China’s envoy: ‘Yes, we can!’
Cui Tiankai, China’s ambassador to the United States, told China experts in Washington on Thursday that the major country relationship proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Barack Obama is a framework for cooperation that needs commitment from both sides.
The new relationship model is a winning way to avoid crisis and achieve cooperation, Cui told attendees of the 6th US-China Project on Crisis Avoidance & Cooperation, a forum hosted by the United States Institute of Peace and its Chinese partners.
Cui said “crisis” in Chinese, weiji, consists of two characters with wei meaning dangers and ji meaning opportunities. “The key to avoiding crisis is to turn dangers into opportunities for cooperation,” he said, “and, the concept is particularly true for managing the relations between the US and China.”
“If members of the international community have the vision, wisdom, determination and will to work together, we’ll be able to seize the opportunities and make a better world for all, and if not, we’ll probably be overwhelmed by the crisis and all of us may end up as losers,” he added.
Cui pointed out that the two leaders set the goal against this big picture for China and the US to work together to build a new model of major country relationship.
Cui recalled the speech of then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the US Institute of Peace in March 2012 in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of US President Nixon’s visit to China. ‘“We are trying to find a new answer to the ancient question of what happens when an established power and a rising power meet,’” Cui quoted her as saying.
To Cui, building the new model of major country relationship, which presidents Xi and Obama first proposed during their historical meeting at the Sunnylands estate in California last June and which they later reaffirmed in “subsequent communications,” is part of the “answer.”
“China-US relations are moving forward in a steady way despite issues now and then, due to the guidance of this goal,” Cui told the audience whose members also included visiting experts from the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations in Beijing and Fudan University in Shanghai, both co-sponsors of the forum.
Cui pointed out that the new relationship model stresses mutual respect toward each other’s differences, and he said such respect is not a favor given to one side by the other, that it is reciprocal process and two-way street.
“Positive approach will have positive response and negative attitude probably will get similar reward, so you reap what you sew,” said Cui, who was introduced to the stage by Stephen Hadley, chairman of the institute and former national security advisor to US President George W. Bush.
Cui said the new model accentuates “constructive approach towards our differences.” He calls the both sides to be “frank and direct” in discussing differences and “constructive and pragmatic” in managing them.
Defining the new relationship model as “a framework for cooperation,” Cui said he believes the ongoing cooperation in various fields and at every level between the two countries, guided by the new model, will have “a clear sense of direction and greater incentives” and therefore “produce even more tangible results for our two peoples.”
Cui, who served as China’s viceminister of Foreign Affairs before becoming US envoy last year, said the new relationship model will not only benefit the people of the two countries, but the entire international community.
“It is not G2. It is a response to the change that’s taking place in the world, witnessing the rise of a good number of other countries. This new model will contribute to this process,” he added.
Cui said China remains fully committed to the new relationship, and he hopes that the US “will be equally confident.”
Cui concluded his remarks with the omnipotent slogan of American spirit:
“Yes, we can!”
In the question and answer period following his speech, when asked to give advice to young people in both countries who want to work in the field of US-China cooperation, Cui suggested they look at the other country with an open mind and make a real effort to gain a good understanding of its history, culture, and the people.
“This complex new model relationship is not actually that complex. It’s very simple. It’s about the well-being of our people, what our people want and what we have to do,” Cui said.
Cui Tiankai (left), ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the US, chats with Stephen Hadley, chairman of the United States Institute of Peace and former US national security advisor, during a Q and A session after giving a speech on major country relationship at the institute in Washington on Thursday.