Remarks by State Councilor Dai Bingguo At the Opening Session of the Second Round of The China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogues
Beijing, 24 May 2010
I feel truly pleased to get together with Vice Premier Wang Qishan, Secretary Clinton and Secretary Geithner in Beijing in this blooming and enchanting month of May to co-chair the Second Round of the China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogues. And I look forward to joining you for the address of President Hu Jintao, who will soon be with us in the opening session, and for the message from President Obama. So many Chinese and American friends that care for and are devoted to the growth of China-US relations have gathered today for candid and in-depth dialogues on the strategic, long-term and overarching issues in China-US relations. I believe this is in itself a pioneering undertaking in state-to-state relations.
Last year when the world was haunted by the international financial crisis, President Hu Jintao and President Obama, out of their keen insight of the prospects of the 21st century, agreed to build a positive, cooperative and comprehensive China-US relationship for the 21st century and a partnership to cope with common challenges, and decided to take a major strategic step by setting up the mechanism of the China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogues. In so doing, they sent a positive signal to the world that China and the United States would join hands to tide over the difficulties and work together for a better future of China-US relations and the world at large.
One year later, as we gather again and look at the world around us, I believe we all feel more keenly that we are now at a crucial historical juncture in the development of mankind and of China-US relations. Our two countries not only need to answer the question of whether we can build a new type of relationship between major countries in the 21st century. We also face a strategic choice as to what kind of a century China and the United States, together with other countries, will leave to our peoples, to our children and our children's children.
Though the last century that people of our generation have gone through has witnessed a lot of progress made by mankind, it was still a century in which the zero-sum rule prevailed and lines were drawn along ideologies. It was a century far from being tranquil. It was beset by disasters and adversities and characterized by a fractured international system, incessant confrontation between blocs and alternating hot and cold wars.
Though what had happened has lingered on to the 21st century, though problems, old and new, are intertwined, unprecedented changes have taken place in our world. What sets this century apart from the previous ones is that countries are becoming increasingly interdependent and their interests are more than ever interconnected. Like it or not, we, residents on Earth, have in fact become inseparable from one another. Be it in good times or bad times, we are bound together by common interests and have a common destiny to share.
We are faced in such a world with the rising multitude of global issues, with common challenges that no individual country or handful of countries can tackle alone, and with significant and thorny issues concerning the sustainable development of mankind. Regardless of the difference in social system, cultural tradition, and development model and stage, no country, no major country in particular, should hold to things that have become outdated. We have to let suspicion, confrontation and war give way to communication, cooperation and the pursuit of peace. We have to learn to respect each other, conduct cooperation on an equal footing, make concerted efforts and pursue harmonious coexistence. This is our only choice! We are convinced that in this 21st century, neither the Chinese and American peoples nor people of other countries will allow history to repeat itself or the cause of advancement to backpedal. No attempt to stir up confrontation and stage war, be it a hot war, a cold war or even a warm war, will be popular in today's world. Nor will such an attempt lead to anywhere.
China and the United States, being the biggest developing and developed country in the world, should have a sound judgment of the development trend of our world, and go along with the tide of history. We should remove man-made disruptions and unswervingly follow the direction charted by our two presidents to build a positive, cooperative and comprehensive China-US partnership for the 21st century. In this era of globalization, we should foster a new type of relations among major countries characterized by mutual respect, harmonious coexistence and win-win cooperation of countries with different social systems, cultural traditions and development stages. This will contribute to the sustained and common development and prosperity of our two countries and serve the interest of our two peoples and people around the world. We do not believe that world affairs should be determined by one or two individual countries. Yet should China and the United States not be able to build and develop such a new type of relations, the chance for peace will be seriously undermined in the 21st century.
To build a new type of China-US partnership will, without doubt, be an unprecedented and pioneering undertaking. The path forward will not be plain sailing or trouble-free. But past experience has proven that this is the path that we must take and will lead us to success. Looking back, decades ago, who could have imagined that leaders of the elder generation in China and America could have that handshake that came over the vastest ocean in the world?! Who could have imagined that China-US relations could witness such huge, comprehensive and profound development only 31 years after the establishment of diplomatic relations?! And who could have imagined that China and the United States, two major countries with different social systems, could join hands to tackle the once-in-a-century, severe international financial crisis?! Along this line, we can well foresee that in the 21st century, the statesmen and people of our two countries will have sufficient will, wisdom and capacity to overcome all difficulties and break new ground in establishing a new type of partnership between our two countries.
As the American movie "Babel" has shown, communication, mutual understanding and trust are of utmost importance in the new century. I believe the Strategic and Economic Dialogues should be an important and effective bridge in promoting communication, understanding and trust between China and the United States, and should contribute to building a positive, cooperative and comprehensive China-US partnership. This should be the unique function and value of our dialogue mechanism. And it is what our leaders and peoples expect of us. I am ready to work with my Chinese and American colleagues to live up to that expectation and to our common mission.