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Home >> China
UPDATED: 08:09, December 22, 2005
New vocabulary ushers China-US relations into global scenarios
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A series of new words have emerged to depict the important but complex relations between China, the world biggest developing nation, and the United States, the biggest developed nation, as 2005 ends.

Among the new terms, "stakeholder" has received the most of attention.

The word was first used for Sino-U.S. relations by US Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick, who repeated it seven times in remarks delivered at a dinner of the National Committee on US-China Relations this September.

"We now need to inspire China to become a responsible stakeholder in the international system," Zoellick said.

According to David M Lampton, a leading US scholar on Sino-U.S. relations who is very close to Zoellick, "stakeholder" bears similar meaning to "partner", but more strongly implies that the United States thinks of China as an equal and important member in the current international system that should share an interest in maintaining that system.

"I know there is no equivalent for stakeholder in Chinese, and in the United States the word carries a strong indication of equal rights and responsibility and equal interests and obligations", the Johns Hopkins University professor said in an interview with Xinhua.

China and the United States witnessed a boom in high ranking-official exchanges in 2005. The two heads of state met five times during the year and U.S. president Bush paid his second trip to China so far. Important US cabinet members including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, Secretary of Treasury John W. Snow, Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez and Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns, also made high-profile visits.

The two nations also held two successful strategic dialogues in August and December on issues including trade, intellectual property protection, the Taiwan issue, bird flu, the nuclear issue on Korean Peninsula and the RMB exchange rate, which was described by Zoellick as "constructive".

"Stakeholder" also reflects the evolving opinion of the Bush administration, which initially took China for a "strategic competitor" but has since placed more emphasis on engaging the fastest growing power in the world, Lampton said.

Many other Sino-U.S. relations experts agree that the China-US bilateral relationship has improved in an increasingly integrated international system. Experts also believe that the stable development of relations between China and the United States to a very large extent will determine the future prosperity of the international community.

Qu Xing, vice president of China Foreign Affair University, said that China and the United States share more and more similar views on various major and important international issues.

China and the United States have a realistic need to expand common interests and boost ties, and "constructive and cooperative relations" will be the first option for the two nations, Qu said.

Qu also recognized that China and the United States do have differences and even disputes on such issues as trade, the RMB exchange rate, human rights and democracy.

Zheng Bijian, a noted Chinese theorist who was also former executive vice president of the Party School of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, proposed the embrace of pragmatism in US-China relations, warning that the lack of it thereof could lead to conflict.

Source: Xinhua


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