Friday, 28 January 2011 16:23
Upon the opening of the second decade of the 21st century, the world's largest developing country and largest developed one accomplished a historic diplomatic feat with Chinese President Hu Jintao's state visit to the United States.
The latest masterstroke of China-U.S. diplomacy gave birth to a fresh roadmap for the two heavyweight international players to further consolidate their ties in the new era. Accordingly, a new pattern of great power relations that features mutual respect and mutual benefit is taking shape.
During the world watched event, Washington and Beijing committed themselves to pushing forward their current "positive, cooperative and comprehensive relationship" toward a higher-level "cooperative partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit."
Meanwhile, the Chinese president unequivocally reaffirmed to the U.S. public and the whole world China's resolve to pursue peaceful development, communicating the message of China's perennial commitment to peace, development, cooperation and progress.
*A SPECIAL MOMENT
The Jan. 18-21 state visit was Hu's first trip abroad in the new year and his sixth to the United States since becoming president in 2003. Yet strikingly different from the previous ones, his latest U.S. tour carried a special weight of historic significance.
As coincidental as it was, the state visit came on the 40th anniversary of the resumption of contact between the two countries after the birth of the People's Republic of China in 1949. Since the legendary "pingpong diplomacy" opened their doors to each other four decades ago, the two countries have seen their relations steadily upgrading and their interests unprecedentedly interwoven.
The visit also came at a critical moment when the international situation was undergoing profound and complicated changes. During the first decade of the 21st century, the China-led collective rise of developing countries reshaped the international landscape, especially in the wake of the international financial crisis that erupted in 2008 and wreaked havoc upon world economy on the scale of the Great Depression.
At the advent of the new decade, the post-crisis world is still trying to accommodate the fundamental shifts and find the right course forward into the future. Widely deemed as a weather vane of the international relations in the 21st century, the posture of China-U.S. relations has inevitably become the focus of worldwide attention.
Meanwhile, the visit also came upon the opening year of China's 12th five-year plan of national development. Following three decades of epic efforts in reform and opening-up, the world's largest emerging economy is now at a crucial stage of its economic restructuring, and the Chinese leadership has pledged to strive for a favorable international environment for China's further development.
"I hope that through this visit, we will further enhance mutual understanding between our countries and peoples, deepen win-win cooperation, push forward the positive, cooperative and comprehensive China-U.S. relationship for the 21st century, bring more benefits to our peoples, and make more contributions to world peace, stability and prosperity," Hu announced upon his arrival in Washington.
*A CANDID DIALOGUE
U.S. President Barack Obama and his administration greeted the Chinese president with the highest-level reception featuring full pomp and ceremony, signalling the great importance Washington attached to the visit.
Yet the splendor of the welcoming fanfare was eclipsed by the sincerity and candidness that characterized Hu's talks with his U.S. hosts, be they senior politicians or business leaders, high school students or factory workers, in Washington or in Chicago.
At the White House, Hu and Obama carried out extensive and in-depth discussions over issues ranging from the exchange rate of the Chinese currency to bilateral cooperation in clean energy, from Korean Peninsula denuclearization to Asian security, and from climate change to global economic governance. In a candid, pragmatic and constructive atmosphere, they reinforced mutual trust and expanded common ground.
In an unprecedented meeting with some Chinese and U.S. business leaders at the White House attended by the Chinese and U.S. heads of state, Hu encouraged both countries' multinational companies to grasp the opportunities brought forth by China-U.S. economic and trade cooperation and bring more benefits to both nations.
Neither in the State Department nor on Capitol Hill did the Chinese president balk at talking about the differences and disputes between the two countries. But he stressed that what matters most is their expanding common interests and mounting common responsibilities in an increasingly interconnected world.
At a welcome luncheon hosted by friendly organizations, Hu called for "a good plan" to beef up bilateral exchanges and cooperation in culture, education, science and technology among other fields as so to garner stronger public support for a sound development of China-U.S. relations.
