all those visionaries working for the diplomatic relations between the two countries," State Councilor Dai Bingguo said.
Chinese President Hu Jintao is scheduled to meet with Carter later Monday.
A reception will be held in the Great Hall of the People Monday evening, with Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping hosting guests from the two countries.