Interaction Between China and the United States in Asia Pacific Should Promote Regional Balance, Inclusiveness and Win-win Cooperation


On May 11, Ambassador Cui Tiankai gave a keynote speech at the luncheon hosted by Asia Society Houston. Ambassador Cui talked about the situation in Asia Pacific and how China and the United States should interact in this region.


Ambassador Cui said, the importance of Asia Pacific in global affairs has been growing. Both China and the United States have a key role to play in shaping the future for the region. Because of our shared responsibility, there is on-going discussion and coordination between China and the United States at different levels and areas about how our two countries should work together in this region. This coordination and cooperation will not only be mutually beneficial to our two countries, but will also bring about win-win outcome for the entire region and the world.

Ambassador Cui said, in order to have a mutually reinforcing, constructive and positive interaction between China and the United States in Asia Pacific, a lot more needs to be done and there is a need for conceptual clarity on a number of key issues that will affect the very basis for this interaction.

First, balance versus imbalance and 're-balancing'. This year marks the 70 years anniversary of the end of World War II. 70 years ago, Asia was war-torn, impoverished and politically divided. Now, Asia is seen as the economically most dynamic in the world. Regional security situation on the whole is stable, and there are a number of regional mechanisms for cooperation. Many countries, including China, India and the ASEAN countries are developing very fast and vigorously, which has made important contributions to the world. In historical perspective, today's Asia is moving toward a much better balance than before. This also helps us to achieve a much better balance in the world. When we talk about any 're-balancing', if it helps us to promote or enhance this historical process of balancing, such efforts should be welcomed. If it is to the contrary, then it will be on the wrong side of the history.

Second, inclusiveness versus exclusiveness. Asia Pacific is a diverse region with countries at different stages of economic development, have very different political system, culture and religion. We are faced with a choice. Shall we give full play to the diversity of our region and focus on our common interests, making sure our development will benefit all countries? Or are we going to divide countries along the lines of stages of economic development, political system, ideology, culture and religion? China stand for community building in the region for joint response to the challenges of security, economic development and environment. When we talk about 'Asia belongs to the Asian countries', What we actually mean is that people in Asia should take up the primary responsibility to solve Asian problems and build a much better future for ourselves. Because Asia is our homeland, this is where our roots are. If we cannot help ourselves, how can anybody else help us? It is only natural and logical to say 'Asia belongs to Asians' , just as we say 'America belongs to Americans', and 'Texas belongs to Texans'. This does not mean that we are excluding others. On the contrary, we very much welcome and appreciate others to take part in this joint efforts and make their contributions. The current alliances in Asia Pacific stems from the Cold War. It cannot address the new challenges of the world today. On the contrary, it will only restrict our vision and reduce our choices. In order to adapt to the new situation in the 21 century, these alliances should remove the features of the Cold War. Bilateral alliances should not target or affect the third party country.

Third, win-win cooperation versus zero-sum game. There are people who believe that success of one country will mean lose of another. Particularly the development of China would be a challenge to the interest of the United States. This kind of zero-sum perception is certainly not inline with facts. If we look at the history of the last four decades, China's reform and open-up, the normalization of relation between China and the United States and between China and Japan are the important turning point for the process of moving toward greater regional stability and prosperity. China's development in the last three decades has brought about great opportunity for every country, including the United States. It has also brought about much better mutual understanding and greater confidence between countries in the world. As President Xi said time and again, the pacific is vast enough for our two great countries to develop together. In China, we believe that the rising tide will lift all boats. China's development is making the cake much bigger for everybody. We are not moving anybody else's cheese.

Ambassador pointed out that China and the United States are now working together to build up a new model of major country relationship, characterized by no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation. Asia Pacific region should be a testing ground for successful new model of relationship. What we are doing to build this new model of relationship will certainly give us very good guidance for our interaction in Asia Pacific and what we are doing in Asia Pacific together should be an important pillar to the new model of relationship, giving it more tangible substance and making it a reality.



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