Base China-U.S. Relations on Cooperation, Not Confrontation
History shows that we are better together. Let’s foster a relationship rooted in mutual respect and cooperation, not of confrontation and conflict.
In the past 500 years, emerging powers have ended up in conflicts with established powers 12 times while only avoiding conflict four times. Anxiety about history repeating itself, with a conflict erupting between the United States and China, has increased in the past years.
However, conflict is not inevitable. Since the end of World War II, major principles enshrined in the United Nations Charter – such as equal sovereignty, international cooperation and collective security – have enabled a new world order that relies on norms and rules rather than wars and conflicts.
Today’s world is profoundly and increasingly interconnected by unprecedented globalization. The zero-sum mentality is outdated, and it is misleading to interpret the relationship between China and the U.S. through the lens of the power shifting theory.
To build trust and mutual benefit in a globalized world we need more – not less – engagement, especially when globalization faces challenges, such as populism and protectionism. No one can opt out. Touched by these realities, and to address that anxiety, China has put forward its own ideas, namely to nurture a fair and just world order, to foster a new model of relationship with the U.S., and to build an international community with a shared future. These ideas aim to provide the greatest good for the greatest number of people.
中国方案根植于自身历史，是中国文化同当今时代全球治理基本原则的有机结合。中国自古有“立己达人、兼善天下”的胸怀，而不是独善其身、仅仅追求自己国家的利益。因此，中方提出了 “共商、共建、共享” 的全球治理理念，主张世界上的事由各国共同商量着办，实现合作共赢。
China’s approach to this new reality is drawn from lessons learned throughout its history, finding common ground between China’s culture and the principles of global governance. Our ancestors believed that the goal of statesmanship is to keep peace and harmony for the whole world, rather than seek well-being solely for one’s own country. Based on that, China believes that global governance should be a joint effort, in which the interests of all parties are met through win-win cooperation.
The perspectives of China have also been established on the basis of its international experiences. Since the middle of the 20th century, many countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America have gained independence, often leading to the development of their economies. These countries play an important part in globalization. Everyone should enjoy equal rights and opportunities, while also being equally governed by global rules. The key to improving global governance is enhancing representation and lending a voice to emerging markets and developing countries.
Finally, China’s outlook has been shaped by multilateral actions. Our country continues to show its dedication to this mission. For example, President Xi Jinping said in his speech at Davos that China will continue to support the global economy under the flag of free trade. In September, China hosted the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) 2017 Summit to advocate collaboration and dialogue among nations to realize common good.
China’s dedication to the Group of 20 mission has further demonstrated our vision to promote openness and inclusiveness and to achieve interconnected growth. Furthermore, the Belt and Road Initiative seeks to promote the idea that nations are better suited to move forward when they are connected through mutually beneficial development.
We realize that China’s future is inextricably tied to the health and well-being of the world, and the U.S. is an invaluable component. The historical mission of our two countries is not the transfer of global dominance from one to the other, a misperception, which if allowed to persist, can lead to confrontation. We believe that China and the United States should commit ourselves to fostering a new type of major-country relationship rooted in mutual respect and cooperation, rather than confrontation and conflict.
Our track record demonstrates that we are, indeed, better together. China and the U.S. stood together in the international financial crisis and worked together for the world economic recovery. We have stayed in close communication, and have cooperated through multilateral platforms to deal with global and regional issues. Over the past year, our two presidents have maintained dialogue through meetings, telephone conversations and letters, setting the tone for China-U.S. relations.
It should be well understood that cooperation is the only path, and problems should be solved through extensive collaboration. A sound and robust relationship will benefit not only the Chinese and American peoples, but also world peace, stability and prosperity.
During this week’s 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, China’s leaders will review the country’s efforts over the past five years and draw the blueprint for our country’s domestic and international agenda for the next five years and beyond. While the outlook for our nation is closely connected to the future of the world, I believe the Party Congress will open up new prospects for, and add new impetus to, the exchanges and cooperation between China and the rest of the world, including the United States.