Constructive and Cooperative China-US Relationship

President Hu Jintao, Of the People’s Republic of China

Washington DC
April 20, 2006

At Dinner Hosted by Friendly Organizations in the United States

Respected Mr. Mike Eskew, Respected Ms. Carla Hills, Respected Mr. Thomas J. Donohue, Respected Secretary Elaine Lan Chao, Respected Dr. Henry Kissinger,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear friends, I would like to begin by thanking my hosts this evening. They are: US-China Business Council, National Committee on US-China Relations, US Chamber of Commerce, America-China Society, US-China Policy Foundation, Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Committee of 100, Asia Society, the Council on Foreign Relations, Brookings Institution, China General Chamber of Commerce—U.S.A. and China Institute. Thank you for hosting such a big dinner for us. This evening, I am delighted to have this opportunity to meet with my friends, both old and new, to renew our friendship and look ahead at the future.

For many years, all of you present here have made unremitting efforts to promote China-US relations. On behalf of the Chinese Government and people, I would like to express my heart-felt thanks to you for your valuable contributions and, through you, extend our best wishes to all Americans who care about and have supported the growth of China-US relations.

I am visiting the United States at the invitation of President Bush to strengthen dialogue, increase common understanding, enhance mutual trust, deepen cooperation and promote the all-round growth of constructive and cooperative China-US relationship in the 21 st century. During the visit, I have had fruitful talks with President Bush, met with representatives of the American public and reached important common understanding. What has impressed me most is that both China and the United States share a strong desire to further develop our bilateral relationship and that both sides appreciate the fact that the China-US relations have gone far beyond bilateral context and become increasingly global in importance.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear friends,

We are living in an era full of opportunities and challenges. The world is undergoing profound changes, so are the mode of production and way of life of mankind as well as the relationship between people, between countries and between man and nature. Facing a world in profound change and growing challenges, China holds that the international community should work together to promote progress in the international society. The will of the people in all countries should be respected. Democracy and rule of law should be advocated in international relations. The current international system and order should be gradually reformed and improved to make it just and equitable. A new security concept featuring mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and cooperation should be advanced. Disputes should be settled through dialogue and negotiation, and countries should make concerted efforts to safeguard world peace and security. The international community should make development a priority and support developing countries in speeding up their development. The international trade and financial system should be reformed and improved to ensure that economic globalization will lead to common prosperity. The historical and cultural traditions of different countries and their particular national conditions at different stages of development should be respected. Dialogue between different civilizations should be strengthened to maintain diversity of the world and advance human civilization.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear friends,

Profound changes are also taking place in contemporary China. The development of China, a country with one fifth of the world’s population, concerns not only China itself but also peace and development in the Asia Pacific region and the whole world. I understand you have a keen interest in the direction of China’s future development. Here let me tell you in explicit terms that China sticks to a path of peaceful development. It is firmly committed to promoting development domestically and maintaining world peace and promoting common development internationally.

China must pursue a path of peaceful development if it is to meet the goal of modernizing itself. Since reform and opening up was launched 28 years ago, China’s social productivity has been greatly boosted and the livelihood of its people steadily improved. But China remains a developing country with a large population, poor economic foundation and imbalance in regional development. The most pressing and immediate task facing China is to give top priority to economic development and continue to raise the living standards of its people. What China needs most is a peaceful international environment. We hope to develop ourselves through safeguarding world peace and better promote world peace as we develop ourselves.

China ’s decision to pursue peaceful development is deeply rooted in its historical and cultural traditions. The Chinese nation has always been a strong advocate of good-neighborliness. Over several thousand years, China has maintained friendly relations and business and cultural exchanges with all other countries. In the period of over 100 years from the Opium War in 1840 to the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949, China was long subjected to aggression, and economic and social development were simply off its national agenda. We the Chinese are therefore most appreciative of the value of peace. The path of peaceful development embodies the national trait fostered in the Chinese culture over several thousand years and accords with the lofty pursuit of the Chinese people who love and value peace.

China ’s pursuit of peaceful development conforms to the trend of the times and is in keeping with human progress. In today’s world, countries are increasingly interdependent and the destiny of their people is more connected than ever before. Peaceful environment is the prerequisite for development. Only by strengthening exchanges and broadening cooperation can countries realize common development. To safeguard world peace and develop friendly relations with other countries is in the best interest of China’s modernization drive and contributes to the stability and prosperity of the Asia Pacific region and the whole world.

In pursuing peaceful development, China strives to advance both the fundamental interests of its own people and the common interests of the peoples in the world, and it plays a responsible and constructive role in promoting world peace and development. China actively participates in efforts to ease tension over regional hot-spot issues and works to promote regional cooperation of mutual benefit. China is firm in upholding the authority and role of the United Nations and UN Security Council. It takes an active part in international peacekeeping operations and international disaster relief operations. China has conducted energy dialogue and cooperation with other countries in a joint effort to maintain stability of the international energy market.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear friends,

In the past 27 years since the forging of diplomatic ties, China-US relations have steadily moved ahead despite twists and turns. Enhancing China-US friendship is the shared wish of our two peoples, and fostering mutually beneficial cooperation is a natural choice for both countries.

