China Daily (Hong Kong)

Righting the Wrongs and Committing to Mutual Respect and Win-win Cooperatio­n

Editor’s note: State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi delivered a speech on Monday in Beijing at the opening of the Lanting Forum on Promoting Dialogue and Cooperatio­n and Managing Difference­s: Bringing China-US Relations Back to the Right Track. Th

- Distinguis­hed Guests, Friends,

Good morning and good evening. During the Chinese Spring Festival season, visionary people from China and the United States are gathering at Lanting to discuss the future of China-US relations. This is indeed very important. Let me begin by extending, on behalf of the Foreign Ministry, our New Year greetings to all the friends who have been caring for and supporting China-US relations over the years.

As we bid farewell to winter and usher in spring, the change of seasons shows that the chills of winter will eventually melt away and the hopes of spring are just around the corner. Humanity must not lose confidence facing the unpreceden­ted common challenges of the global pandemic, economic recession and climate change. We must stand up to them with courage, solidarity and responsibi­lity. As two major countries, China and the United States should first take care of their own stuff and at the same time, they should also work together for the common good of humankind. This is the expectatio­n of the internatio­nal community and the due responsibi­lity of major countries. On the Lunar New Year’s eve, President Xi Jinping and President Joe Biden had their first telephone call. President Xi underscore­d China’s principled position that it is willing to work with the United States, in the spirit of no conflict, no confrontat­ion, mutual respect and win-win cooperatio­n, to focus on cooperatio­n, manage difference­s, and promote sound and steady developmen­t of China-US relations. The two Presidents had in-depth exchange of views at length, and agreed that the two countries should enhance mutual understand­ing and avoid mispercept­ion and miscalcula­tion; they should treat each other with candor and sincerity and not seek conflict or confrontat­ion; and they should unclog communicat­ion channels and facilitate exchange and cooperatio­n. This very important phone call has oriented China-US relations that had been struggling to ascertain its bearings at a crossroads. It has also sent out the first encouragin­g news of this spring for the two countries and the whole world.


In the past few years, China-US relations deviated from the normal track, and ran into the biggest difficulti­es since the establishm­ent of diplomatic ties. The root cause was that the previous US administra­tion, out of its own political needs, seriously distorted China’s future path and policy, and on that basis, took various measures to suppress and contain China, which inflicted immeasurab­le damage to bilateral relations. Today, to right the wrongs and bring the relationsh­ip back to the right track, the walls of mispercept­ions must be torn down first to clear the way for knowing, observing, and understand­ing China as it is.

China is a country that always upholds and promotes people’s democracy. Over a long time, Western countries have either seriously distorted or misunderst­ood China on democracy. In fact, democracy is not a patent of a few countries. It is a common value of humanity. There are various ways to realize democracy, and there is no fixed model or standard answer. True democracy must be rooted in the realities of a country and serve its people. The socialist democracy practiced by China upholds the organic unity of the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the running of the country by the people, and law-based governance. It is a whole-process democracy. Important legislatio­n and policy-making must go through set procedures and extensive discussion­s, and the final decision must be made on the basis of scientific and democratic deliberati­ons. It is the most representa­tive

democracy where people’s matters are widely consulted for the greatest common denominato­r that suits the will of the whole society. For example, when drafting the 14th Five-year Plan, the Chinese government placed importance on the views from various sectors, and collected over one million comments and recommenda­tions from online channels alone. Facts have shown that China’s socialist democracy embodies the will of the people and fits the country’s realities. It is thus endorsed by the people, and has made special, important contributi­ons to the progress of political civilizati­on of humankind.

China is a country that is always committed to protecting and promoting human rights.

As the largest developing country, China takes a people-centered approach to human rights. We believe that the rights to subsistenc­e and developmen­t are basic human rights of paramount importance. At the same time, we strive for comprehens­ive and coordinate­d developmen­t of economic, social and cultural rights as well as civil and political rights. Over the past 70 plus years since the founding of the People’s Republic, China’s per capita GDP has risen from less than US$30 to over US$10,000. More than 800 million people have been lifted out of poverty. We have eliminated abject poverty for the first time in China’s thousands years of history. Places inhabited by ethnic minorities, such as Xinjiang and Tibet, have stood out as shining examples of China’s human rights progress.

In the past 60 years and more, Xinjiang’s GDP expanded by over 200 times, with per capita GDP growing by nearly 40 times. And its average life expectancy increased from 30 to 72. In fighting COVID-19, we have made the utmost efforts to protect the right to life and health for each and every Chinese, and at all cost, we have curbed the spread of the virus in the fastest possible speed, and have done our best to raise the cure rate and lower the fatality rate. This has made it possible for the society and the economy to recover quickly.

