I’m happy for today’s opportunity to meet you. I want to thank the Council on Foreign Relations, especially my old friend Richard Haass, whom I have known for several decades, for inviting me to come here to talk to you.
This year marks the fortieth anniversary of the issuance of a communique of diplomatic relations between our two countries. It is a critical year for both sides. It is important for us to objectively view the shifting dynamics in each other’s countries with a historical perspective, calibrate our relations, and keep the relationship on the right track.
In the past four decades, thanks to the efforts made by leaders and people from various sectors of both sides, our cooperation has come a long way, boosted our respective development, and delivered benefits to people of both countries. The tremendous dividends of this relationship have gone far beyond the imagination of the forerunners who opened the door of China-U.S. engagement.
At the same time, we are also two countries vastly different in history, culture, social system, and level of development. The closer our engagement, the more closely entwined our interests, maybe various suspicions and even frictions may ensue. This is not surprising库贝萨 , and it is also no cause for panic. What’s important is how these differences should be viewed, evaluated, and handled.
Indeed, we are faced with a host of issues. I had a small-group discussion with some members of the Council before I came here, and I think we are both thinking about what is the crux of these issues. I think these issues boil down to how the United States perceives China.
Some American friends have proceeded from the Western theory of realism and, based on the laws governing the rise and fall of historical powers in the past several hundred years, believe that a strong country is about to seek hegemony. And their conclusion is that China is about to seek hegemony in the future and even challenge or displace U.S. leadership. I want to tell you very clearly that this is a serious strategic misjudgment. It is a misguided anticipation that will be extremely detrimental to U.S. interests and the future of the United States. However, regrettably, this self-imagined suspicion is spreading, and it has also amplified the differences between our two countries, and even led to new suspicions. It has also made it more difficult for us to address the specific issues that exist. I want to tell you very clearly that China will follow a path of development different from historical powers. It is a path with Chinese features. It means that China will not repeat the old practice of a strong country seeking hegemony. I don’t think China will become the United States, and China will not challenge the United States. Still less will China take the place of the United States.
China follows a path of peaceful development. China is a big country in the East with a five-thousand-year civilization. The Chinese believe in peace. There’s not a single bone of making external expansionism in the body of the Chinese. As early as over six hundred years ago王多多, the Chinese navigator Zheng He led the biggest fleet in the world to the Pacific and west Indian Oceans on seven expeditions, visiting over thirty countries and regions, not taking a single inch of land. That was actually quite inconceivable for those Western powers who were busy making colonial expansion, but the Chinese did that. Moreover, we have come into an age of globalization when peace, development, and win-win are the call of the times, and the old practice of aggression and expansion can no longer work. Hence, China will not repeat a historical path, nor is it possible for China to ever follow that path. The truth is China is determined to follow a new path. Maybe not that many people know that the commitment to the path of peaceful development has been incorporated into the constitution of the People’s Republic of China and the charter of the Communist Party of China. That means it has become a part of national law and the party charter that we must observe. That speaks to China’s firm commitment to peace.
China follows a path of win-win through cooperation. Serving the larger interests and delivering benefits to all is something that is inherent in the Chinese tradition. We don’t believe in the law of the jungle whereby the strong prey on the weak or the winner takes all. In thousands of years of engagement between China and its neighbors, China believes in goodwill and mutual respect, believes in giving more and taking less. China also believes in openness and inclusiveness for win-win benefits in developing both the ancient and the current Silk Roads. Forty years ago, China launched the reform and opening up endeavor for mutual engagements and cooperation with other countries and regions. Five years ago China put forward the Belt and Road Initiative, which has become the most popular cooperation platform in today’s world. So far over 130 countries and international organizations have signed cooperation agreements with China. The reason for its success is a sense of togetherness in undertaking this initiative. This November China will host the first International Import Expo. That is a creative move. We want to invite people in to share China’s opportunities.
