Wang Yi on American-Chinese Relations: “Bows in a Cup are considered Snakes, every Tree looks like an Enemy Soldier”

The following is a translation of a talk given by Chinese state councilor and foreign minister Wang Yi to a “China-US Think Tanks and Media Online Forum” on Thursday, organized by the China Public Diplomacy Association, the Peking University, and the People’s University of China (aka Renmin University).

Links added during translation.

“Sino-American relations’ most serious challenge”

Main link: Unvaveringly defend what is right, keeping up with the times, safeguarding the correct direction of Chinese-American relations

Dear guests, dear friends, hello everyone! First, I would like to convey my sincere best wishes to this forum‘s opening and pay tribute to and thank people from all walks of life who have, for a long time, dedicated their efforts to Sino-American relations. I would also like to thank Dr. Henry Kissinger for supporting this forum. Every time I have a discussion with him, it makes me feel his deep strategic reflections about the world and Sino-American relations.

各位来宾,各位朋友:大家好!
首先,我谨对本次论坛的召开表示热烈祝贺,并愿向长期致力于中美关系的各界人士表示敬意和感谢。我还要感谢基辛格博士对此次论坛的支持,每次同他对话,都让我感受到他对这个世界以及中美关系深入的战略思考。

Today‘s forum is absolutely important, because at just this time, the new corona pneumonia epidemic continues to rage and wreak global havoc, all countries and peoples lives are under serious threat, the global economy is getting caught in a deep recession, global cooperation suffers powerful counter-currents, unilateral bullying behavior is rampant, and the international system is facing the risks of disorder.

今天的论坛十分重要。因为就在此时,新冠肺炎疫情仍在全球肆虐,各国人民生命受到严重威胁,世界经济陷入深度衰退,全球合作遭遇强劲逆流,单边霸凌行径大行其道,国际体系愈发面临失序的风险。

Still more alarming is that Sino-American relations, which are among the world‘s most important bilateral ones, are also facing the most serious challenges since the establishment of diplomatic relations. Some people on the American side, because of ideological prejudice, spare no efforts to make China an opponent or even an enemy, thinking about all kinds of ways to contain China‘s development, and unscrupulously obstruct relations between China and America. During the next steps, the decision about whether or not this huge ship of Sino-American relations which has been sailing for more than fourty years now will stay its correct course isn‘t only closely connected to the interests of these two countries‘ peoples‘ interests, but concerns the world‘s and humankind‘s common future.

更令人警惕的是,中美关系这对世界上最重要的双边关系之一,也面临建交以来最严重的挑战。美方一些人,出于意识形态的偏见,正不遗余力地把中国渲染成对手甚至敌人,想方设法遏制中国的发展,不择手段阻碍中美之间的联系。下一步,中美关系这艘已经航行了四十多年的巨轮能否继续保持正确航向,不仅与两国人民利益密切相连,也关乎世界与人类的共同未来。

How can Sino-American relations bring order out of chaos, return to the right track, and truly achieve long-term healthy and stable development? I would like to focus on three points:
Firstly, neither China nor America should be trying to change the other, but jointly explore the road of peaceful coexistence of different systems and civilizations.

中美关系如何才能拨乱反正、重回正轨,真正实现长期健康稳定发展?我想重点谈三点意见:
首先,中美双方不应寻求改造对方,而应共同探索不同制度和文明和平共存之道。

Every country‘s road is based on the experience it has accumulated in terms of its cultural tradition and history. China stays on the road of socialism with Chinese characteristics which corresponds with China‘s national situation and needs. It is the choice of the Chinese people itself. The achievements testify that this road has not only made 1.4 billion Chiese people leave poverty and backwardness behind them, but also made the Chinese nation make another major contribution to the cause of human progress. International polling institutions‘ repeated opinion polls have shown that the Chinese people‘s support for the Chinese Communist Party and government is among the strongest rates worldwide. There isn‘t any force in a position to reject other countries‘ chosen paths, and no country will change its system in accordance with the likes or dislikes of others. Ultimately, system and path, they may be right or wrong, must be decided by a country‘s own people.

