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This article appears in the May 1, 2020 issue of Executive Intelligence Review.

[Print version of this article]

Ambassador Huang Ping
For a Better Future: The Principles Needed to Ensure
Peaceful and Productive Relations Between China and the U.S.

Schiller Institute
Huang Ping

Speed: Our next presentation will be given by the Consul General of the People’s Republic of China in New York, Ambassador Huang Ping. This is prerecorded because he is now in Boston for the purpose of meeting a plane arriving from China, which is delivering much-needed medical supplies for the people of Massachusetts. As some people know, that has now become a hotspot of coronavirus. It was requested that he and others be there to receive that plane. Elected officials from the United States will also be there. As I understand, young students from China who have been stranded in the United States will also be returning.

So, we’re now going to play the Ambassador’s statement, and then we’re going to be going to questions. At that point Counsellor Zhou Guolin, head of the Science and Technology section of the consulate, will be standing in for the Ambassador. We’ll also be directing questions to Helga and to Mr. Polyanskiy.

Ambassador Huang Ping: Mrs. LaRouche, President of the Schiller Institute; Ladies and Gentlemen:

It is my great pleasure to join this video conference hosted by Schiller Institute. We meet at a challenging time when the COVID-19 pandemic is ravaging the globe. Many families have suffered from this disease and lost their loved ones. Countless healthcare workers are fighting against the virus on the front line. At the outset, I want to express my deep condolences to all the families plagued by misfortune, and pay high tribute to those who are still holding posts at this extremely difficult time.

China was among the first countries hit hard by COVID-19. Under sudden attack of this unknown enemy, the Chinese government and the Chinese people have been undaunted and made a robust response. We have put the people’s well-being front and center since the outbreak began. We have acted upon the overall principle of shoring up confidence, strengthening unity, ensuring science-based control and treatment, and imposing targetted measures. We have mobilized the whole nation, set up collective control and treatment mechanisms, and acted with openness and transparency.

What we fought was a people’s war against the virus. With hard efforts and great sacrifice, China emerged as one of the first countries to stem the outbreak. Domestic transmission has been largely stopped. Confirmed cases have declined to around one thousand, with dozens of daily increases that are mainly imported cases. Meanwhile, China has managed to restore its economy and society step by step to a normal order. Across the country, 98.6% of big industrial plants have resumed production, and 89.9% of employees on average are already back to work, a significant force to pull the world economy back on track.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, China actively joined global efforts in combatting the disease in an open, transparent, and responsible manner. China timely updated the WHO, publicized the genome sequence of the virus, and shared our prevention and treatment experience without reservation. We have been offering assistance to the best of our ability, which has been widely recognized by the WHO and the international community. President Xi Jinping had phone calls with 29 leaders of countries and international organizations, and attended the Extraordinary G20 Leaders’ Summit on COVID-19. Premier Li Keqiang also talked on the phone with multiple foreign leaders, and attended the Special ASEAN+3 Summit on COVID-19.

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Pallets of medical supplies being unloaded from a China Southern Cargo Plane at Los Angeles International Airport, April 10, 2020.

Between March 1 and April 10, China exported around 7.12 billion masks, 55.57 million pieces of protective suits, 3.59 million infrared thermometers, 20,100 ventilators, and 13.69 million goggles. As of April 12, we have dispatched 14 medical expert groups to 12 countries, and Chinese medical experts have had 83 video conferences with their counterparts from 153 countries to assist relevant countries in responding to the epidemic.

At the same time, we always care about the safety and health of overseas Chinese citizens. The whole diplomatic front has been mobilized and has moved promptly to collect the basic information of Chinese nationals abroad and their difficulties. We rallied them in a united campaign against the virus through mutual assistance. We helped them with access to local health providers and through remote diagnostics to those in China. We sent joint task forces to offer services and support. We put in place special consular protection mechanisms, and chartered flights to bring home Chinese citizens who had been stranded abroad due to the outbreak. We have found ways to solve problems for overseas students, and delivered health kits to every student in need.

Recently, an important task of my consulate general was to assist under-aged Chinese students in our consular district to take ad hoc flights back to China. Although New York City is the epicenter, and there is a high risk of infection at the airport helping students get on board, many of my colleagues signed up for the task without hesitation.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the pandemic is still ravaging the globe, with more than 200 countries and regions affected, over 2.6 million people infected, and 190,000 died. It is likely to further spread in Africa, South Asia, Latin America, and other underdeveloped regions, causing more casualties. Countries that have been through the apex of the first outbreak must be vigilant about the second wave of outbreak. Even if we come out of the pandemic, we may face a domino effect: economic recession, social unrest, food crisis, refugee waves, and even international conflicts. Some people say that this is the biggest crisis facing human society since World War II. People around the world are in anxiety, and expect the international community to work out solutions together. As the two largest economies in the world, China and the United States are becoming the focus of global attention on whether they can lead countries to tide over this crisis.

