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Wang Yi Delivers a Speech at the Lanting Forum Themed "Promoting Dialogue and Cooperation and Managing Differences: Bringing China-U.S. Relations Back to the Right Track"
2021/02/22

On February 22, 2021, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi attended and addressed the opening ceremony of the Lanting Forum themed "Promoting Dialogue and Cooperation and Managing Differences: Bringing China-U.S. Relations Back to the Right Track".

Wang Yi said that in face of the unprecedented common challenges of the global pandemic, economic recession and climate change, humanity must stand up to them with courage, solidarity and responsibility. As two major countries, China and the United States should first take care of their own stuff and at the same time work together for the common good of humankind. This is the expectation of the international community and the due responsibility of major countries. On the Lunar New Year's eve, President Xi Jinping and President Joe Biden had their first telephone call. Both sides agreed that the two countries should enhance mutual understanding, avoid misperception and miscalculation, treat each other with candor and sincerity and not seek conflict or confrontation, and unclog communication channels and facilitate exchange and cooperation. This very important phone call has oriented China-U.S. relations that had been struggling to ascertain its bearings at a crossroads. It has also sent out encouraging news for the two countries and the whole world.

Wang Yi said that in the past few years, China-U.S. relations ran into the biggest difficulties since the establishment of diplomatic ties. The root cause was that the previous U.S. administration, out of its own political needs, seriously distorted China's future path and policy, and on that basis, took various measures to suppress and contain China, which inflicted immeasurable damage to bilateral relations. To right the wrongs and bring the relationship back to the right track, the walls of misperceptions must be torn down first to clear the way for knowing, observing, and understanding China as it is.

Wang Yi said that China is a country that always upholds and promotes people's democracy. Democracy is a common value of humanity. There is no fixed model of or standard answer to how to realize democracy. True democracy must be rooted in the realities of a country and serve its people. The socialist democracy practiced by China upholds the organic unity of the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the running of the country by the people, and law-based governance. It is a whole-process and the most representative democracy which embodies the will of the people and fits the country's realities. It is thus endorsed by the people, and has made special, important contributions to the progress of political civilization of humankind.

China is a country that is always committed to protecting and promoting human rights. China takes a people-centered approach to human rights and believes that the rights to subsistence and development are basic human rights of paramount importance. We strive for comprehensive and coordinated development of economic, social and cultural rights as well as civil and political rights. We have eliminated abject poverty for the first time in China's thousands years of history. Places inhabited by ethnic minorities, such as Xinjiang and Tibet, have stood out as shining examples of China's human rights progress.

China is a country that always values and safeguards world peace. China has benefited from world peace in its development, and has contributed to world peace in turn with its development. We didn't provoke any war or occupy one inch of foreign territory. We seek to settle differences through dialogue and resolve disputes through negotiation. We have no intention to export ideology. Nor do we attempt to overturn the government of any country. We always stay on the new path of state-to-state relations to seek dialogue instead of confrontation and teaming up instead of ganging up.

China is a country that always advocates and pursues win-win cooperation. We believe in shared interests and common good. We help fellow developing countries with sincerity and good faith, and we do not attach political strings or impose our wills. China is fostering a new development paradigm, and advancing opening-up at a higher level. This means a bigger market and more development opportunities for other countries.

China is a country that always practices and upholds multilateralism. During the five decades since China restored its lawful seat at the United Nations, we have upheld the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and firmly promoted greater democracy in international relations. We never seek to form small circles targeted at other countries. We never take actions unilaterally outside the authorization by the UN. We take concrete actions to uphold the basic norms of international relations and safeguard the common interests of developing countries.

Wang Yi said that new U.S. administration is now reviewing and assessing its foreign policy. We hope that the U.S. side will keep pace with the time, see clearly the trend of the world, abandon biases, give up unwarranted suspicions, and move to bring the China policy back to reason to ensure a healthy and steady development of China-U.S. relations. Fifty years ago, with extraordinary political resolve, leaders of China and the United States jointly reopened the door of interaction which had been closed for decades. Fifty years later today, we must, with the sense of responsibility for the two countries and the world, make once again the sensible and right decision.

