China, United States should be partners rather than rivals

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Chinese President Xi Jinping on April 26 met with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. 

Expounding on the lessons from the 45 years of development in China-U.S. relations, Xi said building a community with a shared future for mankind is the basic starting point for China to view the China-U.S. relationship, and stressed the importance to follow through on the San Francisco vision. His remarks charted the course for China and the United States to maintain a stable, healthy and sustainable relationship.

Whether China and the United States will be partners or rivals is the fundamental question that must be answered first in handling their relationship. It is the “first button of a shirt” that determines whether the China-U.S. relationship can develop stably.

If the United States consistently regards China as its primary rival, the relationship between the two countries will only be plagued by constant troubles and a multitude of issues.

China always believes that planet Earth is big enough to accommodate the common development and respective prosperity of China and the United States. 

Over the past 45 years, the relationship between the two countries has gone through wind and rain, and the two sides can draw a few important lessons. China and the United States should be partners rather than rivals; help each other succeed rather than hurt each other; seek common ground and reserve differences rather than engage in vicious competition; and honor words with actions rather than say one thing but do another.

Xi said he proposed mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation as the three overarching principles for the relationship, which are both lessons learned from the past and a guide for the future.

China views and develops China-U.S. relations from the global vision of building a community with a shared future for mankind, which is responsible for the people, for the world and for the future.

The world today is undergoing transformation not seen in a century. How to respond to it is a question of the times and of the world. China’s answer is to build a community with a shared future for mankind.

Xi stressed that countries live in an interdependent world and rise and fall together. With their interests deeply intertwined, all countries need to build maximum consensus for win-win and all-win outcomes.

In the face of a complex international situation, the international community expects both China and the United States to strengthen dialogue, manage differences, and promote cooperation.

As two major countries, China and the United States should undertake responsibilities for world peace, create opportunities for the development of all countries, provide the world with public goods, and play a positive role in promoting global unity.

Jointly developing a right perception, jointly managing disagreements effectively, jointly advancing mutually beneficial cooperation, jointly shouldering responsibilities as major countries, and jointly promoting people-to-people exchanges should serve as the underpinning for the mansion of China-U.S relations.

Recently, teams from both China and the United States have been working to implement the consensus reached by the two heads of state during their meeting in San Francisco. There has been an increase in dialogues, cooperation, and positive interactions in various fields, indicating a stabilizing trend in China-U.S. relations. Blinken’s visit to China is part of the efforts of the two sides to deliver on the common understandings reached by the two presidents in San Francisco, maintain dialogue, manage differences, promote cooperation and enhance coordination in international affairs.

The two sides reached a five-point consensus based on a comprehensive exchange of views. They agreed to continue to work hard to stabilize and develop China-U.S. relations in accordance with the guidance of the two heads of state, maintain high-level exchanges and contacts at all levels, continue to carry out exchanges between the two militaries, further promote China-U.S. cooperation on drug control, climate change and artificial intelligence, take measures to expand cultural and people-to-people exchanges between the two countries, and maintain consultations on international and regional hotspot issues.

The San Francisco vision is a task entrusted by the two heads of state, which should be fully implemented without compromise.

The two sides should value peace, prioritize stability, and uphold credibility, which is a principle that the two countries must adhere to this year in developing their relations. 

China is willing to cooperate, but cooperation should be a two-way street. China is not afraid of competition, but competition should be about progressing together instead of playing a zero-sum game. China is committed to non-alliance, and the United States should not create small blocs. While each side can have its friends and partners, it should not target, oppose or harm the other. 

Currently the China-U.S. relations have been generally stabilized from further deterioration, but negative factors are still growing and accumulating. 

The United States keeps making mistakes with its words and actions on the Taiwan question, breaking political commitments it has made. Its endless measures to suppress China’s economy, trade, and technology are infringing on the rights of the Chinese people to develop. The United States is obsessed with forming exclusive blocs and manipulate bloc politics, undermining China’s strategic security interests. If the United States stubbornly pushes the strategy to contain China’s development, China will resolutely oppose it and respond with firm countermeasures.

Only when the “first button” is fastened correctly, can China-U.S. relations truly stabilize, improve and move forward. The United States should develop a right perception of China, work with China in the same direction, put a floor of no conflict and no confrontation, and refrain from setting the relationship back, provoking incident or crossing the line. It should honor its commitments with action and turn the San Francisco vision into reality.

(Zhong Sheng is a pen name often used by People’s Daily to express its views on foreign policy and international affairs.)



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