As you know, the China-U.S. relationship is in an unprecedentedly difficult period. The United States sees China as a major strategic competitor, and is implementing a China policy of comprehensive containment and suppression through the “whole-of-government strategy.” As a result, this relationship is increasingly facing the risk of derailment. Much needs to be overcome for the two countries to abandon differences and focus on cooperation. As the impact of this crisis on the world is rapidly fermenting, it is necessary to rethink our approach to growing China-U.S. relations, for the interests of not only the two countries, but the whole world at large. I would like to make three points for your consideration.

First, the epidemic highlights the interdependence between China and the United States. Neither side can survive the challenges without support of the other. In the 21st century, it is an unstoppable trend that different countries will be increasingly interconnected, thus having more common interests and challenges. The human society has indeed become a community with a shared future. In the face of global challenges such as infectious diseases, climate change, and terrorism, even great powers like China and the United States cannot manage by fighting alone.

In his recent phone call with President Trump, President Xi stressed that the two countries should join efforts, strengthen cooperation in areas such as outbreak preparedness and response, and contribute to building a relationship based on non-conflict or confrontation, mutual respect, and win-win cooperation. This points out the direction for the future development of our bilateral relations. Looking ahead, the two sides need to strengthen global governance cooperation in public health, economics, and finance, and establish joint prevention and control networks. We should collaborate in developing vaccines and drugs, better coordinate macro policies so as to counter the downward pressure on the world economy and maintain world stability and prosperity.

Second, the epidemic underscores the profound friendship between Chinese and American people, which serves as the mainstream of our relationship. As the virus takes its toll in China and the U.S., our two peoples have chosen to mutually support each other instead of being indifferent across the Pacific. When China was in deep distress, people across various sectors of U.S. society lent a hand to us, for which we will always be truly grateful. Now the U.S. has become the epicenter of the world, with more than 900,000 people diagnosed and more than 50,000 deaths. The Chinese people relate to the difficulties American people are going through, and we are willing to offer assistance to the best of our ability in return. According to incomplete statistics, China has provided the U.S. with over 2.46 billion masks, meaning 7 masks for each person in the U.S., plus nearly 5,000 ventilators, 258 million gloves, 29.2 million surgical protective suits, and 3.13 million goggles.

In the past few weeks, we have received much genuine appreciation from American people. I believe our two peoples’ friendship will become even stronger through the test of this battle. Our two governments must pay heed to the mainstream of our two peoples while growing this relationship. We cannot be caught by some extremists who keep sowing seeds of discord and decoupling between our two nations.

Third, the epidemic reveals the China-U.S. relationship is still facing complicated problems. In solving the problems and differences, we must stop appealing to the dark side of humanity and look to the bright side. Since the outbreak of this epidemic, especially after the situation in the U.S. got severe, we have noticed many negative voices about China in the United States. Some people have accused China of concealing the outbreak, some even have made up the story that the virus came from a Chinese lab and vowed to hold China accountable. Some people have stigmatized China and have discriminated against ethnic Chinese. I want to point out that there are some different views on the source of the virus in the international community. Virus tracing is a serious scientific issue and should be carefully assessed by professionals with scientific evidence. COVID-19 is a completely new virus, and its outbreak is unexpected.

All nations need some time to understand the situation and respond to it. It was impossible for China to issue a warning to the world in the very early stage because of a small number of unknown cases. Some countries also initially mistook the COVID-19 for a common cold or pneumonia. Infectious diseases may break out in any country or any ethnic group. We must do our best to prevent discrimination against any country and group in this pandemic. American citizens may also encounter increasing discrimination abroad as the situation here in the United States gets worse. To blame and scapegoat other countries, to incite racial discrimination and xenophobia, will do no good in enabling the world to cope with the epidemic and its impact, nor will it help unite us in addressing other global challenges in the future. They will only bring chaos to the global governance, and cause more harm to peoples around the globe.

Ladies and Gentlemen, former U.S. President John F. Kennedy realized very long ago that “When written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters—one represents danger, and the other represents opportunity.” The COVID-19 crisis has indeed brought unprecedented challenges to the world, but it has also offered unprecedented opportunities for countries to break new ground. I believe if we take a long-term perspective, remain courageous, cooperative, and innovative, we will be able to overwhelm the challenges, turn the crisis into opportunities, and unlock a better future for China and the United States, and for the human society. Thank you.

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