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US officials urged to understand China's priorities through CPC congress report

By YIFAN XU in Washington | China Daily Global | Updated: 2022-11-25 09:30

US officials should read the report to the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China to better understand China's priorities from domestic and international perspectives, said a US expert.

Sourabh Gupta, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Institute for China-America Studies, said, "It's useful for American officials to read where China is going and what its primary priorities are."

State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi had a phone call with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Oct 31 after the congress. Wang recommended that the United States should carefully study the report if it really wants to understand China.

Gupta said US officials should not only read this report, but also read it in conjunction with the 19th CPC National Congress report. The 19th Party congress and its report are significant from a policy perspective as they clarified China's needs to transition from high-speed growth to high-quality development based on a new round of reforms and opening up, and a new development phase for the next 30 years.

It is important to read both the reports "to understand the continuity and the direction in which the Chinese government is going," Gupta said.

Much of the Western commentary on the 20th Party congress report focused on the number of times the word "security" was mentioned. "They've not seen the report in its totality. They have not read it in a holistic way or understood it in its totality," Gupta said, "It's not very long. It's easy to read. And that's why I think it's important for them to understand where China is going, which is fundamentally to focus on its own development."

In the 20th Party congress report, Gupta said one of the main points is that the US may want great power competition, while the China's priority is national rejuvenation. "And for that, China needs high-quality development and continuation of China's modernization direction," he said.

Gupta also pointed out the report fundamentally speaks to a domestic audience first, although it has implications for foreign relations. China is talking to itself and to its people "very clearly, very bluntly, very straightforwardly".

After Wang Yi's phone call with Blinken, there have been some major events and positive developments in US-China relations. On Nov 14, President Xi Jinping and US President Joe Biden met on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia, their first in-person meeting as leaders of their countries. Both expressed their openness about repairing and restoring channels of communication.

At the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, on Nov 17, Blinken revealed his plans to visit China early next year. The Chinese side has not yet confirmed the visit.

Gupta said the visit would be "useful" because both leaders have decided that the US and China need more communication.

"I'm expecting that some of those dialogue mechanisms, which had been interrupted or suspended, will again start working and moving forward on a regular basis," Gupta said.

While contact has been restarted in some areas for US-China relations to stabilize and be taken to the next level, it is "very important that the economic and trade working groups start working in earnest," Gupta said.

He added the US has more to do at its end and needs to be clear what it's going to do on the Section 301 trade tariffs on Chinese goods imposed by the Trump administration.

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