Former secretary of state points to positive history of Sino-U.S. cooperation
Speaking at the annual China Town Hall during a critical moment for China-U.S. relations, former U.S. secretary of state Condoleezza Rice said China is crucial to the world's economic growth.
"China is a major factor in the international economy; no one can really imagine international growth that is sustained without Chinese economic growth," said Rice, who also has served as U.S. national security adviser.
The 12th annual event was the largest so far, and took place at more than 100 venues in 44 U.S. states and parts of China, including Shanghai, said Stephen Orlins, president of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, which partnered with many institutions and groups to implement the program.
China Town Hall is a national conversation about China that provides the public across the United States and beyond the opportunity to discuss issues in the bilateral relationship with leading experts.
Rice said that while it's true the two countries have differences, it is important for them to understand that there are things they need to cooperate on, she said.
"We (the U.S.) needed cooperation on North Korea (the Democratic People's Republic of Korea), so that we could begin to do something to roll back Pyongyang's nuclear programs," Rice said. "We had actually very good cooperation with China and getting, for instance, through the Security Council resolutions on terrorist financing and tracking terrorists."
She was referring to the cooperation between the two nations during the Sept 11 crisis in 2001 as an example. "We had very good cooperation when there was need for sharing of information," she said.
Rice said the U.S. and China do compete in certain areas, including technology.
"It doesn't mean that competition has to be conflictual," she said. "Let's cooperate where we can, and let's compete where we must. Let's have our differences where we must, but let's try to do it in a way that makes the world safer and more prosperous."
When asked about the U.S. government considering a ban on Chinese nationals receiving student visas in the United States, as reported by the Financial Times last week, Rice said that she would be "fundamentally opposed" to such restrictions. There are about 350,000 overseas Chinese students at U.S. colleges and universities.
"I'm a university professor, and I want to train the best and brightest from all over the world, and I believe that everybody benefits if they're well trained and they go back to improve economic life for their countries. I hope more and more of our students will take Chinese language and visit China."
Dong Leshuo in Washington and Hong Xiao in New York contributed to this story.