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Belt, Road called an opportunity for the US

By Amy He in New York | China Daily USA | Updated: 2017-06-15 11:40

Tung Chee-hwa, former chief executive of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, said that while trade and business ties between China and the US are important, the "overall relationship should not be anchored on the economic relationship alone", adding that taking advantage of every opportunity to collaborate will move the relationship forward.

The two countries were able to come together to prevent an even bigger global financial meltdown from taking place during the 2008 financial crisis, collaborate on medical science in Africa during the Ebola crisis in 2014, and are currently working together to ensure a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula, Tung said on Wednesday at the Asia Society during a high-level dialogue on the Belt and Road Initiative.

"Today, the fact is that the world is faced with many other challenges that need urgent attention," he said, adding that "no single country can address [all of the] challenges alone".

"A multilateral approach will be necessary, and the involvement of the big powers is crucial," he said. "But initiatives agreed to between the US and China from the very beginning can help the eventual success of our common efforts. I believe that contributing to the global common good is a noble and good cause for the two countries to take on."

Tung was Hong Kong's first chief executive after the transfer of sovereignty from the United Kingdom to the People's Republic of China in 1997.

He served until 2005 and is currently vice-chairman of the 12th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference.

The Belt and Road Initiative Dialogue held at the Asia Society, jointly organized by the China Center for International Economic Exchanges and the Asia Society Policy Institute,comes a month after a Belt and Road Initiative forum was held in Beijing to discuss next steps for the $1 trillion project.

Cui Tiankai, Chinese ambassador to the US, said that the Belt and Road project was a manifestation of China's preference for connectivity over separation.

"This connectivity is not only about linking our infrastructure, roads, and bridges together, but also about policy, trade, financial flows, and people-to-people exchanges," he said.

"This connectivity will make it possible for us to build stronger bonds among nations, and really join hands to respond to the growing global challenges that transcend national boundaries," added Cui.

Though the project has a certain geographical scope, it is open to all who want to participate and invest and China would be open to increased participation by the US, he said. "Let's make it another joint venture between us," he said.

China and the US have economies that are so interdependent that there is no option for trade wars or zero-sum games, and healthy competition should be fostered, he said. "If China and the US can confront their common challenges, they will open a new page in history."

"There are signs of steps in the right direction," the ambassador said. "Just two months ago, President Xi Jinping and President Donald Trump had their first meeting in Mar-a-Lago, Florida. It was a very successful and productive summit - maybe more successful than most people would expect. It set the tone and direction for our relations to go forward."

Referring to the 100-day plan initiated between the two sides at the meeting, Cui said that there have already been some "early harvests" and more new plans are in the pipeline.

"I am quite confident that when the two sides officially meet at the end of these 100 days, there will be new plans for one year, two years, and the years to come," he told the audience.


(China Daily USA 06/15/2017 page1)

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