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Keynote Speech by Chinese Consul General in New York Huang Ping at the China-U.S. Relations Forum of World Affairs Council of Connecticut

(From Chinese Consulate General in New York)

2022-04-08 08:32

(April 6, 2022, World Affairs Council of Connecticut)

President Megan Torrey,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning!

It is really a great honor for me to be invited to attend the forum today. The pandemic has been raging for more than two years. I’m so happy to come again to the beautiful state of Connecticut and to see so many old and new friends here.

Connecticut is very well-known in China. More than 200 years ago, Rong Hong, “the father of Chinese students studying abroad” , studied at Yale University. Here is also the hometown of Mark Twain. Many characters in his novels have become household names in China, and Mark Twain’s witty and humorous writing style has been known to all Chinese people.

In recent years, there have been more and more exchanges between Connecticut and China, and the relationship has become increasingly close. I learned that the Chinese investment here has reached 200 million dollars, creating thousands of jobs. Over the last decade or so, Connecticut’s exports in both goods and services to China have registered double-digit growth and they are still growing. Connecticut has established sister-state and sister-city relations with Shandong province and 6 cities in China. Last year witnessed the 35th anniversary of the sister-state relationship between Shandong and Connecticut. The two sides held a series of friendly exchanges. In the early days of the pandemic, China helped Connecticut to purchase a large amount of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) from China and donated part of it to Connecticut. I fully believe that China and Connecticut can develop a deeper and broader relationship in the future.

In my opinion, the China-U.S. relationship is rooted in states, cities and people. My confidence in China-U.S. relations comes from the vigorous cooperation between the states and cities, and the profound friendship between the two peoples. Connecticut is at the forefront of both. I appreciate that and hope you will make more efforts to this end.

Ladies and gentlemen,

This year marks the 50th anniversary of President Nixon’s visit to China and the issuance of the “Shanghai Communiqué”. Fifty years ago, with extraordinary strategic vision and political courage, the older generation of leaders of the two countries ended the prolonged estrangement between the two countries, started the process toward normalization of China-U.S. relations, and ushered in the structural transformation in international relations. Over the past 50 years, China-U.S. relations have gone through ups and downs, but they have achieved tremendous development beyond imagination, not only delivering great benefits to the two peoples, but also making important contributions to world peace, stability and prosperity.

Needless to say, the current China-U.S. relationship has once again come to a crossroads, attracting much attention. Whether the giant ship of China-U.S. relations will continue on the right course, or will it go astray due to interference, the key lies in whether the two sides can continuously strengthen communication and establish correct mutual understanding and trust. In recent years, there have been many misunderstandings about China in the U.S., which are mainly reflected in the following three questions. Failure to address these perception issues may cause long-term disruptions to the future of China-U.S. relations.

Question one: Is China going to replace the U.S.?

In recent years, due to the rapid growth of the Chinese economy and the China’s growing international influence, some American friends are worrying that China will unseat the U.S. from its role in the world. This is a strategic misjudgment of China and shows a lack of self-confidence.

China is still a developing country. Although China had delivered significant development achievements, it still lags far behind developed countries. Unbalanced and inadequate development remains a prominent challenge for China. Going forward, we still need to focus on domestic economic and social development to make sure people can live a better life.

In addition, Traditional Chinese culture stresses moderation and humility, and advocates giving more and receiving less. We know full well that no hegemony will ever last. Seeking hegemony has never been in the Chinese DNA. China’s goal is to become a better self, not to displace others.

Meanwhile, the world is confronted with growing global challenges. No country can do well in isolation or fix all the problems by itself. Sharing international responsibilities is an inevitable trend. All countries, especially the big ones, can complement one another by drawing on their strengths. China stands ready to fulfill its due responsibilities and work with other countries to build a community with a shared future for mankind.

Question two: Has the U.S. been “ripped off” in its cooperation with China?