每个国家所走的道路,都基于各自文化传统和历史积淀。中国坚持的中国特色社会主义道路,符合中国的国情需要,是中国人民自己的选择。实践已经证明,这条道路不仅使14亿中国人民摆脱了贫困落后,也让中华民族再次为人类进步事业作出了重大贡献。国际民调机构多次民意测验显示,中国人民对中国党和政府的支持都高居全球榜首。任何势力都没有资格去否定其他国家选择的道路,任何国家也都不会按照别人的好恶来改造自己的制度。归根到底,制度和道路是对还是错,应该由本国人民来决定。

In recent years, there have been certain views saying that the success of China‘s path created a shock or threat against the West. This way of putting things is neither factual, nor do we acknowledge it. China, a product of 5,000 years of civilization, has never had the genes of invasion of expansion, we do not copy foreign countries‘ models, we do not export China‘s model, and never require other countries to copy China‘s ways of doing things. In the words of a Chinese sage 2,500 years ago, “all things can coexist without harming each other, and roads proceed in parallel without running counter to each other.” This is the philosophy of how Easterners conduct themselves in society, and until today, it continues to enlighten people.

近年来有种论调,称中国道路的成功将对西方造成冲击和威胁。这一说法既不是事实,我们也不认同。因为5000年文明孕育的中国从来没有侵略扩张的基因,我们不照搬外国模式,也不输出中国模式,从不要求别国复制中国的做法。2500年前的中国圣贤就主张:“万物并育而不相害,道并行而不相悖”。这是东方人的处世哲学,至今仍给世人以启迪。

Americans, too, have always sought for equality, tolerance and pluralism. This world shouldn‘t be seen in colors of black and white, and institutional differences should not lead to zero-sum games. China won‘t and can‘t become another America. The right attitude is to respect one another, mutual appreciation, mutual learning, and mutual success. Ever since reform and opening up, China has learned a lot from the experience of developed countries, just as some of China‘s successful work methods have helped many countries to solve their problems of the moment. In this richly colorful world, China and America, even with different social systems, don‘t need to run counter to one another at all. They can coexist peacefully.

美国人民也历来把平等、包容、多元作为不懈追求。这个世界不应非黑即白,制度差异也不应导致零和。中国不会也不可能变成另一个美国。正确的态度是,彼此相互尊重、相互欣赏、相互借鉴、相互成就。改革开放以来,中国从发达国家学到了很多有益经验。同样,中国的一些成功做法也对许多国家解决当下的问题不无启发。在这个丰富多彩的世界中,中美虽然社会制度不同,但完全可以并行不悖,和平共存。

Secondly, China‘s policy toward America hasn‘t changed. Based on goodwill and sincerity, we still want to develop Sino-American relations further.

第二,中国的对美政策没有变化,我们仍愿本着善意和诚意发展中美关系。

In the wake of China‘s development, some American friends have growing misgivings about China or become even wary of it. I would like to reiterate that China has never intended to challenge America or to replace it, nor to get into comprehensive antagonism with America. What we care about most is the welfare of our own country‘s people, what we attach most importance to is to bring bout the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, and our greatest expectation is world peace and stability. To this end, China‘s America policy maintains a high degree of stability and continuity with no desire to clash with America or to get into confrontation with it, and with a desire for mututal respect and mutually profitable cooperation [aka win-win], building a relationship with America on the keynotes of coordination, cooperation and stability.

