U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Wednesday praised the progress of U.S.-China relations in the past 40 years, while denying that the United States wants to contain China's rise.
"There is no contradiction between a rising China and the interests of the U.S.. A rising China is good for America and a thriving America is good for China," she said.
Clinton made the remarks at a symposium held at the U.S. Institute of Peace to mark the 40th anniversary of former U.S. President Richard Nixon's historic trip to China in 1972.
More than 100 current and former U.S. government officials, experts and entrepreneurs attended the event entitled "The Week That Changed The World," referring to Nixon's stay in China. His visit not only changed the two countries, but also had a global impact.
Clinton praised the great progress China has since achieved in transforming itself from a deeply isolated and impoverished country to the second largest economy in the world.
Hundreds of millions of Chinese have been lifted out of poverty, while big Chinese cities, such as Beijing and Shanghai, have turned into bustling, fast-paced 24-hour centers of commerce and culture, Clinton said. Also, China has successfully hosted the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games and the 2010 Shanghai Expo, which turned out to be "very successful coming-out parties," she said.
China, which was virtually outside of the international order four decades ago, has now become "a rising geopolitical power" that is having increasing influence in nearly every corner of the world and all major international organizations, the top U.S. diplomat said.
U.S.-China relations have also flourished with China's rapid economic development, Clinton said, as the two sides have established a "web of connections" linking each other today, compared to "only a narrow official channel" in the 1970s when the two countries established contact after more than 20 years of bitter rivalry.
The two economies as well as their security are now "tightly intertwined," while both are facing "shared threats" like nuclear proliferation, piracy and climate change, which require U.S.-China cooperation to find a solution, she said.
"The opportunities before us are also shared. They define our relationship much more than threats," Clinton said, adding that the two countries should seize the chance "to work together to advance prosperity, pursue innovation and improve the lives of our peoples and others in the world alike."
She reaffirmed that the United States will have peaceful engagement with China through building mutual understanding. "Having a positive, cooperative, and comprehensive relationship with China is vital to every one of those objectives, so we are committed to the partnership," she said.
Clinton rejected both the claim that China's rise will lead to a decline of the United States and the notion that her country is attempting to contain China's rise to prevent it from challenging U.S. dominance.
"The United States is attempting to work with the rising power to foster its rise as an active contributor to global security, stability and prosperity, while also sustaining and securing American leadership in a changing world," she said.