Home AIIB Vitality of China-US relations lies in sub-national areas: Xi

Vitality of China-US relations lies in sub-national areas: Xi

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Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed that China’s policy toward the US is consistent, which is mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation, noting China will continue to work in this direction and hopes that the US will work with China in the same direction, when meeting with California Governor Gavin Newsom on Wednesday.

Experts said that such a high-level reception for Newsom shows that China attaches great importance toward building stable and mutually beneficial ties with the US, and values its relationship with US states, as well as people-to-people friendship between the two countries.

The recent interactions between Beijing and Washington at various levels provide a window of opportunity for the two countries to stabilize ties that have been spiraling, and pave the way for higher level meetings in the future, experts said. But they also warned the opening will not last long, so if the US is eager to improve ties, it should take more concrete actions amid China’s sincerity before the window closes.

Xi met with Newsom, governor of the US state of California, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Wednesday.

Noting that China and the US, as the world’s two largest economies, account for more than a third of the global economy and nearly a quarter of the world’s population, and bilateral trade accounts for about a fifth of the global total, Xi said the interests of both sides are closely intertwined.

Xi said that the achievements of China-US relations have not come easily and should be cherished all the more.

The foundation of China-US relations lies among the people, the hope is in the people, the future lies in the youth, and the vitality lies in sub-national areas, the president said.

Xi noted that he highly values and supports exchanges across various sectors and sub-national cooperation between China and the US, and expressed the hope that Newsom’s visit will enhance mutual understanding and play a positive role in expanding cooperation between China and California and promoting the sound and steady development of China-US relations.

China and the US enjoy great potential for cooperation in the fields of promoting green development and addressing climate change. The two sides should strengthen cooperation in this aspect and make it a new highlight in the development of China-US ties, said Xi.

Newsom said that no other bilateral relationship is more important than the one between the US and China, and the US-China relationship is vital to the future of the US and bears on the well-being of its people.

Newsom said he is willing to push California to strengthen exchanges with China and seek closer cooperation in fields such as climate change and new energy. California is willing to be China’s long-term, stable and strong partner, he added.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi also met with Newsom in Beijing on Wednesday morning.

The high-level reception received by Newsom signals that China has always attached great importance to its relationship with the US, hoping to build stable, mutually beneficial bilateral ties, Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Wednesday. He said Xi’s meeting with Newsom shows that China values ties with US states and people-to-people friendship.

As the first US governor to visit China in more than four years, Newsom expressed his high appreciation for relations with China and recalled the first sister cities established between China and the US in 1980: Shanghai and San Francisco. He hopes to contribute to the resumption of exchanges and cooperation between China and the US, CGTN reported on Wednesday.

Newsom embarked on his week-long trip to China on Monday, focusing on issues such as climate change and economic cooperation. He visited Shenzhen on Tuesday, where he learned about the city’s successful bus electrification program and took a test drive in an SUV made by Chinese electric carmaker BYD. “This is another leap in technology, the next-level leap,” Newsom said with a thumbs-up after the test drive. When asked if he wanted to take one back to Sacramento, the governor jokingly said: “No, I want two,” Shenzhen Daily reported.

Newsom’s visit to Chinese cities and interactions with people from various walks of life in China may help create conditions for the US to form a correct understanding of China, when the White House is saturated by toxic hostility toward China, Li said, noting that Newsom’s visit is evidently intended to bridge the gaps and smooth the less-than-ideal communication channels between Washington and Beijing.

Manage divergences

The same day as Xi met with Newsom, the Chinese President sent a congratulatory message to the annual Gala Dinner of the National Committee on US-China Relations.

Xi applauded the committee’s longstanding dedication to the exchanges and cooperation between the two countries in various areas, and congratulated Dr. Henry Kissinger on winning an accolade at the gala.

As two major countries in the world, whether China and the US can find the right path of state-to-state interactions has bearing on world peace and development, and the future of mankind, Xi said.

Based on the three principles of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation, China is willing to work with the US side to advance mutually beneficial cooperation, properly manage differences, and make joint efforts to tackle global challenges, contribute to each other’s progress, and push for common prosperity so as to deliver benefits to both countries and the whole world, Xi said.

Managing divergences is of vital importance to build a stable bilateral China-US relationship at the current stage, said Chinese experts, pointing out that the ball is in the US’ court to take more responsibility to release more sincere signals to enhance understanding and improve the atmosphere.

Chinese experts said that the recent slew of interactions between China and the US at various levels have formed a window of opportunity to shore up and prevent ties from spiraling even further, and created room for stabilizing ties, as those interactions may pave the way for more and higher level meetings between officials of the world’s two biggest economies.

At the invitation of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will visit the US from October 26 to 28, foreign ministry spokesperson Mao Ning announced on Tuesday. Also on Tuesday, the China-US economic working group held its first meeting via video link.

At the meeting co-chaired by vice-ministerial officials from the Ministry of Finance and the US Treasury Department, the two sides conducted in-depth, candid and constructive discussions on the macroeconomic situations and policies of the two countries and the world, bilateral economic relations, and cooperation in addressing global challenges.

Lü Xiang, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences told the Global Times that the US is now being hard-pressed to soften its hostile stance toward China, as global economic growth is still gloomy and facing mounting uncertainty, and the US is not spared from this. Washington’s foreign policies are also facing stern tests due to the ongoing Ukraine crisis and the conflict between Palestine and Israel.

The defrosting of ties could have come sooner this year after a meeting between the leaders of two countries in Bali, Indonesia at the end of last year, yet the US hyped the “spy balloon” from China, wasting several months, Lü said. He noted that since the US is feeling under pressure to warm ties, it should do more to match its words.

Seize the rare opportunity

However, despite the emerging positive signs, the US is also seeking to provoke China in areas such as the military and the South China Sea issue.

An annual report released by the Pentagon recently said that China has significantly expanded its nuclear stockpile over the past year and now holds some 500 operational warheads.

Chinese Defense Ministry spokesperson Senior Colonel Wu Qian on Wednesday slammed the report, saying it disregards facts, fabricates stories, uses vague rhetoric, misinterprets China’s defense policy and military strategy, and hypes the non-existent “Chinese military threat.” “Facts have proven that the US is the fundamental source of chaos in international order, the behind-the-scenes manipulator of world turmoil and the greatest destroyer of regional peace and stability,” Wu said.

The US has also interfered in and hyped the dispute between China and the Philippines in the South China Sea, with Washington recently affirming that it has a treaty obligation to defend the Philippines against any armed attack in the contested waterway.

China has already seen through the US’ tendency to “say one thing and do another,” so we are not under the delusion that the US will keep its promises, according to Lü, who believes there are still huge barriers, created by the US, in mending the ties.

Lü warned that although the two countries have an opening to improve ties, the chance will likely last only until the US presidential election next year. The US should seize the opportunity and do more to put bilateral relations onto a stable and healthier track, Lü said.