China follows a path of seeking common ground while setting aside differences. The Chinese believe that, as all living things can live in harmony without harming each other, we can and should have different ways—run forward, side by side—without interfering with each other. We believe in a diverse world where countries can live in harmony and learn from each other. In contemporary times China once made attempts at introducing various foreign systems, but none of them worked on Chinese soil. Eventually, under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, we have found a path of development that fits China’s national conditions and the trend of our time. That has achieved tremendous success. The international authoritative institutions survey shows that the Chinese people are really confident about the future of China and satisfied with their government. The rating of China ranks among the top. Well, this path is a path of socialism with Chinese features. Since this is the right path, we will stay on this path as we move forward.
The Chinese ancient philosopher Confucius believed that a gentleman should seek harmony in diversity and should not do to others what one would not like himself. We believe that also applies to state-to-state relations. We respect our differences, think from others’ perspective. We can achieve true harmony. There’s no one size that fits all in today’s world. It is important that we enhance mutual understanding and live in peace and harmony as we develop state-to-state relations. History has shown that if one is bent on remolding the other according to one’s own standards or insists on imposing one’s system upon others, most probably that would not work, and even invite disastrous implications or consequences. I want to emphasize the China will not—did not copy foreign pattern and will not copy foreign pattern, and China will not ask others to copy China’s pattern either.
Peaceful development, cooperation, and seeking common ground is China’s firm conviction. The last few decades have seen over 1.3 billion Chinese people getting a better life, and at the same time China is making a greater contribution to the peace and prosperity of the world and promoting shared interests and well-being of people in all countries.
In this world rife with uncertainties and instability, what role is China playing? Let me tell you the following.
中国已经成为维护世界和平的力量结算通卡 。建国近70年来，中国没有主动挑起过任何一场战争和冲突。我们同绝大多数陆上邻国和平解决了边界问题。在南海，尽管中国的岛礁被非法侵占，但我们保持了最大程度的克制旷世神医 ，承诺通过和平方式解决争端鬼虐 ，并且同东盟国家制定了共同遵守的地区规则，使一度风高浪急的南海局势趋于稳定。在世界战火纷飞的每一个角落，都有中国维和人员的身影。中国已经是联合国维和行动第二大出资国和五常中派遣维和军事人员最多的国家。中国军舰连续10年在亚丁湾、索马里海域执行护航，先后维护了6000多艘船舶的安全。
China has become a force for world peace. In its nearly seventy-year history of the People’s Republic, China has never provoked any war or conflict. We have peacefully settled our boundary questions with most of our land neighbors. In the South China Sea, the Chinese islands and reefs had been illegally occupied, but China has exercised utmost restraint and undertaken in written form to settle the disputes through peaceful means. Together with ASEAN countries, we have developed regional rules to be observed by all藏灵菇, thus easing the once-tense situation. And in every place of conflict and war, we can find Chinese peacekeepers. China is the top contributor of military peacekeepers among P-5 and the second-largest contributor of U.N. peacekeeping funds. And for ten years running, Chinese military ships have provided escort missions for over six thousand ships in the waters of the Gulf of Aden and Somalia.
China has become an engine for global growth. Over the years, China has contributed seventy percent of global growth潘怡行, thus becoming a—(inaudible)—engine of global growth. In 1997, when Asia was ravaged by a financial crisis武警擒敌拳 , despite huge pressure on its currency China has kept the value of its currency stable to support its neighbors. In 2008, during the sweeping international financial crisis, the Chinese economy bucked the trend to register strong growth, thus becoming an anchor of global growth, thus playing an irreplaceable role in the recovery that followed. Now there are over three hundred million Chinese people in the middle income group. According to some forecasts, China is expected to become the largest market, especially in retail goods, with an annual import of $2 trillion U.S. The Chinese economy is shifting from high-speed growth to high-quality growth. China is opening wider, bringing more development opportunities to the world.
