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Speech by Consul General Zhang Ping at the Reception in Commemoration of the 40th Anniversary of the Establishment of China-U.S. Diplomatic Relations

Thank you for joining us this evening in commemorating the 40th anniversary of the establishment of China-US diplomatic relations.

40 years ago, on December 16, 1978, China and the US governments issued the Joint Communiqué on Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the People’s Republic of China and the United States of America. Two weeks later, on January 1, 1979, China and the US established the formal diplomatic ties.

This was a historic event. It improved the external strategic environment for both countries and produced positive and far reaching impact on the evolution of international relations both in the Asia-Pacific region as well as the world at large. It opened a new chapter in bilateral relationship, ushering in a new era of exchange and cooperation.

Over the past four decades, despite the twists and turns, ups and downs, China-US relations have managed to forge ahead and achieved historic progress.

Since the establishment of the diplomatic ties, leaders of the two countries maintained frequent contacts and communication, providing important strategic guidance and leadership to the development of the bilateral relations.

We have worked together bilaterally and on multilateral occasions, from political and security matters to economic and financial issues, from regional hotspots to transnational challenges.

Our two way trade and investment has grown rapidly. The two countries have become each other’s important trading partner and source of investment. Over the past ten years, almost every US state has witnessed increase of export of goods and services to China and benefitted from Chinese investment. Sister state and city ties and exchanges in cultural, educational, tourism and many other areas have strengthened our people-to-people connection and promoted sub national relations.

California is taking the lead in China-US sub national cooperation. China now is California’s largest trading partner, the third largest export destination for goods, and the fourth largest export destination for services. California is also the top state in attracting Chinese investment, students and tourists.

As we look back at the past four decades, the development of China-US relations is unprecedented both in breadth and depth. It has not only brought tremendous benefits to our two countries and peoples, but also promoted peace and prosperity of the world.

China-US relationship has indeed become one of the most dynamic and important bilateral relationships in the world, assuming more and more strategic significance and global influence.

Today, as China-US relationship is about to step into the next four decades, we are standing at another crucial crossroad.

Amidst the many negative things occurred in the recent development of the relations, and the attempts by some people in the US to push for economic disengagement, restriction on people to people exchanges and scientific cooperation, and even advocate for confrontation between our two countries, we are facing a critical choice.

Do we need to continue to build the relationship upon what we have achieved over the last four decades to make the next four decades more prosperous and productive, or do we want to see China-US relationship go back to the old days of estrangement or even engage ourselves in a new “cold war”? Whether we can make a right choice will determine the future of our relationship and will have a direct bearing on the wellbeing of our people.

To those who care about the relationship and who want a better relationship, the choice is obvious. China-US relationship is so important that it is in one’s interests to see it fall into confrontation.

We are encouraged by positive results from the recent meeting between President Xi and President Trump during the G20 Summit, where both sides reaffirmed their commitment to the common goal of win-win cooperation and agreed to pursue a China-US relationship defined by coordination, cooperation and stability. The consensus reached by the two leaders charted the way for addressing the existing issues between the two countries and prevented the further escalation of their trade frictions, putting these disputes back on the track of solution through dialogue and consultation.

To implement the consensus of our two leaders, in the next few weeks or months, we need not only to find solutions to those eminent trade issues, but more importantly, to lay a solid foundation for the next four decade’s development of China-US relations.

Ancient Chinese philosopher Confucius observed that "when reaching the age of forty, one should have no more doubts." If the past four momentous decades of China-US engagement were any guide, it boils down to the conclusion that our two countries stand to gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation. Cooperation benefits both sides and the whole world, while confrontation makes no one a winner and will only negatively impact the whole world.

As two big countries different in social system, history, culture and stage of development, it is only natural that China and the United States have some disagreements. And the existing problems between the two countries cannot be resolved overnight. However, the interwoven ties and intertwined interests also determine that China and the United States cannot be decoupled or completely isolated from each other. Any attempt to severe the existing ties and prevent our two sides from exchange and cooperation is against the tide of history and doomed to fail.

China will firmly defend its national interests, dignity and right to development, safeguard the rules-based multilateral trading system and seek solutions through dialogues based on mutual respect, equality and good faith.

As we mark the 40th anniversary of the joint communiqué on establishment of China-US diplomatic relations, it is noteworthy that this year also marks the 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up. While we recognize that the establishment of China-US diplomatic relations provided the necessary external environment for China to proceed with reform and opening up, it is the policy of reform and opening-up as well as the hard work by hundreds of millions of Chinese people that unleashed the development potential and brought us the progress that we have achieved today.

China will stay on the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics, keep to peaceful development, and pursue win-win cooperation with all countries to build a community of shared future for mankind. We will continue to advance reform and open wider to outside world. This provides great opportunities for mutual beneficial cooperation between China and the rest of the world.

We hope people of vision from both sides will see through the mist, expel various disturbances and show the wisdom of "having no more doubts". We urge those who still hold zero-sum mentality to change their mindset and see China's development in a more positive light. China’s development is aimed at providing a better life for its people, rather than challenging or replacing any nations. China is committed to building a China-US relationship of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation. There is no need to create rivals, and still less, to effectuate a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Though China-US relationship is encountering some difficulties at the moment, we believe the commitment of our two peoples to friendship and cooperation remains unchanged. We share the common aspiration for a better life and want to have a better world for our children. This is where we get the confidence in our future relationship.

As long as we take our bilateral relationship from a long-term strategic prospective, and properly handle our differences in a constructive manner, and so long as we have the support from our two peoples, we will be able to transcend various differences and cross over various traps.

We stand ready to work together with the US side to earnestly implement the important consensus reached by the two heads of state, and strive to enhance mutual trust, manage differences, focus on common interests, expand exchange and deepen cooperation between our two countries. We will endeavor to make greater efforts to elevate sub national relations to a new high.

As we mark the 40th anniversary of China-US relations, we should not forget the pioneering role of President Nixon’s historic visit to China in early 1970s which opened up the normalization process between our two countries. We should neither forget the long term support and dedicated efforts by friends from all walks of life, including our friends present here tonight, in promoting cooperation, understanding and friendship between our two countries and peoples. I want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to all of you and thank you for their great contribution. As we make our way ahead, we still need your continued understanding and support.

We look forward to working with our friends to usher our relationship into another prosperous four decades.

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