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Former US diplomat criticizes Washington for risking US-China relations

Xinhua | Updated: 2019-08-26 09:49
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SAN FRANCISCO - A former US diplomat on Saturday criticized the US administration for risking US-China relations.

David Firestein, president and CEO of the George H. W. Bush Foundation for US-China Relations, also known as the Bush China Foundation, said at a conference held in the Bay Area focusing on US-China relations, that US President Donald Trump's tweets contain "dangerous" elements for the country.

He accused the Trump administration of "retreating from principles of limited government, of free trade and of globalization."

"We face a very profound challenge in this country," he said. According to him, Washington is "going dangerously off course in our handling of the most important bilateral relationship that exists in the world today." "It's also a huge departure from all previous past practice," he added.

With regards to the steep tariffs Washington imposed on Chinese imports worth hundreds of billions of US dollars, he said, "actually Americans are paying the tariffs."

"The tariff is borne by the importer, and now there's more and more evidence that the importers are passing that tax burden onto the consumers," he explained.

Firestein told Xinhua on the sideline of the forum that the suggestion of asking American companies to "find alternatives to China" is something that is "not going to happen under any circumstances."

"The United States and China have a very robust, expansive relationship. We are deeply intertwined from the standpoint of trade, from the standpoint of investment, and from the standpoint of exchanges of people," he said.

"America has enemies in the world. China is not one of them," he stressed.

Firestein said if people are going to find a way forward to put this relationship back on track where it needs to be for the benefit of peoples of both countries, the sub-national level of engagement between the United States and China can play a role.

"Sub-national entities such as the Florence Fang Family Foundation, the Bush China Foundation, the George H. W. Bush Foundation for US-China Relations, the Bay Area Council and a myriad of organizations in California, Texas and across the nation now have to step up and do our best to mitigate the damage that is being done through poor policy executed at the federal level," he said.

During the US-China relationship conference, the attendees not only reviewed the past successes of the two countries' cooperation, but also discussed the present and future of the China-US ties for the next 40 years.

It was hosted by Florence Fang Family Foundation, a non-profit organization established in 2011 to enhance mutual understanding and cooperation between the people in the United States and China.

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