Diplomats start on new path

Updated: 2013-06-13 11:54

By Chen Weihua in Washington (China Daily)

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Diplomats start on new path

Cui Tiankai (right), Chinese ambassador to the United States, receives Asia Society's Diplomatic Achievement Award on behalf of his predecessor Zhang Yesui from Ronnie Chan, global co-chair of the Asia Society, at its awards dinner held in Washington on Wednesday. Sun Chenbei / China Daily

After Chinese President Xi Jinping and US President Barack Obama agreed to build a new kind of relationship between their nations, two senior government officials who participated in the Sunnylands summit have vowed to pave the way ahead on a better cooperative path.

China's Ambassador to the US, Cui Tiankai, said the most significant outcome of the summit was that the two sides have decided to work together to build a new model for relations between the two countries.

"Both sides have recognized that we cannot afford to repeat the old path of rivalry and confrontation. We need a new path that features mutual respect and win-win cooperation," he told the Asia Society Washington awards dinner on Wednesday.

"So the goal is set and the direction charted out. The next step is to translate this commitment into real policies and actions," said Cui, who accepted a diplomatic achievement award on behalf of his predecessor Zhang Yesui.

Cui emphasized that it was also important to bring the general public of both countries on board to share this vision, and support and participate in the building of a new bilateral relationship.

Acknowledging the challenges in areas such as maritime territorial disputes and cybersecurity, Cui said both countries have to make sure that these issues will not block the way forward for the overall relationship.

"To build a new model of relationship is a long-term mission, and there is a long way to go. However, coming out of this meeting at Sunnylands, we are full of confidence," he said.

US National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, who received a policy achievement award on Wednesday, pledged US commitment to building a stable and constructive relationship with China, which he said had made progress this past weekend.

"Few diplomatic, economic or security challenges in the world can be addressed without both China and the US," Donilon said.

Speaking at the Brookings Institution in Washington on Wednesday, Fu Ying, former Chinese vice-foreign minister and now chairwoman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the 12th National People's Congress, also praised the summit.

"Though they have not solved all the world's problems for us, we hope it will lead to many years of working together, with productive results on the way," she said.

Fu believes that the two countries still have a different outlook on issues and it was important for them to try to understand each other and try to work together.

A diplomat for 35 years, Fu explained that in defining the new type of relationship, the Chinese side proposed to respect and treat the US side as equal, and to try to form a win-win relationship.

She said Chinese believe that countries, large and small, should treat each other as equals - as China treats Laos, or Trinidad and Tobago, which Xi visited during the recent trip.

"So when we talk about establishing a new type of relationship, I think it's very important that we try to understand each other and try to understand why the other side thinks that way and behaves that way," she said.

Pointing out China's growth potential over the coming decades due to the country's blueprint for development, which includes the urbanization of 600 million people, Fu said the US should join in as a partner and benefit from the many opportunities of China's progress.

"China cannot achieve its purpose without a peaceful international environment, and without working closely with the outside world, especially countries like the United States," she said.

Fu said the US still remains the center and leader in many fields, while emerging countries such as China and India gain more influence. However, she said China has a long way to go before catching up with the US.

"It's very important for China to stay focused and not lose sight of its direction," she said. "The new leader in China has shown lots of confidence and wisdom to do so."

On the maritime disputes in East Asia, Fu said she hopes Asia will become a proving ground for the new model of relationship between China and the US on cooperation. She pointed out that many challenges the two countries face concern the common interest of the planet.

"Countries, big or small, are all in the same boat," she said.

She cited as an example the US helping China avoid space debris during the launch of the Shenzhou X spacecraft on Tuesday.

"If we can work closely together on such a sensitive issue as space, there is no reason we can not to do better on earth," she said.


(China Daily USA 06/13/2013 page1)