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Snowden case should not affect China-U.S. relationship

By Ming Jinwei (Xinhua)

14:13, June 25, 2013

BEIJING, June 25 (Xinhua) -- The whereabouts of former U.S. intelligence contractor Edward Snowden remains a global mystery on Tuesday after he was reported to have left the Chinese territory of Hong Kong for the Russian capital of Moscow.

The U.S. government, which has tried to extradite Snowden on criminal charges, expressed displeasure on Monday over the fact that the former U.S. government spy had managed to leave Hong Kong.

A White House spokesman even hinted that the Snowden case might have a negative impact on the bigger China-U.S. relationship.

For many people in China, this assertion goes a little bit too far.

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government did have a legitimate case when it said that the U.S. government's request for the HKSAR government to issue a provisional arrest warrant for Snowden did not fully comply with the city's legal requirements.

For the China-U.S. relations, both Beijing and Washington fully know that an isolated case should not be allowed to hurt one of the most critical relationships in the world.

As many can see, the China-U.S. relationship has made valuable progress after the latest leadership transitions in the two countries. The first summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his U.S. counterpart Barack Obama, held earlier this month in California, has further boosted mutual trust and understanding between the world's two largest economies.

It is in the interest of both countries to keep the positive momentum in bilateral relations.

Back to the issue of cyber security, the Snowden case might not be a completely bad thing after all.

Beijing and Washington can actually use the case to facilitate ongoing efforts to deal with the issue. The two sides can sit down and talk through their mutual suspicions.

It is a good thing to know that both China and the United States now appreciate the importance and the special nature of the relationship, and have been working hard to break the zero-sum mentality and to jointly build a new type of relations that feature mutual trust and win-win cooperation.

For the past three decades, the China-U.S. relationship has seen many ups and downs. Yet the two countries, as shown in past experiences, have the political wisdom and proper mechanisms to deal with many challenges and manage their differences.

This is also true in the handling of the Snowden case if the two sides could again demonstrate that they are able to build a relationship strong enough to withstand any kind of disturbance.

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