Zhou Wenzhong, Ambassador to the U.S. from China

Landon Lecture
February 11, 2008

Thank you very much. Thank you, Mr. President, for a very kind introduction, and I want to thank all of you for your kind invitation. It is my honor to be associated with this prestigious lecture series. Governor Landon is one of the first in this country who argued for normalization of relations with China, and I still remember the meeting between him and the ambassador at that time in the early '80s, and I was in the meeting. And we respect him and we want to thank him for all he did for our relations.

I also want to thank you for your interest in learning more about China and I think it is the understanding of people in support of the people for relations between us which keeps the relations going. So I hope what I am going to talk about will help you to understand more about China and to develop a balanced perspective of what's going on in China and why we are doing things in that way.

So now let me take this opportunity to talk about China's peaceful development strategy and China-U.S. relations. In the 17th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party last October, President Hu Jintao stressed the point that China will stick to the path of peaceful development. We will spare no efforts in carrying out the opening up strategy for mutual benefits and a win-win outcome. We will continue to develop friendly relations in cooperation with all countries on the basis of the five principles of peaceful coexistence, and we are ready to join hands with people across worlds to promote the building of a harmonious world of enduring peace and a common prosperity.

This is China's policy and long-term strategy. It is also the most important message that a 17th Party Congress is sending to the world. In fact, since the beginning of reform and opening up in late 1970s, China has successfully embarked on a road of peaceful development based on its national conditions and in response to the call of the times.

Why has China chosen the road of peaceful development? The Chinese nation has always been peace loving. Allying for peace and the pursuit of harmony characterize China's national spirit. Six hundred years ago Zeng He, the great navigator of the Ming Dynasty let the then largest fleet in the world on seven voyages to the western seas, reaching more than 30 countries and the regions in Asia and Africa. He brought with him only peace in a civilization and hedid not occupy an inch of other people's land. This was the best footnote for the good faith of the Chinese people in strengthening exchanges with other countries and the peoples.

During the 100 odd years following the opium war of 1840, China suffered humiliation and insult from big powers, and ever since then the Chinese people have become even more resolved to eliminate war, safeguard peace and to seek independence, prosperity and happiness.

Since the beginning of reform in opening up nearly 30 years ago, China has made remarkable progress. The economy has sustained rapid growth. The GDP increased by 10.7 percent in 2006 and 11.4 percent in 2007. People's living standard keeps improving and 228 million rural population have been lifted out of poverty. China's economic growth is expected to contribute 16 percent of global economic growth in 2007.

Nevertheless, China is still a developing country. We have the most populous nation in the world. Our economic foundation is weak, our development is unbalanced, and we have had a number of difficult problems to solve as we move forward. Therefore, we will concentrate on developing our economy, promote development in a scientific way, strengthen social harmony and steadily improve the living standards of the Chinese people.

This is the central task of the Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese government. The Chinese people want peace, love and they will do their very best to work with all the other nations to promote world peace. It is a common wish of the people throughout the world and an irresistible historical trend to pursue peace, promote development and seek cooperation.

In particular, the continued trend of multi-polarization and economic globalization has brought new opportunities for world peace and development. Meanwhile, the world is still troubled by many factors of instability and uncertainty. Mankind faces many severe challenges. Countries of the world need to work together to build a harmonious road of sustained peace and a common prosperity.

Safeguarding world peace and promoting common development has become a national role of China. The Chinese people support, promote and participate in all things that are conducive to peace and development As China pursues peaceful development it will continue to make its contribution to the promotion of peace, development and cooperation.

Now, you may wonder, "What will China do in its pursuit of peaceful development?" Pursuing peaceful development means that China is committed to building a socialism with distinctive Chinese features, and it will uphold a peaceful international environment to develop itself and contribute more to world peace and a common development through its development. And it means that China will actively participate in the economic globalization and the regional cooperation while mainly relying on itself to achieve all-around coordinated and a sustainable development thrbugh reform and innovation.

It means that China will open up wider to the world and promote mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation with all other countries. It means that China will pursue an independent foreign policy of peace, never seek external expression and to remain a staunch force for world peace and a common development.

First, China is committed to achieving development by peaceful means and through cooperation. To build itself into a rich and a strong country China is merely tapping its own resources and potential peacefully while carrying out extensive international exchanges and cooperation on the basis of equality and a mutual benefit.

