Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Concrete actions on consensus

By Xie Feng (China Daily) Updated: 2013-11-07 07:25

The two sides have also worked together through dialogue and coordination to ease tensions on hotspot issues. China and the US have maintained close consultation and coordination with other parties on issues such as the Korean Peninsula, Syria and Iran. With their joint efforts, an escalation of tension on the Peninsula was prevented, the Syrian chemical weapon issue has realized a soft landing, and the Iranian nuclear issue has seen positive developments. China has also received visits by the Palestinian and Israeli leaders and worked with the US to encourage the peace talks. The two countries' coordination on Afghanistan and the two Sudans has also been productive.

At the same time, the building of a new model of relations between major countries is an unprecedented cause because there is no existing example to follow, making it a long-term task, and three things are required for success:

First, confidence. As the two largest economies in the world and permanent members of the UN Security Council, China and the US enjoy a deep convergence of interests. Building a new model of relations between major countries is not just one of multiple choices, it is the only correct answer.

Second, sincerity. Differences between China and the US will not disappear overnight. The two sides need to respect each other's social systems and development models, as well as sovereignty, security and development interests. Constructive ways need to be found, through dialogue and consultation, to manage differences. It is improper to take the new model of relations as a basket and put everything into it, such as raising a list of concerns and having conditions attached. Nor should the concept be taken as a ruler to judge the other side unilaterally, or link it to every issue.

Third, action. The new model of relations is not just words. It requires real action and concrete cooperation in all aspects of bilateral relations. The two countries should deepen practical cooperation in areas such as the economy, trade, investment, military-to-military relations, cultural and people-to-people exchanges, new energy, environmental protection and infrastructure development. Coordination and cooperation on the Korean nuclear issue, Iranian nuclear issue, the Syrian crisis, Afghanistan, climate change, cyber security and other regional and global issues must be maintained and strengthened.

To be more specific, in the coming months and years, China and the US should focus on the opportunities presented by their respective economic restructuring and transformation, use the Bilateral Investment Treaty negotiations as a way to start a new chapter in China-US economic and trade cooperation, jointly promote unity and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region to increase mutual trust and realize benign interaction, work together to resolve hotspot issues and global challenges, and, finally, properly handle sensitive issues and effectively control differences and risks.

The author is director general of the North American and Oceanian Affairs, China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

(China Daily 11/07/2013 page8)

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