NEWSLETTER Issue V of 2018


Highlight of Remarks by Ambassador Cui Tiankai

At the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Harvard University

On April 17th, Ambassador Cui Tiankai spoke at the Fairbank Center for Chinese Studies, Harvard University. He discussed the development of China-U.S. relations with the faculty and students. Here are the highlights of his remarks and the Q&A session:

Just as the U.S. runs a trade deficit with China, there is an understanding deficitAlthough some people want to make trade deficit a big issue, the understanding deficit is more significant, more difficult to balance, and may have negative impact that lasts longer if we don't make our best efforts to reduce it.

China's new era is about people-centered and domestic development of China, rather than some geopolitical or geo-strategic plan.

The accusations against China for being a so-called "revisionist power" is a gross misinterpretation of China's intention.

When we talk about the international order, we are referring to the one that was established at the end of the Second World War with the United Nations system at its core and the UN Charter as its basis.

China has been committed to all principles of the UN Charter, and we have a very strong track record in this regard. By contrast, there have been so many cases of violating these principles. Chaos and bloodshed have occurred in the name of 'humanitarian intervention' or 'responsibility to protect'I think it is high time for us to review and reaffirm these basic principles so that we can have a better and more effective international order.

The U.S. policy of engagement with China was designed to serve its own interest. As President Nixon said to Chairman Mao Zedong and Premier Zhou Enlai during his first visit to China, "I have come for American interest." And this relationship has served both countries quite well, and the mutual needs and common interests that we have between us are still expanding.

A stable and stronger relationship between us will make each of us accomplish our domestic goals better. A certain degree of competition between us is inevitable. As long as we both follow the basic international norms, as long as the competition is fair, constructive and mutually stimulating, such competition will serve the long-term interests of both countries.

For big countries like China and the U.S., the real competition is not in the international affairs, but in our respective domestic governance. If we have good governance in our own country, nobody else could threaten or change us. If we fail to have good governance at home, nobody else could help us.

Naturally, there are always problems between China and the U.S... On matters concerning sovereignty, territorial integrity and national reunification, there is no room for compromise, and there is a red line. On economic and trade issues, solutions should be worked out through dialogue and consultation on the basis of mutual respect and balanced approach to address the concerns of each side aiming at win-win outcomes.

Trade is for mutual benefits. War is about mutual destruction. A trade war serves no meaningful purpose. It will only destroy trade itself.

The prospect of China-U.S. relations will very much depend on the choices we make today. It will depend on what kind of mindset we have to perceive ourselves, the world and our relations in this changing world. If we allow ourselves to be dominated by Cold War zero-sum mentality, then we will see traps and conspiracy everywhere.

Click here to read the full transcript.


Embassy of the People's Republic of China

3505, International Place, NW Washington DC, 20008

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