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China-US ties at new historical starting point
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Hosting the Olympic Games has not "pushed China to the heaven at a single stroke", so to speak. China remains a developing country in every sense of the term. A few days ago, I received a photo of my junior high school classmates, and half of my 52 classmates have already passed away. Why so? Because ours is still a developing country. Of my five brothers and sisters, the three in the countryside have all passed away. Why? Because ours is still a developing country. China is large in population but still weak in economy. For a country like ours, no matter how great our financial and material strength may be, when divided by 1.3 billion, it will result in a very small per capita figure. The number of people with a disability in China stands at 84 million, 20 million more than the total population of France. Each year, we need to provide employment to 24 million people. There are over 10 million people living in abject poverty. In addition, this year more than 10 million people were directly affected by the massive earthquake in Sichuan. Just imagine, what a complicated, gigantic and daunting challenge it must be to meet even the basic needs of the over 100 million disadvantaged people and enable them to live a decent life. For these reasons, there is still a long way to go before China can truly become prosperous and strong. So far, we have only completed the first few steps in this long march.

China's development has brought opportunities for prosperity, development and cooperation to all countries, including the United States, and China is an important stabilizing force for gradual and orderly changes in the international system.

By proceeding from our own conditions while keeping pace with the changing times over the past 30 years, we have found a development path that not only fits China but also benefits people of the whole world. Our 5,000-year civilization has given us the will and wisdom to pursue harmony, amity and peaceful development.

China is a country that has goodwill toward the world, acts in a responsible manner, respects others but never allows itself to be bullied. China has been promoting socialist democracy in light of its national conditions and values, respects and protects human rights. Despite numerous challenges ahead, China will remain open to new ideas and committed to reform and opening up.

We are eager to learn from others and seek to live in equality and harmony with other countries with a view to achieving mutual benefit and common development. We pursue peaceful development and treat others with an open heart. Countries across the world can develop relations with us with ease and confidence. Of course, we are not perfect. We welcome all well-intentioned criticisms and suggestions. We are confident in reaching our goal despite all difficulties.

We have come to realize through our experience over the past 30 years that time has changed and all countries can achieve win-win progress through international cooperation. Gone are the days when one could use wars to transform the international system and order. The Cold War mentality and zero-sum logic should be regarded as irrelevant and outdated. It is not right to believe that "if you live, I will die; if you win, I will lose; if you rise, I will fall and if you are safe, I am in danger".

You may then ask how China should translate its dream of development into reality. Let me say that we will achieve development through continuous reform and improvement of our institutions, through hard work, creativity and initiative of the Chinese people, and through scientific development. In the meantime, we will work to build durable friendship and carry out equal and mutually-beneficial cooperation with the United States and the rest of the world.

Through these measures, we will enable the Chinese people, who make up over one-fifth of the world's population, to eradicate poverty and lead a comfortable life. The Chinese people will then live and work in contentment and harmony and China will enjoy balanced progress in the political, economic and social fields and harmony between man and nature.

By highlighting our focus on development, I do not mean to say that China will shy away from its international obligations and responsibilities. In fact, making a prosperous life possible for the 1.3 billion Chinese people is in itself China's biggest contribution to humanity. In the meantime, China is taking up more and more international responsibilities and obligations commensurate with its strength and status.

In a world of growing interdependence, China's future and destiny are increasingly tied to those of the world. We should all live in harmony, share benefits and responsibilities and work for win-win progress. This is in the best interest of everyone. Being selfish and showing no regard for others will feed resentment and harm oneself as well as others.

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