Remarks by Ambassador Cui Tiankai at the 2013 China-US Policy Dialogue Luncheon


Good afternoon.

First of all, I would like to extend, on behalf of the Chinese Embassy, warm welcome to all the Chinese and US participants of the 2013 China-US Policy Dialogue. Thank you so much for choosing the Embassy as the venue for the dialogue's closing session. I am particularly glad to see many old friends in this room. I want to especially recognize General Brent Scowcroft, who has made significant contribution to China-US relations in the past years and continues to play an active role in this effort. I also want to welcome Mr. William Daley, former Chief of Staff of the White House, Ambassador Stapleton Roy, former US Ambassador to China, Admiral Mike Mullen, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and other US participants. Another friend I would like to recognize is Mr. Nicholas Burns, former Under Secretary of State. The two of us went to the same school. We both served as spokesperson of our foreign services. A couple of years ago, we had worked together on the Iranian nuclear issue. On the Chinese side, I have the pleasure to welcome my former boss, old friends and colleagues, including Mr. Li Jingtian, Executive Vice President of the Party School, Ambassador Wu Jianmin and Assistant Foreign Minister Le Yucheng.

In my view, this China-US Policy Dialogue takes place at a high time. Just last week, President Xi Jinping and President Barack Obama had a summit meeting at Sunnylands, California, which has special significance. I have the privilege to participate in its preparation and also attended the meeting. I still remember that when President Nixon visited China, he and Premier Zhou Enlai had a "handshake across the Pacific Ocean". This time, what President Xi and President Obama had discussed is "cooperation across the Pacific Ocean". From the "handshake across the Pacific Ocean" to "cooperation across the Pacific Ocean", China-US relations have gone through a journey of over four decades. The journey has demonstrated that China-US relations have kept abreast with the times, the historical trends and changes in the world, and are always aimed at serving the long-term interests and common needs of the Chinese and American people. The development of China-US relations in the past four decades speaks volume of the vision and wisdom of our two sides, which, I believe, will continue to be proved with the further advancement of the relationship.

This summit meeting has set out the clear goal and direction for China-US relations in the future, and that is to build a new model of relationship between big countries.

In my view, this new model of relationship is based on mutual respect and aims to achieve win-win cooperation.

Mutual respect means that both sides are willing to listen to each other's voice, understand each other, put us into each other's shoes and accommodate each other's comfort level.

Win-win cooperation means that both sides should determine to abandon "zero-sum" game, welcome each other's success and try to find opportunities from the other's success.

This new model of relationship focuses on cooperation, while at the same time, does not sidestep differences. China and the United States are cooperating in increasingly broader areas, from global financial crisis to global economic governance, from clean energy, environmental protection to climate change, and in many areas such as trade, finance and people-to-people ties. The converging interests between the two countries continue to expand and there is broader room for further cooperation. This is the mainstream of China-US relations.

At the same time, we must admit that there are issues or questions that need to be addressed. While we focus on cooperation, we don't shy away from differences. This is the spirit that the two presidents had shown during their meeting. China and the United States are different in some aspects, such as development stage, history, cultural tradition and political and social system. This is something we must recognize. However, such differences do not necessarily mean irreconcilable disputes, nor should they be reasons for confrontation. We can "seek harmony without sameness" and "seek common ground while shelving differences". We can also step up coordination and manage these differences well so that they will not affect the mainstream of our relations. We can address these differences within the overall context of a healthy, stable and growing relationship. In addition, some differences, such as the different development stage, could provide opportunities for cooperation.

Last but not least, I want to stress that building a new model of relationship is not a slogan, but a shared responsibility. President Xi and President Obama are both leaders with a strong sense of responsibility. This is a responsibility of both countries. It is not only a responsibility for the Chinese and American people, but also a responsibility for the international community and the world. It is not only a responsibility for today's China-US relations, but also for its future.

Since our two presidents have reached this important consensus, the next step to follow up on it. You may know that in less than one month's time, China and the United States will hold the 5th round of Strategic & Economic Dialogues, followed by the 4th High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchanges. The 90-plus dialogue mechanisms we have established will play an important role in the implementation of this consensus. In the meantime, this responsibility should not and could not be fulfilled by the two governments only. It requires broad participation from people in all spectrums in both countries, and needs the wisdom and input from various sectors, including the second track, academic dialogue that you are holding.

President Xi once said, building a new model of relationship between the two big countries of China and the United States is an unprecedented and inspiring journey. If we put our determination and energy into it, we will be able to blaze a new path and succeed in this endeavor.

Thank you all.


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