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Ambassador: China-US summit pivotal moment in global diplomacy

By MINLU ZHANG in Chicago | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-11-22 10:24

Xie Feng, Chinese ambassador to the US, speaks at the China General Chamber of Commerce (CGCC) Chicago 2023 Annual Gala on Monday. MINLU ZHANG / CHINA DAILY

The China-US summit meeting in San Francisco was "a highlight in the China-US relationship this year, a milestone in the history of bilateral relations, and a major event in international relations", according to Beijing's top envoy in Washington.

The summit meeting between President Xi Jinping and President Joe Biden last week "is of special significance, producing fruitful outcomes and attracting worldwide attention", Xie Feng, Chinese ambassador to the US, said at the China General Chamber of Commerce (CGCC) Chicago 2023 Annual Gala on Monday.

"It is a highlight in the China-US relationship this year, a milestone in the history of bilateral relations and also a major event in international relations," he said.

During the visit, Xie said he witnessed how the two presidents "set the direction for China-US relations at this critical moment, sensed the eagerness of both peoples for greater exchanges and cooperation, and also felt more acutely the extensive common interests between our two countries and the profound public support for China-US friendship".

Xie delivered the speech upon the invitation of the annual gala themed "Let's Move Forward". Nearly 700 people attended the event, including US senators, members of Congress, governors, mayors, former officials, business leaders, experts and scholars from the US side and representatives of Chinese-funded institutions and companies. 

Xie noted that the visit by President Xi "helped to put in place the pillars for China-US relations, fostered a future-oriented San Francisco vision, reached important deliverables in multiple areas, and renewed the goodwill between the two peoples".

President Xi pointed out that for China and the United States, turning their back on each other "is not an option", Xie recalled. "It is unrealistic for one side to remodel the other. Any conflict and confrontation would have unbearable consequences for both sides. The right approach is to respect each other, coexist in peace and pursue win-win cooperation," he said.

"The journey from Bali to San Francisco has not been an easy one," said Xie.

"But San Francisco should not be the finish line. President Xi emphasized that China and the United States need to jointly develop a right perception toward each other, jointly manage disagreements effectively, jointly advance mutually beneficial cooperation, jointly shoulder responsibilities as major countries, and jointly promote people-to-people exchanges. These are the five pillars that have laid out a roadmap for the sound, steady and sustained growth of China-US relations," he said.

The ambassador emphasized that the China-US relationship has never been smooth sailing, and the two nations are still facing many difficulties and challenges.

"The two sides need to rise to the challenges and act on the important common understandings reached in San Francisco; follow the rules and bring bilateral economic relations back to the right track; and bring out the vitality, and foster closer ties between the peoples and at the subnational level.

"It is important to translate the commitments into concrete policies and real actions, so as to turn the San Francisco vision into reality and further improve China-US relations. It is important to avoid backpedaling, still less, saying one thing but doing another," Xie emphasized.

Xie also presented the US-China Friendship Envoy Award to former US ambassador to China Max Baucus at the gala.

US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns sent a video speech to the gala and said that the bilateral relationship is "more stable and there's certainly better communication between our governments".

"That doesn't mean that the relationship is not competitive, because it still is. And it doesn't mean that we don't have major differences, because we do across the board. But it does mean that we're better connected and therefore better able to manage these differences responsibly. And in my world of diplomacy, that's progress," Burns said.

CGCC-Chicago is the largest group supporting Chinese businesses in the Midwest with more than 260 members and partners. The Midwest region sent more than $20 billion worth of goods to China last year, according to the association.

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