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Both nations should be on 'right side of history'

By CAO DESHENG | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2021-01-29 09:52
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China Daily publisher and editor-in-chief Zhou Shuchun addresses the virtual Vision China event on Thursday. FENG YONGBIN/CHINA DAILY

Both China and the United States should "stand on the right side of history" in setting the direction of their relations amid unprecedented difficulties and setbacks they encountered in the past a few years, said Zhou Shuchun, publisher and editor-in-chief of China Daily, on Thursday.

Zhou made the remarks while addressing the virtual Vision China event. He said that "the right side of history" means removing barriers and building bridges rather than erecting walls and digging ditches, or closing doors and blocking roads.

"To be on the right side of history, we should move forward from where we began," Zhou suggested. He talked about the "ping-pong diplomacy" in 1971, which marked a thaw in Sino-US relations and paved the way for the establishment of diplomatic ties. He also underlined the importance of people-to-people exchanges in raising public support for a meaningful friendship and substantial cooperation.

Zhou noted that the Sino-US relationship is widely considered the most important in today's world because the way they handle their relations matters a great deal to many other countries. He called on both nations to shoulder their responsibility as major players in the international arena and work together to build a better relationship.

"History tells us that the decisions made by major countries on the direction of their relations determine to a large extent the fate and future of mankind," he said, adding the right side of history calls for a relationship featuring "nonconflict, nonconfrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation", as was the consensus reached between President Xi Jinping and former president Barack Obama at their summit back in 2013.

Zhou said that since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, people have become increasingly aware that humanity is a community with a shared future. As the global public health crisis shows no signs of abating and confirmed cases worldwide have just passed 100 million, there is an urgent need for nations to join hands to build a global community of health for all, he added."The right side of history asks China and the United States to share, and not shirk, the responsibility of strengthening international partnerships and global governance."

Zhou also called on the two countries to work together to advance the building of an open world economy to boost global development.

China and the US account for more than one-third of global economic output and half of global growth. Due to the fallout of the pandemic, the global economy has encountered the most severe crisis and challenge since the Great Depression of the 1930s, he said.

"Different calculations in their economic, trade and technological policies might either impart momentum or put a brake on global development," Zhou said. "And to be on the right side of history, the two biggest economies in the world must work together where they carry the most weight."

"The right side of history" will prove that openness and togetherness will prevail over confrontation and decoupling, and responsible members of the international community should work to advance the building of an open world economy, he added.

Zhou quoted Richard Nixon, the first US president to set foot on the soil of New China in 1972, as saying "It is not our common beliefs that have brought us together here, but our common interests and our common hope".

He said: "Things have changed as time has passed, and the world is no longer what it used to be. However, we're strongly convinced that the 'common interests' and 'common hopes' that President Nixon spoke of are still relevant, and what's more, they should be built upon."

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