Video: Veteran Official Robert D. Hormats Offers Long View of U.S.-China Relations

Once upon a time — meaning, in this case, the early 1970s — a trip to China was considered by many Americans "like going to the moon,” U.S. Under Secretary of Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment Robert D. Hormats said as he discussed the past, present, and future of U.S.-China relations at the Asia Society on Tuesday night.

Click here to watch the complete program, and click here to read a transcript of Hormats's prepared remarks.

Today, going to China from the United States is not quite a journey into space, but relations between the countries are no less interesting than they were 40 years ago. As Hormats pointed out, U.S.-China relations become more complex with the increased commercial, political, and cultural ties that each decade brings. The greatest challenges to relations between not only the U.S. and China but China and its Asian neighbors, as well, are economic ones, said Hormats.

Discussing the future, Hormats called for greater cooperation between the U.S. and China, saying that the two nations have a unique opportunity to shape the global economy to come. Both nations must adhere to high standards of transparency, conservation and multilateral trade. To accomplish these goals, he said, the U.S. must not approach China as an adversary to be stopped, but rather as a partner to be supported. By America's accepting China’s rise in wealth and power, both parties will enjoy a more sympathetic and prosperous relationship. Preliminary steps in this area, he concluded, would include greater Chinese investment in the U.S. and lifted restrictions on foreign investment in certain sectors of China.

Watch highlights of Hormats's appearance below. (6 min., 20 sec.)