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Build on Past Progress to Develop a New Model of Major-country Relations Between China and the United States
--In commemoration of the 35th Anniversary of the Establishment of China-US Diplomatic Relations
2013-12-31 20:22

By Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi

Thirty-five years ago today, China and the United States entered into official diplomatic relations. It is fair to say that this historic event in 1979 exerted the greatest strategic impact on the international relations in the latter half of the 20th century. It not only opened a new page in the history of China-US relations, but also had a far-reaching impact on the evolving international environment.


Thanks to joint efforts of successive leaders and the people of both countries, China-US relations in the past 35 years have achieved historic growth despite ups and downs.

In 1979, the annual trade between the two countries was just 2.45 billion dollars, while in 2013, it surged to over half a trillion dollars. Two-way investment which was insignificant in the early days of our relations has now exceeded 100 billion dollars. Today, China and the United States are each other's second largest trading partner. China is the largest source of import and third largest export market of the United States.

In 1979, the official exchanges between the two countries were limited. Whereas in the past 5 years, our presidents have met 14 times. There are over 90 mechanisms for dialogue and cooperation between the two countries, including the Strategic and Economic Dialogues and the High-level Consultation on People-to-people Exchange. Moreover, there are 41 pairs of sister province/state and 201 pairs of sister city relationships between China and the United States.

In 1979, only several thousand Chinese and Americans visited the other country. In 2013, the number was close to four million. Everyday, over ten thousand Chinese and Americans fly across the Pacific Ocean for mutual visits, and it is hard to keep a record of many more Chinese and Americans who interact with each other through the Internet and mobile phones.

In 1979, cooperation between China and the United States was nothing like what we have today in terms of scope and intensity. The two countries now maintain close consultation and dialogue on global challenges such as the international financial crisis, climate change, energy security and food security as well as hot-spot issues such as the Korean nuclear issue, the Iranian nuclear issue and Syria, and the two countries have played an important role in addressing these challenges and issues.

In just 35 years, China and the United States have moved away from a state of no contact and become a community of intertwined interests. The strategic dimension and global influence of China-US relations have become increasingly prominent. The growth of China-US relations in the past 35 years shows that sound relations between China and the United States not only meet the fundamental interest of the two peoples; they also contribute to peace, stability and development of the Asia-Pacific and the world.


The growth of China-US relations over the past 35 years is a source of inspiration for us. In particular, we should bear in mind the following principles guiding the growth of the relations:

Adhering to the right direction holds the key to growing China-US relations. Where China-US relations are headed has an impact on the whole world. A good relationship benefits the two sides, while confrontation does harm to both countries. Cooperation is thus the best choice for us. We should act in the fundamental interests of our two peoples, adhere to the direction set by the three China-US joint communiqués and the important common understanding on numerous issues reached by our presidents, and stay on the right track. By doing so, we can ensure the sound and steady growth of China-US relations.

Identifying common interests provides the driving force for growing China-US relations. Respectively being the world's largest developing and developed countries, China and the United States share broad common interests and shoulder important common responsibilities. Both countries must not lose sight of this crucial fact under any circumstances. As long as the two countries focus on our common interests and expand cooperation, China-US relations will have a bright future.

Mutual respect offers the right approach to managing our differences. Given differences in political system, level of development, history and cultural tradition, it is only natural for the two countries to have disagreement and differences. By respecting each other's core interests and major concerns, building trust through dialogue and consultation, and seeking common ground while narrowing differences, we can keep the bilateral relations from being adversely affected by differences.

The friendship between our peoples underpins the growth of China-US relations. Extensive involvement by and strong support of our peoples are vital to the growth of bilateral relations. The two sides need to deepen people-to-people friendship by expanding the channels of communication and encouraging two-way exchanges among the people from all walks of life. This will inject everlasting vitality into China-US relations.


Time goes by fast, and China-US relations have today reached a new historical starting point. During their meeting at the Annenberg Retreat last June, President Xi Jinping and President Obama reached important agreement on building a new model of major-country relations, thus charting the course for growing the bilateral relationship. President Xi Jinping incisively characterizes this new model of major-country relations as being one of no conflict and confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation. China and the United States should translate this important agreement between the two presidents into specific policies and measures and implement it in all areas of China-US relations.

We should enhance strategic mutual trust. We need to maintain the momentum of close exchanges at the top and other levels, deepen mutual understanding and avoid misunderstanding and misjudgment. China is committed to peaceful development and remains a positive force for promoting global peace and development. The United States needs to have a correct understanding of China's strategic intention and honor with real actions the position stated by its leaders on many occasions, namely, welcoming a successful, strong, stable and prosperous China. Only by assuring each other about their respective intentions and removing misgivings and suspicions can China and the United States make steady and solid progress in their relations.

We should expand pragmatic cooperation in various areas. The two sides need to seize the opportunities of reforms in both countries to turn the deepening of such reforms into a process of strengthening pragmatic cooperation. We should create new highlights of cooperation, expand areas of cooperation and open new prospects for our cooperation. Going forward, we need to work for early breakthroughs in the negotiations on a bilateral investment treaty to boost China-US business ties. We need to overcome obstacles and barriers standing in the way of our cooperation and seek early settlement to issues such as US high-tech export restrictions on China and obstacles faced by Chinese companies in making investment in the United States. It is necessary to increase dialogue and cooperation in trade, investment, energy, the environment and infrastructure and launch a number of major, influential cooperation projects that benefit our peoples. We need to advance a new type of China-US military-to-military relations and expand cooperation in both traditional and non-traditional security fields, including peacekeeping, counter-piracy, humanitarian relief and disaster prevention and reduction. It is important to continue our counter-terrorism cooperation on a reciprocal and mutually beneficial basis and jointly oppose violence and terrorism in all forms. We also need to strengthen dialogue, exchange and cooperation in a wide range of areas from non-proliferation to law enforcement, from science and technology to education, and from culture to health and sports.

We should continue to increase communication and coordination on international and regional issues. We need to strengthen macro economic policy coordination through multilateral mechanisms such as the G20, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund and work together to promote global economic recovery and growth. We need enhanced communication and coordination on the Korean nuclear issue, the Iranian nuclear issue, Syria, North and South Sudan, Afghanistan and other regional hotspot issues to seek their proper settlement. It is also necessary to expand cooperation in tackling global issues, including climate change, energy security, food security, cyber security and epidemics and provide more public goods to the international community.

We should handle with caution sensitive issues in our bilateral relations. On Taiwan, Tibet and other major issues involving China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, the United States should abide by the related governing principles, honor its commitments and act with prudence to prevent China-US relations from suffering any more setbacks.

We should further boost exchanges in various fields. We need to continue to increase dialogue and exchanges between our legislatures and local governments, promote interactions between the business communities and the academia, and increase mutual visits of young people and students. More frequent and deep-going exchanges in all sectors will enhance mutual understanding and friendship and ensure that the forces and voices in support of China-US cooperation will prevail in public opinion of the two countries.

We should keep abreast of the times and make the giant ship of China-US relations sail forward by braving waves. The history of China-US relations is a history of keeping pace with the times, making adjustment and innovation and breaking new ground. In the early days, it was the political judgment made by our leaders in light of the evolving international developments that brought our two countries together despite differences in political views and systems. Today, our two sides need to be innovative in thinking and take vigorous action to build a new model of major-country relations and ensure that China-US relations will always be at the forefront of the times.

Looking back, we have made remarkable progress in China-US relations. Looking ahead, we are fully confident in the future of our relations. With China and the United States moving forward together in the direction set by our presidents and taking concrete actions, the great vision of building a new model of major-country relations between China and the United States can surely be realized.

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