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China's contributions highlighted at Town Hall

By ZHANG RUINAN in New York and DONG LESHUO in Washington | China Daily USA | Updated: 2018-10-10 23:43
Robert Hormats of Kissinger Associates discusses China's relations with the world at a Town Hall held by the America China Public Affairs Institute in New York on Tuesday. Hong Xiao / China Daily

Speaking at the annual China Town Hall during a critical moment for China-US relations, former US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice said that China is crucial to the world's economic growth.

"China is a major factor in the international economy; no one can really imagine international growth that is sustained without Chinese economic growth," said Rice, who also has served as US national security advisor.

The 12th annual event was the largest so far and took place at more than 100 venues in 44 US states and parts of China, including Shanghai, said Stephen Orlins, president of the National Committee on US-China Relations, which partnered with a wide range of institutions and community groups to implement the program.

China Town Hall is a national conversation about China that provides Americans across the United States and beyond the opportunity to discuss issues in the bilateral relationship with leading experts.

Speaking as the national webcast speaker for the event, Rice said that while it's true that the two countries have differences, more importantly they should understand that there are things they need to cooperate on, she said.

"We (the US) needed cooperation on North Korea, so that we could begin to do something to roll back Pyongyang's nuclear programs," Rice said. "We had actually very good cooperation with China and getting, for instance, through the Security Council resolutions on terrorist financing and tracking terrorists."

She was referring to the cooperation between the two nations during the Sept 11 crisis as an example.

"We had very good cooperation when there was a need for sharing of information," she said.

Rice said the US and China do compete in certain areas, including technology.

"It doesn't mean that competition has to be conflictual," she said. "Let's cooperate where we can, and let's compete where we must. Let's have our differences where we must, but let's try to do it in a way that makes the world safer and more prosperous," she said.

When asked about a story that the Trump administration considered placing a ban on Chinese nationals receiving student visas in the United States, reported by the Financial Times last week, Rice said that she would be "fundamentally opposed" to such restrictions. There are about 350,000 overseas Chinese students at US colleges and universities.

"I know that right now there is a lot of talk about whether we should be limiting Chinese students coming to the United States. I just don't believe it. I think that's not who we are," she said.

"I'm a university professor, and I want to train the best and brightest from all over the world, and I believe that everybody benefits if they're well trained and they go back to improve economic life for their countries and for their people," added Rice. "I hope more and more of our students will take Chinese language and go and visit China."

"The biggest export between China and the US are degrees," Samuel Mok, president and chairman of the National China Garden Foundation, said at a Town Hall in Washington. "There are tremendous benefits of having students in the universities."

People-to-people exchange is vital for understanding and for achieving peace among nations, Mok said.

"The US and China are more similar than different," he said.

Feier Wu in Washington and Hong Xiao in New York contributed to this story.

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