|China's Strategy of Peaceful Development and the Future of China-U.S. Relations|
China's Strategy of Peaceful Development and
the Future of China-U.S. Relations
--Speech by Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong at the Georgetown University
Washington, D.C., October 5, 2005
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you, President DeGioia, for the honor of your invitation. It is a great pleasure for me to have this opportunity to come to your renowned University and meet with friends, both old and new.
Today, I would like to introduce you to China's strategy of peaceful development and, within the framework of that strategy, China's external relations, particularly its relations with the United States.
First of all, what is China's strategy of peaceful development, and why?
With its 1.3 billion people, China is the biggest developing country in the world. Since the reform and open-up policies were introduced in 1978, China has scored remarkable achievements. Its GDP has grown from 150 billion to 1.65 trillion U.S. dollars, and its per capita GDP from 190 to over 1,200 U.S. dollars. People's lives are improving everyday. Democracy, rule of law and various other undertakings are making constant progress. The people of China are full of hope for building socialism with Chinese characteristics.
However, China's large population, weak economic foundation and regional imbalance are all potential hurdles along the way. We rank behind the one hundredth place in the world in per capita GDP. We have 26 million people in need of basic subsistence. We need to create 24 million new jobs every year, but we can create only 10 million new job opportunities a year on the condition that the current growth rate is maintained. Therefore, we are soberly aware of the long journey ahead and the arduous efforts required of us to ensure everyone in China a well-off live.
These are the basic facts we are facing. And based on these basic facts, we have formulated a national development strategy for the coming decades. Our grand objective now is to build a well-off society in an all-round way by 2020, quadrupling the 2000 GDP to 4 trillion US dollars, with the per capita GDP of 3,000 US dollars. After that, we will use another 30 years to realize basic modernization and build China into a moderately developed country by 2050.
In realizing these grand objectives, China is faced with three fundamental challenges:
The first challenge comes from the shortage of resources. China's per capita oil, water and arable land account for only 8.3%, 25% and 40% respectively of the world average. Low efficiency in resource utilization is another problem in China. Our energy consumption per million GDP is 2.5 times that of the U.S., 5 times that of the EU and 9 times that of Japan.
The second challenge comes from eco-environment. Serious pollution, terrible waste and low recycling rate have become a bottleneck in developing China's economy in a sustainable way.
The third challenge is reflected in a series of paradoxes, such as sustaining rapid growth of GDP while quickening the steps of social undertakings; promoting technological progress and industrial upgrading while increasing general employment; maintaining the strong growth momentum in the east coast while encouraging simultaneous development of all regions – east, central and west.
To successfully meet these challenges and solve the problems, China can not afford to take the old road of the United States or other developed countries. China must transcend.
First, China must transcend the old-style industrialization and resolve to blaze a new trail featuring higher technology input and economic efficiency, lower resource consumption and pollution, and a full play to its strength in human resources.
Second, China must transcend the traditional development approaches of big powers in modern history and the cold-war mentality marked by ideology, and strive for peace, development and cooperation together with the rest of the world.
Third, China must transcend outdated social management modes and commit itself to build a harmonious socialist society where issues like employment, social security, poverty alleviation, education and health are well-addressed and everyone shares the fruits of reform and development.
In short, we have embarked on a road to peaceful development ever since the beginning of reform and open-up. The series of domestic and foreign policies we have therefore adopted sum up to the strategy of peaceful development. The centerpiece of this strategy is "maintaining external peace and internal harmony".
Next, I want to talk about China's independent foreign policy of peace and China-U.S. relations.
Guided by the above strategy of peaceful development, China has been pursuing an independent foreign policy of peace in handling its external relations. The Chinese-style diplomacy is centered round the theme of "peace, development and cooperation". Based on such a theme, China is committed to working together with people of all the countries, the United States included, to build a peaceful, amicable and harmonious new world. While seeking a peaceful international environment to develop itself, China, by its own development, is contributing to the maintenance of world peace at the same time.
In Asia, our guideline is building good-neigborly relationships and partnership, and our policy is securing an amicable, tranquil and prosperous neighborhood. We helped our neighbors cope with the financial crises and selflessly assisted the regions hit by tsunami, playing an important role in maintain peace and promoting development in this region.
On the international scene, we are pushing for South-South cooperation and North-South dialogue, helping fellow developing countries with their difficulties and enhancing their capability of self-help and development. We have established different forms of partnership with major countries and worked with them to safeguard world peace and promote prosperity. China is also actively participating in UN affairs.
China will continue to firmly hold up the banner of peace, development and cooperation, firmly follow the road to peaceful development, and firmly pursue the independent foreign policy of peace. We will develop friendly relations and cooperation with the United States and all the other countries on the basis of the Five Principle of Peaceful Coexistence.
China and the U.S. are the biggest developing country and the biggest developed countries of the world respectively. Developing China-U.S. relations is not only in the interest of the two countries and peoples, but also conducive to peace, stability and development in Asia-Pacific region and the world at large. The history of China-U.S. relations show that China and the U.S. can develop together, benefit together and win together.