Recently, many Americans believe that China has become a economic competitor of the U.S. and the Chinese have robbed Americans of their jobs. Based on this, they judged that the U.S.  suffered a loss in developing relations with China, and advocated various restrictions on China and even “decoupling” from China. But as long as you scrutinize carefully, you will find these views are completely untenable. Cooperation between China and the U.S. far outweighs competition, and common interests far outweigh differences. Over the years, the U.S. economy has also benefited a lot from its cooperation with China.

Now, China-U.S.bilateral trade reaches 750 billion dollars a year, and two-way investment stock exceeds 240 billion dollars. According to statistics, the export of U.S. To China increased 21.3%, China-U.S. economic and trade relations support 2.6 million jobs in the U.S., and trade between the two countries saves every American family an average of $850 each year. Not far from here, CRRC’s Springfield Plant in Massachusetts, China Construction America Corporation in New Jersey, and Ohio Fuyao Group have contributed thousands of jobs and a lot of tax revenue to the states. More than 70,000 American companies have invested in China, and 97% of them are profitable.

Going forward, as China enters a new development stage, we will follow a new development philosophy and foster a new development paradigm, continue to expand opening up, and work hand in hand with the world economy. China has a population of 1.4 billion and the largest middle-income group in the world. In the next 15 years, China will import 30 trillion dollars of goods and 10 trillion dollars of services, which will surely offer a new round of cooperation opportunities and share the development dividend with countries including the U.S.. The fifth China International Import Expo will be held in Shanghai in this November. Connecticut enterprises are welcome to participate.

Of course, while globalization and free trade create development dividends, they will also impact the economic structure of various countries and bring about contradictions in the distribution of interests. This requires all sides to adjust through domestic policies. Looking for scapegoats abroad cannot solve the problem.

Question three: Are China and the U.S. bound to go into conflict and confrontation or can they seek common ground while shelving differences and coexist peacefully?

There are indeed differences in social systems, development paths, and values between China and the U.S., but this does not mean that the two countries will inevitably lead to conflict and confrontation. In history, the two countries were once at war with each other, which was followed by 22 years of confrontation. The ups and downs in our relations fully prove that confrontation and conflict is not in the interests of either China or the U.S., and that dialogue and cooperation is the only way forward. Some Americans claim that the decades-long engagement policy of the U.S. has failed in its original purpose of changing China, and that it is time to revert to a policy of containment. Such an idea of molding others according to one’s wish is wrong, and will never work.

Last year marked the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China. In the past several decades, we have completed a journey that took developed countries one hundred years or even centuries to accomplish. We have made it because we have found a path of socialism with Chinese characteristics under the leadership of the Communist Party of China. It is a path to development, to success, to peace and to win-win results. While accelerating our own development, we have also contributed to the common development of our cooperation partners.

The U.S. philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote that in true friendship, both parties “recognize the deep identity which, beneath their disparities, unites them”. Over 2,500 years ago, Chinese sage Confucius observed that “A gentleman seeks harmony without uniformity whereas a petty man does just the opposite”. The two philosophers, though living millennia apart, spoke to the same truth: although China and the U.S. have their own development goals, it is not an either-or relationship, and there is no need to exclude each other. We may well help each other and work with each other.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Last month, President Xi Jinping held a virtual meeting with President Biden again. Both sides agreed that China and the U.S. should respect each other, coexist peacefully and avoid confrontation, and agreed that the two sides should strengthen communication and dialogue at all levels and in various fields. We sincerely hope that China and the U.S. will meet each other halfway and make joint efforts in this direction. I would like to express my expectations for China-U.S. relations in four key words.

First is Respect. China respects America’s social system and believes that the U.S. will continue to develop and make progress. Likewise, we hope the U.S. side will respect the path China has independently chosen and accommodate a peaceful and prosperous China. The path of socialism with Chinese characteristics is rooted in the Chinese civilization which lasts 5,000 years. It is the choice of the 1.4 billion Chinese people and the choice of history. We have strong confidence in this.