China does not seek to pursue its national interests through aggression, expansion or colonization. Since joining the WTO six years ago, China has been actively participating in international economic cooperation and the trades. It has become one of the most open economies among the developing countries in the world. With 100 of the 160 categories of WTO required to service trade sectors open to the outside world, China is approaching the level of openness of the developed countries.

China is ready to contribute, to continue a strategic dialogue with the United States and other developed countries with mutual trust, expand common interests, deepen cooperation, appropriately handle differences and to promote long-term steady and sound development of the bilateral relationship.

Second, China is committed to maintaining peace in the course of its development. China does not challenge the territory, integrity and the sovereignty of the other countries. China is a responsible country and is always committed to upholding peace and the stability in the world and its own region. We advocate and practice a new security outlook, featuring mutual trust, mutual benefit, quality, equality and coordination, and participate in extensive international cooperation in peace giving, counter-terrorism and arms control.

Over 9,000 Chinese peacekeepers have served in a total of 18 UN peacekeeping missions. On the nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula, the Iran nuclear issue and the Darfur issue of Sudan, China has been playing a significant and constructive role.

Third, China is committed to common prosperity and the progress of all countries and does not seek its own development at expense of others. Through increasing aid and assistance and reducing and waiving debts, China is working vigorously to support the development of other developing countries. We believe that China's future is increasingly associated with that of the world. China cannot develop in isolation from the rest of the world, and the world needs China if it is to attain prosperity and stability.

China's development is peaceful, open, cooperative and a win-win. By following the path of peaceful development, China will build better lives for its own people and contribute to the common development of the world. This serves not only the fundamental interests of the Chinese people, but also the shared interests of people of the whole world. China's development brings increasingly extensive growth opportunities for every country.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Chinese and American peoples have long looked upon each other with fascination and friendly sentiments. We Chinese admire the pioneering and enterprising spirit of the American people and your achievements in building your great country. As China develops and China-U.S. cooperation expands, more and more Americans turn their eyes towards China and to follow China's progress closely.

Although there were rainy days during the 29 years of diplomatic relations between our two countries, our bilateral relationship on the whole has moved forward and become one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world.

The Chinese government attaches great importance to the China-U.S. relationship and it commits itself to developing long-term friendly relations and the cooperation with the United States on the basis of the principles of the Three Sino-U.S. Joint Communiques. With concerted efforts China and the United States have maintained a stable relationship and continued to make new progress.

First, there are close exchanges in the context between the leaders of our two countries. In April 2006 President Hu Jintao paid a successful visit to the United States and reached a new and important communistic ending with President Bush, advancing the constructive and the cooperative China-U.S. relationship in the 21st Century in an all-around way.

They agreed that China and the United States are both stakeholders and constructive partners. This clearly defines the China-U.S. relationship and it charts the course for its growth in the long run. Last year President Hu Jintao and President Bush met at an APEC economic news meeting. They reached important agreement on a wide range of issues. In addition, the two presidents often write each other letters and have telephone conversations, exchanging views on bilateral and major international and regional issues in a timely fashion.

Second, there are deeper exchanges and cooperati.on in all fields. China-U.S. economic and trade ties have grown stronger fast. In 2007, China-U.S. trade made a new record of 302.08 billion U.S. dollars, which was 10.5 percent more than the previous year and over 120 times as much as the trade total when our countries established diplomatic relationship in 1979.

Now China is America's second largest trading partner and vice versa. China has been a major and the fastest growing export market for the United States for years in a row, while the United States is China's second largest export market and the sixth biggest source of import, with accumulated investment in China exceeding $56 billion. funding over 54,000 projects as of the end of November 2007. The United States continues to be China's biggest source of foreign investment, at the same time direct investment from China in the United States also continues to increase. The cultural, educational and youth exchanges between our two countries is also expanding continuously.

Third, there are increasingly better dialogue and closer consultations between our two countries at various levels. In 2007, China and the United States held the second and third rounds of the Strategic Economic Dialogue and the fourth round of the Strategic Dialogue. A couple of weeks ago Deputy Secretary of State Negroponte went to China for the fifth round of the Strategic Dialogue. These dialogues have provided an important platform for our two countries to have strategic and substantive talks with each other in political and economic fields. In addition we also keep in close contact with each other through more than 60 bilateral working mechanisms in various areas.

Fourth, there is an increasingly prominent strategic dimension and the global significance to China-U.S. relationship. Recent years have seen increasingly frequent interaction between China and the United States in the global context. Many issues affecting our world today, from terrorism, proliferation, regional and national crimes, non-traditional security threats to U.N. reform, energy, security, climate change, disease control and the prevention and disaster mitigation and relief, China and the United States have more converging interests and broad areas for cooperation.

