Bank exec describes meeting with Li

Updated: 2013-11-08 08:50

By WANG JUN and CHEN JIA in Pasadena (China Daily USA)

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Back from Beijing, Dominic Ng, chairman of Committee of 100 (C100), and chairman and CEO of East West Bank, shared with the China Daily some of the details of his meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and other Chinese leaders Thursday in his office at the bank's Pasadena headquarters.

Ng had met with Chinese President Xi Jinping last February when Xi came to the US. To Ng, Xi and Li make an amazing pair with totally different personalities that complement each other — Xi is "charismatic, charming and could be very personable", while Li is a "global, international leader", he said.

"They reflect the new direction that China is going," Ng said.

In his meeting with Ng and another 20 some C100 members, Li discussed the challenges and opportunities that China faces.

Environmental issues and urbanization are among top concerns of the Chinese Premier's. How to maintain high quality economic growth while tackling the challenges is a "monumental task," said Ng.

China's economic growth doesn't need to be double-digit, he said, high quality is the key. Li's economic reform is to change the export-driven economy to a balance in which domestic need is more emphasized.

Ng said, Li told him and other C100 members to bring back a message to the US. It's true that the US and China are the biggest and second biggest economies in the world. However, China is still a developing country and a poor country, with a GDP per capita of $6,091 in 2012 ranking it 90th among all nations, according to the World Bank. The 2012 US GDP per capita was $49,965.

"It's totally incomparable," said Ng.

Instead of seeing China as a threat, the two nations should work together, he added. The Chinese Premier is open and welcomes US companies — especially those in industries such as environmental technology and entertainment — to do business in China.

Based on his close contact with national leaders in the US and China, Ng said the Chinese are always cooperative and collaborative, seeking common ground. "I don't see that changing in the coming 10 years," he said, adding, however, that the "US has always wanted China to do what the US wants it to do".

More specifically, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)'s "Asia Pivot", and the US' position on the Diaoyu Islands issue concern Ng.

"Excluding China from TPP is not conducive," he said. "The United States should bring China in and start negotiation. What's the point of excluding China? That's counter-productive and definitely won't bring a win-win result."

And, on the Diaoyu Islands, Ng suggests the US not get entangled in an issue between China and Japan. "The US should let the two countries work the issue out in a peaceful way," he said.

As a respected leader of the Chinese community, Ng commented on the Jimmy Kimmel issue. "It's very unfortunate and showed how insensitive some of the media's views are on the Chinese," he said.

What concerned Ng was not what the kids said, but the adults behind them who cut, edited and broadcast the show.

Jimmy Kimmel didn't apologize immediately and top people at ABC and its parent company Disney have yet to express any apology. Ng said the company should start training to help its employees appreciate the value of the Chinese and other minorities.

Compared to the "unfortunate" media incident, what's happening in China is more exciting.

"Big ideas will come out of the 3rd plenary session of the 18th CPC Central Committee, including changes to sustain high quality economic growth," Ng said. "The whole world is watching China."