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A Trip to Open New Chapter of China-U.S. Cooperation
Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi talks about President Hu Jintao’s state visit to the United States

2011-01-25

At the invitation of U.S. President Barack Obama, Chinese President Hu Jintao paid a state visit to the United States from January 18 to 21. As President Hu's trip is coming to an end, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi introduced to the accompanying journalists the visit and its outcome.

President Hu’s current state visit to the U.S. is an important tour which came at the beginning of the second decade of the 21st century, on the 40th anniversary of the resumption of contact between the two countries and on the opening year of China's 12th five-year plan for national socioeconomic development, Yang noted. Meanwhile, the international situation was undergoing profound and complicated changes, and the China-U.S. relationship was forging ahead with increasing momentum while inevitably encountering some differences and disputes, he said. Against such a special historical backdrop, the Chinese president paid a state visit to the United States on invitation, having frank and in-depth exchange of views from a strategic and overall perspective with U.S. leaders on how to develop bilateral relations in a new era, which is of great significance. During his visit, President Hu and his U.S. counterpart held talks and jointly met the press. Hu also attended a welcome banquet hosted by President Obama and a luncheon given by Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Hu met with Speaker John Boehner of the House, Majority leader Harry Reid of the Senate, Mayor of Chicago Richard Daley and other senior political figures, holding in-depth discussions with them on China-U.S. relations as well as major international and regional issues of common concern. The Chinese leader also reached out to the U.S. public, conveying China's resolution to advance China-U.S. ties, highlighting China's commitment to peaceful development and presenting China's image of peace, development, opening-up and progress, Yang said. Hu also received a joint interview of U.S. mainstream media. The U.S. and international media, he added, attached great importance to and spoke highly of Hu's trip, hailing it as a historic visit at a crucial moment. The tightly scheduled trip saw Hu attend nearly 20 events in Washington and Chicago within 68 hours, and its significance was manifested partly in the top level reception with full pomp and ceremony given by the U.S. government. President Obama hosted a private dinner for President Hu at the White House and Vice President Joe Biden greeted Hu at the airport. The two heads of state jointly attended more than 12 hours of activities including talks, meetings and other events. Hu’s current visit has achieved rich results and cast a far-reaching influence.

I. Charting Course of China-U.S. Relations in the New Era

Since China and the United States established diplomatic relations 32 years ago, the China-U.S. relationship had maintained sound development in general thanks to concerted efforts by both sides, Yang said. The two sides had harvested rich fruit from their extensive cooperation, retained effective communication and coordination on major regional and global issues, brought tangible benefits to the two peoples, and made great contributions to the peace, stability and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region and beyond, he said. In the new era, China and the United States shared expanding common interests, shouldered increasing common responsibilities, and enjoyed a greater prospect of bilateral cooperation, the minister said.

During his visit, President Hu held talks with his U.S. counterpart Obama, exchanging views on China-U.S. relations as well as major international and regional issues in a candid, in-depth manner. In his talks with Obama, Hu stressed that today the international situation continues to undergo profound and complex changes. As heavyweight players on the world stage, China and the United States should push forward their positive, cooperative and comprehensive relationship through new approaches, new moves and new spirits. In a five-point proposal on the future development of bilateral ties, the Chinese president underscored the need to develop a political relationship that featured equality, mutual trust and the precept of seeking common ground while reserving differences, to deepen their comprehensive, cooperative, mutually beneficial and win-win economic ties, to cooperate worldwide to cope with challenges, to promote friendly exchanges between the two peoples and to establish a pattern of high-level contact based on in-depth communication and candid dialogue. China, Hu said, was ready to work together with the United States to enhance dialogue, build up mutual trust, expand exchanges and deepen cooperation, properly handle sensitive issues, jointly secure a sustained, healthy and steady development of bilateral ties and create a new landscape of their cooperation.

Stressing that Hu's visit injected new strong impetus into the growth of bilateral relations, Obama fully agreed to Hu's important proposal on furthering bilateral ties. He added that the United States cherished its relationship with China and was willing to strengthen high-level contacts, increase strategic mutual trust and enhance cooperation to promote the sustained growth of world economy, boost prosperity of Asia Pacific and the world at large, prevent proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and tackle global environmental and climate change issues.

During the visit, the two heads of state mapped out the future course for their countries to enhance bilateral ties and key areas of their cooperation. In a joint statement issued by the two countries, both sides declared their commitment to build a cooperative partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit. The two countries mapped out the future course of bilateral ties based on the fact that both sides have carried out cooperation on a wide range of bilateral, regional and global areas. This move is aimed to further advance the positive, cooperative and comprehensive Sino-U.S. relationship. It would guide the two sides to conduct cooperation in a spirit of mutual respect, properly handle differences for mutual benefit, better benefit both countries and their peoples and contribute to world peace, stability and prosperity.

