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Actions key to repairing Sino-US ties

By ZHANG YUNBI | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2023-10-14 06:57

Policy insiders from both countries discuss ways to manage differences

At a forum in Beijing on Friday, prominent figures from the political circles of China and the United States unanimously pointed to the dire urgency to take immediate actions to manage differences between the two nations.

"Little things can make a difference. It doesn't have to be grandiose. You just have to show substance and show that we believe in one another," said Sigmund Rogich, chairman of the Boards of the US-China Transpacific Foundation and a former US ambassador to Iceland.

He made the comment when addressing the opening of the fifth meeting of the China-US Eminent Persons Forum that gathered veteran officials, lawmakers and think tank scholars from both sides. The forum's fourth meeting convened in New York in November.

"China-US relations have experienced many ups and downs, and have recently shown positive signs of stabilization and no further plummeting, with a series of high-level exchanges taking place between the two sides", said Wang Chao, president of the Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs.

Annual trade between the world's two largest economies reached a record high of nearly $760 billion in 2022, data from China's General Administration of Customs showed. They have also seen tension lingering over topics such as the Taiwan question and Washington's sanctions targeting China's semiconductor sector.

The Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs recently hosted a bipartisan delegation from the US Senate led by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer that visited China and met with President Xi Jinping on Monday.

"The real stabilization and improvement of China-US relations requires both sides to show sincerity, express goodwill, make efforts and move toward the same goal," said Wang.

He said the key to this is "how the two countries look at each other and how the two countries establish the right way to get along".

Joseph Lieberman, co-head of the US delegation and a former US senator from Connecticut, noted that among the American people, "there is an increasing distance, and you might say suspicion, toward China, and this is something we have to counteract together".

He underlined the need to "take the trust, honesty, sense of collaboration, shared interests that are in this room between us and see if we can find ways to move that out into the bilateral relationship between our two governments and between our two peoples".

"There's a lot that we have in common between our two peoples," he added.

"There is a real focus in both Chinese and American culture on the family, a basic unit of society. … Both of our peoples are hardworking and I would say entrepreneurial. Both Americans and Chinese want to be successful," he said.

Managing the differences between the two nations is both a challenge and a "noble and critically important opportunity", said Lieberman.

Rogich, who was also co-head of the US delegation, said: "The world watches how we talk to one another. I hope that in some small way I can offer some assistance to see that we can come closer on some issues that are beneficial to our two countries."

On Thursday, Vice-President Han Zheng met with the US representatives who were in Beijing to attend the forum, saying that it is particularly important for China and the US to strengthen communication and dialogue at all levels.

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