June 20, 2023
BEIJING – Relations: Countries urged to act with sense of responsibility
President Xi Jinping has urged the United States to respect China, reject major-country competition and honor the positive statements and consensus made at his meeting with US President Joe Biden last year.
Xi made the remarks when meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who arrived in Beijing on Sunday for a two-day visit, his first to China in his current capacity.
Xi pointed out that “the world needs a generally stable China-US relationship”, and “whether the two countries can find the right way to get along bears on the future and destiny of humanity”.
“Planet Earth is big enough to accommodate the respective development and common prosperity of China and the US,” he said.
Speaking on major-country competition as sought by Washington recently, Xi emphasized that such competition “does not represent the trend of the times, still less can it solve the US’ own problems or the challenges facing the world”.
“China respects US interests and does not seek to challenge or displace the US. In the same vein, the US needs to respect China and must not hurt China’s legitimate rights and interests,” he said.
“Neither side should try to shape the other side by its own will, still less deprive the other side of its legitimate right to development,” he added.
When elaborating on the bilateral ties, Xi said China always hopes to see a sound and steady China-US relationship and believes that the two major countries can overcome various difficulties and find the right way to get along based on mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation.
He called on the US to adopt a rational and pragmatic attitude, and work toward the same goal with China.
Xi said the two sides need to remain committed to the common understandings that he and President Biden reached in Bali, Indonesia, last year, and “translate the positive statements into actions so as to stabilize and improve China-US relations”.
Blinken conveyed Biden’s greetings to Xi. He said Biden believes that the US and China have an obligation to responsibly manage their relations, adding that this is in the interests of the US, China and the world. He also said the US is committed to the agenda set by the two presidents in Bali.
The US stands by the commitments made by President Biden, namely that the US does not seek a new Cold War and does not seek to change China’s system, that US alliances are not directed at China, and that it does not support “Taiwan independence” and does not seek conflict with China, Blinken said.
The US side looks forward to having high-level engagement with the Chinese side, keeping open lines of communication, responsibly managing differences and pursuing dialogue, exchanges and cooperation, he added.
Observers said that Xi made his remarks to Blinken at a time when Washington has persisted in suppressing and bullying China while hollowing out the one-China principle, pushing the relations to a new low.
“That’s why many people from outside the two countries have expected that, through the two-way meetings during Blinken’s China visit, the two sides could return to the consensus reached by the two heads of state in Bali,” said Ling Shengli, secretary-general of the International Security Research Center at China Foreign Affairs University.
“Despite various challenges, there is room for the two sides to embark on collaboration, and they could first work on specific issues and affairs and push for the relations’ improvement bit by bit, step by step,” he said.
When highlighting the two-way ties’ significance in bilateral and global contexts, Xi told Blinken that the Chinese, like the Americans, are dignified, confident and self-reliant people, and both peoples “have the right to pursue a better life”.
“The common interests of the two countries should be valued, and their respective success is an opportunity instead of a threat to each other,” Xi said.
The international community is generally concerned about the current state of China-US ties, and it does not want to see conflict or confrontation between China and the US or to take sides, Xi said.
“The two countries should act with a sense of responsibility for history, for the people and for the world, and handle China-US relations properly,” he said.
Wu Xinbo, dean of Fudan University’s Institute of International Studies, noted that currently “the overall China-US ties are still vulnerable and unstable”.
With regard to the ties’ ups and downs in the past few months, Wu said key lessons worth noting include that Washington should keep a cool head in case of an accident, and “the US side should be very prudent in tackling matters related to the Taiwan question, which involves China’s core interests”.
On Sunday, Beijing and Washington agreed to advance collaboration and exchange of visits during the talks between State Councilor and Foreign Minister Qin Gang and Blinken.
Earlier on Monday, Wang Yi, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee, also met with Blinken.
Wang asked the US to “stop hyping up the ‘China threat’, lift illegal unilateral sanctions against China, stop its suppression of China’s scientific and technological development, and refrain from interfering in China’s internal affairs”.
Wang urged the US not to apply to China the belief that “a strong nation surely will seek hegemony”, or to use the past trajectories of traditional Western powers to misjudge China.
“This is the key to whether the US policy toward China can truly return to an objective and rational approach,” he said.
Su Xiaohui, deputy director of the Department of American Studies at the China Institute of International Studies, said that China has consistently honored and supported peace, and “many countries disagree with the US narrative that China seeks hegemony or to bully others when it is getting stronger”.
As the US will host this year’s APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting, Wang said it is an important opportunity for the US to rethink and recalibrate its Asia-Pacific policy.
China is ready to work with the US to explore a way for constructive interaction in the Asia-Pacific region, and it hopes that the US, as the APEC host, will work with China to bring Asia-Pacific cooperation back to the right direction, Wang said.