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Diplomat stresses role of young generations in bilateral relations

By YIFAN XU in Washington | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2023-03-02 12:24

Xu Xueyuan waves to students during the final conference of the first Fudan-Harvard China-US Young Leaders Dialogue on Sunday. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Xu Xueyuan, the chargé d'affaires at the Chinese embassy in Washington, is encouraging the younger generations in China and the US to enhance communications for the sake of the bilateral relationship.

"The world looks to China and the US to step up, shoulder their responsibilities, stabilize the bilateral relationship and advance global cooperation," she said.

Xu made keynote remarks via video Sunday during the final conference of the first Fudan-Harvard China-US Young Leaders Dialogue. It was organized by the Center for American Studies at Fudan University in Shanghai, and the Harvard Undergraduate Foreign Policy Initiative.

James Heller, the US consul general in Shanghai, also gave a keynote lecture.
The two-day dialogue focused on artificial intelligence (AI), the internet, space and biotech.

Xu, an alumna of Fudan, said those are topics critical to the future.
"This global perspective and future orientation are required in handling the China-US relationship," said Xu. "Indeed, the topics of your discussion are exactly the global issues that demand joint efforts by China and the United States."

Xu said the recent incident involving a Chinese balloon that drifted into US airspace "epitomizes the US misperception about China".

She said the balloon "might be an unwelcome guest, appearing at a wrong time and a wrong place" and "it is an accident caused by force majeure.
Despite that, we made all this clear to the US side; it still characterized the airship as a 'spy balloon' of the PLA and shot it down with missiles," said Xu, adding that it was an "overreaction that put the US in an awkward position", and "the perception of some US politicians about China and the policies thus adopted are outrageous".

"To bring this relationship back to normal, we first need to bring mutual perception back to normal," Xu said.

Xu proposed four qualities — broad-mindedness, curiosity, empathy and aspiration — necessary for students to play a critical role with a global vision and a future-oriented mindset for the China-US relationship.

She suggested that the younger generations from the two countries be willing to recognize and even appreciate their mutual differences; be ready to learn more about each other; be more understanding toward each other; and to take up responsibilities for humanity's future.

Xu said that China and the US face the daunting task of economic transition and more balanced development, which is an important reality confronting the world, among many other challenges, such as public health, climate change, peace and development deficits.

She also said it is a question that China and the US "must answer well" whether or not the two countries can properly manage the bilateral relationship.

"President Xi Jinping has made many important observations about this relationship and has provided us the key to handle it well," she said.
Xu listed four key points about the relationship.

First, history is a fair judge. The China-US relationship must develop well and not be mishandled. This is not an optional choice but a compulsory question.
Second, China-US cooperation benefits both sides and beyond, while confrontation harms both and the rest of the world.

Third, China-US relations should not be a zero-sum game where one side outcompetes or thrives at the expense of the other. The success of the two nations presents opportunities, not challenges, for each other.

Fourth, the world is big enough for the two countries to develop themselves and prosper together.

"When we follow the strategic guidance of our leaders and work together in the same direction, we will find the way to get along and promote world peace and prosperity. This won't be easy. It requires concerted efforts by all sectors of the two societies, and in particular, the active participation of the young generation," Xu noted.


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