Wang Yi put forward the following four recommendations of how to bring China-U.S. relations back to the right track.

First, it is important to respect each other and not to interfere in each other's internal affairs. China has all along respected the choices made by the American people. We have no intention to challenge or replace the United States. We are ready to have peaceful coexistence and seek common development with the United States. We hope the United States will respect China's core interests, national dignity, and rights to development. We urge the United States to stop smearing the CPC and China's political system, stop conniving at or even supporting the erroneous words and actions of separatist forces for "Taiwan independence", and stop undermining China's sovereignty and security on internal affairs concerning Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet.

Second, it is important to step up dialogue and properly manage the differences. Both sides should follow up on the phone call between the two Presidents on the eve of the Chinese New Year, act in the fundamental interests of the two peoples, take a forward-looking, open-minded and inclusive attitude, and reactivate or establish dialogue mechanisms in various areas and at various levels. The two sides should engage in candid dialogues on a broad range of issues in bilateral relations and on major regional and international issues, so as to get a clear understanding of each other's policy intentions, sort out the critical issues in China-U.S. relations, and explore effective ways to manage sensitive issues, ward off risks and remove obstacles. China stands ready to have candid communication with the U.S. side, and engage in dialogues aimed at solving problems.

Third, it is important to move in the same direction to restart mutually beneficial cooperation. With regional hotspot issues and global challenges emerging one after another, areas for China-U.S. cooperation are expanding rather than shrinking, and the prospects for interaction are broadening rather than narrowing. More than ever China and the United States are more capable of getting big things done to the benefit of the two countries and the world at large. Under the current circumstances, the two sides may start from easier things, interact actively, and build up goodwill. We hope that the U.S. side will adjust its policies as soon as possible, among others, remove unreasonable tariffs on Chinese goods, lift its unilateral sanctions on Chinese companies and research and educational institutes, and abandon irrational suppression of China's technological progress, so as to create necessary conditions for China-U.S. cooperation. COVID-19, climate change and world economic recovery are the three most pressing tasks for the international community. China is ready to coordinate policies and work with the United States in these three areas for the good of the whole world.

Fourth, it is important to clear the path for the resumption of bilateral exchanges in all areas. The people-to-people exchanges between the two countries should stay immune to the ups and downs in the political dimension of the relations. We hope that the U.S. side will act as early as possible to lift its restrictions on Chinese educational and cultural groups, media outlets and institutions for overseas Chinese affairs in the United States, remove its obstructions for U.S. subnational governments and social sectors to engage with China, and encourage and support the resumption of normal exchange programs between universities, research institutes and of students. China is ready to work with the United States with an open mind to build a good environment for people-to-people exchanges.

Wang Yi said that the future of China-U.S. relationship is in the hands of the two peoples. Its improvement always requires support of the two societies. He hopes that the two sides will work together to steer the giant ship of China-U.S. relations back to the course of sound development toward a bright future with boundless prospects.

The forum was co-organized by China Public Diplomacy Association (CPDA), Peking University and Renmin University of China. President of CPDA Wu Hailong presided over the opening ceremony. Representatives from various sectors, including Chinese Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai, Director of the Center for International Security and Strategy at Tsinghua University (CISS) and former Vice Foreign Minister Fu Ying, President of Peking University Hao Ping, former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson, President of the Asia Society Kevin Rudd, former U.S. trade representative Carla Hills, Chairman and CEO of Starr Companies Maurice R. Greenberg, and other former government officials, experts, scholars from both sides attended the event and held in-depth discussions on the topics of "reshaping political mutual trust", "rebuilding economic and trade balance" and "restarting cultural exchanges".

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