In several international polls, the Chinese people’s trust in the Chinese government exceeds 90%, ranking first among the participating countries. Fifty years ago, the key to breaking the ice in China-U.S. relations was that the two sides adhered to the spirit of mutual respect. Today, 50 years later, we must continue to uphold mutual respect in order to find a way for the two countries to coexist.

Second is Cooperation. As the two largest economies in the world, China and the U.S. have boundless potential for cooperation. When China and the U.S. cooperate, they can make all kinds of “impossible” “possible”. Countries around the world also hope that China and the U.S. can work together instead of splitting the world into two parallel economic systems.

Our two sides should, in a win-win spirit, expand cooperation in traditional areas of trade, finance and infrastructure, create new highlights in health care, clean energy, digital economy and senior care industry, and address the pressing global problems of inflation, energy shortage and instability in the supply chain. This will enable us to bring more tangible benefits to the peoples of both countries and beyond. On the contrary, if the “trade war” and  “decoupling and cutting off supply” continue, it will undermine the international division of labor, disrupt the international industrial chain and supply chain, add troubles to the world economy, and harm the people of all countries who have already experienced hardships.

Third is Responsibility. The current international situation is undergoing profound changes. As major countries with important international influence, it’s crucial for China and the U.S. to strengthen communication and coordination in international affairs and shoulder the responsibility of great powers. The two sides should join hands in combating the pandemic, recovering the economy, tackling climate change, and dealing with regional hotspot issues such as the North Korean nuclear issue and the Iranian nuclear issue. Together we can make greater contributions to world peace and development.

Now, the situation in Ukraine has drawn extensive attention from the international community. China is deeply saddened by the developments in Ukraine. China’s position has always been that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all countries should be respected, the principles and purposes of the UN Charter should be observed, the legitimate security concerns of all countries should be taken into serious consideration, and international disputes should be settled peacefully. President Xi Jinping and State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi talked with their counterparts in multiple countries over the video or phone these days. These efforts are aimed at easing the situation and urging the parties involved to negotiate a political settlement of the Ukraine crisis. We support all efforts that are conducive to a peaceful solution, and will continue to play a constructive and unique role on the Ukraine issue.

Fourth is Friendship. The friendship between the two peoples has always been a constant driving force for our relations, and should always be carefully protected. The two countries have established 50 pairs of sister states and 233 pairs of sister cities. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 300 flights shuttled between the two countries every week; over five million travels were made across the Pacific every year and more than 400,000 Chinese students studying in the U.S. Since I took office, I have visited all of the ten states in our consular district. Generally, I feel that all sectors of the American society attach great importance to developing relations with China, and welcome Chinese investment, tourists and students. Many people love traditional Chinese culture such as Chinese calligraphy, food, and martial arts, and hope to visit China. Likewise, the Chinese people are willing to understand the U.S. and strengthen friendship with the American people. Disney, Universal Studios, Hollywood, KFC and Starbucks are household names in China and are popular with young Chinese. On the opening day of Universal Studios Beijing last year, tickets were sold out within 1 minute. We should comply with public opinion, pave the way for people-to-people and cultural exchanges and minimize obstacles.

The two sides can deepen exchanges under the sister-state and sister-city mechanism, continue to carry out cooperation in education, such as overseas studying and cooperative universities. We should resume cultural exchanges such as tourism, exhibitions, and performances as soon as possible after the pandemic. Before the pandemic, our Consulate used to hold Open Days for American primary and secondary school students. Nearly 300 American teachers, students and parents walked into the Consulate. As soon as the pandemic is over, the Consulate stands ready to open the door again to young students from all states in the consular district, sowing the seeds of friendship for the next generation of the two countries.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We are gathering today to explore how to work toward a better future for China-U.S. relations. This fully demonstrates the Connecticut people’s devotion to and expectations for our relations. We know that Connecticut’s state motto is “He who transplanted still sustains”. Although the current China-U.S. relationship is facing severe challenges, I firmly believe that as long as we join hands to strengthen communication, enhance mutual understanding, deepen cooperation and expand common interests, the bilateral relations will withstand the test and usher in a brighter future. Let’s work together to make it!

Thank you!

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