China has also become a model in poverty alleviation. The past few decades have seen nearly eight hundred million Chinese people lifted out of poverty, or over seventy percent of the global total. This is a miracle never seen in human history. Our current goal is to lift another forty million Chinese out of poverty in three years and lift all the remaining rural population out of poverty by 2020. This will be a great feat of vast significance for global growth. At the same time阿芙洛狄特 , as the biggest developing country, China is following closely how our developing partners are doing. Through experience-sharing, assistance, and personnel training李作成简历 , we are supporting poverty-alleviation efforts in other developing countries. So far China has sent to over 160 countries and international organizations nearly four hundred billion yuan in development aid. Through South-South Cooperation Fund, China-U.N. Peace and Development Fund, Climate Change South-South Cooperation Fund, and other mechanisms, we are helping other developing countries in implementing the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. China’s foreign assistance never comes with political strings attached. We respect the need of recipient countries and help them build capacity for independent and sustainable development. Thus, our foreign assistance has been—(inaudible)—by other developing countries.
China has become a force to rely on in the global fight against terrorism. Terrorism is an enemy of mankind. China stands firmly against terrorism in all manifestations, and it will never allow the spread of terrorism in its territory or allow any place of China to become an origin of terrorism. This is China’s largest—a big, major contribution to the global fight against terrorism. China is an important member of the global campaign against terrorism. We are deeply involved in the U.N. and other multilateral cooperation mechanisms to help Afghanistan, Iraq, and other countries in enhancing capacity-building through peaceful reconstruction, through promoting peace talks, and development assistance. We are helping them to remove breeding ground. Between China and the U.S., we have effective cooperation and information-sharing in fighting terrorism and cutting terrorist financing.
China has also become a partner in mediating hotspot issues. China has taken part in the settlement of almost all hotspot issues—in DPRK, Iran, Yemen, Afghanistan玄心奥妙决 , Syria, South Sudan, and other issues. We are contributing our wisdom and solutions and playing a constructive role. On the peninsula nuclear issue, we see a paradigm of successful cooperation between China and the U.S. China is committed to denuclearization, peace/stability on the peninsula, and a negotiated end to the issue. We are encouraging the U.S.-DPRK engagement and improvement of inter-Korean relationship, thus playing an important role. It is because of China’s commitment and the efforts of all parties that we see a major turnaround on the peninsula this year, and further cooperation with China will become a key in promoting and completing denuclearization.
China has become a pillar for international order. After the Second World War电视剧错恨 , countries have done some reflections, and together they founded the U.N. and international order based on multilateralism. China is a founding member of the U.N. and a permanent member on the Security Council. China is actively integrated in the existing international system. We have joined almost all major international organizations and signed over three hundred international conventions. China is playing an increasingly important role in global governance. Although the existing international order is not one hundred percent perfect, but it is effective on the whole. So we must observe and preserve the existing order. China cannot and will not start a new order. Multilateralism, free trade, and other well-established international norms must never be undermined. To reform and improve a system is only to make it more just and equitable, and more responsive to the current circumstances.
For the U.S. and for other countries around the world a China that pursues peace, cooperation, and openness and opportunity or a challenge. Is a China that plays a positive and a constructive role on the global stage a partner or a rival? I believe that anyone with no bias or hidden agenda will come to a sensible conclusion.
A Chinese writer once observed in the long journey of a person’s life only a few steps are critical. Sixty-nine years ago, the then U.S. administration took a hostile policy toward China, leading to twenty-three years of estrangement and confrontation between China and the U.S. And then forty-six years ago, President Nixon opened the door to reengagement between our two countries, ushering in an era of peace and prosperity.
Now, the relationship between our two countries is a common asset. It is the result of generations of people’s efforts, so it must be preserved and valued. Just like this glass, it is easy to break it, but it will be difficult to restore a broken glass. So now we see this relationship coming once again to a crossroads. If our two sides can look at each other in a positive and accommodating light, expand and deepen cooperation, and manage our differences then we can overcome the current difficulties to start a more promising journey to a brighter future.
At this critical juncture, I will count on the people with vision in both countries to assume their responsibilities and take concrete actions to maintain healthy and stable growth of the relationship. Let us together take this relationship forward in the right direction. History will remember those who take the lead through the mist.
So this is—I want to say to you. Thank you.