Am­bas­sador to US voices hope

China Daily - - FRONT PAGE - By CHEN WEIHUA in Wash­ing­ton chen­wei­hua@chi­nadai­lyusa.com

China’s top diplo­mat to the United States called for the two coun­tries to con­tinue work­ing to­gether to keep their re­la­tion­ship on track.

Cui Tiankai, the Chi­nese am­bas­sador to the US, made the re­marks on Tues­day evening at a Chi­nese Lu­nar New Year cel­e­bra­tion at the Chi­nese em­bassy, at­tended by more than 700 peo­ple, in­clud­ing US Sec­re­tary of Com­merce Wil­bur Ross and sev­eral other se­nior US ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cials and law­mak­ers.

Cui said China is look­ing for­ward to new progress in re­la­tions. “In­deed, China-US re­la­tions are at an­other im­por­tant junc­ture now,” he said.

Ten­sions have in­creased in re­cent months as the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion sin­gled out China as its ma­jor strate­gic com­peti­tor in its na­tional se­cu­rity and na­tional de­fense strate­gies. The US also has im­posed a num­ber of pro­tec­tion­ist mea­sures on Chi­nese trade and in­vest­ment.

Cui spoke highly of the im­por­tant progress in the re­la­tion­ship dur­ing the past year. He said Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping and US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump have main­tained strate­gic com­mu­ni­ca­tion, which gives clear guid­ance to the re­la­tion­ship.

The two lead­ers launched four di­a­logue mech­a­nisms when they met at Trump’s Mara-Lago re­sort in Palm Beach, Florida, in April.

“Go­ing for­ward for the months and years ahead, let’s work to­gether to keep this im­por­tant re­la­tion­ship on the right track, on the ba­sis of mu­tual re­spect and maybe

bet­ter mu­tual un­der­stand­ing,” Cui said.

The am­bas­sador ac­knowl­edged dif­fer­ences, dis­agree­ments and prob­lems that con­tinue to ex­ist in the re­la­tion­ship, but he said co­op­er­a­tion and di­a­logue are far more im­por­tant.

“Con­struc­tive co­op­er­a­tion will en­hance both of us and even en­rich the world,” he said. “Nei­ther of us will have to give up any­thing it holds dear.”

Cui dis­missed as wish­ful think­ing the be­lief for some peo­ple that “some po­lit­i­cal or cul­tural ge­netic en­gi­neer­ing could be done to change China’s DNA. And it is cer­tainly para­noid that a China that fol­lows its own path of de­vel­op­ment will be con­fronta­tional to the United States,” he said.

Cui warned that it is dan­ger­ous to ad­vo­cate any strat­egy for con­fronta­tion, clearly re­fer­ring to the lat­est US na­tional strate­gies un­veiled by the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion.

He said the key to a suc­cess­ful re­la­tion­ship lies in win-win co­op­er­a­tion and mu­tual ben­e­fit.

“Har­mony but not same­ness, di­ver­sity but not con­fronta­tion — these val­ues are deep­rooted in the Chi­nese cul­ture,” Cui said, cit­ing words by Con­fu­cius.

He said the re­la­tion­ship should be char­ac­ter­ized by over­all co­op­er­a­tion, but added that while friendly co­op­er­a­tion is nec­es­sary, there should be no con­fronta­tion.

In wish­ing his guests a happy and pros­per­ous Year of the Dog, Cui de­scribed dogs as loyal, sin­cere and trust­ing com­pan­ions in both Chi­nese and Western cul­tures.

“And I be­lieve such virtues are equally essen­tial for re­la­tions be­tween coun­tries,” he said.

Stu­art Hol­l­i­day, pres­i­dent and chief ex­ec­u­tive of the non­profit Merid­ian In­ter­na­tional Cen­ter, a think tank that co-spon­sored the cel­e­bra­tion on Tues­day with the Chi­nese em­bassy, said he was happy to be told that the num­ber eight in the year 2018 is a lucky num­ber to Chi­nese.

“We hope this will lead to a pos­i­tive year in our di­a­logue, and in our re­la­tion­ship, diplo­mat­i­cally, eco­nom­i­cally, cul­tur­ally,” he said, ahead of a per­for­mance by artists from Chengdu, Sichuan prov­ince, who en­chanted the au­di­ence with Sichuan Opera facechang­ing, ac­ro­batic and dance pro­grams.

In a hall­way, artists dis­played the tra­di­tional Chi­nese art of pa­per-cut­ting, New Year’s pic­tures and col­or­ful pa­per um­brel­las.

ZHAO HUANXIN / CHINA DAILY

Am­bas­sador Cui Tiankai dis­plays a New Year’s draw­ing with an em­bassy guest. Spring Fes­ti­val falls on Fri­day.

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