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A pioneering endeavor

By Chen Yonglong and Xue Junying | China Daily | Updated: 2013-07-26 09:18

To realize their shared vision of a new type of relationship, China and the US must work together step by step

Differences and diversity do not equate to conflict in a diversified world. That some of their differences cannot be resolved does not mean that China and the United States cannot become partners.

Former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger often says that there is a cultural difference between Chinese and Americans when it comes to dealing with a problem. He says that Americans pay more attention to immediate interests, while the Chinese take a long-term view.

In other words, although their approaches to problems and their way of dealing with them may differ, that does not negate the fact they both want to resolve the problem. Focusing on realistic benefits does not mean a lack of foresight, while focusing on the long-term benefits does not mean ignoring immediate interests. It means both countries making some compromises and working step by step toward their shared vision of a new type of relationship between major powers.

Understandably, their different development stages and political systems mean there are big differences in how the bilateral relationship is viewed in the two countries. But there is a shared desire to find the common ground among their differences.

At the Bo'ao Forum for Asia two years ago, former US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice said to me that there were many differences between China and the US, some of which need to be overcome, some of which offer a chance to learn from one another. For example, China has 5,000 years of culture that the US can learn from, while the US, with a history of only 200-plus years, has advanced technologies and management that China can learn from.

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