In the early days of our diplomatic relations, China and the U.S. had no inter-governmental cooperation agreement at all. Today, we have over 30 such agreements between us. We have frequent contacts at the top and various other levels. Our exchanges and cooperation in the fields of economy, trade, counterterrorism, non-proliferation, culture and education, law enforcement continue to expand. We are also maintaining close consultation and cooperation on major international and regional issues.
As China-U.S. relations moved forward, the two countries both grew rapidly. The U.S. completed the transition from an industrialized to a post-industrialized country. Its GDP rocketed from 2.29 trillion U.S. dollars in 1978 to 11.75 trillion in 2004 and its per capita GDP from 10,294.5 U.S. dollars to 40,100 U.S. dollars. The U.S. became the world's only superpower after the collapse of the Soviet Union, with both its role and influence in the world strengthened.
During the same period, China continued to press ahead its reform and opening-up policy and achieved remarkable success, some of which were listed out a moment ago.
China-U.S. relationship has and will continue to have wide-ranging support from the governments and peoples of the two countries. It is capable of removing the disruptions and move forward.
In mid September, President Hu Jintao and President Bush held a meeting in New York where they reached important agreement. Both believe that China and the U.S. should enhance mutual trust and strengthen cooperation so as to advance their constructive and cooperative relationship in the 21st century in an all round way and promote peace, stability and development throughout the world. They have indeed pointed the direction in which China-U.S. relations should go.
In my view, in order to implement the agreement between our heads of state and push forward the bilateral relations, our two countries should handle the following questions appropriately.
First, the broad common interests and basis for cooperation between China and the U.S. on strategic and security issues serve to enhance their exchanges and mutual trust with a view to building on their agreement and cooperation.
In the world today, human society is still faced with grave challenges in the course of its development. Armed conflicts and regional wars have been going on with no end in sight. Terrorism remains a serious threat as various non-traditional security factors pose new danger to China, the U.S. and the rest of the world. In this new historical period, it is essential for China and the U.S. to work together for greater peace, stability and security in the Asia-Pacific region and the world at large by deepening their cooperation on a host of traditional and non-traditional security issues such as counterterrorism, non-proliferation, Asia-Pacific affairs, cross-border crimes and epidemic diseases.
Our current cooperation on counterterrorism and non-proliferation is effective. Our consultations and mechanisms are running smoothly, with increasing areas and ways of cooperation.
In Asia-Pacific affairs, we are also cooperating effectively. At the Six-Party Talks concluded last month, an agreement on principle was adopted thanks to the concerted efforts of China, the U.S. and the other parties. This is of major significance to peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in the rest of the Asia-Pacific region.
In the reconstruction of Iraq and Afghanistan, in the Middle East peace process and on UN reform, we are having fruitful consultation and coordination. On a host of global issues including cross-border crimes, HIV/AIDs, acute epidemics, and environmental protection, we are making constant new progress in our cooperation.
I want to emphasize the point that China's peaceful development poses and will pose no threat to any other country. As I mentioned just now, China is committed to follow the road to peaceful development. We are always a staunch force for maintaining world peace, stability and prosperity.
China pursues a national defense policy of a defensive nature. As our economy grew in recent years, there had been appropriate increase on the defense expenditure, most of which was used to increase pay and allowances for the troops. Only a small percentage was spent on additional equipments. China's defense expenditure, per capita or total, is much lower than any of the other major country in the world. The total for 2004 was about 27.5 billion U.S. dollars, which is only 5.77% of that of the U.S. China's defense budget is open and transparent as it is subject to deliberation and approval by the National People's Congress.
China respects U.S. interests in the Asia-Pacific region and welcomes its active and constructive role in Asia. We also believe that China and the U.S. are fully capable of cooperating more closely for a mutually beneficial and win-win result.
Second, China and the U.S. should continue to promote trade and economic cooperation.
The 26 years of diplomatic relations have witnessed growing trade and economic cooperation between China and the U.S. Two-way trade has increased by over 60 times, reaching a total of 169.62 billion U.S. dollars last year. Today, the U.S. has become China's second largest trading partner, and China the third largest trading partner and the fastest growing export market for the U.S. Apart from being the biggest buyer of American soybean, wheat and cotton, China is also buying enough Boeing aircrafts to equip 70% of its civil aviation fleet. Some Chinese companies have also set up businesses in the United States.
It must be pointed out that mutual benefit is the mainstream of our trade and economic relations. But frictions are unavoidable given the growth rate and scale of China-U.S. trade. We are ready to settle the trade disputes with the U.S. appropriately through dialogue and consultation based on the principles of equality, mutual benefit and common development so as to facilitate the sound development of the bilateral trade and economic cooperation.
China has stepped up the protection of IPR, strengthen enforcement against various infringements in accordance with the law, and protect the legitimate rights and interests of the IPR holders all over the world, including in the U.S. We will continue to import more from the U.S. and make joint efforts with the U.S. to reduce our surplus. We also hope the U.S. will continue to champion the cause of free trade rather than protectionism, and take positive measures to help balance the trade, such as lifting its restrictions on hi-tech export to China.
