A new starting point
On Jan 1, 1979 China and the United States established formal diplomatic ties. Thirtyfive years later our two countries have never been so interdependent. We are at a new historical point and can steer bilateral ties to an even higher level for the benefit of the two peoples and the peoples of the world, said a People’s Daily Overseas Edition opinion piece published on New Year’s Day.
In retrospect, the establishment of formal diplomatic ties between our two countries was an epoch-making event not just for China and the US, but also the world at large.
Relations between the two countries have had to weather many vicissitudes over the years. But despite the twists and turns they have grown to be the most important bilateral ties in the world.
The two countries may not be able to solve all the issues the world is facing today by working together, but almost all the major issues in the world will remain unresolved if they don’t pull together.
Both countries, and indeed the world, have changed dramatically over the past 35 years. But what has not changed is the fact that the convergence of their interests continues to propel relations. With this in mind the leaders of the two countries have vowed to build a new type of relationship between major powers, one that sidesteps the Thucydides trap, in which war between an existing power and an emerging power is inevitable.
Admittedly, both countries have a long way to go to shore up the political wisdom and cultivate the patience necessary to ensure smooth sailing for their relations over the next 35 years. But with bilateral trade poised to top $500 billion in 2013, more than 200 times the volume 35 years ago, it is clearly in both their interests to do so.
The Chinese government has signaled it will push ahead with deepening reforms to promote future development, which will offer new opportunities to advance bilateral ties. This in turn will usher in an international environment favorable to China’s reform endeavors.