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Work Hard to Build a New Model of Major-Country Relationship Between China and the United States

2014/07/09

Address by H.E. Xi Jinping
President of the People's Republic of China
At the Joint Opening Ceremony of the Sixth Round of the China-US
Strategic and Economic Dialogue and the Fifth Round of the China-US
High-level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange

9 July 2014

Secretary of State John Kerry,
Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Friends,

The month of July has embraced the city of Beijing with the touch of green willows and the scent of pagoda tree flowers. In this beautiful season, the Sixth Round of the China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) and the Fifth Round of the China-US High-level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange (CPE) are open. It is my great pleasure to have this opportunity to meet with you. To start with, I would like to extend a warm welcome to our American friends who have traveled a long distance to China and give my sincere regards to people from all sectors of our two countries that have long shown care and support for the growth of China-US relations.

The Diaoyutai State Guesthouse where we gather today has witnessed a host of major events in the history of China-US relations. Dr. Kissinger's secret trip to China,President Nixon's historic China visit, and negotiations leading to the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the United States, among others,all had close relations with this Guesthouse. In particular, the official establishment of China-US diplomatic relations in 1979,an event that shook the world, not only changed the landscape of international relations,but also opened a new era of exchange and cooperation between the people of China and the United States.

Over the past 35 years, China-US relations have kept moving forward and achieved historic growth despite twists and turns. Over 90 dialogue mechanisms have been set up at the governmental level. Two-way trade has increased more than 200 times to reach US$520 billion last year. Two-way investment stock has exceeded US$100 billion. 41 pairs of sister states and provinces and 202 pairs of sister cities have been formed. And every year, more than four million mutual visits are exchanged between the two sides. China-US cooperation has brought benefit to our two peoples. It has also contributed to peace, stability and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.

Mr. Deng Xiaoping observed, back in 1979,that the interests of the two peoples and those for world peace had made it imperative that we put the China-US relationship in the context of the overall international situation and view it with a long-term,strategic vision. China and the United States, when combined, account for 1/3 of the world's economic aggregate,1/4 of the world's population and 1/5 of total global trade. In addition, our interests are more than ever inter-connected. Both history and reality show that China and the United States stand to gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation. If China and the United States work together, we could achieve major undertakings that serve our own interests and those of the world. If we are in confrontation,it will surely spell disaster for both countries and the wider world. Under such circumstances, it is all the more important that we stand high and look far, and continue to strengthen China-US cooperation. We need to stay committed to cooperation and avoid confrontation, as I believe this benefits not only our two countries but the world as a whole.

About 1,000 years ago, Su Shi, a famous writer of China's Song Dynasty, said, "Opportunity may knock just once; grab it before it slips away." To grow China-US relations, we need to seize opportunities and keep abreast of the changing times. Despite profound changes in the international environment and in our respective national conditions in the past 35 years, China-US relations have managed to overcome difficulties and move forward. It is because leaders of our two countries, from one generation to another,have been able to follow the trend of the times and constantly bring new dimensions and impetus to this relationship. It falls upon us today to keep moving in the same direction, graduate from the old way of thinking, bring in new ideas,and continue to open up new prospects in China-US cooperation.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Friends,

In the historic meeting President Obama and I had last summer at the Annenberg Estate, California, we reached important agreement that China and the United States shall work together to build a new model of major-country relationship. That agreement was reaffirmed during my meetings with President Obama both in St. Petersburg and in The Hague.

To build a new model of major-country relationship between China and the United States is a major strategic decision made by both countries based on their past historical experience and in light of their respective national conditions as well as the overall international situation. It serves the fundamental interests of the two peoples and people of the world. It gives expression to the determination and political courage of our two countries to break the old pattern of inevitable major-country conflict and confrontation and foster a new model of major-country relations between us.

Over the past year, fresh progress has been made in our efforts to build a new model of major-country relationship. Our two countries have continued to work together in coping with the impact of the international financial crisis and promoting global economic recovery. We have had intensive coordination on relevant international, regional and global issues and joined hands to address challenges that bear on the future and destiny of mankind. We have also deepened bilateral practical cooperation and exchanges across the board to make sure that our two peoples benefit from the growth of our relations.

The building of a new model of major-country relationship between China and the United States is an unprecedented and innovative endeavor. There is no ready experience or model to follow and it is natural that some difficulties and even setbacks may occur. When faced with problems, what is crucial is that we work together to resolve them instead of simply finding the problem fearsome or letting it take over. Looking forward, I would like to share with you the following thought.