随着中国的发展,有些美国朋友对中国怀有越来越多的疑虑甚至戒惧。在此我愿重申,中国从来无意挑战或取代美国,无意与美国全面对抗。我们最关心的是提高本国人民的福祉,最重视的是实现中华民族的复兴,最期待的是世界的和平稳定。为此,中国的对美政策保持着高度稳定性和连续性,愿意与美不冲突不对抗、相互尊重、合作共赢,构建以协调、合作、稳定为基调的中美关系。

To achieve this goal, there is a need for China and America to advance by meeting half-way1), each of them respecting international law and rules, and to open an equal dialog and consultations. America shouldn‘t hope to nearly run amok to encircle, block and intercept China on the one hand, create rumors and slander China with almost no bottomline, interfere with China‘s internal affairs without any restraint, and on the other hand expect, and on the other hand demand that china would understand and support America in bilateral and global affairs. China, as an independent sovereign country, has the right to protect its sovereignty, security and development interests. It has the right to safeguard the fruits earned by the Chinese people‘s hard work, and to reject any bullying and unfairness against China.

而要实现这一目标,需要中美双方相向而行,需要各自尊重国际法和国际规则,需要开展平等的对话协商。美国不应指望一方面在全世界近乎疯狂地围追堵截中国、毫无底线地造谣污蔑中国、肆无忌惮地干涉中国内政,另一方面又要求中国在双边和全球事务中给予美方理解和支持。中国,作为一个独立自主国家,我们有权利维护自身的主权、安全和发展利益,有权利保卫中国人民艰苦奋斗获得的劳动成果,有权利拒绝任何对中国的霸凌和不公。

Thirdly, we must view the historical experience of Sino-American relations correctly and adhere to the road of dialog and cooperation.

第三,要正确看待中美关系发展的历史经验,坚持走对话合作之路。

Recently, some people in America have said that the policy of being in touch2) with China has been a failure. And that America has been at a disadvantage. This way of putting things doesn‘t respect history and isn not in accordance with the facts.

近来,美国国内有人提出,过去几十年的对华接触政策是失败了,美国在对华合作中吃亏了。这种说法既不尊重历史,也不符合事实。

China and America were allies, fighting shoulder to shoulder, in World War 2. In the last century‘s 70s, the two sides opened the great door of diplomatic relations again, under the premise of respecting each other‘s different systems. The dialog and cooperation between the two countries has lasted until today, merging the political wisdom and unremittent efforts of several generations of people, and reflect the intrinsic patterns and inevitable trends in the development of the two countries‘ relations.

中美两国二战时曾是并肩作战的盟友。上世纪70年代,双方在尊重彼此不同制度的前提下重新打开建交大门。两国对话合作走到今天,凝聚着几代人的政治智慧和不懈努力,也反映了两国关系发展的内在规律和必然趋势。

Ever since the establishment of diplomatic relations 40 years ago, China and America have amply given play to their complementary advantages, and they have formed an amalgamated mutually beneficial community. China‘s success has drawn benefit from open cooperation with every country in the world including America, and China‘s development has provided America with force for sustained growth and huge markets. From handling regional hotspots to counter-terrorism and nonproliferation, from reacting to the international financial crisis to epidemic control, Sino-American cooperation has been beneficial to both sides, and to the great global cause.

建交40年来,中美充分发挥互补优势,已经形成相互融合的利益共同体。中国的成功得益于对包括美国在内世界各国的开放合作,而中国的发展也为美国提供了持续增长的动力和巨大的市场空间。从处理地区热点问题到反恐、防扩散,从应对国际金融危机到疾病防控,中美合作已经办成了很多有利于双方、有利于世界的大事。

There are people who say that Sino-American relations are not what they were in the past, but this does not mean that history can be ignored and a new separate kitchen be set up. Even less would it mean that the reality can be ignored and ties be cut forcibly. Instead, we should connect the past and the future3), and keep up with the times. Everyone may notice that despite the current epidemic shock, 74 percent of American companies in China still state plans to expand their investments in China, that 191 farmers‘ organizations, in a joint letter to the American president, have called for continued implementation of the phase-one economic and trade agreement, that many American universities publicly support strengthened Sino-American educational exchange, that the leaders of many countries also call on China and America to strengthen dialog, and to avoid confrontation and division. These are voices China and America should listen to, and even more so the direction of the two countries‘ efforts.

