|Interview on Current China-US Relations Given by State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi|
State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi had an exclusive interview with Xinhua News Agency on 5 August 2020. The following is the transcript.
Xinhua: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asserted in his speech at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library that the policy of engagement with China pursued by successive US administrations since President Nixon's has not produced its goal and has failed. Many people in the United States question his assertion, saying it was more of an "ideological rant" without any clear or feasible pathway forward. What is your comment?
Wang Yi: The assertion that US policy of engagement with China has failed is just a rehash of the Cold War mentality. It turns a blind eye to all that has been achieved in China-US relations over the past decades, shows ignorance of the historical process and lack of respect for the Chinese and American peoples. This is a political virus which is understandably questioned and rebuked by people in the United States and the international community.
Over four decades ago, leaders of China and the United States made the handshake across the vast Pacific Ocean. What made this possible was that both countries adhered to the principle of mutual respect and seeking common ground while putting aside ideological differences.
During President Nixon's visit to China in 1972, Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai said that China and the US needed to be clear about our differences and find common ground, so as to reach a new starting point in bilateral ties. President Nixon responded that our two countries have great differences, and what brings us together is that we have common interests which transcend those differences. The Shanghai Communique issued by the two countries encapsulated their consensus to respect each other and seek common ground while setting aside differences.
What has happened since then demonstrates that this monumental choice made by the two sides is the right one. Over the past 40 years and more since the two countries entered into diplomatic ties, several generations of Chinese and Americans have worked together to advance China-US relations. As a result, bilateral ties have become one of the most deeply interwoven relationships in the world with broadest cooperation areas and most extensive common interests.
China and the US now account for over one-third of global economic output and over 50% of global growth. Bilateral trade volume has increased by over 250 times since the early days of diplomatic ties and takes up one-fifth of the global total. Two-way investment has jumped from almost zero to nearly US$240 billion, and annual two-way visits by the two peoples have reached five million. The two countries shoulder important responsibilities for almost all global issues concerning world peace and development. No one can deny these facts.
Forty years on, while China and the US are quite different in social system and many other aspects, such differences have not affected the peaceful coexistence and cooperation between the two countries, and they should not affect their bilateral ties in the future. It is neither necessary nor possible for the two sides to change each other. Instead, we should respect the choice independently made by the people of the other side.
China's major achievements in the past decades show that the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics fits China and enjoys the most extensive and firm support of the Chinese people. It has also benefited the world and people of other countries, including the American people.