Our two countries have effective communication and coordination on the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea) nuclear issue, the Iranian nuclear issue, Darfur, Pakistan, the Middle East and other international and regional issues. Working together serves the interests of both China and the United States. Working together, China and the United States effectively safeguard it and enhance the peace, stability and the prosperity in the Asia Pacific region and the rest of the world.

Ladies and gentlemen, there is no denying the issues in our relationship. They are complex and should not be overlooked. The growing protectionist sentiments and the tendency to politicize economic and trade issues are especially worrisome. There are 50 China related trade bills introduced in the U.S. Congress concerning China's currency exchange of rate, IPR, trade imbalance and product safety.

Trade issues need to be handled properly or they will hurt both China and the United States. One must recognize that since the normalization of relations between China and the United States, mutually beneficial and win-win cooperation has been the defining feature of economic and trade ties between our two countries. Given the speed, skill and scope of the growth of this relationship, issues and the frictions are hardly avoidable. Our two countries should follow the principles of development, equality and mutual benefit and give full play to such mechanisms as the Strategic Economic Dialogue, the Joint Commission on Commerce and Trades, the Joint Economic Commission and the Joint Science and Technology Commission. Dialogues on an equal footing and good-will consultations should be the right approach to address trade frictions. Trade protectionist measures or politicizing trade issues should never be an option.

China takes U.S. trade concerns very seriously. We will continue to adopt vigorous measures to expand imports from the United States, stringent IPR protection, improve the currency exchange rate formulation mechanism and ensure the quality and the safety of Chinese products. It is hoped that the U.S. will make corresponding efforts likewise, and especially abandon trade protectionist practices and relax the export control against China.

We hope the U.S.A. will work with us to safeguard our mutual beneficial and win-win economic ties. The Taiwan question is at the core Chinese concern that involves the national pride of 1.3 billion Chinese people and is always the most important and the most sensitive issue at the heart of China-U.S. relations. Handling the Taiwan question appropriately is crucial to the stability and development of China-U.S. relations.

The current situation in the Taiwan Straits region is delicate and grave. In disregard of our position from the international community, including the United States, the authorities are going all out pushing for the referendum on Taiwan joining the United Nations and other Taiwan independence activities. There is a greater danger that they will take the desperate move of creating a major incident of Taiwan independence. This again shows that the Taiwan independence forces and their activities are the biggest threat to the peace and the stability in the Taiwan Straits region.

Just as President Hu Jintao stressed in the report of the 17th Party Congress, the 1.3 billion people on the mainland and the 23 million people in Taiwan are of the same blood and share a common destiny. We will make every effort to achieve anything that serves the interests of our Taiwan compatriots, contributes to the maintenance of peace in the Taiwan Straits region and facilitates peaceful national reunification. We will make every effort with the utmost sincerity to achieve peaceful reunification of the two sides and will never allow anyone to separate Taiwan from the mother land in any name or by any means.

It is the shared interest of China and the United States to oppose and forestall Taiwan independence and to safeguard peace and stability in the Taiwan straits. We hope the United States will honor its commitments of adhering to the one China policy, abiding by the three Sino-U.S. Joint Communiques and opposing Taiwan independence, handle the Taiwan question appropriately and adopt more resolute and effective measures to block the road to Taiwan independence and to safeguard the peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits, and the overall interests of China-U.S. cooperation.

Ladies and gentlemen, 2008 is an important year for both China and the United States. China will mark the 30th anniversary of its reform and host the Olympic Games in Beijing, and the United States will elect a new president.

This year also marks the 30th anniversary of the China-U.S. Joint Communique on establishment of diplomatic relations. There are opportunities for our bilateral ties. There are also challenges that we must handle properly. The impact of the election politics in the United States on China-U.S. relationship deserves special attention.

I believe that both China and the United States should approach the bilateral relations from a strategic height, take real steps to take into action the important consensus of our leaders, that we are both stakeholders and constructive partners, exchanging exchanges at a high level and enhance strategic dialogue and the cooperation in all areas.

We should also respect and accommodate each other's concerns and properly handle differences. In this way I'm confident that we are capable of making greater progress in advancing the constructive and the cooperative China-U.S. relationship.

Thank you very much.

Zhou Wenzhong
Landon Lecture
February 11, 2008