Friday, September 26, 2014

‘The China-U.S. Relationship is Basically Good’

A few days ago, I was in Washington, D.C. for a conference. While there, I met some American friends. We had an interesting discussion about what seems to me to be a debate going on in the U.S. about China-U.S. relations: One side believes the China-U.S. relationship is going through a rocky patch and is at a “low point,” with many tough issues surfacing. The other side maintains that the overall China-U.S. relationship is good, notwithstanding the present difficulties. I share the second viewpoint for the following reasons:
First, the foundation of the China-U.S. relationship remains strong. Let me quote President Xi Jinping’s speech at the opening of the sixth round of the China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue on July 9:
In the past 35 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties, relations between China and the U.S. on the whole have moved forward and made historic progress although there have been ups and downs. There are now over 90 mechanisms for dialogue, and last year the bilateral trade volume exceeded $520 billion, bilateral investment accounted for over $100 billion. There are over 41 pairs of friendly provinces or states from both sides, and 202 sister cities. People-to-people exchanges exceeded 4 million every year. China-U.S. cooperation not only benefits our two peoples, but also promotes peace, stability, and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region and the world as a whole.
In both China and the U.S. there are people complaining about the lack of strategic trust between the two countries. They mention quite a few facts to illustrate their worries. No one can deny these facts, but a coin has two sides. A comprehensive vision of the China-U.S. relationship is very much needed.