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Chinese envoy calls for US policymakers to have a new objective and accurate understanding of China

(People's Daily Online)    11:26, January 21, 2020

The premiere of a short documentary series on the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the United States, and the launch ceremony "Reading China from Multiple Cities and One Book" were held at the San Francisco Public library in the US on Jan 18, 2020. Wang Donghua, Consul General of the People’s Republic of China to San Francisco, attended the event and delivered a speech.

Wang Donghua, Consul General of the People’s Republic of China to San Francisco, addresses the ceremony. (Photo/People's Daily Online)

The following is the full text of the speech:

Ladies and gentlemen, 

Good afternoon!

It gives me great pleasure to attend the premiere of A Story Spanning 40 Years and “One Book for Cities to Understand China” program.

This event is highly meaningful at a time when China-US relations reach a critical juncture. It helps us review the development course of China-US relations, sum up the lessons from China-US cooperation, and explore how the two powers live together peacefully and iron out their differences.

Today’s event has a good starting point, with the theme of how to understand China. China-US relations now hit unprecedented difficulties, and an important reason is the insufficient mutual understanding and trust. The US is still far from gaining a true understanding of China. The US makes speculation about China based on subjective assumptions, and besmirches China based on hearsay. It does not take a realistic and objective view of China’s development and formulate rational policies towards China. I think there are far more Chinese people who know the US than Americans who know China. This goes to show that it is highly important and necessary to hold an event like this.

On behalf of the Consulate General of China, I offer sincere thanks to the People’s Daily Online West USA and the San Francisco Public Library for organizing this event. My thanks also go to those who are involved in preparing for this event. I hope that through the events like this one, more people gain a better understanding of China, think about the root causes of problems in bilateral relationship, and explore how China and the US develop their relations.

I would like to take this opportunity to share my personal thoughts.

First, to promote the healthy development of China-US relations, we must first have a correct understanding of each other. China is the largest developing country and the US is the largest developed country. The bilateral relationship concerns the interests of the two countries, and also concerns world stability and development. Healthy and stable China-US relations serve the fundamental and long-term interests of the two countries. It is the common will of the two peoples and the common expectation of the world. For the two countries to live together peacefully and have healthy relations, it is necessary first to solve the problem in mutual understanding. Incorrect understanding will inevitably lead to mistaken decisions and lead astray the overall direction.

The current problems in China-US relations are chiefly attributed to the bias and prejudice of some in the US administration against China. They believe that as China develops, China would inevitably follow the path of “a strong nation bound to seek hegemony”, like Britain and the US did at the time, and challenge the interests of the US and replace its international position. Because of this mistaken judgment, the US has adopted a slew of policies and measures to check China’s development in recent years. This injures the interests of the US, undermines mutual trust, and rocks world stability and development. It can be seen that incorrect understanding brings untold harm.

Historically, the Chinese nation was always upholding the philosophy of “peace is most precious”, and had no tradition of launching acts of aggression against other countries. It only has the proof of self-defense. China was a world power even before the US was founded and never threw its weight about because of this. As China was bullied by powers in the past, it bitterly hates to be bullied, and also opposes riding roughshod over others. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the US, fruitful cooperation has been made in various respects. It shows that China and the US are important partners rather than strategic opponents.

In reality, China and the US have extensive common interests and wide room for cooperation. The two require mutual help in promoting development. As the two have economic interdependence and intertwined interests, hurting the other is the same as injuring oneself. The world is witnessing major changes unprecedented in the past century. China and the US hit many common challenges, and it is difficult for each country to address these alone.

Historically or in reality, I see no reason for China to challenge or replace the US. On the contrary, I think cooperation is in the interests of both countries. Some Americans stress that the Republicans and Democrats reach consensus in their policies towards China. It seems to be “political correctness” to be tough against China, but this “political correctness” is not a correct understanding. It is irresponsibly “capricious”, and will only mislead the understanding of China, with irrational policy against China.

China pursues development to help the Chinese people lead a better life, rather than challenging or replacing the US. China shows no interest in this. China will keep to the path of peaceful development and will not seek its own development at the expense of others. Regardless of its economic development, China never seeks expansion, hegemony or sphere of influence. We always believe that countries living in a global village should become partners of cooperation. We will be better if all countries develop well. Therefore, we propose to build a community with shared future for mankind and to build an open, inclusive, clean, and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security, and common prosperity. We hope that all countries will work towards this goal and that the US will take the lead in this.

Second, to promote the healthy development of China-US relations, we must earnestly respect core interests of each other. Each country has its own core interests, especially national sovereignty security, political security, territorial integrity, and development interests. It is the fundamental responsibility of any country to protect its core interests. Properly handling issues that concern core interests is a prerequisite for the stable and healthy development of state-to-state relations. From the development course of China-US relations, as long as the two countries respect each other’s core interests and properly address issues that concern each other’s core interests, the bilateral relationship will advance smoothly, and smooth cooperation can be carried out to address specific issues. Otherwise the two countries will hit great difficulties in relationship and cooperation. From the perspective of international practice, changing other countries or bringing about regime change as the policy objective is a great mistake and causes great harm. It is an even bigger mistake to take the change in the Chinese system as the goal of policy towards China, and interfere with China’s internal affairs concerning China’s core interests. It will inevitably aggravate the conflicts and confrontations between the two countries. We do not hold with the American system, but we respect the choices of the American people, and the US should also respect the choices of the Chinese people. Only in this way can we live together peacefully. In fact, there is no unified system or model in the world. How will the US view us if China also deems changing the American social system as a policy objective? China and the US are major powers, and neither can change the other. Neither should adopt a policy option of changing the other. China does not interfere in the internal affairs of the US, and also requires the US to not interfere in China’s internal affairs. China does not harm the core interests of the US, nor allow the US to harm its core interests. The US’ continuous interference in China’s internal affairs on issues concerning Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang, and Tibet is bound to undermine mutual trust between China and the US and will harm the American interests. The US should not expect China to suffer silently the consequences of its injured core interests.

Third, to promote the healthy development of China-US relations, we must uphold mutual respect, equality, and seek common ground while shelving differences. The world is a colorful one. No country is identical with another, nor requires the other countries to follow the same pattern. It is natural that nations are different and even in conflict with each other. With different history, culture, social systems, and development stages, China and the US disagree on some specific issues. Differences or conflicts are no big deal. The key is how to view and iron out their differences. As a Chinese saying goes, there are more solutions than problems. Solutions can be found as long as countries respect each other, treat each other on an equal footing, and hold negotiation under the principle of mutual understanding and accommodation and seeking common ground while shelving differences. The world is ever-changing. We must consider history and the current development when viewing the development of each country. Might is not equal to right, and will not last forever. Only right will last forever. In international relations, we should resort to right more frequently and abandon power politics. If a country uses its strength to bully the weak and the small, and impose its will on others in the name of freedom and democracy, it will only set a bad precedent in troublemaking and complicate the problem instead of solving the fundamental issues. The tariffs imposed by the US on Chinese products severely undermine the American interests, indicating that the US cannot achieve its policy goal of unilateral gains. The Phase One Trade Agreement signed between China and the US on January 15 once again shows that relevant issues can only be properly solved through dialogue and negotiation on the basis of equality and mutual respect.

In summary, I hope that American policymakers have a new objective and accurate understanding of China, adopt a rational and pragmatic policy towards China, and work with China to advance China-US relations based on coordination, cooperation, and stability. This will achieve the goals of zero conflict and confrontation, mutual respect, and win-win cooperation, and ensure the long-term healthy and stable development of China-US relations to the benefit of the peoples of the two countries and the world. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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