Ambassador Cui Tiankai Attended the the Bush China Conference and Delivered Keynote Address


On October 28, 2019, H.E. Mr. Cui Tiankai, Chinese Ambassador to the United States, attended the Bush China Conference held by George H.W. Bush Foundation for US-China Relations in Houston and delivered keynote address.

Cui said that President George H.W. Bush,from serving as the Chief of the US Liaison Office in China in the 1970s, to coping with the thorny issues in our relations after the Cold War, always valued mutual respect and stayed committed to engagement and dialogue to boost mutual understanding and trust between China and the US. He was a natural optimist and always looked for the win-win in our relations. This has not only served America's fundamental interests, but also opened up broad prospects for our two countries. His strategic vision and historic contributions deserve to be remembered and carried forward by our two peoples.

Cui said that over the past four decades, China-US relations have made incredible progress with close economic ties and robust people-to-people exchanges. As we share strong interests in a peaceful and prosperous world, our needs for collaboration and cooperation have become unparalleled in our history. However, today's China-US relationship is overshadowed by clouds rarely seen in the last 40 years. The trade war is still taking tolls on both sides. Extreme rhetoric such as "new Cold War", "decoupling" and "clash of civilizations" are swirling around, and some have even been sneaked in the so-called "whole-of-government approach," which portends the erosion of ties across the board. This should sound the alarm for us, and it begs the fundamental questions: Is America willing to live in peace and pursue common development with China, a country with a different culture and a different political system? As more emerging countries are on the horizon, what strategic choice would America make?

Cui pointed out that over the past 70 years, China has blazed a path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, which has transformed our nation and benefited the whole world. If there is any secret of our success, it is that we have always taken the people's aspiration for a better life as our goal and focused our efforts on making China a better country. That said, we never develop ourselves to outstrip others, nor do we do so at their expense. We always believe in win-win cooperation, and that's why we have initiated building a community with a shared future for mankind.

As a 5,000-year civilization, China was once at the pinnacle of human civilization, but it also had its share of misery and was plunged into the abyss of ravage and national humiliation. We know full well that no hegemony will ever last. China's goal is to become a better self, not to displace others. We have not the slightest interest in becoming a hegemon and putting the world under our thumb.

But no matter what China does, there will be a variety of absurd talks springing up in the US. It seems that demonizing China has become the new "politically correct", so much so that people cannot but get shocked by the degree of their outright biases and double standards. Let's get all this right now.

The Chinese people is a wise and hard-working nation. The 1.4 billion people have put their shoulders to the wheel and created their life today with their own hands. It is ignorant and arrogant to deny this widely acknowledged fact, and such an effort will prove in vain.

China is an important player of the international order. We never withdraw from international organizations as we please, nor do we default on contributions to the United Nations budget, still less will we play fast and loose with the facts or ride roughshod over other countries. The international community is crystal clear about who is violating the norms governing international relations and undermining the international order.

China's Belt and Road Initiative has greatly advanced international infrastructure construction and business cooperation, and created new opportunities of common development and prosperity for other countries. The so-called "debt trap" has been exposed by many participating countries and by American think tanks as a sheer fabrication.

China has not resorted to war as an answer to terrorism; instead, we have chosen education and training to help people affected by extremist and terrorist ideas return to normal life. China's Xinjiang, a heavy victim of terrorism in the past, has seen no terrorist attack for over three years. This is in itself the best way of respecting and protecting human rights. To sling mud at China on this issue against straight facts is to endorse terrorists. Those who do so will only backfire on themselves.

Taiwan, Hong Kong and Xinjiang are all parts of China's territory, far away from the United States. Why on earth is China's bottom line challenged time and again on the issues concerning its sovereignty and territorial integrity? Isn't it plain and simple who takes the offensive and who is on the defensive? Let me reaffirm that China will never back down on its core interests. The attempt to split up China will never succeed.

