Speech by Minister Xu Xueyuan At the Dinner hosted by National China Garden Foundation


(December 14, 2019 Washington, DC)

Dear Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,


Good evening. It is my great pleasure to join you all this evening, and thank you to the National China Garden Foundation for hosting tonight’s dinner. The Chinese and U.S. Governments have been working closely to build the China Garden at the National Arboretum in Washington DC. The project aims to promote increased friendship between our two countries through cultural exchanges. The National China Garden Foundation has been an important partner in building support for this effort, including by engaging closely with the private sector.

In the context of today’s China-US relations, this event conveys a very important message: the China-US relationship cannot develop without exchanges and cooperation, and the people’s friendship is critical to its success.

As major powers, China and the United States will always have their differences. Differences in our cultural traditions, our social systems, and our stages of development make it impossible for there to be a problem-free bilateral relationship. But the world is a diverse place, a reality that must be embraced. Differences should not stand in the way of state-to-state relations and people-to-people engagement. Instead, they should motivate greater communication and understanding.

Today, the China-US relationship is at a crossroads. How we proceed with our current debate will bear on the fundamental interests of the two peoples, and importantly, on world peace, stability, and development. Whether this debate is grounded in fact or filled with speculation, whether it is based on reason or led by paranoia, will determine if its outcome can stand the test of history. And in this process, some basic clarifications need to be made.

First, some people falsely claim that China wants to seek world hegemony. However, the fact is that the Chinese civilization always values harmony and peace, and hegemonism is simply not in the DNA of the Chinese nation. The Chinese government pursues a people-centered philosophy of development and takes the people’s aspiration for a better life as its goal. China stands for peaceful coexistence, win-win cooperation, and multilateralism. China is committed to working with other countries for a community with a shared future for mankind. All these clearly show that China develops itself not to surpass or displace others, and the country has not the slightest interest in global or regional hegemony.

Let's look at China's domestic governance and diplomatic practice. Most of China’s economic and social achievements have been made in the past 40 years. During this time, China has pursued reform and opened its markets. It became increasingly connected with and integrated into the international community. China’s development has been itself an unprecedented contribution to the world. It has been the top engine of global growth for 13 consecutive years. It is home to the fastest-growing middle-income group, and it is deemed as the most promising market in the world. But with all the achievements made, China is still working hard to comprehensively deepen reform and open itself even wider. The Foreign Investment Law will enter into force early next year, which will make our market fairer, more open and transparent, and better regulated. Facts have proved that China's success will not be a stumbling block for other countries to be great or great again; it will only be a booster for their sustained development.

Second, some people falsely claim that the Communist Party of China (CPC) is a political party that goes against the people’s will. However, the fact is that the CPC has represented the interests of the greatest majority of the Chinese people since Day One. Otherwise, it would have been impossible for the Party to unite the Chinese people and rise against all odds in its early years to establish the People's Republic of China in 1949. Since then, the CPC has continued to evolve and find a path that suits China's national conditions. That is the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics. On this path, the Chinese people have achieved a great transformation: we have developed China from a newly independent country to a more prosperous and stronger one. Today, the CPC has become the world's largest political party with 90 million party members. It represents the overall and long-term interests of the entire Chinese people. It has exceptional decision-making, organizing, and implementing capabilities. For every decision made, it will examine itself, evaluate the experience, and make adjustments wherever necessary. That is why the CPC has the full and strong support of the Chinese people. Anyone who tries to draw a line between the Party and the people or pit the people against the Party is either ignorant or misinformed, and will only be dismissed by the Chinese people.

Third, some people falsely claim that the China-US relationship is a zero-sum game. However, over the past 40 years of diplomatic relations, China and the United States have become increasingly interconnected and interdependent. We are now each other’s most important trading partner and investment destination. Our industrial, supply, and value chains are interlinked, and our interests closely entwined. According to an American survey, despite the ongoing trade frictions, American companies invested US$6.9 billion in China in the first half of 2019, an increase of 1.5% compared to the average of the same periods of 2017 and 2018. Eighty-seven percent of American companies in China indicated that they would choose to maintain their operations there. Every year, people take five million trips between our two countries, which means that 17,000 passengers fly across the Pacific on a daily basis. The development of China-US relations proves that both countries have benefited tremendously from their cooperation. Neither China nor the United States can move forward without the other.

In the years ahead, China-US cooperation and coordination will remain essential. From promoting economic growth and improving the people’s well-being, to preventing a global recession. From addressing regional hotspots such as the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue and the Middle East, to addressing global challenges such as climate change and disease control. Nothing can be achieved without China-US cooperation and coordination. No one benefits from a future where our two countries decouple in the economic, technological, and financial sectors and form two different systems and standards, as preached by some people. No one benefits if there is nothing left between us but strategic hostility and conflict, and the history of Cold-War blocs were to be repeated. Times have changed. The tide of history is moving forward. Those who go with it will thrive, and those who go against it will perish. China and the United States must abandon the outdated Cold-War mentality, step up dialogue and mutual understanding, properly resolve differences, and promote cooperation. Only in this way can we achieve a win-win for ourselves and all-win for the whole world.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

At a difficult time for China-US relations, people-to-people exchanges are even more precious. The two peoples’ mutual needs and friendship are an important force for us to avoid derailment and maintain the vitality of our relations. Our gathering here just demonstrates this strength again. We are especially glad to see that Ambassador Julia Chang Bloch and Honorable Florence Fang are given awards. They have worked relentlessly and made unique contributions to the mutual understanding and cooperation across the Pacific. They well deserve this honor, and it will certainly inspire more people to join in the cause of China-US friendship.

We also look forward to the early completion of the China Garden. This joint project will provide a new platform for the people’s friendship. China’s garden culture embodies harmony and cooperation. It is a testament of the ancient Chinese wisdom that “all living things should grow in harmony without hurting one another, and all the ways should run forward without interfering with one another.” While recognizing the diversity of the world, it is necessary to achieve co-existence, integration, and common development of one another. Let’s work together to remove the shadows on bilateral relations with the light of wisdom and courage. Let’s work to keep to the principles of mutual respect and win-win cooperation, and to jointly advance a China-US relationship based on coordination, cooperation, and stability, to the greater benefit of the people of both countries and the whole world.

As the holiday season is around the corner, I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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