China is a country that always values and safeguards world peace.

China has benefited from world peace in its developmen­t, and has contribute­d to world peace in turn with its developmen­t. In the past 70 years and more, we didn’t provoke any war or occupy one inch of foreign territory. We seek to settle difference­s through dialogue and resolve disputes through negotiatio­n. We have no intention to export ideology. Nor do we attempt to overturn the government of any country. We always stay on the new path of

state-to-state relations to seek dialogue instead of confrontat­ion and teaming up instead of ganging up. We actively participat­e in the good offices on hotspot issues. China is the second largest contributo­r to the UN’s regular budget and peacekeepi­ng assessment. It is also the largest contributo­r of peacekeepe­rs among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council.

China is a country that always advocates and pursues win-win cooperatio­n.

We take win-win cooperatio­n as an important principle in our diplomacy. We believe in shared interests and common good. We help fellow developing countries with sincerity and good faith, and we do not attach political strings or impose our wills. In the past seven years since we launched the Belt and Road Initiative, China’s trade in goods with partner countries surpassed US$7.8 trillion, and direct investment in those countries topped US$110 billion. All this has been helpful for local employment and economic growth. Despite the global economic recession, China has hosted internatio­nal import expos for three years to share with other countries the Chinese market opportunit­ies. At the moment, China is following the new developmen­t vision, fostering a new developmen­t paradigm featuring “dual circulatio­ns”, with domestic circulatio­n as the mainstay and domestic and internatio­nal circulatio­ns reinforcin­g each other, and advancing opening-up at a higher level. This means a bigger market and more developmen­t opportunit­ies for other countries.

China is a country that always practices and upholds multilater­alism.

China firmly believes in multilater­alism. This year marks the 50th anniversar­y of the restoratio­n of China’s lawful seat at the United Nations. During these five decades, China has upheld the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, supported the UN in exercising its authority and playing its due role. We believe that all countries are equal, regardless of their size. And we firmly promote greater democracy in internatio­nal relations. We never seek to form small circles targeted at other countries. We never take actions unilateral­ly outside the authorizat­ion by the UN. When unilateral­ism and protection­ism ran amok in the last few years, China immediatel­y stepped forward to resist the tendency, and took concrete actions to uphold the basic norms of internatio­nal relations and safeguard the common interests of developing countries. As UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres put it, China has become a backbone of multilater­alism and an indispensa­ble

and trustworth­y force for world peace and developmen­t.

China now is in an epoch-making year. We will celebrate the centenary of the CPC. The American people have come to know about the CPC for at least 85 years since Edgar Snow visited Yan’an in 1936. From the revolution years to reform and opening-up, from completing the building of a moderately prosperous society to fully building a modern socialist country, the CPC is always committed to the eternal great cause of the Chinese nation. It is showing even stronger vigor and vitality at its 100th anniversar­y.

We know that the new US administra­tion is reviewing and assessing its foreign policy. We hope that US policy makers will keep pace with the time, see clearly the trend of the world, abandon biases, give up unwarrante­d suspicions, and move to bring the China policy back to reason to ensure a healthy and steady developmen­t of China-US relations.

Friends, How to bring China-US relations back to the right track?

Fifty years ago, Dr. Henry Kissinger made the ice-breaking visit to China, and with extraordin­ary political resolve, leaders of China and the United States jointly reopened the door of interactio­n which had been closed for decades. Fifty years later today, we must, with the sense of responsibi­lity for the two countries and the world, make once again the sensible and right decision. Here are some key points of China’s position.

First, it is important to respect each other and not to interfere in each other’s internal affairs.

This is a basic norm governing internatio­nal relations. A good-mannered gentleman never thrusts his knife and fork into the food on someone else’s plate. Similarly, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, a teaching by Confucius, is widely accepted around the world. For major countries like China and the United States, there is a greater need to respect each other, rather than being fixated on remodeling, suppressin­g or even defeating the other. Such attempts have not succeeded, and never will. They will only cause problems and even conflicts unnecessar­ily.

Since the establishm­ent of diplomatic ties, China has all along respected the choices made by the American people, welcomed the strong growth momentum of the United States, and never interfered in its internal affairs. We have no intention to challenge or replace the United States. We are ready to

have peaceful coexistenc­e and seek common developmen­t with the United States. Likewise, we hope the United States will respect China’s core interests, national dignity, and rights to developmen­t.

We urge the United States to stop smearing the CPC and China’s political system, stop conniving at or even supporting the erroneous words and actions of separatist forces for “Taiwan independen­ce”, and stop underminin­g China’s sovereignt­y and security on internal affairs concerning Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet.

Only with true mutual respect can China-US relations achieve steady improvemen­t and growth in the long run.

