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Envoy: China focused domestically while seeking cooperation in troubled world

By HENG WEILI in New York | | Updated: 2024-04-22 09:38
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Chinese Ambassador to the United States Xie Feng attends the opening ceremony of the Harvard Kennedy School China Conference 2024 on Saturday. [Photo provided to]

In a world beset with conflict, China has chosen to pursue modernization in its own country while forging "a community with a shared future for mankind" internationally, said its ambassador to the US in a weekend speech.

Ambassador Xie Feng attended the opening ceremony of the Harvard Kennedy School China Conference 2024 on Saturday and delivered the speech, "Chinese Modernization, A Community with a Shared Future for Mankind, and China-US Relations".

Xie said that he hoped that the US side will work with China and find the right way to get along in a new era, based on mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation.

The ambassador said that a lot has changed in the world, and "we are now living in a turbulent time".

He cited the ongoing conflicts in Gaza and Ukraine.

"It seems that everywhere we look, we see powder kegs that can explode anytime," Xie said. "Energy, food and debt crises keep emerging. More than 100 million people are displaced, and 700 million are grappling with hunger.

"Non-traditional security challenges such as artificial intelligence, climate change and biosecurity are on the rise," he said. "Worries grow that we may find ourselves in another 'Oppenheimer moment', and the very survival of human civilization is at stake."

The ambassador said that the world is again at a crossroads.

"Amidst the raging torrents, we need to pull together, not pull apart. China's choice is clear and firm: At home, we will focus on achieving Chinese modernization; internationally, we will forge a community with a shared future for mankind," he said.

Xie said that a developing China will keep making contributions to building a world of lasting peace, and a China making constant progress will keep serving as a bridge for building an open and inclusive world.

A green China will keep injecting momentum into building a clean and beautiful world, he said. And a peaceful China will fulfill its responsibilities for building a world of universal security. 

"At present, we are facing grave challenges in China-US relations. Whether the younger generation can continue to enjoy the eight-decade-long peace and development as their parents did largely depends on whether China and the United States can find a right way to get along in the new era," Xie said.

He said that China is "ready to take concrete actions to implement the important consensus reached" between the nations' presidents in November, so as to turn the "San Francisco vision" into reality.

Xie said that both sides need to first jointly develop the right perception toward each other.

"China never bets against the United States and never interferes in its internal affairs, including elections," he said. "We are willing to be partners and friends with the United States. Is the US side also ready to do the same?" 

Second, he said that disagreements must be managed effectively.

"If the US side keeps interfering with China's internal affairs and damaging China's interests on issues related to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Xizang and the South China Sea, how could the two sides ever put a floor under the relationship, no matter how many guardrails there may be?" Xie asked.

Third, he said that mutually beneficial cooperation must be advanced.

"If the two sides had focused solely on differences and competition half a century ago, how could we have reopened our doors to each other?" Xie said.

"Some people, though, stress the importance of a free market when they get the upper hand but resort to protectionism when they are outperformed. Is this fair?" 

Fourth, he called for jointly shouldering responsibilities as major countries.

"We are willing to coordinate with the United States and jointly explore third-party market cooperation. Will the US side also welcome China to be part of its multilateral initiatives?" Xie asked. 

Fifth, he said there is a need to jointly promote people-to-people exchanges.

"Now that our leaders have agreed to increase people-to-people exchanges, why should all the barriers in travel, visa and border policies still be there? During the era of mutual estrangement and antagonism from 1949 to 1971, trade between China and the United States was almost zero, and our citizens had to get stapled visas to visit each other's country," he said.

"In a globalized world today, why should we backpedal and return to the past?"

The ambassador said that the bilateral relationship "cannot go back to the old days, but we can jointly usher in a brighter future for it. The hope lies in the youth, who are known for vitality, creativity and the will to act."

Xie encouraged Americans to "travel the expanse of China with their own feet, and see a true, dynamic and panoramic China; to put their heads together, and contribute wisdom to how our two countries can get along well on this planet; and to spring into action, promote exchanges and cooperation between China and the United States, so as to create a future of lasting peace and prosperity for all".

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