The grand opening ceremony of the first China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue hosted in Washington was very impressive. In his speech opening the talks, US President Barack Obama said the Sino-US relationship “will shape the 21st century.”
Both the US and China are seeking a positive, constructive and comprehensive relationship, a new high level of bilateral partnership. This is really in keeping with the needs of the times.
First, from the rapid and all-around development of Sino-US relations since the two countries established diplomatic ties in 1979, we can see China and the US can contribute greatly to world peace and development if they put aside their differences and join hands to protect their shared interests and realize common prosperity.
The two countries have entirely different ideologies, political systems and levels of economic development, but their relationship has become more practical and mature after experiencing ups and downs in the past decades. It is really a miracle.
Second, today’s China deserves an equal position with the US in bilateral dialogue and cooperation. Thirty years ago, China’s GDP was merely $176 billion, a fraction of the US total of $2.5 trillion. Now China has become the third biggest economy in the world after the US and Japan. Thirty years ago, underdeveloped and isolated China had just begun its reform and opening-up. Today it has risen to be a powerful country playing an increasingly important and active role in the international community.
Third, as the largest developing and developed countries, China and the US play a key role in tackling global issues. The situation today is totally different from the 20th century in which most world issues were handled and solved by several developed countries. Today all countries confront transnational challenges and threats such as the spread of nuclear weapons, terrorism, environmental deterioration and the ongoing global economic crisis.
As Obama said in his speech, “All of these are rooted in the fact that no one nation can meet the challenges of the 21st century on its own, nor effectively advance its interests in isolation.” Under such circumstances, both China and the US need to upgrade and deepen their strategic dialogue and partnership to find substantial solutions to issues challenging international security and development.
However, we have to admit there is still a long way to go for the two countries to build mutual trust and effectively tackle the many challenges that will impact the healthy development of their bilateral relations. The strategic and economic dialogue is a good start but arduous negotiations on touchy issues must follow.
Whether China and the US can create another miracle in the next 30 years heavily depends on sincere and enduring efforts from both parts.
Both sides must fully prepare to engage in this process.