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Wang Yi Appeals To Revive Cooperation between China and U.S. in Address to Asia Society

Dec. 19, 2020 (EIRNS)—Foreign Minister Wang Yi was the guest of the Asia Society, which arranged a Zoom meeting with him and with Chinese Ambassador Cui Tiankai. While much of the discussion was not public, Foreign Minister Wang’s comments were webcast. He said that the relationship was at its lowest point since the establishment of relations in 1979. The major problems were the protectionism that was jeopardizing cooperation, the resurgence of McCarthyism, and the stigmatization of a lawful political party, the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC). “We don’t export our system or model nor do we seek influence [in other nations].”

The Chinese foreign minister said the country’s focus is on “development of the nation and win-win cooperation” with other countries. He point out the central role of the CPC in China’s governance system and its overwhelming support among the people. “An attack on the CPC is an attack on 1.4 billion Chinese people. It is not going to succeed ... it is doomed to fail.” According to Wang, the systems in the two countries “are chosen by their people and are deeply rooted in historical and cultural traditions [of the respective nations].” “China was once bullied by Western powers [but] those days are long gone,” he said, criticizing what he termed was an “attempt to build an international coalition against China.”

He declared that China could well cooperate on three of the four issues that the Biden Administration had indicated were priorities for them: on overcoming COVID, fighting climate change, and reviving the economy. “The most pressing task at the moment is to jointly tackle the pandemic,” he said. He pointed to the millions of face masks that China had provided the United States in the course of the pandemic. He said the two countries could cooperate on developing vaccines and help distribute them to third countries. He greeted Biden’s decision to re-enter the Paris climate agreements and said that China could cooperate on this as China was building an “ecological civilization.” And China was willing to begin an economic dialogue with the United States. He also said that China intended to live up to the Phase I trade agreement.

But the goal of this cooperation is not to “mold” the other or to “defeat the other,” he warned. “Cultural differences are deeply rooted. Remolding China would be a mission impossible. It would not succeed.” He also opposed the attempts to interfere in China’s internal affairs, as in Tibet and Xinjiang. “Such non-interference is in accordance with the UN Charter and with the three communiqués that lay at the basis of U.S.-China relations,” he stressed. He called on the U.S. to return to an engagement policy as soon as possible. “A China-U.S. confrontation would spell catastrophe for the world,” he said. He referenced President Xi Jinping’s message to President-elect Joe Biden, in which he stressed the principles of cooperation. “We must manage our differences and restart a dialogue.”

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