Carter stresses im­por­tance of right­ing US-China re­la­tions

China Daily (USA) - - WORLD US - By MAY ZHOU in Hous­ton [email protected]­nadai­

For­mer pres­i­dent Jimmy Carter, who signed an agree­ment with Chi­nese leader Deng Xiaop­ing 40 years ago to nor­mal­ize diplo­matic re­la­tions be­tween the US and China, in an op-ed called for the United States and China to con­tinue to work to­gether to­ward solv­ing some of “the most in­tractable global prob­lems”.

Carter wrote the piece in The Wash­ing­ton Post on Jan 1, the date of the an­niver­sary of bi­lat­eral re­la­tions.

He views the 40-year re­la­tion­ship as a fruit­ful one: “This led to an era dis­tin­guished by peace in East Asia and the Pa­cific re­gion. China’s spec­tac­u­lar eco­nomic growth, in con­junc­tion with its con­tin­u­ing in­te­gra­tion with the much larger US econ­omy, has en­abled the two coun­tries to be­come en­gines of global pros­per­ity.”

Yet, to­day, this crit­i­cal re­la­tion­ship is in jeop­ardy, Carter said. He warned that if re­la­tions are not re­paired, we risk a mod­ern cold war. The 90-day pause in fur­ther es­ca­la­tion of tar­iffs of­fers an op­por­tu­nity to re­pair the re­la­tion­ship, and Carter of­fered a few sug­ges­tions.

First, while the United States’ long-stand­ing com­plaints must be ad­dressed quickly and ef­fec­tively, nei­ther coun­try should use “na­tional se­cu­rity” as an ex­cuse to ob­struct the other’s le­git­i­mate com­mer­cial ac­tiv­i­ties.

“Sec­ond, Amer­i­cans must ac­knowl­edge that, just as China has no right to in­ter­fere in US af­fairs, we have no in­her­ent right to dic­tate to China how to gov­ern its peo­ple or choose its lead­ers,” he wrote. “Though even coun­tries with the clos­est of re­la­tion­ships may cri­tique each other at times, such en­gage­ments should never be­come di­rec­tives or edicts; they should rather serve as a two-way street of open di­a­logue.”

Carter con­sid­ers Africa a good place for the US and China to seek bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion.

“Both coun­tries are al­ready heav­ily in­volved there in fight­ing dis­ease, build­ing in­fra­struc­ture and keep­ing peace — some­times co­op­er­a­tively. Yet each na­tion has ac­cused the other of eco­nomic ex­ploita­tion or po­lit­i­cal ma­nip­u­la­tion. Africans — like bil­lions of other peo­ple around the world — do not want to be forced to choose a side,” Carter wrote.

“In 1979, Deng Xiaop­ing and I knew we were ad­vanc­ing the cause of peace. While to­day’s lead­ers face a dif­fer­ent world, the cause of peace re­mains just as im­por­tant,” Carter said.

Liu Yawei, di­rec­tor of the China Pro­gram at the Carter Cen­ter in At­lanta, said that Carter ex­pressed a de­sire to help im­prove US-China re­la­tions to Chi­nese Am­bas­sador to the US Cui Tiankai in Septem­ber.

In­ci­den­tally, Cui pub­lished an oped piece in USA To­day on the same day say­ing “the re­la­tions should rise above dif­fer­ences”.

“As the one who helped to open the door to China, pres­i­dent Carter is def­i­nitely wor­ried about the cur­rent state of bi­lat­eral re­la­tions. We of­ten talk about build­ing a global com­mu­nity,” Liu said.

“If China and the United State can’t work to­gether, how could we build a global com­mu­nity? If the US and China co­op­er­ate well, ev­ery­thing else will be eas­ier,” Liu said.

Liu said the Carter Cen­ter is or­ga­niz­ing a sym­po­sium in mid-Jan­uary to seek a new frame­work to man­age bi­lat­eral re­la­tions, along with the Chi­nese Peo­ple’s As­so­ci­a­tion for Friend­ship with For­eign Coun­tries, and the In­sti­tute of Amer­i­can Stud­ies at the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sciences.

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