II. Boosting Strategic Mutual Trust

How to boost strategic mutual trust was now a major concern in the China-U.S. relationship and would remain so in the near future, the Chinese foreign minister said. As Hu noted, the two countries share more and more common interests, their mutually beneficial cooperation has been expanding continuously and the strategic significance and global influence of China-U.S. relations are increasingly prominent. China and the United States, respectively as the largest developing and developed country, have increasing common interests and common responsibilities in promoting world economic growth, safeguarding world peace and stability and pushing for global sustainable development, but due to differences in history, culture, social system and development level, divergences and sensitive issues still remain. The two sides should try to expand common ground, upgrade coordination, deepen strategic mutual trust and properly address their differences, Hu said, stressing that both sides would benefit from cooperation and suffer from confrontation. China and the U.S., he added, should hold on tight to the main theme of dialogue and cooperation, build understanding and trust through dialogue, reduce misunderstandings and concerns through communication and promote development and prosperity through cooperation to consolidate the basis of common interests. Both sides should respect the social system and development path chosen by the other side and respect each other’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and development interests. They should protect their relations from negative influence by accidental and sporadic events and steer the relationship through disturbances and challenges toward a better future.

While expressing full agreement to Hu's call for stronger strategic mutual trust, Obama hailed the great development China had made in the past decades as remarkable achievements in human history. Obama emphasized that China's peaceful development benefited the whole world, including the United States. The United States, he added, welcomed a powerful, prosperous and successful China with a bigger role in international affairs. The U.S.-China cooperation serves the major interests of both sides and the two countries can cooperate based on mutual respect and mutual benefit. The United States is willing to work with China to enhance high-level contacts, build up strategic mutual trust and continue to tap the role of strategic and economic dialogue mechanism. The U.S. is ready to seek solutions to outstanding issues through dialogue and cooperate with China to deal with multilateral issues in the 21st century.

The joint statement issued by the two countries pointed out that China and the United States are committed to working together to promote the common interests of both countries and to address the 21st century's opportunities and challenges. The two sides reaffirmed that the three Joint Communiqués issued by China and the United States laid the political foundation for the relationship. The two sides reaffirmed respect for each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity. They further reaffirmed their commitment to the November 2009 China-U.S. Joint Statement. The United States in the joint statement reaffirmed it will adhere to the one-China policy and abide by the three China-U.S. Joint Communiqués.

The joint statement reflected the aspiration of both sides to improve mutual understanding, seek common ground while reserving differences and reinforce mutual trust at the strategic level, and outlined a package of exchange measures that would surely help shore up the strategic mutual trust between the two sides, Yang said.

III. Making New Progress in China-U.S. Economic and Trade Cooperation

Yang said the China-U.S. cooperative partnership could not be built up without the strong support of mutually beneficial economic cooperation. Since the two countries forged diplomatic ties in 1979, bilateral trade and investment cooperation has developed very fast. Currently, China is the second biggest trade partner of the United States, and vice versa. The economic and trade cooperation with complementary advantages and mutual benefit has become an important cornerstone and promoting force for the development of bilateral ties. Yang said the shock of the global financial crisis still lingered and the world economic recovery still faced twists and turns. Both China and the United States are facing major tasks of developing economy, promoting employment and improving people’s livelihood and are reforming economic structure. The two countries should make more efforts to contribute to full recovery of the world economy and the two economies by expanding and deepening trade cooperation.

Facing this situation, Hu said during his visit that China and the United States should continue coordination on their macro-economic policies, seek and expand mutually beneficial cooperation, and send a positive and strong message to the world market. China was ready to work with the U.S. side to carry out comprehensive economic cooperation, jointly ease trade imbalances, advocate free trade, oppose protectionism, boost the development of bilateral trade and economic ties, and push the Doha Round of global trade talks to achieve substantive results as soon as possible. Hu urged the U.S. side to relax its restrictions on high-tech exports to China, offer an environment of fair competition to Chinese enterprises investing in the United States, and adopt active measures to recognize China's full market economy status.

Obama, for his part, expressed his appreciation toward the significant progress in bilateral economic and trade cooperation, saying a robust economic and trade relationship between the two countries benefited both peoples. He said the U.S. side was willing to address China's important concerns in trade and economy, and make positive headway in this aspect. In their joint statement, the United States announced its commitment to consult through the JCCT in a cooperative manner to work towards China's Market Economy Status in an expeditious manner and advance the ongoing reform of the U.S. export control system.

The two countries agreed to establish a comprehensive and mutually beneficial economic partnership, strengthen exchanges and cooperation in various fields, and boost a strong, sustainable and balanced rise of the two economies and the world economy. The two sides inked more than 10 agreements, memoranda of understanding and letters of intent. Companies from the two countries also yielded rich cooperative fruits, which covered trade, investment, technology, people-to-people and cultural exchanges, energy, environment, high-speed rail, and smart grids. The large number of quality cooperation outcomes fully manifested that China-U.S. cooperation is developing in broader areas at a higher level and will also contribute to promoting economic development of the two countries and improving the livelihood of both peoples.

