More flat world calls for more 'flat' Sino-US cooperation

16:07, October 15, 2010      

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Since the start of fall this year, "China topics" have continued to "heat up" in Washington D.C., where a series of symposiums, forums and other activities relating to China have been taken place one after another.

One of the related events is a symposium themed on the" Impact of U.S.-China relations on Asia" held at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars held recently. U.S. Deputy Secretary of State James B. Steinberg made a keynote speech at the event and scholars from Japan, Russia, Singapore and India also enunciated viewpoints from their respective perspectives.

Meanwhile, at a seminar held at the Center for American Progress, an echo chamber or think tank of Democratic Party, focused on enhancing American creativity, Thomas Lauren Friedman, an American journalist and author of the 2005 best-selling book" The World is Flat", concentrated on the China topic again. The global best seller "The World is Flat" has so far helped millions of readers worldwide see and understand globalization in a new way.

Friedman visited Tianjin municipality in north China five years ago, he said in his address, and he returned to this industrial center to attend the 2010 Davos Summer Forum from Sept. 13-15 this year and he said he had witnessed incredible changes in the city as compared with five years ago.

The U.S.-China Education Trust, with Julia Chang Bloch, the first Asia American to serve as the US ambassador to Nepal, as its President, awarded Dianne Feinstein, the Senate Intelligence Committee chairperson and a Democrat senator of California, in recognition of her contributions to Sino-US amity and cooperation between the people of China and the U.S. In 1979, Mrs. Feinstain, then San Francisco mayor, worked very hard to help forge a bond of friendship between her city and Shanghai to span a "bridge of friendship" across the Pacific.

Since then, the channels of communication have widened increasingly between the two nations in varied realms and at all levels. Of late, a lot of state governors and mayors from the United States have "flocked" to visit China, and more governors are ready to follow suit. "Cooperation with China is very important to Virginia," Governor Bob McDonnell told this PD reporter, and his state would set up a new agency or office in China by the end of the year, while he himself is also prepared to visit China in April 2011 to further promote economic and trade ties with China.

While local U.S. officials are going all out to spur closer cooperation with China, the Washington administration, however, is imposing more pressure on China for the RMB appreciation and this revealed a "hot-cold mismatch". Moreover, as U.S. mid-term elections are drawing near, the issue on RMB exchange rate will inevitably be a political overtone to divert attention, and many local officials have come to visit China out of their practical needs, which reflects from a side aspect the extent the economic development of the two nations has reached to the point where neither side can do or succeed without the other's involvement.

Varied states in the U.S. have gradually reached consensuses in recent years. That is, the strengthening of cooperation with China is not only beneficial to a given state but beneficial to the economic development in the area where the state is located. During a recent interview with local officials in the State of Washington in the northwest of the U.S., they showed me a 2009 list of the state export statistics, which proved that the state had a trade surplus with China.

In another development, at the 2010 annual meeting of the Southern U.S. Governors' Association (SGA) convened in Alabama recently, meeting participants stressed repeatedly that China has long been a vital trading partner of 16 states in southern United States and that its trade with these states had risen exponentially over the past decade, and the keynote at the meeting is precisely focused on how to be more pragmatic in the cooperation.

In the State of New Hampshire in New England, local state officials presented to statistical files to indicate that China became one of their export markets, and almost a quarter of the jobs in the state's manufacturing sector depends on exports. This evidence again confirmed that the sound, benign growth of Sino-U.S. economic and trade ties would benefit these states substantially.

However, the book "The World is Flat" has a blemish, said its author Friedman lately, because, he noted, the world today he imagined was "much more flat". In such a comprehensive world getting each other ever closer today, it is hard to avoid new conflicts and new issues among nations, and what is of vital importance is to dissolve these conflicts and tackle these issues with a good political will. So, a popular Chinese saying that "harmony benefits both, strife harms both" is not only applicable to Sino-U.S. political ties but to bilateral economic and trade ties as well.

By People's Daily Online and its author is PD resident reporter in U.S. Wen Xian


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