Ladies and Gentlemen,
This year marks the 40th anniversary of China-US diplomatic relations. In the past four decades, this relationship has come a long way, outperforming even the wildest predictions back then. It has not only brought huge benefits to both countries, but also changed the world in profound ways. For us, the biggest revelation from this 40-year journey is this: China and the US both stand to gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation; and cooperation and dialogue is always better than friction and confrontation. China-US relations is now going through the most complex and sensitive period since diplomatic relations were formalized four decades ago. How things play out will significantly impact the future of both countries and that of the world. As President Xi Jinping pointed out, there are 1,000 reasons to make China-US relations work, but not a single reason to derail them. Taking this opportunity, I would like to share a few observations.
First, the challenges currently facing the US cannot be blamed on China. After 9/11, the United States waged wars against Afghanistan and Iraq. Those two wars have left the US deeply mired in the turmoils of the Middle East, costed it trillions of dollars, and sapped its strategic strength. The 2008 global financial crisis exposed the deep-seated imbalances in the US economy and society. Problems such as economic disparity, widening wealth gap and aging infrastructure all have their own reasons, but none were caused by China. China should not be made a scapegoat for them.
Second, threat of tariffs and decoupling is not the solution. China has been engaging in the trade negotiations with the US in good faith to manage our differences. However, the negotiations should be on an equal footing, and their outcomes should be balanced, mutually beneficial, and demonstrate mutual respect and accommodation of each other’s legitimate concerns. When its sovereignty and dignity are at stake, China must safeguard its core interests. There is no way that China will accept a humiliating agreement that will hold back its development and national rejuvenation. The Chinese side is determined to safeguard its legitimate rights and interests. Nothing, be it maximum pressure or threat of another Cold War, will intimidate us.
Third, taking China as an enemy is not a rational approach. Behind the China-US trade friction is the underlying issue of strategic perception. China and the US, as the top two economies in the world with closely intertwined interests and broad areas of cooperation, should work together for common progress and development. Viewing China as an enemy cannot be more unwise and would only lead to disastrous consequences. “Making America great again” and the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation are two historic processes that may well go hand in hand. It is entirely possible for China and the US to help each other succeed and achieve “greatness” together.
Recently, President Xi and President Trump had a successful meeting in Osaka, during which they exchanged views on the fundamental issues bearing on China-US relations and set out the future course for this relationship. The two sides agreed to continue pursuing a China-US relationship based on coordination, cooperation and stability and announced the resumption of trade consultations. These important understandings sent a positive message and are welcomed and supported by the international community. Now the task for both sides is to follow through on the principled consensus reached by the two presidents and keep to the right direction of China-US relations. The two sides need to strengthen strategic communication on the basis of mutual respect and mutual benefit to deepen mutual understanding, expand cooperation in various areas, and properly manage differences. This will go a long way to promoting steady progress of China-US relationship to the benefit of both countries and the wider world.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This year, we celebrate the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. It has been seven decades of relentless progress despite trials and tribulations. Led by the Communist Party of China, we the Chinese people have made great achievements through self-reliance and hard work, making China the second largest economy in the world, cultivating a middle-income population of over 400 million, and lifting some 800 million people out of poverty. By the end of 2020, we will have taken all rural residents living below the current poverty line out of poverty, putting an end to absolute poverty in our country and creating a miracle in the history of development and poverty reduction. We are also on course to attain the first centenary goal by 2020, i.e. completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects. The Chinese people are getting closer and closer to realizing their aspirations for a better life.
China’s development means opportunities and contributions to the world, rather than a challenge or threat. As President Xi Jinping has reaffirmed on many occasions, China’s door will not be closed, but will only open wider to the world. At the G20 Osaka Summit, President Xi Jinping announced further steps of opening up. I am confident that the world will come to see that China, instead of building walls or decoupling with other countries, will continue to bring down its tariff rates, shorten the negative lists, expand market access and make market rules more transparent. A more open China that actively interacts with the rest of the world will bring more opportunities, and make greater contributions to the world.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As a Chinese poem goes, “As we stand high and look far, the unstoppable tide of history, like in a mighty river, surges ever forward.” As we are about to enter the third decade of the 21st century, the journey ahead might be beset with dangerous rapids and storms, but China will stay its course and move forward by riding the waves and braving the storms. We will serve as an even stronger stabilizing force in this fast-changing world, injecting greater positive energy for the evolution of the international order and a more powerful impetus for global development.