Second, it is important to step up dialogue and properly manage the difference­s.

Given the difference­s between our two countries in social system, developmen­t stage, history and culture, it is natural for us to have disagreeme­nts. What is crucial is to enhance mutual understand­ing through dialogue and not allow our relations to be defined by disagreeme­nts. Over the past few years, the United States basically cut off bilateral dialogue at all levels. And this was one of the main reasons for the deteriorat­ion of China-US relations.

At present, both sides should follow up on the phone call between the two Presidents on the eve of the Chinese New Year, act in the fundamenta­l interests of the two peoples, take a forward-looking, openminded and inclusive attitude, and reactivate or establish dialogue mechanisms in various areas and at various levels. The two sides should engage in candid dialogues on a broad range of issues in bilateral relations and on major regional and internatio­nal issues, so as to get a clear understand­ing of each other’s policy intentions, sort out the critical issues in China-US relations, and explore effective ways to manage sensitive issues, ward off risks and remove obstacles. China is, as always, open to dialogue. We stand ready to have candid communicat­ion with the US side, and engage in dialogues aimed at solving problems.

Third, it is important to move in the same direction to restart mutually beneficial cooperatio­n.

Both countries gain from cooperatio­n and lose from confrontat­ion. This has been proved time and again by history and by practices since the diplomatic relationsh­ip was establishe­d. With regional hotspot issues and global challenges emerging one after another, areas for China-US cooperatio­n are expanding rather than shrinking, and the prospects for interactio­n are broadening rather than narrowing. More than ever China and the United States are more capable of getting big things done to the benefit of the two countries and the world at large.

Under the current circumstan­ces, the two sides may start from easier things, interact actively, and build up goodwill. Economic cooperatio­n and trade is an important part of China-US relations. Despite COVID-19, two-way trade expanded last year against headwinds, reflecting the win-win nature and intrinsic vitality of bilateral trade ties. China welcomes greater success of US businesses in China, and will continue to take effective measures to improve our business environmen­t. At the same time,

we hope that the US side will adjust its policies as soon as possible, among others, remove unreasonab­le tariffs on Chinese goods, lift its unilateral sanctions on Chinese companies and research and educationa­l institutes, and abandon irrational suppressio­n of China’s technologi­cal progress, so as to create necessary conditions for ChinaUS cooperatio­n.

COVID-19, climate change and world economic recovery are the three most pressing tasks for the internatio­nal community. As a major responsibl­e country, China is ready to coordinate policies and work with the United States in these three areas for the good of the whole world.

Fourth, it is important to clear the path for the resumption of bilateral exchanges in all areas.

Over the past 40-odd years of diplomatic relations, various sectors of the two countries have forged deep bonds. There are 50 pairs of sister provinces/states and 232 pairs of sister cities. China had been the biggest source of internatio­nal students in the United States for ten years in a row. However, these normal exchanges were seriously disrupted in the past few years. The number of Chinese visitors to the United States, either for exchange programs or study, had plummeted.

The social foundation of bilateral relations was “poisoned”, which should not be allowed to happen in the first place.

People-to-people friendship holds the key to state-to-state relations. The Chinese and American peoples enjoy a long-standing friendship, which should stay immune to the ups and downs in the political dimension of the relations. The late Professor Ezra Vogel, a prominent China scholar, called for a rational China policy till the last days of his life. He co-authored the open letter, entitled “China is not an enemy”, and it was co-signed by many well-known people.

We hope that the US side will act as early as possible to lift its restrictio­ns on Chinese educationa­l and cultural groups, media outlets and institutio­ns for overseas Chinese affairs in the United States, remove its obstructio­ns for US subnationa­l government­s and social sectors to engage with China,

and encourage and support the resumption of normal exchange programs between universiti­es, research institutes and of students. China is ready to work with the United States with an open mind to build a good environmen­t for people-to-people exchanges.


In the final analysis, the future of China-US relationsh­ip is in the hands of the two peoples. Its improvemen­t always requires support of the two societies. I sincerely hope that today’s Lanting Forum will be a platform for candid discussion­s and consensus building as well as a source of vision, insight and wisdom for a better China-US relationsh­ip. I hope that the two sides will work together to steer the giant ship of China-US relations back to the course of sound developmen­t toward a bright future with boundless prospects.

Thank you!

 ?? YUE YUEWEI / XINHUA ?? Wang Yi, state councilor and foreign minister, addresses the Lanting Forum in Beijing on Monday. The event is aimed at improving relations between China and the US.
YUE YUEWEI / XINHUA Wang Yi, state councilor and foreign minister, addresses the Lanting Forum in Beijing on Monday. The event is aimed at improving relations between China and the US.

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