The relationship between China and the United States could be repaired, but that would require both sides to take courage and demonstrate foresight, Chinese Consul General in Los Angeles Zhang Ping said.
Zhang made the remarks on Wednesday during an online keynote speech entitled "A New Year, A New Vision: China &U.S. Relations" at the President's Lecture Series of San Diego State University.
In his speech, Zhang noted that the China-U.S. relationship reached a new crossroad after last year's difficult times, during which both countries were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the hard-won achievements of China-U.S. relations were fanatically eroded by "political virus."
Despite the challenges, Zhang stressed China still hoped the relationship could return to "a predictable and constructive track of development," saying the two countries could build a model of interaction that focuses on peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation.
Zhang stressed the need to properly manage the China-U.S. relationship.
"We need to have a correct understanding of each other's strategic intentions, prevent strategic miscalculation and avoid conflict or confrontation," he said.
China will stick to the path of peaceful development and work with the United States in the spirit of no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation, Zhang said.
Yet he stressed that China would stand firm in defending its sovereignty, security and development interests.
He called on both sides to understand the meaning of competition, reject a Cold-War mindset and zero-sum mentality, manage differences properly and build a mutually beneficial relationship of win-win cooperation.
"China and the U.S. may have competition, but do not have to be adversaries," Zhang said, adding that the two countries can work together to address urgent issues like a response to COVID-19, global economic recovery, climate change, as well as international and regional hotspot issues.
"We need to discard ideological prejudice and uphold the principles of mutual respect and non-interference and properly handle those sensitive issues in the bilateral relations," he noted.
Emphasizing China's consistent policy of not interfering in other countries' internal affairs, Zhang called on the U.S. side to respect China's core interests, national dignity and the right to development. He urged Washington to cautiously handle the issues that involve China's sovereignty and territorial integrity such as Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet.
Zhang also commended sub-national cooperation and people-to-people exchanges that have constituted an important part of bilateral relations.
"We have every reason to believe no matter what challenges the bilateral relations may come across, so long as we have the support of our two peoples, the China-U.S. relationship will have a bright future," Zhang said.