Remarks by Ambassador Cui Tiankai at the Fifth China-US Governors Forum
Lexington, Kentucky, U.S.A
23 May 2019
The Honorable Governor Matt Bevin,
President Li Xiaolin,
Mayor Tang Liangzhi,
Chinese and American Governors,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is my great pleasure to come again to the beautiful state of Kentucky and to see so many old and new friends here. Given the current circumstances, it is more important than ever that sub-national representatives from China and the United States gather to explore how to advance cooperation and identify win-win opportunities that benefit all. First, I wish to extend warm congratulations to the forum and heartfelt thanks to Governor Bevin, the National Governors Association, the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries and all the representatives from both countries. Thank you for what you have done to deepen ties and promote collaboration.
Every time I come to Kentucky, I feel like I am returning home. Here, I always find true friendship, not groundless suspicions; our people focus on cooperation, not confrontation; and we share hope for greater engagement and understanding, not the so-called “decoupling” or estrangement. Indeed, in my travels from Michigan to Washington State, from Montana to Arizona, from the East Coast to the West Coast, wherever I go, I am struck with the same impression among ordinary Americans. The friendly, open-minded, hard-working and independent American people always reminds me of my country and my compatriots thousands of miles away.
This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. Thanks to the hard work of successive generations, my country has become what it is today. Hundreds of millions of people have blazed their paths, step by step, out of poverty, and they have been still working tirelessly, bit by bit, to build a moderately prosperous society in all respects. The painstaking efforts of the 1.4 billion Chinese people, including workers, farmers, scientists and entrepreneurs must not be taken for granted. I believe that friends present from Chongqing, Shaanxi, Jiangxi and Gansu have countless stories to share with you about how hard they have been working.
As President Xi Jinping aptly points out, “to meet the people’s aspiration for a better life is our mission”. We know too well that happiness cannot be achieved without hard work and success cannot be won without surviving hardships. The Chinese people will never falter in their endeavor to overcome difficulties and pursue a better life, and no force can ever stop them doing so.
We know too well that in today’s world, no country can prosper alone. China will continue to pursue development with the commitment to opening-up and achieve win-win results through cooperation with other countries. To this end, we regard the US as an important cooperation partner.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of China-US diplomatic relations. We have learned from the past four decades that cooperation is the only right option for our two countries and has brought huge benefits to the two peoples, as evidenced by the booming cooperation between many American states and China. According to the latest statistics of the US-China Business Council, over the past decade, Kentucky’s goods exports to China have grown by 157%, more than doubling the overall growth rate of that to other countries. Its services exports to China have increased by 250%, over ten times the overall growth rate of that to other countries. China is Tennessee’s third largest market for both goods and services exports and ranks among the top five for Colorado, Michigan and Washington State. Trade with China has created over 160,000 jobs for these five states and delivered real benefits to their people.
It is concerning, however, that these same states have seen a decrease of their goods exports to China as a result of the trade frictions that began last year. We need to pay serious attention to this, and not let some ill-informed, ill-intentioned people incite a “new Cold War” at the expense of the people’s interests.
Both the Chinese and American people are pursuing a better life; this is our common goal. Not long ago, the Chinese Embassy opened its door to the American public. On one single day, almost 10,000 Americans visited our Embassy, expressing their friendship for and strong interest in China and sharing with us many touching stories between the two peoples. We have been more convinced than ever before that the China-US relationship belongs to our people and its future should be defined by the people. In light of their interests, we will look to our two countries to expand cooperation on the basis of mutual benefit, manage differences on the basis of mutual respect and jointly advance our bilateral relations based on coordination, cooperation and stability.
We are gathering today to explore how to work “toward a better future for China-US relations”. This fully demonstrates the confidence in and expectations on our relations at the sub-national level. We know that Kentucky’s state motto is “united we stand, divided we fall”. So let’s join hands to deepen practical cooperation and step up people-to-people exchanges and friendship. Let’s work together to energize the long-term development of China-US relations and meet the people’s aspirations for a better life.
I wish the Forum a complete success. Thank you!