In Chicago's Payton High School, which houses the only Confucius Institute in the United States in a K-12 environment, the Chinese leader reached out to the U.S. youth, saying that the young generations carry the future of their respective nations and their common world and that the prospect of China-U.S. relations depends ultimately on the youths of both countries.
*A FRESH START
In a historical sense, the 32-year-old China-U.S. relationship is also fresh and young. The numerous twists and turns have only made the trans-Pacific relations healthier and stronger.
"No matter how the international situation changes, and no matter what difficulties and disturbances we will face, we should always foster strategic mutual trust, deepen strategic cooperation, properly handle differences and actively enhance our communication, coordination and cooperation at bilateral, regional and global levels from a strategic and long-term perspective," Hu said.
These remarks reflected the tremendous diplomatic efforts Beijing and Washington have engaged in to strengthen their "positive, cooperative and comprehensive relationship." Two years later, the two sides decided to take yet another leap forward, proclaiming their commitment to cultivating a "cooperative partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit."
At the start of this new joint endeavor for closer relations, as outlined in the third China-U.S. joint communique ever in their history of diplomatic ties, not only China and the United States themselves but the broader international community are expecting the two world giants to grasp the momentous opportunity and broaden their cooperation more effectively and more flexibly to the benefit of both nations and the entire humanity.
Undeniably, China-U.S. relations are subject to frequent disturbances due to their differences and disputes. But as Hu repeatedly underscored, the two countries' common interests prevail over their differences, and cooperation has always been the mainstream of their ties.
Four decades after the small pingpong balls broke the ice between the two nations, the China-U.S. relationship is now thriving once again with new vigor and with a more promising prospect.
*A BRIGHT FUTURE
A brief glimpse at the robust bilateral exchanges will suffice to conclude that the two peoples are willing to embrace a friendly China-U.S. relationship and are certain to benefit from it.
As a vital ingredient of China-U.S. relations, bilateral economic and trade cooperation can translate a sound trans-Pacific relationship into tangible benefits for both peoples. In 2010, China-U.S. trade topped 385 billion U.S. dollars, an increase of more than 150 folds from the volume at the beginning of their diplomatic ties.
Meanwhile, China and the United States have become each other's second largest trading partner. China has also been the United States' fastest growing export market for nine years in a row, and China's increasing investment in the United States has played a remarkable role in shoring up America's economic recovery and improving its employment situation.
Notable progress also abounds in other areas. For example, statistics show that over 3 million people are travelling between the two countries every year and more than 110 passenger flights are shuttling across the Pacific every week.
Adding to these reciprocal achievements were a package of cooperation deals the two sides signed during Hu's latest state visit, covering such wide-ranging fields as trade, energy, environment, infrastructure construction and science and technology. They also launched the China-U.S. Governors Forum initiative and pledged to enhance cultural exchanges and two-way tourism. Moreover, the United States pledged to recognize China's market economy status as soon as possible and ease its restrictions on exports to China. All these moves signaled that China-U.S. cooperation is gaining fresh momentum and growing ever broader and deeper.
Undisputable facts have proven that in the era of economic globalization, one country's rise is unnecessarily at the cost of other countries; it can be achieved completely through equal, orderly and mutually beneficial international competition and cooperation.
Besides, as the Chinese president stressed, China pursues peaceful development, espouses peaceful approaches to international conflicts, practices a defensive national defense policy, opposes all forms of arms races, poses no threat to any country, seeks no hegemony, and dedicates itself to making due contributions to world peace, development and prosperity. "China is a friend and partner of all countries, and China's development is an opportunity for the world," he said.
Beacons have now been lit. China-U.S. interaction is not a zero-sum game; it is in the interests of both countries and the whole world that China and the United States advance their relationship and enhance their cooperation in the right direction.
Therefore, as Hu appealed, the two countries should follow the call of the times, take concrete moves in concert to further promote bilateral relations, and work together with other nations to create a better future of the world. (PNA/Xinhua)
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