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Wang Yi Delivers a Speech at Asia Society

2022-09-23 19:30

On September 22, 2022 local time, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi delivered a keynote speech titled the Right Way for China and the United States to Get Along in the New Era at Asia Society's headquarters in New York.

Wang Yi expressed, the past few years have seen China-U.S. relations at a low ebb since the establishment of diplomatic relations. The reality of China-U.S. interdependence is ignored; the history of our win-win cooperation is misrepresented; channels of dialogue and communication are blocked. And the China-U.S. relationship is being defined and impacted dangerously by so-called strategic competition. This is bringing tremendous uncertainty to the future of our peoples and to countries across the world.

Both President Xi Jinping and President Joe Biden agree that they should make the China-U.S. relationship work and not mess it up. They both believe the two countries should steer clear of conflict and confrontation. And they both stand for closer bilateral exchanges and cooperation. People around the world hope that President Biden's important statements of "five noes" (i.e. not seek a "new Cold War"; not seek to change China's system; the revitalization of its alliances is not against China; not support "Taiwan independence"; not look for conflict with China) are translated into real actions. But the United States has framed a false narrative of "democracy versus authoritarianism", identified China as the primary rival and the most serious long-term challenge, and wantonly allowed its House Speaker to visit Taiwan. The United States prolongs the trade war with China, and has made repeated provocations on issues involving China's core interests and development rights and interests. It seems that their leader's political will of a stable bilateral relationship has yet to be translated into logical policies.

Wang Yi said, the crux of the matter boils down to how the United States perceives China, the world and itself. Be it full confrontation or strategic competition, both have deviated from the right course of China-U.S. relations. Such deviations are dangerous and come at a high price. Should the United States handle its relations with China with a zero-sum mindset and continue to let "political correctness” misguide its China policy, it won't find solutions to its own problems, but lead China-U.S. relations to conflict and confrontation.

Wang Yi noted,  this year marks the 50th anniversary of President Richard Nixon's visit to China and the 40th anniversary of the August 17 Communiqué. History made things the way they are today and helps shape a better future when its value is appreciated. Reviewing how, with twists and turns, China and the United States came to common understanding and the wisdom reflected in that episode of history, we find that the differences between China and the United States were no obstacles to us breaking the ice and establishing diplomatic relations, no obstacles to us deepening cooperation based on common interests, still less to us making joint contributions to world peace and prosperity. Looking ahead, the sound and stable growth of China-U.S. relations depends on whether we could find the right way to get on with each other.

Wang Yi expressed, President Xi Jinping has pointed out the right way for China and the United States to get on with each other. That is mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation. These three principles are an important conclusion informed by the evolution of China-U.S. relations over the past 50-odd years. They are also the right way for major countries to live with each other in this era.

Regarding mutual respect, Wang Yi said, without respect, no trust can be built. Without trust, actual cooperation could not happen. This is an important lesson drawn from past exchanges between our two countries, and also a basic prerequisite for bilateral relations to return to the right track. China will not become another United States, and the United States cannot mould China to its liking. Neither side is able to take the other down. This means we need to respect each other's choices. The path of socialism with Chinese characteristics independently chosen by the Chinese people, with a clear logic of history, has opened up bright prospects for China's modernization and brought true human rights and democracy to the Chinese people. While relying on our own efforts in developing the country and the nation, we are also ready to pursue cooperation of mutual benefit with the United States and other countries. We should pursue harmony without uniformity, not uniformity without harmony.

Regarding peaceful coexistence, Wang Yi said, Partner or rival? Cooperation or confrontation? These are questions of fundamental importance in China-U.S. relations, and no catastrophic mistakes could be made. To hold the bottom line of peace, we must make the right choice. China chooses peace and commits to peaceful development. Our most basic expectation for China-U.S. relations is for the two countries to live with each other in peace. Projecting China as a hypothetical enemy and ensuing the so-called "threat inflation" is typical excessive anxiety. Equating the ability to develop with an intention for expansion, or predicting China based on the beaten path of traditional powers will both result in serious misjudgment. For China and the United States to coexist in peace, we must follow the rules that both sides subscribe to, rather than imposing one's domestic law and the so-called "rules" on which no broad-based international consensus exists, on others. Attempts to take China down by repeating the containment tactic used on the former Soviet Union, and encircle China through geopolitical maneuvering like the Indo-Pacific strategy will only prove futile.

