Chinese-American ambassador to China key to boosting ties

10:16, August 04, 2011      

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As the first Chinese-American U.S. ambassador to China, Gary Locke took his oath of office in Washington on Aug. 1, 2011. How will the US handle its China policy? What role Locke will play as the new U.S. ambassador to China?

Washington has realized that the U.S.-China relationship is one of the most important bilateral relationships in the 21st century. In light of different historical and political systems, the two countries face challenges in terms of diplomacy, economy and strategic relations. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton once pointed out that the United States was fully aware of the importance of furthering mutual understanding, cooperation and problem-solving with China and that was what the United States was doing.

The ambassador plays a key role in United States' China policy because he not only implements the US' China policy but also takes part in the policy-making process. We expect Locke to help build positive Sino-U.S. relations and have China's voices heard.

For Washington, the Sino-US relations, instead of being a win-or-lose struggle, should be based on the preconditions of mutual respect, strategic mutual trust, common interests as well as all-round cooperation. There will inevitably be more conflicts than cooperation, more suspicions than exchanges and more cold manners than respect if the two countries depart from the aforementioned preconditions. The bilateral ties would face the risk of decline and the loss of constructiveness.

What is the correct path for Sino-US bilateral ties? The question can be answered by key words of mutual respect, equal mutual trust and a win-win mentality. The development of bilateral ties calls for a broader global vision, a mode of thinking that advances with the times, a starting point from a strategic and long-term perspective, an attitude that is responsible for both history and future as well as responsibility for Chinese and Americans and the people of the world.

The development of China-US relations has shown that the two countries witnessed smooth and stable advancement of bilateral ties when they did good job of handling major issues concerning key common interests. Otherwise, there would be tension and troubles.

Some 181 members of the congressional Taiwan Caucus urged President Barack Obama in a letter to lift the diplomatic barriers that have been blocking the sales of F-16C/D to Taiwan in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 on Aug. 2.

Washington should understand China has never deviated from its principles and stance on major issues concerning national sovereignty and territorial integrity, and will not show any ambiguity in the future. China hopes the US keeps the promise and maintains bilateral ties with China. Great prices would be paid if the US made any acts that could hurt the national sentiments of 1.3 billion Chinese people.

The nomination of the former commerce minister as the new ambassador to China shows the United States attaches great importance to China-U.S. economic and trade ties. Economic recovery and job creation are the top priorities for domestic politics in the United States. Only through economic restructuring and export increase can the United States revitalize the sluggish economy at home. Depending on Asia, especially an emerging economy like China, to help U.S. economic recovery should dominate U.S. foreign policy, and it will also further deepen the bilateral economic and trade ties.

With further deepening of Sino-U.S. economic cooperation, some simple problems have been solved and two sides started to touch upon deeper problems, which makes the "game of interest" more complex. The recently concluded row between the Democrats and the Republicans over the debt bill once again showed Washington's foreign policies were constrained by domestic politics and easy to fall prey to some interest groups.

The development of Sino-U.S. relations needs new ideas, new actions and a new look. One cannot understand the hard-won Sino-U.S. cooperation partnership without carefully reviewing the history. The bilateral relations make progresses through exploration, summary and friction. Complexity, profundity and strategy of Sino-U.S. relations are interwoven. Washington must refrain its impulse, be intelligent and brave, remove all the obstacles hindering bilateral ties and break all uncertainties to keep Sino-U.S. ties well on track.

By Zhang Xinyi, People's Daily Online


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