Entering the new century, China and the United States, two major countries, share increasing common interests and can cooperate in expanding areas. Both China and the United States have high stakes in anti-terrorism and non-proliferation. A bilateral medium and long-term exchange and cooperation mechanism against terrorism is now in place. Our business ties are growing rapidly, which have brought tremendous benefits to our peoples and is giving a strong boost to world economic growth. We are both committed to safeguarding peace and stability in the Asia Pacific region and maintaining vitality of its development. China-US exchanges and cooperation in culture, education and science and technology serves as a bridge for enhancing friendship between our two peoples. Both countries share a keen interest in important issues like environmental protection, public health, climate change and humanitarian assistance and have conducted effective cooperation in these areas. We also commit ourselves to strengthen regional cooperation in avian influenza prevention and control in Asia Pacific. It is a good example showing that we are living up to our common responsibility.

On the other hand, we should not loose sight of the challenges facing us. As we look around the world, we can see that the international security environment remains fragile. Development presents a pressing issue. Gap in wealth is widening, and trade frictions have mounted. How to address these problems is a major challenge facing us.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear friends,

Advancing China-US relations both serves the fundamental interests of our two countries and peoples and contributes to peace, stability and prosperity of the Asia Pacific region and the whole world. We should view China-US relations in a broad and strategic context and from the perspective of our times of ensuring mutual benefit and win-win outcomes, and guide the stable growth of our constructive and cooperative relations. To this end, I wish to propose the following:

First, increase understanding, expand common ground and build long-term and stable constructive and cooperative China-US relations. China values its relations with the United States, which are high on its foreign policy agenda. China is committed to long-term peaceful coexistence, mutual benefit and common development with the United States. China and the United States should continue high-level exchanges, maintain and expand consultation at all levels, pursue strategic dialogue, foster strategic mutual trust and promote two-way cooperation.

Second, seize opportunities, be creative, consolidate and expand the foundation for our economic cooperation and trade. Economic cooperation and trade are a pillar sustaining China-US relations. We should encourage Chinese and American companies, large, medium and small ones alike, to build strong business ties and explore new opportunities for cooperation in such fields as telecommunication, environmental protection and services and strengthen strategic consultation on energy and increase energy cooperation. China and the United States should resolve trade disputes through consultation on an equal footing and expanding mutually beneficial cooperation. China will continue to honor its WTO accession commitments, expand market access, strengthen IPR protection and increase import from the United States. The Chinese side also hopes that the US side will take positive steps to promote the growth of our business ties. China and the United States should also increase dialogue and cooperation on macro economic policy to facilitate the balanced and orderly growth of global economy.

Third, adhere to principle, honor commitment and properly handle the question of Taiwan in accordance with the three China-US Joint Communiqués. The question of Taiwan involves China’s core interests. The principles laid down in the three Joint Communiqués should be strictly observed. This is crucial for the sound and stable growth of China-US relations. We will continue to make every effort and work together with our Taiwan compatriots with every sincerity to ensure the peaceful and stable development of cross-straits relations and China’s peaceful reunification. But we will never allow the “ Taiwan independence” secessionist forces to split Taiwan from China under any name or in any form. President Bush and the US Government have reiterated on many occasions their adherence to the one China policy and the three Joint Communiqués and their opposition to “ Taiwan independence”. We appreciate their commitment. It is our hope that the US side will fully honor its commitment of adhering to the one China policy and opposing “ Taiwan independence”. This meets the common strategic interests of China and the United Statesand will contribute to peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits and the Asia Pacific region.

Fourth, maintain close consultation, take up challenge and strengthen communication and coordination on major international and regional issues. The Chinese side is ready to deepen anti-terror cooperation with the United States on the basis of reciprocity and mutual benefit, work with the United States to uphold international non-proliferation regime, properly address the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomatic means and negotiation and continue to peacefully resolve the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula through the Six Party talks. The Chinese side is also ready to strengthen consultation and coordination with the United States in environmental protection, public health and disaster relief and reduction. China and the United States should maintain and strengthen cooperation in UN affairs and push for progress in resolving issues relating to global development. China will continue to work with the United States to promote stability and prosperity in the Asia Pacific region, step up discussion and cooperation in APEC, ARF and other regional and multilateral fora in a common effort to promote open and inclusive regional and multilateral cooperation.

Fifth, draw on each other’s strengths and strengthen friendly exchanges between the two peoples. China and the United States both have cultures that we take pride in and they have both made contribution to the human civilization and progress of mankind. Therefore, China and the United States should step up cooperation in science and technology, culture and education, increase exchanges between our media and think tanks and expand friendly exchanges between our provinces and cities. Young people are the hope for the future, and we should make special efforts to strengthen exchanges among our young people and thus provide new momentum to sustain China-US relations.

Sixth, respect each other, treat each other as equals and view differences in a proper context and manage them properly. China, in line with its national conditions, will continue to reform its political structure, develop socialist democracy, expand citizens’ orderly participation in political affairs and ensure that people exercise democratic election, democratic decision-making, democratic management and democratic monitoring in accordance with the law. China takes human rights seriously. The state respects and upholds human rights and this has been written into China’s Constitution. China will keep advancing human rights in the course of its social development. The Chinese people fully enjoy freedom of religious belief as provided for by law. Due to different national conditions, it is normal for China and the United States to disagree on some issues. We should seek common ground while shelving differences, conduct consultation on an equal footing and promote mutual progress through exchanges.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear friends,

President Franklin Roosevelt remarked that “the world can be changed by man’s endeavor and that this endeavor can lead to something new and better.” I am convinced that we need to ensure sound and stable growth of China-US relations if we are to build a harmonious world of durable peace and common prosperity. Let us work in partnership to promote the all-round growth of constructive and cooperative China-US relations and make even greater contribution to the well-being of our two peoples and the lofty cause of human peace and development.

Thank you all!