China-U.S trade and economic interaction and cooperation are expected to increase further.
Third, China and the U.S. should strengthen people-to-people exchanges.
The friendly exchanges between China and the U.S. date back to a long time ago and the peoples of our countries have built a strong friendship.
When Hurricane Katrina hit southern American states not long ago, the Chinese people felt for victims of the disaster. No sooner had Katrina struck than President Hu Jintao extended sympathy and condolences to the U.S. Government and people on behalf of the Chinese Government and people. The Chinese Government quickly provided emergency relief material and 5 million U.S. dollars in cash to the victims. This is a fresh testimony to the friendship between the peoples of China and the United States.
Since the establishment of diplomatic ties, 33 pairs of sister provinces/states and 123 pairs of sister cities in China and the U.S. have been twinned. Over 180,000 Chinese have studied in the U.S. and right now, 60,000 are still studying here. Some of them are studying at here Georgetown. About 3,000 Americans are studying in China, forming the third largest overseas student community.
In elementary schools, high schools and colleges in China, the vast majority of the students, or 120 million, are learning English. In the U.S., some 1,000 colleges and over 200 elementary and high schools are offering Chinese language courses and there are some 600 Chinese language schools run by overseas Chinese or Chinese Americans.
On the first day of this month, the month-long "Festival of China, 2005" jointly staged by Chinese Ministry of Culture and the Kennedy Centre of Performing Art had its grand opening. This cultural event includes performances and exhibitions featuring over 800 artists from China. It is surely going to be another major event in the cultural exchanges between our two countries.
I am confident that, with the concerted efforts of both countries, our cooperation and people-to-people exchanges in the fields of culture, education and law enforcement will continue to reach one new height after another in the coming decades.
Fourth, China and the U.S. should appropriately approach their relevant differences, most importantly those over Taiwan.
1. Taiwan question. It is the shared interests of China and the U.S. to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits. The Chinese side highly appreciates the reiterated position of President Bush and the U.S. Government of sticking to the one China policy, abiding by the three Sino-U.S. Joint Communiqués and opposing "Taiwan independence". I wish to stress here that the Chinese Government is sincere about improving and developing relations across the Taiwan Straits and promoting the peaceful reunification of the motherland. And it is determined to do so. While actively working to improve relations across the Taiwan Straits and maintain peace and stability there, we hope to have the understanding and support from the U.S. side shown in a firm opposition to "Taiwan independence" and an end to the sale of advanced weapons to Taiwan. This will be conducive to the sound and steady development of China-U.S. relations.
2. Human rights question. No one feels more keenly about human rights improvements in China than the Chinese people. By adhering to the road of political development with Chinese characteristics, actively promoting democratic politics and political civilization and providing concrete protection of civil and political rights, China is making real and enormous progress.
The system of people's congress in China is showing strong vitality and huge advantage. The people's congresses at various levels are all formed through democratic elections. They are responsible to the people and under the supervision by the people. The village and urban residents' committees all over China are directly elected.
Over the past 27 years, the Chinese Government helped a total of 200 million people in the rural areas out of poverty. By the end of 2000, China had by and large popularized nine-year compulsory education and eliminated illiteracy among the active labor force.
These are not only what China did for its own people. They are also China's contribution to the development and progress of the world.
The Chinese Constitution provides for freedom of religious belief to all citizens. The religious groups, places of worship and the legitimate rights and interests of the followers and their normal religious activities are protected by law. In China, there are roughly over 100 million religious followers, over 100,000 places of worship and about 300,000 clergy of different religions. A total of over 35 million copies of the Bible have been printed.
My American friends, I hope you will all take time out to visit China and see with you own eyes. Anyone who is not biased will conclude afterward that the people in China are enjoying unprecedented human rights and freedom.
Of course, ensuring human rights to their fullest extent is the common desire of all the countries of the world, including the developed countries. Despite of China's huge progress in protecting human rights and religious freedom, we are not perfect. But we will continue to work harder. We are ready to have dialogue with the United States on human rights questions and to make them another positive element in the bilateral relations.
Ladies and gentlemen,
China will firmly follow the road to peaceful development, firmly pursue the independent foreign policy of peace, and develop friendly relations and cooperation with the United States and all the other countries on the basis of the Five Principle of Peaceful Coexistence.
We attach great importance to China-U.S. relations and firmly commit ourselves to building a constructive and cooperative relationship with the United States. Right now, this relationship is maintaining a good momentum of steady development. We are ready to work in concert with the U.S. side on the basis of the three joint communiqués, always grasp the overall situation of our bilateral relations from a strategic height, strengthen dialogue, mutual trust and cooperation, remove misunderstandings, properly handle our differences and push for continued progress of our constructive and cooperative relationship. I believe that, together, we can create a better tomorrow for China-U.S. relationship.