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Diplomat in LA tells how US and China can work together

By CHANG JUN in San Francisco | China Daily Global | Updated: 2021-04-22 11:07

Chinese and US flags flutter outside the building of an American company in Beijing, on Jan 21, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]

China and the US can jointly tackle problems in three areas — the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and the global economic recovery — and many more if they cooperate and engage in dialogue, China's diplomat in Southern California suggested on Tuesday.

China's Consul General in Los Angeles Zhang Ping — speaking at a webinar organized by the Pacific Council on International Policy — called on the United States to help solve disputes between the world's two largest economies; accept the reality of China's development; and reach peaceful coexistence with China.

He also shared his thoughts about how the two nations can cope with differences in their social systems and ideologies and still get along.

"The Pacific Ocean is big enough to accommodate both China and the US," Zhang said, citing remarks made by Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2017 on China-US relations.

Zhang was joined by webinar moderate Jerrold Green, president and CEO of the Pacific Council, a think tank headquartered in Los Angeles, and other council members.

While noting the positive interaction between China and the US since President Joe Biden took office in January, Zhang acknowledged that bilateral relations remain difficult, and in some areas the tension is heightened due to what he called a series of negative actions by the US side recently.

One example he cited was the US criticism of China's policies in Xinjiang.

Zhang denounced those in the US who "maliciously disseminate disinformation and fabricate stories" about alleged human rights violations in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region.

"Anyone who has some understanding of international politics can tell that this is a scheme set up for geopolitical purposes and a card played to contain China," Zhang said.

When talking about the latest US foreign policy depicting China as its "most serious strategic competitor", Zhang emphasized that competition between China and the US, though inevitable, does not represent a complete picture of the relationship.

The right way to raise competitiveness is to "focus on managing their own business well", he said, calling on the US side not to tie China to the American domestic agenda.

John Kerry, the US special presidential envoy for climate, went to Shanghai last week to meet his Chinese counterpart Xie Zhenhua. The two nations agreed to cooperate to urgently curb climate change.

"It's proof that the two countries could work together on issues of common interest," said Zhang. "We hope that China-US cooperation will not be limited to the climate area or issues that the US is concerned about.

"It should be two-way and mutually beneficial and address the concerns and needs of both sides," Zhang added.

He also expressed hope that "the US will have a correct understanding of China's development and avoid miscalculation on China's strategic intentions, reiterating the legitimate right of the Chinese people to pursue a better life".

"China is committed to non-conflict, non-confrontation with the US while firmly safeguarding its sovereignty, security and development interests as well as its national dignity," he said.

Zhang spoke highly of China's close ties with California, especially with Southern California, which is part of the consular district.

"Given the tremendous benefits that this close relationship has brought to both sides, we all have a stake in seeing California's connection with China remain strong," he said.

Zhang said he hopes that the bilateral relationship, now in a critical moment, will be maintained and "develop along a healthy and stable track. We also believe both sides have the ability and wisdom to find a viable path eventually to build a model of interaction between the two major countries that focuses on peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation."

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