Insights on business -- and life.
China's Development and the Future of China-US
The Chinese ambassador's address to the Peoria
(IL) Rotary Club.
by Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong (April 11, 2008)
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Thank you, Tim, for your kind introduction. It is a pleasure to
meet all of you, and thank you for your interest in China and the
Thirty years ago, China began its reforms and opening up. Since
then, there has made remarkable progress. The economy has sustained
rapid growth. From 147.3 billion US dollars in 1978 to 2.65 trillion
US dollars in 2006, China's GDP has registered an average annual
growth rate of 9.7% for nearly 30 years. In 2007, China's GDP
totaled 3.3 trillion US dollars, ranking third in the world.
People's living standard keeps improving. The per capita GDP has
grown from 226 US dollars to 2,100 US dollars over the past 30
years, and 228 million rural residents have been lifted out of
Nevertheless, China is still a developing country. We are the
most populous nation in the world. Our economic foundation is weak.
Our development is unbalanced. There are still 23 million Chinese
living in absolute poverty and 100 million living on less than a US
dollar a day.
Therefore, it is always the central task for China to push for
economic and social development and improve the living standard.
Achieving modernization and moderate development in China will
require over a dozen generations of Chinese to work really hard.
China pursues peaceful development. According to this strategy,
China will seek development through its own efforts and through
reform and innovation while staying open to the world; China will
strive for a peaceful international environment for its development
while promoting world peace through its development; China will
engage the world in equal and mutually-beneficial exchanges and
cooperation for win-win results and common development.
China's total trade volume was 2.17 trillion US dollars in 2007,
with import total reaching over 955 billion. As China continues to
strengthen macro-regulation, deepen reform and opening-up and expand
domestic demand, our economy is expected to sustain steady growth.
Our import total is expected to break through the one-trillion line
this year and exceed 1.2 trillion US dollars in 2010. This will
create enormous opportunities for mutually-beneficial cooperation
between China and the whole world, the United States included.
China's future is increasingly associated with that of the world.
China cannot develop in isolation from the rest of the world, and
the world needs China if it is to attain prosperity and stability.
By following the path of peaceful development, China will build
better lives for its own people and contribute to the common
development of the world. This serves not only the fundamental
interests of the Chinese people, but also the shared interests of
people of the whole world.
Ladies and Gentlemen, This year is the 30th anniversary of the
signing of the Sino-US Communiqué
on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relationship. Despite twists and
turns over the past three decades, China-US relationship on the
whole has moved forward. Cooperation is the dominating feature of
our bilateral relationship.
The Chinese Government attaches great importance to China-US
relationship. We are committed to developing long-term, friendly and
cooperative relations with the United States on the basis of the
principles of the three Sino-US Joint Communiqués.
Thanks to the concerted efforts of both our countries, our
relationship has been developing steadily in recent years and become
one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world.
First, the definition of the bilateral relationship is clear-cut.
In April 2006, President Hu Jintao paid a successful visit to the
United States and reached a new and important common understanding
with President Bush on advancing the constructive and cooperative
China-US relationship in the 21 century in an all round way. They
agreed that China and the United States share broad and important
strategic interests and are constructive partners as well as
stakeholders. This clearly defines China-US relationship.
Second, this relationship has an increasingly strategic dimension
and global significance. Recent years have seen greater and
increasingly frequent interactions between China and the United
States on global issues. We have converging interests and broad
areas for cooperation on many issues affecting our world today, from
terrorism, proliferation, regional hot spots, transnational crimes,
non-traditional security threats, to energy security, climate
change, disease control and prevention, and disaster mitigation and
relief. We also work together to safeguard and promote peace,
stability and prosperity in Asia-Pacific region and the rest of the
world through our close and effective consultation and dialogues on
important international and regional issues such as the North Korea
nuclear issue, the Iran nuclear program, the Darfur issue of Sudan,
Myanmar, Pakistan and the Middle East.
Third, there are fast growing exchanges and cooperation between
our two countries in all fields. In 2007, China-US trade hit a new
record of 302.08 billion dollars, which was over 120 times as much
as the trade total when our countries established diplomatic
relationship in 1979. Now, China is America's second largest trading
partner and vice versa. China is the third largest and fastest
growing market for US exports while the US is China's second largest
export market and sixth largest source of import. From 2000 to 2007,
US total goods export increased by 44%. Its export to China alone
grew by 301% in the same period. By February 2008, US actual
investment in China had exceeded 57 billion US dollars, funding a
total of 55,130 projects. At the same time, direct investment from
China in the United States also continues to increase.
There are 35 pairs of sister provinces/states and 131 pairs of
sister cities between us. Last year, over 2.3 million people
traveled between China and the US, which means that, on average,
over 6,000 people fly across the Pacific every day. There are over
80,000 Chinese students in the United States and over 15,000
American students in China. Nearly 1,000 universities and 200 middle
and elementary schools in the US are offering Chinese classes, and
over 40 Confucius institutes have been established in the United
Fourth, we have established effective bilateral dialogue
mechanisms, such as the Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED) and the
Strategic Dialogue, and we have had three SED sessions and five
rounds of Strategic Dialogue. These mechanisms provide important
platforms for strategic and in-depth talks between our two countries
in both the economic and political fields. Between China's National
People's Congress and the US Senate and House of Representatives,
exchange mechanisms are also established and enable continued and
in-depth dialogues between our lawmakers. In addition, there are
more than 60 other bilateral working mechanisms, covering political,
economic, military, law enforcement, science and technology,
education, energy, environmental protection and civil aviation.
