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Wednesday, October 24, 2001, updated at 14:29(GMT+8)

A Friend in Need Is a Friend Indeed

When the whole globe is shrouded in the two layers of dark clouds-the "September 11" incident of terrorist attacks and the world economic recession, the APEC Leaders Meeting in Shanghai and the meeting between US and Chinese leaders in the same city were eye-catching and achieved great success.

This fact indicates that in the first year of the 21st century, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Organization has opened up a new chapter of history, and the US-China relationship has acquired a more extensive and stable foundation and will step into a new stage notably different from what it was in the past.

Clues to the entry of US-China relationship into a new stage can be seen from the US President George W. Bush's two new formulations about the relations between the two countries: First is that Bush clearly declared "China is not enemy of the United States". This seems to be a commonplace talk which, in fact, is not the case. In the early period after Bush took office, he declared that China was a "strategic opponent" of the United States, certain American politicians, scholars and media also took advantage of this opportunity to vigorously preach that China was a "potential number one foe" of the United States, and was "the greatest threat", this, plus the incident of plane collision, and a string of events including US arms sales to Taiwan, had plunged the relations between the two countries into a slump. On the eve of US Secretary of State Colin Powell's visit to China in July, although he declared that the formulation of "strategic opponent" would no longer be used in the future, now that President Bush solemnly declared that "China is not an enemy" during the APEC Meeting in Shanghai, the significance and weight of this solemn declaration are naturally different; second is that in the process of the gradual relaxation of the relations between the two countries over the past several months, the US side said that the two countries were in a "constructive relationship", whereas during the period of the Shanghai Meeting, the US side repeatedly stressed that the relationship between the two countries was one of "constructive cooperative relationship", although only the term "cooperative" was added, its meaning is obviously different. In the writer's view, there have always existed two aspects of "friendly cooperation" and "divergence and friction" in the relations between the United States and China, but the leading aspect was different in differing periods. Now the new formulation of the United States indicates that the United States will make "cooperation" the dominant aspect in the future, this is of important significance to the future development trend of the relations between the two countries.

There is an old Chinese instruction which says: It is easy to share peace and happiness, but hard to share adversity between friends, those who can only share peace and happiness are not real friends, only friends in need are friends indeed. In recent months, particularly since the occurrence of the "September 11" incident, the US-China relations have rapidly picked up from a slump, and have stepped into a new stage. This is because facts have proved: China is earnestly sharing woe with the United States and so is US real friend.

Currently, the United States and China are together tiding over the major adversities. Since the eruption of the "September 11" incident, China has all along stood on the side of the United States and firmly and unswervingly supported the struggle against terrorism; Jiang Zemin and other Chinese leaders have made speeches and statements on many occasions, condemning the crimes of terrorism and supporting the struggle against terrorism, Jiang Zemin has discussed over telephone with Bush matters of vital importance concerning the struggle against terrorism, reached consensus and extended support to the United States; China is playing an active role in the United Nations and helped in the UN's adoption of anti-terrorism related resolutions; China and the United States have on many occasions exchanged information and experiences in the anti-terrorism struggle; China has responded to the US call for freezing the property of terrorist organizations and individuals to cut off their financial sources; China has strengthened military defense on the southwestern borders of Xinjiang, etc. The above-mentioned words, deeds and measures contain both political and moral support and economic, intelligence and other actual deeds. At the APEC Meeting, an anti-terrorist statement was adopted first at the ministerial meeting, the anti-terrorist statement was finally passed by the APEC Leaders' Meeting, this was a great victory for the anti-terrorist struggle. It is a common knowledge that due to the fact the national conditions of various countries are different and although the general anti-terrorist orientation is identical, their concrete stand and proposition are not the same, so it is not easy to reach more points of consensus as far as possible. The Anti-terrorist statement finally passed by the Shanghai Meeting is to the satisfaction of every member country participating in the meeting, the US side praised it as "covering everything we want", this is the achievement gained through the joint efforts of various member economies participating in the Meeting, it also contains the contribution made by China to this meeting.

Worldwide economic slowdown and recession is another major adversity facing both the United States and China. Under the current economic situation, international economic and trade exchange and cooperation are extremely precious. Economic and trade cooperation in the relations between the United States and China is especially important to the two countries, because the United States is the second largest trade partner of China and China is the fourth largest trade partner of the United States, the economies of the two countries are strongly complementary. The "Leaders' Declaration" and the "Shanghai Consensus" adopted by the APEC Meeting are of important significance to strengthening cooperation between various economies of the Asia-Pacific region and to their tiding over difficulties and to promoting the recovery and development of the world economy. In addition, China indeed is tiding over difficulties through actual deeds together with the United States. A case in point was that on the eve of the Meeting, China placed order for 30 Boeing planes. China's economy is expected to maintain a 7 percent annual growth rate this year. China's economic growth will definitely play a positive role benefiting the economies of the Asia-Pacific region, including the United States.

During the Cold War period, the foundation for strategic cooperation between the United States and China was to confront the common enemy-the former Soviet Union. After the conclusion of the Cold War, the foundation for US-China strategic cooperation was economy and trade; maintenance of peace in the Asia-Pacific region and the world as a whole; protection of the global natural environment, etc. Those mentioned above belong to common interests, unlike things in the Cold War period, what they faced was a common threat, the situation changed after the "September 11" incident, international terrorism and economic crisis are the biggest and most actual threat confronting the United States and China. This being the case, we have every reason to foresee that a new situation will emerge in the relations between the United States and China.

However, there is one point we must come to see that the most sensitive problem between the United States and China, or the biggest obstacle, is the "Taiwan" issue, without a correct solution of this issue, it will be impossible to fundamentally improve the US-China relations, if the "one-China" principle and the three joint communiques between the United States and China are violated "land mines" treaded on, new problems will possibly crop up. Of course, this is what we do not wish to see.

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When the whole globe is shrouded in the two layers of dark clouds-the "September 11" incident of terrorist attacks and the world economic recession, the APEC Leaders Meeting in Shanghai and the meeting between US and Chinese leaders in the same city were eye-catching and achieved great success.

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