Remarks at the Releasing Ceremony of the "US-China Relations: Toward a New Model of Major Power Relationship" Report At the Center for American Progress
2014/02/20

Thank you very much Madam President. I want to thank you for inviting me to the releasing of this important report-"US-China relations: Towards a New Model of Major Power Relationship". Let me start with my congratulations to both the Center for American Progress and the China-US Exchange Foundation for a job really well done. I think this is part of the ongoing efforts in both countries to examine mainstream and build up this new model of relationship between our two great countries. And this report presents comprehensive, solid and strategic analysis of the issues involved and makes excellent recommendations which are constructive, to-the-point and practical. So let me thank all of those who are involved in the preparation of this report and made important contributions to it. In particular, I like very much the recommendation in the report that we should try to shift the focus from crisis management to opportunity management. I think this is a very relevant recommendation for our future work on this new model of relationship. And I appreciate the efforts already made by all of you here, whether from think tanks, the business community, former or current government officials.

I do think it's extremely important for people who are still working in the government to follow this constructive spirit, especially on some of the highly sensitive issues. So, honestly I have to point out here that statements by government officials and spokespersons using coercive language are not constructive. And equally non-constructive are the statements that may start with a claim that no position is taken on certain issues, then continue with lengthy accusations which are clearly biased and groundless. Likewise, unilateral interpretation of some international legal instruments and attempts to impose these interpretations on others are not constructive either. So I hope that in the future we'll not see such statements very often.

Since I am here for the first time at the Center for American Progress, I want to mention one of the discussions you had right here not long ago. A friend of mine spoke at an event. He made some very good points. I fully share many of his points, especially the key importance of having regular high-level contacts between our two governments and the need for clarity, consistency and predictability in communication and interaction between our two countries. I think these are good points and I fully support him. Naturally there are other issues on which I may not see eye to eye with him. And we could continue our discussions on these issues.

During that event, three messages were sent from the speaker to China and these are very interesting messages. So let me say a few words on them.

The first message was that the United States is a very powerful and very strong country. I think this is a statement of fact. The United States is the most powerful and the strongest country in the world and will remain so for many many years to come. Actually I think our efforts in building up this new model of relationship are very much based on full recognition of this simple fact. But what I am not quite sure about is whether there is a real need to keep reminding people of this simple fact. I don't know if this is intended to impress others or to reassure oneself.

The second message was that the United States has important interests in the Asia Pacific and will stay in the region. I think this is also a statement of fact. The United States' presence, interests and influential role in the Asia Pacific is fully and widely recognized. We certainly welcome a constructive role by the United States in the region. At the same time, I think we have to keep in mind another simple and important fact that China is also a Pacific country, and China is also an Asian country. Geographically China is just situated at the center of the Asian continent and we have been here for centuries, much longer than the entire history of the United States. So I think it may be fair to say that neither Chinese nor Americans are aliens from the Mars in the Asia Pacific. But we are more indigenous than you are. So in this context, I think any attempt to manage or manipulate the regional affairs at the expense of China's legitimate interests in the region cannot be justified and would indeed be detrimental to the stability and prosperity of the whole region and eventually will serve nobody's interests.

The third message was that China and the United States should aim at more cooperation. I think this is a statement of truth and I fully endorse it. We should really aim at win-win cooperation between the two countries, whether in the Asia Pacific or elsewhere, on the basis of mutual respect. This is indeed the key to a successful new model of relationship. This is required by our common interests and also very much in line with the expectations of the international community.

Fortunately our two Presidents have already made that important decision that we should work together for this new model of relationship. So I would like to conclude with a note of confidence in our joint efforts and in the great prospects of this great relationship. Thank you very much.

(This speech was delivered on Feb 20, 2014 at the Releasing Ceremony of the "US-China Relations: Toward a New Model of Major Power Relationship" Report, which has been accomplished by the joint efforts of China-US Exchange Foundation, and the Center for American Progress)

 

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