Li Xiaolin, vice president of the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC), speaks at a press conference in Beijing on the publication of the Chinese edition of former US president George W Bush's memoir Decision Points. (Photo/Xinhua)
Former US president George W Bush wrote in his memoir that he is optimistic about the future of the US-China relationship.
"When I first came to Beijing thirty-six years ago, it was almost impossible to imagine the vibrant Chinese society that exists today or the cooperative relationship that our nations now enjoy. My hope is that our relationship will improve even more over the next thirty-six years," Bush said in the introduction to the Chinese edition of his book Decision Points.
The Chinese edition of Bush's first memoir was released on Wednesday (Aug. 10) by China Citic Press in collaboration with the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC).
The 446-page memoir covers major events of Bush's eight-year presidency such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Hurricane Katrina and the financial crisis of 2008.
In the introduction to the Chinese edition, Bush recalled his visits to China since 1975 when his father George HW Bush served as the chief of the Liaison Office in Beijing, established after Richard Nixon's historic trip that reopened relations in 1972.
"I was struck by the rich history, fascinating culture and extraordinary potential of the country. I was captivated, and I knew that one day I would come back," Bush said.
A quarter of a century passed before Bush made that return trip. During his presidency, he came to China four times, including during the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Bush said some of his most consequential decisions as president focused on America's relationship with China, which is now considered by many observers to be the most pivotal bilateral relationship in the world.
"I enjoyed the opportunity to work closely with two Chinese leaders, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, to improve our diplomatic ties and promote the mutual interests of our nations," Bush said. The former president called on the United States and China to share a legacy of friendship, prosperity and peace.
"I think the book is readable, as Bush describes his presidency and personal life in a sincere and candid way," said Li Xiaolin, vice chairperson of the CPAFFC, a non-governmental friendship body. "The chapter about quitting drinking is particularly moving."
The book devotes many pages to China-related issues, which reflects the importance Bush placed on US-China relations, Li added.
Bush's account of his presidency offers a window on the defining events of the first eight years of this century and is worth reading for that, said Jin Canrong, an international relations scholar with Renmin University of China in Beijing.
China Citic Press 中信出版公司
Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries 中國人民對外友好協會
Li Xiaolin 李小林