To develop China-U.S. relations with sense of responsibility for history, people, world

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Chinese Vice Premier He Lifeng, also the Chinese lead person for China-U.S. economic and trade affairs, holds talks with U.S. Secretary of Treasury Janet Yellen in San Francisco, California, the United States, Nov. 10, 2023. (Photo by Li Zhiwei))

At the invitation of U.S. President Joe Biden, Chinese President Xi Jinping will attend a China-U.S. summit meeting and the 30th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting in San Francisco.

The two Presidents will have in-depth communication on issues of strategic, overarching and fundamental importance in shaping China-U.S. relations and major issues concerning world peace and development.

It will be the first visit of Xi to the U.S. in the recent six years, and the first face-to-face meeting between the two heads of state since their Bali meeting last year. The meeting will be of significant importance and attract worldwide attention.

The China-U.S. relationship is the most important bilateral relationship in the world. Whether China and the U.S. can handle their relationship well bears on the future of the world.

Head-of-state diplomacy plays an irreplaceable strategic role in growing bilateral ties. Since February 2021, Xi has had multiple phone talks and meetings with Biden, aiming to steer the China-U.S. relationship along the right track.

During a virtual meeting with Biden in November 2021, Xi pointed out that the most important event in international relations in the coming 50 years will be for China and the U.S. to find the right way to get along.

China’s policy toward the U.S. is consistent, which is mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation. China is ready, on this basis, to explore with the United States the right way for the two countries to get along and take their relations steadily forward.
Last November, Xi and Biden met in Bali, Indonesia, and reached a series of important common understandings, which had profound impacts on China-U.S. relations.

The meeting identified a clear direction, that is, to prevent China-U.S. relations from getting derailed or out of control, and to find the right way for the two major countries to get along with each other.

It established a framework, i.e., jointly working out the guiding principles, or a strategic framework, for China-U.S. relations. It also kicked off a process, i.e., implementing the important common understandings reached by the two heads of state to manage and stabilize China-U.S. relations.

In recent times, the two countries have implemented the consensus reached by the two heads of state during their meeting in Bali, increased high-level exchanges and initiated a series of dialogue mechanisms, thus activating exchanges and cooperation in sub-national, non-governmental, and people-to-people levels. As a result, bilateral relations between the two countries have shown signs of stabilization.
The face-to-face meeting between Xi and Biden this time, a year after they met in Bali, will be of great significance for stabilizing and improving China-U.S. relations, and for the two countries in jointly coping with global challenges and promoting world peace and development. China and the U.S. “returning to Bali and leading to San Francisco” is in line with the common interests of the two countries and the general expectation of the international community.

The fluctuation of China-U.S. relations in recent years has proved that both countries should always adhere to the principles of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, and win-win cooperation. Mutual respect is the prerequisite for the two countries’ interactions; peaceful coexistence is the red line they must keep to; win-win cooperation is the goal they should aim at.

There have been and will continue to be differences between the two countries, but this should not hinder China and the U.S. from seeking common ground while shelving differences and pursuing win-win cooperation.

China will not become another U.S., and the U.S. cannot reshape China according to its own likes and dislikes. Mutual respect and inclusiveness is the only choice for both countries.
Adhering to the basic norms of international relations and the three China-U.S. joint communiques is crucial for managing differences, preventing confrontation, and avoiding conflicts between the two sides.
The U.S. should abandon the Cold War mentality and confrontational mindset, take concrete actions and policies to address the “action deficit,” and increase strategic mutual trust with China.

Win-win cooperation is the true narrative of China-U.S. relations in the past half a century. Defining the entire China-U.S. relationship solely by competition not only disrespects history but also goes against the facts.

The common interests of the two countries far outweigh their differences, and the respective success of China and the U.S. is an opportunity, rather than a challenge, to each other. Both sides should seek common development and prosperity that benefit not only themselves but also the rest of the world.

As two major countries, China and the U.S. shoulder special responsibilities and should demonstrate the broad-mindedness, vision, and commitment of major countries. Only by handling the China-U.S. relations with a sense of responsibility for history, for the people and for the world can the two countries continuously enhance the well-being of their peoples, promote the progress of human society, and contribute to world peace and development.

To be responsible for history means to learn from historical experience and grasp the initiative of history.

History is today’s past, and today is the history of the future. The Chinese and American people have joined forces in the World Anti-Fascist War, defending peace and justice, The relationship between the two sides has continued to develop through thick and thin since the establishment of diplomatic ties, which has benefited the two countries and the rest of the world.

Historical facts have repeatedly proven that both China and the U.S. gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation, and that cooperation is always the best choice for them.
The assertion that “U.S. policy of engagement with China has failed” is being hyped by some in the U.S., which goes against historical truth. The U.S. labeling China as the “most serious competitor” and the “most significant geopolitical challenge” is not in line with facts and is irresponsible to history.

Competition between major powers does not conform to the trend of the times and cannot solve real challenges. At this critical juncture of historical development, every decision made by China and the U.S. will be justly recorded by history.

Both sides should view and handle their relationship from the perspective of history, and jointly explore the right way for the two countries to get along with each other in the new era, so as to ensure that China-U.S. relations are a force promoting historical progress.
To be responsible for the people means to face up to common interests and pursue mutual achievements.

Recently, new inspiring stories have been written in the continuous people-to-people exchanges between China and the U.S.

The group “Kuliang Friends” has continued the legacy of friendship forged a hundred years ago. The U.S.-China Youth and Student Exchange Association has taken active actions to promote friendly exchanges between youth from both countries. The Flying Tigers veterans inherit and carry forward the precious spiritual wealth of cooperation between China and the U.S. The Philadelphia Orchestra is extending its musical bond with the Chinese people that has spanned half a century.

Strengthening exchanges, deepening friendship, and achieving win-win cooperation are the common expectations and choices of the people of both countries.
In recent years, China-U.S. relations have faced difficulties, which do not align with the fundamental interests of the two peoples. The cost of “decoupling and severing industrial and supply chains” will ultimately be borne by the people. Blocking exchanges cuts off the channels for people to know and understand each other, and confrontation between major powers leads to the loss of people’s opportunities for development.

Both China and the U.S. should consider the aspirations of their peoples and act in what the two peoples want. They should engage in more interactions, dialogues, and exchanges, melt the icy misunderstandings and misjudgments, and build bridges of mutual understanding.
To be responsible for the world means to listen to international voices and lead global cooperation.

 

China and the U.S., as permanent members of the United Nations Security Council and the world’s top two economies, account for over 1/3 of the global economy, nearly 1/4 of the world’s population, and approximately 1/5 of global bilateral trade. They bear significant responsibilities for the peace, stability, and development of the world.

As the world enters a new period of turbulence and transformation, uncertainties, instabilities, and unpredictable factors are increasing. The international community universally hopes for an early return to the track of healthy and stable development in China-U.S. relations, which would inject stability, certainty, and constructiveness into the uncertain world.

In today’s world, coordination and cooperation between China and the U.S. are indispensable to the post-pandemic global recovery, the response to climate change, and the resolution of regional hotspot issues. The two countries jointly tackling global challenges is not only a necessity for world peace and development, but also a responsibility of major countries.

Given the profound changes unseen in a century, every responsible politician must answer the questions of the times and make historic choices with confidence, courage, and a sense of responsibility.

Both China and the U.S. should adhere to the principles of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, and win-win cooperation. With a sense of responsibility for history, for the people and for the world, the two countries should meet each other halfway and strive for sound and stable development of their relations.

(Zhong Sheng is a pen name often used by People’s Daily to express its views on foreign policy and international affairs.)

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