By Li Xing and Cai Hong
China and the United States must push beyond bilateral issues to deal with more pressing matters of global impact.
That was the theme echoed by Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and Jon Huntsman, US ambassador to China, in their keynote speeches yesterday in defining the China-US relations currently and in years to come.
"It has become obvious that absence of our close cooperation in which our two presidents have said to be cooperative and comprehensive, many of the most pressing world challenges cannot be successfully addressed and managed," Huntsman said at the Fourth China-US Relations Conference in Beijing entitled "China-US relations: Looking ahead after 30 years."
The US ambassador said that the two nations shared interests in "headline issues" such as energy efficiency, climate change, regional security, nuclear safety and the global recession.
The two countries must "help each other, learn from each other and make progress together," Huntsman said in both Chinese and English, a phrase he has repeated on many occasions since he took up his current post in August.
Highlighting statements by US President Barack Obama and President Hu Jintao for "positive, comprehensive and cooperative" China-US relations, Foreign Minister Yang said that the "China-US relations today is one of partnership and cooperation, not zero-sum competition."
"In the face of global challenges, such as financial crisis, energy shortage, terrorism, arms proliferation, food security and commutable diseases, countries are becoming more interdependent," Yang said.
"As the largest developing country and largest developed country, China and the US now enjoy broader common interests and shoulder greater responsibilities on important and pressing issues crucial to peace and development of mankind," he added.
In his speech, Yang also stressed the need for the two countries to respect each other's core interest. China's core interest is maintaining national security; safeguarding its sovereignty and territorial integrity; and securing sustained and steady economic development, he said.
The series of China-US Relations conferences, initiated in 2003 by former US president George H.W. Bush, is a semi-official and semi-nongovernmental platform for an exchange of ideas and research results among government officials, think-tank experts and academics from the two countries. Co-hosts include the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, Texas A&M University, George Bush Presidential Library and Museum and George Bush School of Government and Public Service.
It has also provided opportunities for college students of the two countries to meet with officials and academics and share their views.
While meeting students from Texas A&M University, Ocean University of China and several other Chinese universities, Yang recalled the time when US President Richard Nixon made his historic visit to China.
"We knew very little about each other then," Yang said, adding that some very important factors brought the two countries together.
October 23, 2009 — Return to cover.