有人说,中美关系已回不到过去,但这并不意味着可以无视历史另起炉灶,更不意味着可以不顾实际强行脱钩。而是应当继往开来,与时俱进。大家可能注意到,即使在当前疫情冲击下,74%的美国在华企业仍表示计划扩大对华投资,191个农业团体联名致信美国总统呼吁继续执行第一阶段经贸协议,多所美国大学公开支持加强中美教育交流,多国领导人也呼吁中美加强沟通对话、避免对抗分裂。这些都是中美双方应当倾听的声音,更是两国共同努力的方向。

Dear friends, Chairman Xi Jinping has emphasized this many times: we have a thousand reasons to do a good job with Sino-American relations, and not one reason to bungle them. As long as both sides have the vigorous desire to improve and develop Sino-American relations, we will be able to get Sino-American relations out of the predicament and put them back onto the right track. I will put forward three suggestions for everyone‘s reference:

各位朋友,习近平主席多次强调:我们有一千条理由把中美关系搞好,没有一条理由把中美关系搞坏。只要双方都有改善和发展中美关系的积极意愿,我们就能够推动中美关系走出困境,重回正轨。我在这里提出三点建议,供大家参考:

One is to activate and open up all dialog channels. Currently, America‘s China policy is based on strategic misjudgement because of lacking factual evidence, full of emotional steam being let off and McCarthy-style bigotry. America‘s completely unfounded suspicion and jealousy of China have reached a stage where bows in a cup are considered snakes and where every tree looks like an enemy soldier. Almost every Chinese investment seems to embody political goals, every overseas student seems to come with an espionage background, and every cooperation proposal seems to have special designs. If America lacks self-confidence, openness and tolerance like this, the artificial kinds of “China threats” are likely to become “self-realized prophecies”.

一是激活和开放所有对话渠道。当前美国的对华政策基于缺乏事实依据的战略误判,充满情绪化的宣泄和麦卡锡式的偏执。美方对中国的无端猜忌已经到了杯弓蛇影、草木皆兵的地步。似乎每一项中国投资都包含政治目的,每一位留学人员都带有间谍背景,每一项合作倡议都别有所图。如果美国如此缺乏自信、开放和包容,人为制造各种“中国威胁”,最终很可能导致“自我实现的预言”。

Only exchange can stop lies, only dialog can avoid misjudgment. Discrediting others is no proof of one‘s own innocence, and invariable fault-finding doesn‘t solve any problems. I would like to reiterate that China‘s great door to dialog is wide open. As long as America is willing, we can always resume and reopen dialog mechanisms on all levels and in every field. Any issue can be put on the table for discussion, and any disagreement be appropriately handled through dialog. At the same time, as long as America sets no limits, we are also willing to actively promote exchange and interaction between all departments, in every place and every field of our two countries, for mutual understanding and acknowledgment between the peoples of our two countries.

只有交流才能阻止谎言,只有对话才能避免误判。抹黑别人证明不了自己的清白,一味指责解决不了任何问题。我愿重申,中方对话的大门是敞开的。只要美方愿意,我们随时可以恢复和重启各层级、各领域的对话机制。任何问题都可以拿到桌面上来谈,任何分歧都可以通过对话寻求妥善处理。同时,只要美方不设限,我们也愿积极推动两国各部门、各地方、各领域的交流互动,让两国人民更加相互了解、彼此认知。

Another point is to sort out and to agree to a list of contacts. All issues between China and America are mutually interwoven, tangled and complicated. The two sides can sit down and smooth out the problems one by one and establish three lists. The first one is about cooperation, with clear-cut items where China and America must and can cooperate in bilateral and global matters. The longer the list becomes, the better it is, and it should not be interfered by other issues. The second one is a dialogue list, with problems that both sides wish to resolve despite differences, to be incorporated into the existing dialog mechanisms and platforms. The third is a control list, with a smaller number of issues on which agreement is difficult to reach, to be used as a control list of issues to be sought common ground upon, while holding back differences, to reduce, to the maximum possible extent, the shocks and damage they can do to the bilateral relationship. As for the three lists, think tanks from both countries can do research on them in advance.