Ladies and Gentlemen, China and the United States have different
historical backgrounds, cultural heritages and social systems. It is
only natural that we may sometimes see things differently. The key
to addressing our differences lies in mutual respect, equality,
seeking common grounds and taking a strategic approach. We should
always abide by the principles of the three Sino-US Joint Communiqués,
respect and accommodate each other's concerns, and prevent
single-issue politics from hijacking our bilateral relationship.
I know that people are watching issues such as trade, IPR
protection and product safety. The protectionist sentiments and the
tendency to politicize trade issues, especially the over 50
China-related protectionist bills in the US Congress, are a cause of
grave concern to us. If the trade issues are not handled
appropriately, there will be serious damages to the interests of
both China and the United States.
One must recognize that mutually beneficial and win-win
cooperation is the dominant feature of the economic and trade ties
between our two countries. Given the fast development, scale and
scope of our trade ties, issues and frictions are hardly avoidable.
We should give full play to SED, the Joint Commission on Commerce
and Trade, the Joint Economic Commission and the Joint Science and
Technology Commission, and seek to address trade issues through
dialogues on an equal footing and good-will consultation.
Last week, US Treasury Secretary Paulson visited China as the
special representative of President Bush. He and his Chinese
counterpart exchanged views on SED and other relevant issues in the
bilateral relations. In June, the 4th round of SED will be held in
the United States. President Hu Jintao of China will send his
special representative, Vice Premier Wang Qishan, to co-chair the
meetings with Secretary Paulson.
China takes US trade concerns very seriously. We will continue to
adopt vigorous measures to buy more from the United States,
strengthen IPR protection, improve the currency exchange rate
formulation mechanism, and ensure the quality and safety of Chinese
It is hoped that the US side will make corresponding efforts to
abandon trade protectionist practice, relax the export control
against China, and level the playing field for Chinese enterprises
seeking to put their investment here in the United States. We hope
the US side will work with us to safeguard our mutually beneficial
and win-win economic and trade ties.
The Taiwan question is at the core of China's national interests.
It involves the national pride of the 1.3 billion Chinese people,
and is always the most important and most sensitive issue at the
heart of China-U.S. relations.
The Chinese Government adheres to the basic guideline of
"peaceful reunification and one country, two systems", and
commits itself to promoting the peaceful development of the
relationship between the two sides of the Taiwan Straits and the
well-being of the people on both sides. We will make every effort to
achieve anything that serves the interests of our Taiwan
compatriots, contributes to the maintenance of peace in the Taiwan
Straits region, and facilitates peaceful national reunification. But
we will never allow the "independence" and secessionist
forces to separate Taiwan from the motherland in any name or by any
We hope the US side will honor its commitments of adhering to the
one China policy, abiding by the three Sino-US Joint Communiqués,
and opposing "Taiwan independence", handle the Taiwan
question appropriately, and take measures to block the road to
"Taiwan independence" and safeguard the peace and
stability in the Taiwan Straits and the shared interests of China
and the United States.
There will be great opportunities for China-US relationship to
make further progress in the future. There are also a number of
challenges. I believe that as long as our two countries approach our
bilateral relations from the strategic height, take real steps to
translate into action the important consensus of our leaders,
strengthen exchanges at the high level and enhance strategic
dialogue and cooperation in all areas, respect and accommodate each
other's concerns and properly handle differences, we will surely
continue to advance the constructive and cooperative China-US
Ladies and Gentlemen, The ties between China and the State of
Illinois are an indispensable part of China-US relations. I am
pleased to note that the State of Illinois has increasingly
substantial exchanges and cooperation with China. The State has a
sister relationship with Liaoning Province of China, and Peoria and
Benxi of Liaoning Province are sister cities. The Government of
Illinois has established a trade representative office in Shanghai,
Trade between Illinois and China has been growing in recent
years. The export from Illinois to China was near 2 billion US
dollars in 2007, which was 28.8% more than the previous year.
Between 2000 and 2007, the total export of Illinois increased by 51%
and its export to China increased by 267%. China is now the 8th
largest export market for Illinois.
Half of the Fortune 500 companies located in Illinois have
business ties with China. Companies like Motorola, McDonald's and
Caterpillar have found their business in China growing fast, bring
rewarding profits and helping to create job opportunities back home.
More and more Chinese companies are vigorously seeking investment
opportunities in Illinois. One of them is Wanxiang American
Corporation, which has chosen Illinois to be the home of its
American headquarters and contributed to the economic growth here in
Illinois. In addition, over 4,000 Chinese students are studying in
the universities here in this state. They are, at the same time,
envoys for cultural exchange between our two countries.
I am sure that as China's economy continues to grow and the
economic and trade ties with the US continue to develop, we will
have even closer exchanges and cooperation with Illinois and Peoria.
This growing relationship will bring more opportunities to our
business communities and more benefits to the peoples of our
countries. Thank you.
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