Clinton lauds U.S.-China relationship, admits challenges

10:26, January 15, 2011      

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U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Friday that U.S.-China relationship "has gone global" and arrived at a "critical juncture."

"Three decades after our nations first opened the door to engagement, our relationship is marked by great promise and real achievement, but also by significant challenges," Clinton said in a speech on the future of U.S.-China relations at the State Department.

"And more than ever, we will be judged on the outcomes that we do produce for greater peace, prosperity and progress in our own countries and throughout the world," she said in the speech which the State Department described as setting the stage for a state visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao next week.

"America and China have arrived at a critical juncture," the secretary said. "A time when the choices we make, both big and small, will shape the trajectory of this relationship."

Clinton said the two sides have created the opportunity for deeper, broader and more sustained cooperation between the two countries in the first two years of the Obama administration.

"We have seen some early successes and also some frustrations. And moving forward, it is up to both of us to more consistently translate positive words into effective cooperation," she said.

She said while there will be always differences between two great nations, the U.S. and China need to deal with their differences wisely and responsibly, noting that "these are the things that will determine whether our relationship delivers on its potential in the years to come."

Clinton spoke highly of the achievements in bilateral relationship over the past three decades since the two countries established diplomatic ties.

She said the U.S. and China have already come "a very long way" and have had three decades of "intense engagement" after many years of virtually no contact with each other.

"Today, our relationship has gone global. We debate and discuss nearly every major international issue in both bilateral dialogues and multilateral meetings," she said. "The breadth of our engagement will be on full display next week when President Obama welcomes President Hu to the White House."

Clinton said that these three decades of relations between the two countries have also been three decades of impressive growth for China.

China's GDP barely topped 100 billion U.S. dollars in early 1970s but it is almost 5 trillion dollars today, the secretary said. Trade between the United States and China used to be measured in the hundreds of millions of dollars and today, it surpasses 400 billion dollars annually, she added.

"The United States has welcomed this growth, and we have benefited from it. Today, our economies are entwined, and so are our futures," she said.

The secretary stressed that despite its progress in the past 30 years, China still faces great challenges.

"Understanding these strengths and challenges is essential for us and others to understand today's China. And it provides important context to the country's changing role on the world stage, and to the future of the U.S.-China relationship," she said.

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