二是梳理和商定交往的清单。中美之间各种问题相互交织,错综复杂,双方可以一起坐下来把问题捋一捋,形成三份清单:第一份是合作清单,把中美在双边领域及全球事务中需要而且能够合作的事项明确下来,这份单子越长越好,而且不应受到其他问题的干扰;第二份是对话清单,把双方尽管存在分歧但有望通过对话寻求解决的问题列出来,尽快纳入现存的对话机制和平台;第三份是管控清单,把少数难以达成一致的难题找出来,本着求同存异的精神搁置并管控好,尽可能减少对两国关系的冲击和破坏。对于这三份清单,两国的智库可以先行研究。

The third is to focus on and to unfold anti-epidemic cooperation. Nothing is more valuable than life, and nothing is more urgent than to save people. We feel deeply for the adversities suffered by the American people, and large quantities of urgently needed medical treatment goods have been supplied to America. As we are facing the epidemic, cooperation must come first. We are willing to share epidemic-control information and experience with America, and unfold still more extensive and thorough communication on diagnosis and treatment plans, vaccine research, and economic recovery. But America should immediately stop the politicization of the epidemic and the virus-labeling, and it should work together with China to promote global anti-epidemic cooperation to rescue more lives worldwide and to shoulder the international responsibility as two major powers should.

三是聚焦和展开抗疫合作。没有什么比生命更宝贵,没有什么比救人更紧迫。我们对美国人民在疫情中遭受的不幸深表同情,已经向美国提供了数量庞大的急需医疗物资。疫情当前,合作为先。我们愿同美方分享防控信息和抗疫经验,在诊疗方案、疫苗研发乃至经济复苏等领域开展更加广泛深入的交流。而美方应当立即停止将疫情政治化、把病毒标签化,并与中方一道推动全球抗疫合作,共同挽救这个世界上更多的生命,共同担负起两个主要大国应当承担的国际责任。

Dear friends, there is a saying in China: “The power of action advances knowledge, and deepening knowledge advances your achievements.“4) With extremely important bilateral relations worldwide, Chinese-American relations must send more positive messages and release more positive energy. Hopefully, America will build a more objective and cool-headed cognition of China, and establish a more reasonable and pragmatic China policy. Doing so is in line with the fundamental interests of the Chinese and American peoples, and also in tune with every country‘s expectations toward both China and America.

各位朋友,中国有句古话,“行之力则知愈进,知之深则行愈达”。作为世界上至关重要的一组双边关系,中美关系有待发出更多的积极信息,释放更多的正能量。希望美方构建更为客观冷静的对华认知,制定更为理性务实的对华政策。这样做,既符合中美两国人民的根本利益,也顺应世界各国对中美双方的期待。

Thank you!

谢谢大家!

[Notes re editors, source, and copyright]

栏目主编:秦红 文字编辑:卢晓川 题图来源:新华社 图片编辑:徐佳敏
©上观 版权所有 所有文章均为上观所有 不得转载 保留所有版权

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Notes

1) According to this Twitter discussion, it should be “meeting half-way”, but that may not be carved in stone either.
2) More frequently referred to as engagement policy among Americans
3) Also used by Deng Xiaoping in 1981: 我国正处在继往开来的重要历史时期
4) It may appear as if China‘s Great Leader appears only once in Wang‘s speech, but that isn‘t so. See footnote 7 there – 『行之力则知愈进,知之深则行愈达』is a classical quote, but also one used by Xi Jinping in 2018.

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Related

FMPRC press conference, July 9, 2020
Greatest Humanitarian Relief Operation, June 10, 2020
Someone has falsified our account, May 26, 2020

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