Cui stressed that the Communist Party of China, as China's governing party, has been a faithful representative and guardian of the interests of the Chinese people in the march of the past century. It has made huge sacrifices for the independence, development and rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and delivered remarkable achievements. That's why it is so deeply trusted and widely supported by the Chinese people. To deny this is to deny China's history of the past 100 years. To draw a line between the Party and the people is to challenge the entire Chinese nation. Claiming to welcome a successful China on one hand, and defaming and working to overthrow the very force that leads the Chinese people towards success on the other, have you ever seen anything more hypocritical and outrageous than this? 

I hope that America's policies on China will be based on reason and reality, and not be led astray by bigotry and misjudgment. Hatred, xenophobia and isolation are never part of any civilizations in the world. Civilization denotes a luminous path of mankind, while these negative ideas are only associated with darkness. Their believers and advocates, though perhaps holding high positions, hardly belong to a civilized world.

Cui said that people tend to be filled with doom and gloom when they see a clouded sky, while genuine statesmen will see the silver lining and the rays of sunshine peeking out from behind the clouds, which herald a bright future. Today the China-US relationship is standing at a new crossroads, and its future depends on the choice we make today. As overcast as the sky is, we still need to have vision and confidence, we still need to believe that the clouds will disperse, and the sun will shine.

Our trade talks made substantial headway about two weeks ago. We hope that China and the US will continue their dialogue and negotiation on the basis of equality and mutual respect, and come to a win-win situation. This is the very principle that we should follow in our relations.

Economic integration and common development represent an unstoppable trend. In both countries, people are turning their back on the talk of "decoupling", because to decouple from China is to decouple from opportunities. Examples abound. Not long ago, Costco opened its first China store in my hometown Shanghai. The bustling crowd in the store is a best indicator of the huge purchasing power of China's 400 million middle-income consumers, whose size will even double in the next 15 years. The US Commerce Department's decision to put Huawei on the Entity List has been opposed by many American companies, because it will not only undercut the international supply chain, but also hit their coffers. The documentary American Factory put Fuyao Glass in the spotlight. The China-invested factory in Ohio has thrived with Chinese and American workers working side by side. With the invisible hand of market, and the entrepreneurship of Chinese and American people, win-win cooperation will eventually prevail between our two countries.

While China-US relations are at a low ebb, the world continues turning and challenges persist. The Middle East remains a powder keg. Negotiations on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue are at a standstill. Another global financial crisis looms large. Wildfires in the Amazon rainforests and frequent extreme weathers are warning us about the imminent threats of climate change. Artificial intelligence and other high technologies, while having a profound impact on human society, have also laid bare the loopholes brought by insufficient international governance and rules. These issues cannot be properly addressed and resolved without the coordination and collaboration of China and the US. We can get things done if we cooperate, and we will watch the time slip away if we don't.

The people are the maker of history, and they are the driving force for China-US relations. The Chinese and American people cherish time-honored friendship. We always remember our American friends who showed us understanding and lent us a helping hand in World War II and in our development afterwards. We firmly believe that developing friendship and cooperation remains a predominant choice of our people, and it is also the only right option for us. To stir up confrontation and hatred between the two peoples hurts their fundamental interests and will enjoy no popular support. No scheme that goes against the will of the people will ever last.

Cui underscored that respecting each other and seeking common ground while constructively managing differences has ensured the development of China-US relations over the past four decades. History has proved that in the case of China and the US, the success of one country is essential to the other. We can and we should help each other; we cannot, and we should not, close the door to each other. Both of our countries stand to benefit from cooperation, and lose from confrontation.

The George H. W. Bush Foundation for US-China Relations, as the first organization named after an American President and dedicated to China-US relations, has become an important bridge of friendship and cooperation between us. I firmly believe that with the joint efforts of the Foundation and insightful people in both countries, China-US relations will enjoy sound and steady growth, rain or shine, to the greater benefit of the people of both countries and the whole world.

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