President Hu also took time out of his busy schedule to meet with Chinese and U.S. entrepreneurs together with President Obama. Hu spoke highly of the participating entrepreneurs’ contributions to the development of their own countries’ economy and the progress of China-U.S. relations. He encouraged them to seize the opportunities of the in-depth development of economic globalization, explore each other’s market actively and push forward the mutually beneficial bilateral cooperation. He also visited the Chinese enterprises in the US Midwest Enterprises Exhibition in Chicago and listened to the introduction, which was well received by Chinese and U.S. entrepreneurs.

IV. Boosting People-to-People Exchanges and Understanding

Yang said people-to-people exchanges were the important foundation and momentum for the development of ties between different countries, adding sound China-U.S. relations could not be guaranteed without the two peoples' mutual understanding and support.

During his trip, Hu emphasized the Chinese and U.S. peoples cherished great interests and friendly feelings toward each other, adding boosting people-to-people exchanges, especially youth-to-youth exchanges, was of key importance to the development of bilateral ties. China and the Unites States should encourage their relevant government agencies and non-governmental organizations to enhance the awareness of both peoples, especially the young people, on the importance of bilateral ties through various forms in a bid to build up mutual understanding and friendship, cement the social and public basis of the ties and provide an inexhaustible motive force for the development of bilateral ties. President Hu interacted widely with Americans from various circles. He attended a welcome luncheon held by U.S. friendly organizations and delivered an important speech, which was warmly applauded by the audience. He explained China's policies of further developing China-U.S. ties, and reiterated China would stick to the road of peaceful development. President Hu fully recognized the important contributions made by sub-national exchanges and cooperation to promoting China-U.S. relations. Hu paid a visit to Chicago, where he was warmly welcomed by the government and citizens. He hopes that Chicago will continue to take the lead in boosting the bilateral pragmatic cooperation and enhancing friendship between the two peoples. Mayor Richard Daley and his whole family greeted Hu at the airport. Daley hopes to make Chicago the friendliest American city to China and a gateway of China into the US. Hu also visited Walter Payton College Preparatory High School in downtown Chicago, and conducted face-to-face exchanges with U.S. youth.

During Hu's visit, both countries agreed to take concrete steps to enhance people-to-people exchanges. The two sides announced the launch of a China-U.S. Governors Forum and decided to further support exchanges and cooperation at local levels in a variety of fields. They also agreed to take concrete steps to strengthen dialogue and exchanges between their young people, particularly through the 100,000 Strong Initiative. The two sides agreed to discuss ways of advancing exchanges between both peoples by exploring a China-U.S. cultural year event, promoting tourism and other activities.

V. Strengthening Communication and Coordination on Major Global Issues

Yang said that, in the second decade of the 21st century, the international situation continued to experience profound and complex changes, while there were more and more global challenges. Due to economic globalization, the inter-dependence and converging interests of the two countries have reached an unprecedented level and both countries shoulder more common responsibilities in safeguarding world peace and promoting common development. China-U.S. cooperation was of great significance to the two countries and the world at large. Both sides should jointly deal with the global financial crisis, push forward the international financial system's reform, wield positive impacts in the world arena, and keep effective communication and coordination on major regional and global issues, he said.

During his visit, President Hu exchanged views with the U.S. side on the world economy, the situation on the Korean Peninsula, the Iranian nuclear issue, the Sudanese situation, climate change and other major international and regional issues. He said China and the United States should strengthen consultation and coordination on major issues concerning peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region and the world, effectively cope with global challenges, and create a better future for the world.

U.S. leaders agreed with President Hu's views, saying they would like to make joint efforts with China to strengthen cooperation in handling global issues and solve multilateral problems in the 21st century. Both countries agreed to strengthen coordination and cooperation, continue to devote themselves to promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region, boost open and inclusive regional cooperation, and move forward sustainable development in different countries.

The China-U.S. joint statement issued during Hu's visit fully reflected the two countries' willingness to play a constructive and responsible role in the world. Facing the challenges regarding world peace, international security, global development and others, China and the United States have become indispensable players in solving major international and regional issues. The statement clearly and fully reflected this important trend, and displayed the two countries' important consensus on the Korean Peninsula's current situation, the Iranian nuclear issue, climate change and nuclear non-proliferation. The consensus sent a positive message that China and the United States are making efforts to maintain regional and world peace and stability.

Yang said finally that Hu's state visit to the United States charted the course for development of China-U.S. ties in the future, boosted China-U.S. strategic mutual trust, promoted bilateral pragmatic cooperation in various fields, expanded bilateral humanistic exchanges, strengthened bilateral local-level governmental cooperation and increased bilateral communication and coordination on major international and regional affairs. He also said the visit realized the goal of boosting mutual trust, strengthening friendship, deepening cooperation, and building the China-U.S. cooperative partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit. It surely would further move forward the positive, cooperative and comprehensive China-U.S. relationship, and open a new chapter for bilateral cooperation of partners, the foreign minister said.

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