Remarks by Ambassador Cui Tiankai At the Cultural Evening to Celebrate Chinese New Year




Photo taken by Hu Zexi

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good Evening. Welcome to the Chinese Embassy. It is a great pleasure to again co-host with the Meridian Center the reception to celebrate the Lunar New Year. As you know, according to Chinese traditions the lunar new year’s day is a time for family reunion. So, we are delighted to see so many friends here joining us in this celebration tonight. I hope you will all feel at home.

Lunar new year’s day, also known as the Spring Festival, marks a new beginning and a new start. It is time to look forward. In the new year, people in China are looking forward to new achievements towards our two centenary goals, in line with the blueprint drawn by the Party Congress last year. People in China are also looking forward to new steps of reform and opening-up, as this year marks the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening-up. We are also looking forward to making new contributions to global peace and prosperity, in a joint effort to build a global community of shared future. And of course, we are looking forward to new progress in China-US relations.

China-US relations are indeed at another important juncture now. In the past year, we made important progress in this relationship. President Xi and President Trump maintained strategic communication, which gave clear guidance for the relationship. Four high-level dialogue mechanisms were set up. They all met and worked. Going forward for the months and years ahead, let’s work together to keep this important relationship on the right track on the basis of mutual respect and better mutual understanding.

We may continue to have differences between us. But our growing common interests are far more important. We may continue to have disagreements between us, but the need for cooperation far outweighs any disagreement. We may continue to have problems, but dialogue will lead us to solution. Of course, each of us will continue to pursue and safeguard our national interests and retain our national characteristics. But constructive cooperation will enhance both of us and even enrich the world. Neither side will have to give up anything it holds dear.

So it would be a wishful thinking to believe that some political or cultural genetic engineering could be done to change China’s DNA. It is certainly paranoid to fear that a China that follows its own development path will be confrontational to the U.S. And it is indeed dangerous to advocate for any strategy for confrontation.


Photo taken by Hu Zexi

The key to successful relationship lies in win-win cooperation and mutual benefit. Harmony but not sameness, diversity but not confrontation. These values are deeply rooted in the Chinese culture. This is the philosophy that underlies our proposal to build a community of shared future with all other countries. This is the philosophy that inspires us to seek a new model of relations between our two great countries. I believe this relationship should be characterized by overall cooperation, friendly competition if necessary, and no confrontation.

This year is the year of the dog. Dogs are seen as loyal, sincere and trusting companions in both Chinese and western cultures. I believe such virtues are equally essential for relations between countries. Actually, all the symbolic animals associated with the years represent something good: happiness, joy, good luck, health, energy, peace, prosperity, etc. They represent the aspirations of people for better life, and such aspirations are shared by people in China, in the U.S., and all over the world.


Photo taken by Hu Zexi

In international relations, sometimes there is too much focus on what divides us and too little appreciation of what binds us. And sometimes, international relations are seen in terms of competition of power, whether such power is hard, soft or sharp. I think these point of views fail to understand that people’s pursuit of happiness is common for all countries. Recognition of these aspirations will be far more important than any design of strategies for rivalry. To meet the needs of people should be our highest goal.


Photo taken by Zhao Huanxin

Since we are now starting a new year. Let’s make a new year’s wish here. May the dreams of the Chinese people, the American people, and people all over the world, all come true. Thank you.


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