Remarks by Ambassador Cui Tiankai
At the Luncheon Celebrating the Opening of the New Nixon Library
2016/10/14

Thank you, Chairman Royce, for your kind introduction and your commitment to a robust China-U.S. relationship.

Let me first of all extend my congratulations to Chairman Walker, President Baribault, family members of President Nixon and the Nixon Foundation on the grand opening of the New Nixon Library and its China Pavilion. Your wonderful work is deeply appreciated in carrying forward President Nixon's legacy to promote mutual understanding and cooperation between our two great countries over the decades.

My high respect and admiration go to Dr. Henry Kissinger. For generations of Chinese and Americans alike, he is a great pioneer and a highly respected statesman who has a deep understanding of China and knows how to steer forward China-U.S. relations through numerous challenges. A special privilege of mine for being the ambassador here is the opportunity to meet him so often and benefit from his wisdom and guidance.

My appreciation also goes to Governor Wilson, Archivist Ferriero and so many others present here for your unremitting efforts to strengthen our bilateral ties.

Forty-four years ago, China and the U.S. started to look at each other in a new way when President Nixon paid a world-shaking visit to China and leaders of the two countries jointly reopened the door of China-U.S. contact. This is the result of great vision from the two sides, transcending the limitations of the Cold War era.

At his meeting with Chairman Mao Zedong during that visit in 1972, President Nixon said to the Chairman: "We can find common ground, despite our differences, to build a world structure in which both can be safe to develop in our own ways on our own roads." Over the past four decades, this has been the conviction upheld by successive leaderships in China and eight presidents from both parties of the United States. And hopefully this will go on.

The reopening and normalization of China-U.S. relations improved the strategic external environment for both countries. It changed the political and economic landscape in the Asia-Pacific region and in the world, heralding the end of the Cold War. It opened up the prospects of a world order that encompasses all major powers and a world market that is truly global in scope. It has served the interests of not only our two peoples, but also the entire Asia-Pacific region and the whole world.

The achievements of our bilateral ties since then have been really impressive and beyond anybody's imagination 44 years ago. It is equally unimaginable what kind of a world that we would have to face today without these achievements and what kind of costs that both of us would have to pay in such a world.

Today, the China-U.S. relationship is at a historical crossroads again.

Bilaterally, our links are much stronger and more diversified than ever before, and our cooperation more comprehensive and effective. The breadth and depth of the relationship are unprecedented, presenting great opportunities and complex challenges at the same time.

Globally, we are witnessing profound changes in the world. It is a world where people seem to be increasingly connected while societies deeply divided. It is a world of both growing interdependence and rising conflicts. It is a world confronted with so many new challenges, but still constrained by some old-fashioned mentalities and policies.

Between our two countries, we owe it to the American and Chinese people to build a strong and stable relationship. On the world stage, as permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and the two largest economies in the world, we share the responsibility to maintain international peace, promote world prosperity and help build better and more effective global governance. The choices we make today will have far-reaching impact on the well-being of our peoples and the future of the world.

It is against this big picture and in a highly forward-looking manner that President Xi Jinping and President Barack Obama, at their historic Sunnylands meeting in June 2013, initiated our joint efforts to build a new model of major-country relationship that features non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation. The two Presidents reaffirmed their commitment to it in their 7 successive meetings since then, most recently during their long meeting in Hangzhou, China on the sidelines of the G20 summit.

This new model of relationship is both a goal and a process, both a vision to be materialized and a reality that is already taking shape. Thanks to the firm commitment by our leaders and continuous efforts by both sides, we are making good progress towards it. But we still have a long way to go. Particularly, in order to ensure a sound development of China-U.S. relations in the U.S. election year and its smooth transition into the new administration, 3 "C"s need to be emphasized:

First, consistency. We should stick to the long-term goal for our relations based on the fundamental interests of our two peoples and the world. We should never allow ourselves to be swayed by any single event or the circumstances of the day.

As Chinese leaders have stated on many occasions, China will adhere to the path of peaceful development. We will persist in reform and opening-up. We will remain committed to developing a strong and lasting China-U.S. relationship and, together with all members of the international community, working towards a new model of international relations based on win-win cooperation and aimed at common development.

Second, cooperation. We should expand our coordination and cooperation at bilateral, regional and global levels, adding more positive energy to our relationship. In today's world, the need for cooperation is growing. The potential is huge. And the scope continues to broaden, from trade to mutual investment, from macro-economic policy coordination to global economic governance, from climate change to clean energy, from disease control to disaster prevention, from counter-terrorism to non-proliferation, and from military-to-military exchanges to people-to-people contact, from governmental cooperation to cooperation between the US congress and Chinese National People's Congress.

Third, communication. China and the United States are two very different countries, in terms of historical and cultural heritage, political and social systems, and levels of economic development. It is only natural that we may have differences from time to time. We need frank, open, full and timely communication between us in order to avoid misunderstanding and miscalculation, and gradually but steadily build up mutual trust and confidence. Such communication is all the more necessary when doubts arise about the strategic intentions of each other, when decisions are to be made that could affect important interests of the other side, and when there is mounting pressure to deal with crisis situations. Fortunately, we have established a number of effective channels of dialogue at various levels. These mechanisms should be continued and enhanced beyond next January.

In conclusion, our success in the last four decades gives me the confidence that together we will make the right choice again and open a new chapter in the history of China-U.S. relations and of international relations in general. Just as Dr. Henry Kissinger so wisely pointed out in his book On China, "What a culmination if, 40 years later, the U.S. and China could merge their efforts, not to shake the world, but to build it". I believe we should be able to climb up to the highest mountain and enjoy the most magnificent view.

Thank you, Doctor. And thank you all very much.

 

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