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China-US ties at new historical starting point
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The world today is undergoing major transformation and adjustment. As globalization and the application of information technology gain momentum and science and technology advance by leaps and bounds, the world is getting smaller and smaller and becoming a "global village". However, our common interests are getting bigger and bigger and the need for mutually-beneficial cooperation is getting stronger and stronger.

No country can tackle all the challenges and problems alone. The interdependence and the interconnection of interests among countries are unprecedented, gradually forming what some have called "a community of destiny" in which nobody can live without others. This has been borne out once again by the once-in-a-century financial crisis that we are going through.

To sum up, the profound changes in the world call for a more open mind and major reform in various areas. It's no longer workable to think about or handle the problems of the 21st century with the Cold War mentality of the 20th century.

Harmony, coordination and cooperation, mutual benefit and common progress should and must be the common choice of all countries. A foreign diplomat once said that today, as a result of globalization, we no longer travel in different ships. Rather we are all traveling in the same ship, which we call the "Earth Spaceship", and our destiny hinges upon the inherent power of the ship. I believe that, as we are in the same ship, we rise and fall together. It does not make any sense not to pull together. Nor does it make any sense to stick to those concepts, policies and practices that can only lead to conflict, confrontation and even war.

China is the largest developing country and the United States is the largest developed country. It is all the more important for us to see each other as partners rather than rivals. It is all the more important for us to strengthen dialogue, coordination and cooperation. And it is all the more important for us to work sincerely together with all other countries and people to overcome the difficulties and challenges we face and create a better future for humanity.

China-US relations are now at a new historical point. We have every reason and responsibility to jointly promote greater and better growth of the relationship in the next 30 years and beyond. This way, we will bring more and bigger benefits to the people of our two countries and the entire humanity.

To realize greater growth of China-US relations, it is essential for China and the United States to show mutual respect, treat each other as equals and keep to the direction of building constructive and cooperative China-US relationship. We look forward to working with the incoming US administration to keep to this direction of our relations and constantly move them forward. This is in the interest of not only the Chinese and American people, but also people across the world.

To realize greater growth of China-US relations, the immediate task is to achieve a smooth transition in the relationship and save it from fluctuating with the change of administration in the United States as has happened in the past. We must ensure that it gets off to a good and smooth start and continues to forge ahead from the new starting point.

To realize greater growth of China-US relations, the most urgent item on the agenda is to strengthen macroeconomic and financial policy coordination, work together to address the international financial crisis and oppose all forms of trade protectionism or any attempt to politicize economic and trade issues.

To realize greater growth of China-US relations, the key link is to handle well issues involving each other's core interests and maintain and develop the strategic underpinning of our cooperation. Taiwan and Tibet-related issues concern China's core interests. The Chinese people have an unshakable determination to defend our core interests.

To realize greater growth of China-US relations, the fundamental approach is to enhance strategic dialogue and communication, expand strategic consensus, build strategic mutual trust, promote strategic cooperation and identify new areas of China-US cooperation.

To realize greater growth of China-US relations, the most important foundation lies in enhanced mutual understanding between our two countries and peoples and stronger goodwill and friendship toward each other. We should encourage more and more people to devote themselves to China-US friendship so that our friendly ties will be carried forward from generation to generation and enjoy solid public support.

Reviewing the past and looking ahead to the future, we feel indebted to the courageous and hard-working ice-breakers who opened China-US relations. More importantly, we need wise and brave sailors who can take our relations forward.

Let us join hands to ride the wind and waves, raise the sail of friendship and cooperation and steer the ship of China-US relations in the direction of constructive cooperation so that it will move toward a better future. We should build between China and the United States, two big countries with different social systems and cultures and at different levels of development, a new type of relationship featuring harmony and common development in the 21st century. Can we achieve this? The answer should be an emphatic "Yes, we can!"

The writer is State Councilor of the People's Republic of China

This is a speech made by the author at the dinner marking the 30th anniversary of establishment of China-US diplomatic relations hosted by the Brookings Institute on Dec 11

(China Daily December 30, 2008)


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