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Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng: China-United States (US) Relations in the New Year Should Have a New Outlook

2020/01/11

On January 11, 2020, Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng delivered a speech upon invitation at the 2nd International Forum on Security and Strategy organized by the Center for International Strategy and Security of Tsinghua University and had interactions with Chinese and foreign scholars under the theme of Confronting the Great Changes: Challenges & Options.

Le Yucheng said, the international situation in 2019 can be described as turbulent and short of proper governance. On national governance, there was a sharp opposition between the populists and the establishment. There were great social unrests in several countries, and violent scenes were all over on television. On global governance, there was a fierce battle between multilateralism and unilateralism. Contradictions among major countries are prominent; regional hotspot issues are heating up; and global problems are complex and difficult to solve. As the world is facing severe challenges, how should we make a decision? In their New Year messages this year, leaders of many countries emphasized the following key words: unity, reform and people's livelihood. From my perspective, in the face of all these challenges, we need to work together, take bold reforms, and focus on people's livelihood. I believe that as long as we unite as one, work hand in hand, and do not fear the difficulties and obstacles, we will certainly be able to grasp the changing situation, stabilize the chaos and open up a new situation in the new year.

Le Yucheng pointed out, over the past year, under the strong leadership of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China with President Xi Jinping at the core, the Chinese people have forged ahead and made new and great achievements. We celebrated the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China and achieved the development goal of pursuing progress while ensuring stability. The GDP in 2019 was close to 100 trillion yuan with the per capita figure bound to be 10,000 US dollars. China's contribution to world economic growth has exceeded 30 percent for many consecutive years. China has lifted more than 10 million people out of poverty, which contributed 70 percent to the world's cause of poverty reduction. China has become the largest trading partner of more than 120 countries in the world. In 2019, China's ranking in ease of doing business also rose from 46th to 31st in the world. China has become the most stable, secure and promising destination for investment globally. What meets the eye across the vast expanse of China is active creations and people who are all busy making their beautiful dreams come true.

Le Yucheng noted, reviewing the relations between China and the United States (US) over the past year, there are at least four inspirations. First, the trade war cannot solve the problem and is completely counterproductive, causing serious impact on China, the US and the world economy. The world economy grew by only 3 percent in 2019, the slowest since 2008. The trade war has upset market expectations, undermined people's confidence and damaged the world economy. It is time to stop!

Second, "decoupling" and "a new Cold War" are against the trend of the times and win no support from the people worldwide. We are already living in a world that is increasingly interdependent with intermingled interests. "Decoupling" and "a new Cold War" will destroy the many years' achievements of cooperation among all countries, and the world will once again move towards division, isolation, and confrontation. The consequences will be unimaginable.

Third, passing on the crisis to China and getting China to take medicine for its own illness are fruitless approaches. China's rapid development is, in essence, achieved through the efforts of the Chinese people. China has not taken advantage of others, nor has it done anything wrong to others. Blaming China for its own problems and using China as a scapegoat is beneficial neither to China nor to itself, and it is unfair and unreasonable.

Fourth, dialogue and consultation on the basis of equality and mutual respect are the correct approach to solve problems. The conclusion of the phase-one economic and trade agreement reached between China and the US is a good omen for the new year, which is beneficial to both countries and the world. And it also shows that China and the US have the wisdom and ability to handle differences and achieve win-win cooperation. We hope that there will be a new outlook, new approach and new development in China-US relations in the new year, and the two sides will well implement the important consensus reached by the two heads of state, and strive to bring China-US relations onto the track of coordination, cooperation and stability.

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