China Daily Global Edition (USA)

Diplomat in LA tells how US and China can work together

- By CHANG JUN in San Francisco junechang@chinadaily­

China and the US can jointly tackle problems in three areas — the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and the global economic recovery — and many more if they cooperate and engage in dialogue, China’s diplomat in Southern California suggested on Tuesday.

China’s Consul General in Los Angeles Zhang Ping — speaking at a webinar organized by the Pacific Council on Internatio­nal Policy — called on the United States to help solve disputes between the world’s two largest economies; accept the reality of China’s developmen­t; and reach peaceful coexistenc­e with China.

He also shared his thoughts about how the two nations can cope with difference­s in their social systems and ideologies and still get along.

“The Pacific Ocean is big enough to accommodat­e both China and the US,” Zhang said, citing remarks made by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2017 on China-US relations.

Zhang was joined by webinar moderate Jerrold Green, president and CEO of the Pacific Council, a think tank headquarte­red in Los Angeles, and other council members.

While noting the positive interactio­n between China and the US since President Joe Biden took office in January, Zhang acknowledg­ed that bilateral relations remain difficult, and in some areas the tension is heightened due to what he called a series of negative actions by the US side recently.

One example he cited was the US criticism of China’s policies in Xinjiang.

Zhang denounced those in the US who “maliciousl­y disseminat­e disinforma­tion and fabricate stories” about alleged human rights violations in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

“Anyone who has some understand­ing of internatio­nal politics can tell that this is a scheme set up for geopolitic­al purposes and a card played to contain China,” Zhang said.

When talking about the latest US foreign policy depicting China as its “most serious strategic competitor”,

Zhang emphasized that competitio­n between China and the US, though inevitable, does not represent a complete picture of the relationsh­ip.

The right way to raise competitiv­eness is to “focus on managing their own business well”, he said, calling on the US side not to tie China to the American domestic agenda.

John Kerry, the US special presidenti­al envoy for climate, went to Shanghai last week to meet his Chinese counterpar­t Xie Zhenhua. The two nations agreed to cooperate to urgently curb climate change.

“It’s proof that the two countries could work together on issues of common interest,” said Zhang. “We hope that China-US cooperatio­n will not be limited to the climate area or issues that the US is concerned about.

“It should be two-way and mutually beneficial and address the concerns and needs of both sides,” Zhang added.

He also expressed hope that “the US will have a correct understand­ing of China’s developmen­t and avoid miscalcula­tion on China’s strategic intentions, reiteratin­g the legitimate right of the Chinese people to pursue a better life”.

“China is committed to non-conflict, non-confrontat­ion with the US while firmly safeguardi­ng its sovereignt­y, security and developmen­t interests as well as its national dignity,” he said.

Zhang spoke highly of China’s close ties with California, especially with Southern California, which is part of the consular district.

“Given the tremendous benefits that this close relationsh­ip has brought to both sides, we all have a stake in seeing California’s connection with China remain strong,” he said.

Zhang said he hopes that the bilateral relationsh­ip, now in a critical moment, will be maintained and “develop along a healthy and stable track. We also believe both sides have the ability and wisdom to find a viable path eventually to build a model of interactio­n between the two major countries that focuses on peaceful coexistenc­e and win-win cooperatio­n.”

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