Another Chinese Delegation Visits County
Sen. Harris Blake welcomed yet another delegation of distinguished visitors from China to Pinehurst Friday morning.
At a breakfast session at the Carolina Hotel, Blake and local leaders spoke with them about mutual opportunities for tourism, among other subjects.
This particular group of visitors came from a section of the capital city of Beijing called Changping District. It includes two subdistricts of the metropolitan area and 15 towns. Five of those are Beijing suburbs.
"My visit to your city four times in the past 10 years has been most rewarding," Blake said. "You have always made me feel warmly welcomed. I continue to feel optimistic about our two great nations working together to improve the quality of life for all our citizens."
Blake recently returned from his September trip to Pinehurst's sister city of Zhi Jiang, attending a Peace Festival with former President Carter. They dedicated a museum there to the famed Flying Tigers of World War II. Blake and pianist David Michael Wolff joined the former president for a ceremony unveiling a statue of Gen. Clair Chennault.
Chennault led the American Volunteer Group (AVG), who went to China before Japan attacked Pearl Harbor to join China's own fight against its invaders. Soon they were better known as "the Flying Tigers."
After the United States entered World War II, the Flying Tigers continued as part of the Army Air Corps and today constitute the 23rd Fighter Group of the 14th Air Force - until recently based at Pope Field.
The current link between Moore County and its Chinese sister county Guidong came about from a Flying Tiger from High Falls who was shot down in that war. His unidentified body was buried with great ceremony and for 63 years honored by the people of Guidong. After DNA identified him as Lt. Robert Hoyle Upchurch, ties began to grow. Robbins, as well as Pinehurst, has a sister city in China.
This visit is but the latest in a series of back-and-forth excursions working to develop business and cultural ties. Pinehurst Mayor Ginsey Fallon, who attended the breakfast, visited Beijing and Zhi Jiang earlier this year, as did Ray Ogden, of Moore County Partners in Progress, who had joined Blake on a 2007 trip.
"This delegation represents a cross-section of the business community in Beijing," Blake said. "One member in particular heads up the largest travel and tourism company in Beijing."
Dr. Lian Xie, president of the newly formed Carolina China Council and a professor at N.C. State, translated for the visitors and would accompany them later in the day to a tour of Research Triangle Park.
He and Blake set up the council to facilitate ties between Carolina and Chinese businesses and have been working with the state Department of Commerce and Gov. Bev Purdue to that end.
Contact John Chappell at email@example.com.
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