Regarding win-win cooperation, Wang Yi expressed, no cooperation can be based on a win-lose format. Win-win cooperation is the true narrative of China-U.S. relations in the past half a century, and it should remain the goal we both pursue. No two major countries have closer people-to-people contacts or more interconnected interests than China and the United States do. Facts and figures fully demonstrate that the Chinese and American people want cooperation and our cooperation is driven by win-win outcomes. As the world's largest developing and developed countries, China and the United States have a lot to offer each other. We have broad common interests and shoulder important common responsibilities. An unfailing truth in China-U.S. interactions is that we both stand to gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation. Cooperation is our best choice. Competition is not the entirety or the mainstream of China-U.S. relations. Competition should have boundaries and, more importantly, be fair play. We need healthy competition that brings out the best in each other, and should not aim at each other's demise.

Wang Yi said, China is always open to cooperation with the United States based on equality and respect. The United States proposed six areas for U.S.-China cooperation, and China produced a list for China-U.S. cooperation in eight areas. Together, we can make the list of cooperation longer and the pie of cooperation bigger, to bring about win-win outcomes for our two countries and the world at large. The United States cannot undermine China's core interests and the foundation for bilateral cooperation on the one hand, and on the other, expects China to cooperate unconditionally. Meanwhile, no matter how China-U.S. relations may evolve, China, as a responsible major country, will remain actively engaged in addressing the many global challenges, fulfill its responsibilities, and make its contribution. We hope the United States will do the same.

Regarding the Taiwan question, Wang Yi stressed, the Taiwan question is at the heart of China's core interests; the one-China principle is the cornerstone of the political foundation for China-U.S. relations; the three China-U.S. Joint Communiqués are the most crucial "guardrails" for our relations. As things stand, the Taiwan question is growing into the biggest risk in China-U.S. relations. Should it be mishandled, it is most likely to devastate our bilateral relations. The one-China principle has become a universally recognized basic norm of international relations. The United States also made unequivocal commitment of recognizing Taiwan as part of China. The UN General Assembly Resolution 2758 adopted in 1971 not only resolved once and for all the representation of the whole of China, Taiwan included, within the United Nations, but also eliminated any room for creating "two Chinas" or "one China, one Taiwan" in the international community. Just as the United States will not allow Hawaii to be split away, China has the right to uphold the unification of the country as Taiwan is part of China. Since the Government of the People's Republic of China is recognized as the sole legal government representing the whole of China, Taiwan should not be allowed to join any international organization with sovereign implications. If one recognizes the one-China principle, one should not engage in any official interactions with Taiwan.

Wang Yi noted, with U.S. interference and connivance, "Taiwan independence" forces have grown and expanded. They have kept making changes to the fundamental status quo that both sides of the Strait belong to one and the same China, jettisoned the 1992 Consensus which embodies the one-China principle, and undermined the hard-earned prospect of peaceful development of cross-Strait relations. "Taiwan independence", like a highly destructive and dangerous "gray rhino" charging toward us, must be resolutely stopped. Checking separatist activities for "Taiwan independence", upholding territorial integrity and safeguarding peace in the Taiwan Strait is a sacred right that China exercises in accordance with domestic and international law.

Wang Yi said, President Xi Jinping pointed out that the most important event in international relations in the coming 50 years will be for China and the United States to find the right way to get along. It is our hope that China and the United States will draw on past experience to find inspiration for the present, and gain strength for going forward. Together, let us explore a way to a China-U.S. relationship for the new era and create a better future for both of our countries!

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