First, we need to enhance mutual trust and steer the course forward. How China and the United States perceive each other's strategic intention will directly bear on the ensuing policies they adopt and the course of development of bilateral relations. One could ill afford a mistake on this fundamental issue, a mistake that may possibly ruin the whole undertaking. China has put forward the "two centenary" goals and is striving to realize the Chinese dream of great national renewal. It needs, more than ever, a peaceful and stable external environment. The Chinese people cherish peace and believe that "peace is the most precious"and that "no one should do to others what he does not want others to do to himself." China is steadfast in following the path of peaceful development. It adheres to the principle of seeking amity, sincerity, mutual benefit and inclusiveness with its neighbors, and is committed to developing friendly relations with countries in the region and beyond.

As we say in China, "The sky is unlimited for birds to fly at ease, as the ocean is boundless for fish to leap at will." I have always believed that the vast Pacific Ocean has ample space to accommodate our two great nations. China and the United States need to step up dialogue, enhance trust, dispel misgivings, and advance cooperation, so as to make sure that our relations stay firm on the track toward a new model of major-country relationship.

Second, we need to uphold mutual respect and seek common ground while resolving differences. Given their difference in history, culture, tradition, social system, ideology, and level of economic development, it is natural that China and the United States may have different views and even frictions on certain issues. China and the United States, with their diverse features, may differ in a lot of aspects. This is what makes communication and cooperation all the more necessary. What is important is that both countries focus on the larger picture and the overall goal of building a new model of major-country relationship, and fully recognize that our shared interests far outweigh our differences. Our two countries need to respect each other and treat each other as equals, respect each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as choices for development paths, and refrain from attempting to impose one's will or model on the other side. We need to properly manage differences and frictions, and stick to dialogue, consultation and constructive ways to deepen mutual understanding and expand common ground. As long as we uphold mutual respect, seek common ground while resolving differences, be firm in our determination, and remain unperturbed by individual incidents or particular comments, we will be able to keep the overall China-US relations on a firm footing despite the ups and downs that may come our way.

Third, we need to seek mutual benefit on an equal footing and boost our cooperation. The new conditions have provided even broader space in which China and the United States should and can work with each other. Opportunities need to be created, and they can be created through innovation. As the Chinese saying goes, "A perceptive man hears from silence, and an insightful man foresees ahead of action." Both China and the United States are creative nations. In promoting our bilateral relations, we need more than ever to innovate in light of the changing times. We need to use new approaches to unlock our potential and nurture new bright spots in cooperation. We need to step up negotiations on the bilateral investment treaty and reach a high-level and balanced agreement at an early date to advance the China-US economic relationship. We need to deepen military-to-military dialogue and improve communication and cooperation mechanisms to promote our military-to-military relations. We need to increase dialogue and cooperation on a two-way and mutually beneficial basis to jointly combat terrorism of all forms. We need to give rein to our respective strengths and shoulder due obligations in our joint response to the global challenge of climate change. And we need to enhance communication and coordination on major international and regional issues and contribute even more to world peace, stability and prosperity.

Fourth, we need to deepen friendship between our peoples. The Chinese and the American people share a reservoir of friendly sentiments towards each other. This friendship between China and the United States has its roots among the general public, and places its future in our young people. I have been to the United States many times and I have visited American families, and I have always been touched by the sincere hospitality of the American people.

We live in an age of rapid economic globalization and spread of information. However, phones or the internet could never replace face-to-face communication between the people. Friendship that has taken root in people's heart is too strong to break. We need to encourage and increase the friendly interflow between our two peoples and broaden channels of communication at sub-national levels and between think tanks, media organizations, young people and other sectors of our societies so as to enhance popular support for the friendship between our two countries.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Dear Friends,

The S&ED and the CPE are important platforms that involve more agencies and cover more topics than other dialogue mechanisms between China and the United States. This year's S&ED and CPE are taking place at an important moment as new developments have emerged in the international political and economic landscapes and as China-US relations are faced with new opportunities and challenges. I hope the two sides will keep their feet firmly on the ground while setting their eyes to the long-term future, have thorough communication and work in the same direction to inject more positive energy to building a new model of major-country relationship between China and the United States.

As a Chinese saying goes, "Constant grinding turns an iron rod into a needle." The American poet Marianne Moore also said, "Victory won,t come to me unless I go to it." It is our mission and responsibility to build a new model of major-country relationship. "A huge tree that fills one's arms grows from a tiny seedling; a nine-storied tower rises from a heap of earth." Let us demonstrate such hard work and perseverance, take solid steps as we move forward, and work together to build a new model of major-country relationship between China and the United States and create an even brighter future for China-US relations.

Thank you.

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