Ambassador Cui Tiankai Attended the U.S.-China Policy Foundation' s 21st Annual Gala Dinner
2016/11/19

 

On November 17, 2016, Ambassador Cui Tiankai attended the U.S.-China Policy Foundation (USCPF) 2016 Annual Gala Dinner marking the 21st anniversary of the USCPF at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C. and delivered a speech on China-U.S. relations. Over 200 people from the U.S. government, business circles, think tanks, media and overseas Chinese as well as representatives of the diplomatic corps were present at the event.

In his remarks, Ambassador Cui briefly reviewed the history of China-U.S. relationship development and said, over the past four decades, under the guidance of successive leaderships in China, and eight presidents of the United States from both parties, China-U.S. relations have developed steadily through numerous challenges and dramatic transformations in the world. Today, both sides are conducting dialogues and cooperation in an ever wider range of areas, reflecting intertwined interests and complex interdependence. Effective formats have been established for our leaders to meet regularly for strategic communication. Over one hundred bilateral mechanisms are at work for policy coordination and practical cooperation. Two-way trade, investment and people-to-people exchanges are at historical highs. Military-to-military relations are also making good progress, contrary to some media reports. The breadth and depth of China-U.S. relations today are beyond anybody’s imagination over forty years ago.

Ambassador Cui pointed out, the growth of China-U.S. relationship has served the interests of both countries and contributed to the peace, stability and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region and the world at large. The two countries have clear differences in terms of historical background, cultural heritage, social systems and levels of economic development. But over the years we have cultivated a culture between us that enables us to continuously expand cooperation while managing differences in a constructive way. In this regard, the importance of firm commitment by our leaders and genuine strategic communication between them cannot be overemphasized.

Ambassador Cui said, President Xi Jinping and President Barack Obama are going to meet again on the sidelines of the 2016 APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Lima, Peru. This will be their 9th face-to-face meeting since June 2013. Both sides look forward to the success of this upcoming meeting. Last Sunday, President Xi Jinping and President-elect Donald Trump had their first conversation on the phone. They agreed that China-U.S. cooperation faces important opportunities and has huge potentials, and the two countries need to strengthen coordination to advance their respective economic development and global economic growth.

Ambassador Cui said, there are other high-level meetings in the pipeline, including the 27th session of the China-U.S. Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) and the 3rd China-U.S. High-Level Joint Dialogue on Cybercrime and Related Issues. We should make full use of these opportunities and carry on the good momentum of the bilateral relationship to the next U.S. Administration.

Regarding the future development of China-U.S relations, Ambassador Cui stressed, as permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and the two biggest economies in the world, the choices we are to make will have a far-reaching impact on the well-being of our peoples and the future of the world.

To this end, Ambassador Cui submitted a few suggestions:

First, we should put our people’s long-term interests at the top of our agenda. People in China and people in the U.S. all want better prospects in life--stable jobs, increasing income, good education and medical care, enhanced social safety net, improved infrastructure, better environment, and so on. Both our countries are now faced with the tremendous task of implementing economic and social reform and restructuring at home. Both governments need to live up to the expectations of the people and deliver greater outcomes across the board. Such common and long-term interests of our peoples should be what defines, shapes and guides China-U.S. relationship now and in the future.

Second, we should aim at win-win results. Today our interests are so intertwined and our interdependence so deep that the only choice before us is a win-win or lose-lose one. What happened in the past few decades has already proved that a thriving China is good for America, and a thriving America is good for China. The nature of our relationship should be mutually beneficial, in trade and economy, in education and culture, in science and technology, in people-to-people ties, in military-to-military exchanges, and in handling global and regional issues together. Therefore, we need to firmly reject the zero-sum mentality and pursue mutual benefit.

Third, we should seek closer cooperation. Engaging the talents, ideas, energies and resources of both sides will yield more than either could achieve on its own. On bilateral relationship, we need to find new approaches to unlock our potentials and explore new areas for cooperation. In the Asia-Pacific region, we need to keep close coordination on our policies and work together to boost economic growth, promote integration, facilitate connectivity, and rein in hotspot issues. At the global level, we need to make joint efforts with other countries to address pressing and long-term challenges facing the humanity.

Ambassador Cui emphasized, effective and mutually beneficial cooperation requires persistent efforts to build mutual trust. It is essential that we have a correct understanding of each other’s strategic intentions in order to avoid misperception and miscalculation. We need more candid and in-depth dialogues and communications at various levels. Frequent and frank exchanges will further consolidate the basis of the relationship and inject more impetus to its future development.

Ambassador Cui stated, of course we fully recognize that it is almost impossible for any two countries to see eye-to-eye on everything at all times. What matters is how we manage differences and disputes. Most of the issues we have today, such as frictions over trade, currency, cyber-security and maritime issues, can be handled in a positive and constructive manner through deepening mutual understanding and enhancing coordination. This is the big picture we should keep in mind. If we learn to see these issues against the big background of common challenges and growing common interests in today’s world, they will be in the right perspective. Then we will be able to find more rallying points than we could imagine otherwise. China-U.S. cooperation in fighting cybercrimes is a good example.

Ambassador Cui underscored, to build such a relationship between our two great countries, in the spirit of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation, is both a goal and a process. We need not only the resolve and confidence to “climb up to the top of the Great Wall in China”, but also the patience and wisdom of “crossing the river by feeling the stones in the riverbed”. Standing at a new starting point, we are confident that China and the U.S. will make new progress in the relationship and bring more benefits to the peoples of our two countries and beyond.

 

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