Remarks by H.E. Ambassador Cui Tiankai at the Reception for the 40th Anniversary of China-U.S. Diplomatic Relations and the Chinese New Year
February 6, 2019
The Honorable Ambassador Stuart Holliday,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good evening! Welcome to the Chinese embassy. Thank you for joining us tonight to celebrate the 40th anniversary of China-U.S. diplomatic relations and the Chinese Lunar New Year. Let me first of all wish our distinguished guests good luck and happiness for the Year of the Pig.
It is a great honor and privilege for the embassy to co-host this reception with the Meridian International Center. I would like to salute the Center for its contribution to China-U.S. cultural exchanges over the last two decades and for co-hosting the Chinese New Year celebrations with the Chinese Embassy for 9 consecutive years.
Of course, this year’s celebration has a special significance. It marks the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and the U.S. The decision that our leaders took 40 years ago with such great vision and wisdom has not only changed our two countries in a profound way, but also had a great influence on the world. For both countries, the past 40 years have been successful and extraordinary.
The past 40 years of China-U.S. relations have helped push forward the development of our two countries. China and the U.S. have interacted on such an extensive scale and influenced each other in so many ways that each is stronger and better than it would be otherwise. Normalization of relations with the United States and reform and opening-up have enabled China to concentrate on its modernization drive, while unprecedented development of China has provided the U.S. – and the rest of the world for that matter – with historic opportunities for peace and prosperity.
The past 40 years of China-U.S. relations have delivered enormous benefits to our peoples. Now daily trade between us is worth more than $1.5 billion. More than 14,000 people fly between the two countries every day for work, study and leisure. There are now 50 pairs of sister states/provinces and 227 pairs of sister cities between the two countries. We are more connected than ever before.
The past 40 years of China-U.S. relations have brought about closer coordination and cooperation between us on numerous regional and global issues. Our cooperation in overcoming the global financial crisis and in finding a political solution to the situation on the Korean Peninsula are just two examples.
In a word, the past 40 years have proved that cooperation is in the interests of both countries while confrontation hurts both. There is no better option for us than cooperation.
Today, the world is undergoing profound changes. New global challenges keep coming up. More than ever before, the world needs China and the U.S to work together. Our people need us to work together. As our common interests grow, we should continue to expand and deepen our cooperation on the basis of the achievements of the last four decades.
At their meeting in Argentina on December 1st last year, President Xi Jinping and President Donald Trump agreed to pursue a China-U.S. relationship based on coordination, cooperation and stability. The two presidents also exchanged congratulatory messages for the 40th anniversary of China-U.S. diplomatic relations. They have charted the course for the future development of our relations.
In order to implement the agreement between our two Presidents:
– We need to promote mutual understanding so as to enhance mutual trust and avoid strategic miscalculations. We need better mutual understanding about each other’s past and present, economic and political systems, the culture and the society. People in China have always had a strong interest in learning more about America and from America. Hopefully there is a similar effort on this side of the Pacific to learn more about China, more about China’s ancient and modern history, about its 40 years of reform and opening-up, about the 70 years since the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949, about the hardships the Chinese people have gone through, and the strenuous efforts they have made throughout all these years. Then it would not be difficult to understand what China’s goals and intentions are and what the Chinese dream means for its people. Then it would not be difficult to understand that the Chinese people have every right to pursue a better life, but they will never do it at the expense of other nations and that China is truly committed to working with all other countries to build a community of nations for a shared future.
– We need to stay open to each other and get more connected. We are the two largest economies in the world. Each has its own strengths. Each is complementary to the other. Both have much greater opportunities if we stay open to each other. Both will be much more prosperous if we cooperate with each other. The so-called “decoupling” would be disastrous for both economies and the world economy at large. China will open its door wider to the U.S. and look forward to more cooperation at various levels. In April this year, China will host the 2nd Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. The U.S. is welcome to participant in this important event to share the opportunities.
– We need to step up people-to-people exchanges and enhance popular support for our relations. China-U.S. friendship is deeply rooted in the people. It has helped us to overcome twists and turns over the past 40 years and will continue to be the most important and reliable source of strength for the relationship in the coming decades. The two governments should make greater efforts to encourage and facilitate stronger ties between our students, teachers, scientists, artists, athletes and many more. To try to incite and spread distrust and animosity between Chinese and Americans is simply going against the will of the people.
– We need to properly handle differences. There is no denying that China and the U.S. differ in history, culture and social system, but we should not be intimidated by those differences; instead, we need to respect each other’s independent choice of social systems and paths of development, and accommodate each other’s core interests and concerns. Whether on economic or security issues, we can always find a way out if we address the differences with candor and good faith, based on mutual respect and common interest.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The past 40 years are no more than a split of a second in the history of human civilization, but in every second we are making history. On the occasion of this important anniversary, let’s pledge ourselves to work together for a stronger and more stable China-U.S. relationship so that our two peoples can develop a lasting friendship and have their dreams fulfilled together.