Cooperation is the Only Correct Choice for Sino-US Relations

China International Studies | 作者: Zheng Zeguang | 时间: 2014-01-13 | 责编: Li Xiaoyu
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by Zheng Zeguang



The report, entitled “China-US Cooperation: Key to the Global Future”, was recently released in English and Chinese. It is a research finding accomplished by a working group of Chinese and American scholars. The report will help more Chinese and English readers better understand the importance of China-US cooperation, opportunities and challenges and policy options for both sides.

Though profound and complex changes continue to take place in the world today imbued with many uncertainties in future, the keynote of the report is positive and constructive. Members of the working group have made an analysis of the general trend of the future world and presented many pertinent, forward-looking and thought-provoking views and suggestions, which will further promote China-US cooperation in future.

Forty-two years ago, China and the United States reached a breakthrough in the warming of their relations, greatly boosting the development of cooperation between the two nations. Today, China-US cooperation is proceeding in greater depth and breadth, far exceeding anyone’s expectation at that time. It has not only benefited the peoples of the two countries, but influenced the trend of the times across the world. Looking ahead, the two countries should and surely can cooperate in broader areas and at an even higher level in future so as to promote the well-beings of the two peoples and all mankind.

In their meeting at Annenberg Estate, California in June 2013, Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Obama reached consensus on the importance of building toward a new-type of relationship between China and the United States as two major powers. They agreed on three principles of preventing conflict or confrontation, respecting each other and carrying out win-win cooperation. This serves to chart a correct course and draw a blueprint for future development of China-US relations. It indicates that leaders of the two countries have made a strategic decision and committed to bear historical responsibilities based on a shared understanding of changing international circumstances, national conditions of the two countries and future development of bilateral relationship. This goal can be obtained only through sustained cooperation between the two sides.

Cooperation is the only correct choice for future China-US relations. It is important for China and the United States to build up common interests and increase interwoven interests through cooperation. At the same time, it is imperative for the two sides to coordinate on regional and international issues so as to make concerted efforts in response to global challenges and for promotion of world peace and prosperity. The two sides should foster “habits of cooperation”, build up strategic reassurance, expand convergence of interests and promote cooperation for mutual benefit. They should also bear the overall interests of bilateral relations in mind, respect each other, and properly handle their differences so as to provide a sure guarantee for long-term cooperation between the two countries.

Over the past 42 years, China-US economic relations have become more and more integrated and interdependent, serving as the “ballast” and “propulsion module” of the overall bilateral relationship. Strong economic complementarities will ensure closer ties in bilateral trade and investment for the future. As the world’s two largest economies, both China and the United States need a sound international financial market that is open, liberalized and inclusive, and the sustained growth of the global economy. There will be more opportunities for bilateral cooperation in these important areas in future.

At present, we wish to continue our pragmatic cooperation with the US side in broad areas of economic exchanges and trade, investment, energy industry, environmental protect and infrastructure; to accelerate the negotiations on an agreement of bilateral investment protection; to create more opportunities for cooperation between the business communities of the two countries in the course of the ongoing reforms in both countries; and to strengthen coordination and cooperation in international organizations, such as APEC, the G20, the World Bank and the IMF, and make concerted efforts for sustained and steady recovery of the world economy.

We hope that the US side will show courage and resolve to break the fetters of outdated policies and relax restrictions on the export of high-tech items to China at an early date so as to facilitate fair grounds for Chinese businesses to invest in the United States to the benefit of long-term sound development of China-US economic ties and trade.

All forms of terrorism, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, transnational crimes, drug smuggling and piracy are global problems that constitute a common threat to all nations. Climate change, energy security, food safety, epidemic and cyber security are challenges to all mankind. In recent years, China-US cooperation in all these areas has been proceeding in depth. It is imperative for both sides to reinforce coordination in handling such issues. This is not only a bounden duty of the Chinese and American peoples, but a share responsibility the two major powers should bear for the international community.

With regard to regional hotspots, either the North Korean and Iranian nuclear issues or the Syrian and Afghan questions, our two countries are working hard to seek the convergence of interests in close contact for effective communication and coordination. As Permanent Members of the UN Security Council, China and the United States will have more and more opportunities for cooperation to push for resolution of regional conflicts and promotion of regional and world peace and stability, and play an increasingly important role in future.

Asia-Pacific is a region where China and the United States have most intertwining interests and interact most frequently. It is also a “testing ground” for building a new type of big-power relations between the two countries. Both sides must realize that a peaceful, stable and prosperous Asia-Pacific is in the shared interests of both countries. The Chinese side has made it clear to the US side on many occasions that China hopes that the United States will play a constructive role in the region and it is ready to work with the latter for the establishment of a benign, interactive structure of regional relationship and that the two sides should make joint efforts for peace, stability and prosperity in the region. The disputes over the territorial sovereignty and maritime rights and interests in the East China Sea and the South China Sea are bilateral issues between China and the countries concerned which should be properly handled by China and these countries bilaterally. China is willing to work for proper handling and settlement of such disputes by peaceful means and through bilateral friendly consultation with these countries. The fact is that the freedom of navigation in the South China Sea is guaranteed. In this regard, the US side should make a clear distinction between right and wrong, take an objective and impartial stand, and refrain from abetting certain countries in taking provocative acts so as not to make things more complicated to the detriment of regional stability and the interests of all parties.

No doubt, China and the United States as two great nations have different historical and cultural traditions, national conditions and national interests. It is quite normal that our two countries have diverse and important common interests while there are various differences between us. For China and the United States to carry out long-term cooperation smoothly, it is imperative for the two sides to respect each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and each side’s own choice of development path. Each side must respect the other’s interests and acknowledge their discrepancies.

Moreover, both sides must understand clearly that China and the United States alone cannot resolve all problems in the world. China-US cooperation should be open and inclusive. We should better cooperate with all countries and work together to meet emerging challenges and create a better future for the world.

In recent years, the two sides have taken steps to put the consensus of the two Presidents into effect and build a new-type China-US relationship. High-ranking officials have kept close contact and engaged in frequent exchanges; President Xi Jinping and President Obama have met twice with fruitful results; and the 5th Round China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue is a success. Before the year concludes, the two sides will hold the 4th Round High-Level Consultation on People-to-People and Cultural Exchanges and the 24th Round Meeting of the Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade. Cooperation continues to increase in many areas including economic exchanges and trade; military-to-military relations have further improved; and the two sides keep close contact and coordination on important international and regional issues. Though China-US relations may still encounter various challenges in future, yet they are now on a new starting point and are entering a new phase of building toward a new mode of major power relationship.

We should never forget that China-US cooperation is founded on the friendship between the peoples of our two countries and that without support of people from all walks of life in both countries, bilateral cooperation cannot sustain. We should not only let the peoples of the two countries see new accomplishments of bilateral cooperation from time to time, but also persist in telling them how important China-US cooperation is and urge them to work hard for it. Think tanks in both countries can play an important role in enhancing bilateral cooperation. Exchanges between think tanks serve to render intellectual support and at the same time build national consensus and public support for China-US cooperation. The release of this report is a major event of great significance. I hope that think tanks and far-sighted public figures in all sectors of society in both countries will continue to make unremitting efforts to offer good ideas and policy recommendations for promotion of China-US cooperation.

Source: China International Studies November/December 2013 p13-18

[1]This is a speech by Assistant Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang at a briefing on the release of the Report “China-US Cooperation: Key to the Global Future”, October 11, 2013.