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Speech at the Opening Ceremony of the Annual Meeting of the Institute for China-America Studies

2020-12-04 14:39:04       source:NISCSS

Speech at the Opening Ceremony of the Annual Meeting of the

Institute for China-America Studies


Wu Shicun

December 3, 2020


Your Excellency Ambassador Cui Tiankai,

President Stephen Orlins,

Professor Graham Allison,

Professor Gordon Houlden,

Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,


Let me begin by expressing warm welcome to all of you to the annual meeting of the Institute for China-America Studies. I appreciate your participation in the discussion despite your busy schedule. This annual meeting is special and significant. In the United States, Democrat Joe Biden won the presidential election in early November and will take over the White House in January 20, 2021. The world is looking forward to positive changes in the U.S. foreign policy and China-U.S. relations.


Over the past four years, the Trump administration's unilateralist policies have left the international system established after World War II riddled with holes. China-U.S. relations have fallen to their lowest point since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1979. Under a strategy of comprehensive suppression and containment, the United States has launched a trade war, a technology war, and a media war against China, leading to the free-fall of the bilateral relations. On the South China Sea issue, the U.S. military is stepping up actions against China and openly takes side. This shift in position has pushed competition between the two countries in the South China Sea, especially in the military field, on the brink of out of control.


After the end of the U.S. election, the whole world has placed high hopes on Biden to lead the United States back into the family of nations, back to multilateralism, and back to cooperation in addressing common challenges. In his hometown speech in Wilmington, Delaware on November 24, Mr. Biden said he would pivot from the “America First” nationalism of the Trump administration, steer away from unilateralism and return to multilateralism. This is a positive signal. For its relations with China, we hope that the new U.S. administration will be less confrontational and more cooperative, less uncertain and more predictable, and pursuing less strategic competition and more dialogue and communication.


In fact, the Trump administration's persistent suppression and containment of China has not only failed to make China kneel down, but also frustrated and even repelled China's political elite and the young generation aspiring to the United States. Their American dream was shattered. Rather than consolidating its hegemony in the Asia-Pacific, the United States has created a dilemma for its allies and partners who have lost confidence on this superpower. According to a poll released by Pew Research Center on September 20, 2020, the reputation of the United States in its 13 major allies (Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Denmark, Spain, Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands, Australia, Japan and South Korea) has fallen to its lowest point in 20 years.

Return to the normal track of dialogue and cooperation is the only option for China and the United States to maximize their interests, which also serves the interests of all the other countries in the world. China and the United States have more shared interests than differences in global economic recovery, fight against Covid-19, global governance, climate change and regional security challenges. This means huge potential and space for cooperation between the two countries on bilateral, regional and global issues. According to the World Bank, global GDP will contract by 5.2% in 2020, the worst recession in decades, and is expected to grow by 4.2% in 2021. But this goal cannot be achieved without the full cooperation of China and the United States. In particular, if the two countries are unable to achieve a “trade truce”, it would make global economic recovery much more difficult.


Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1979, China and the U.S. have experienced quite a few crises, including the Taiwan Strait crisis in late 1990s and the collision in the South China Sea in 2001. However, as long as the two sides could rebuild mutual trust and build a bilateral relationship based on dialogue, cooperation, and mutual benefit, China and the United States, more often than not, have seized new opportunities for development after a major crisis. Although the U.S.-China relationship “cannot go back to the past”, the two countries can work together to create a more bright future. It is my sincere hope that this meeting will find viable solutions to keeping China-U.S. relations under control and non-confrontational with more dialogue and cooperation during the Biden era.


I wish this meeting a complete success. Thank you.