China and the United States, the world's two biggest economies, should work with each other in the Asia-Pacific region to promote stability and prosperity, Chinese Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai said in Houston on Monday.
During a keynote speech on China-U.S. relations at Asia Society's Texas center, Cui dwelt on the new model of major-power relations, a concept endorsed by both Beijing and Washington to ensure their future relations free of conflicts in the Asia-Pacific region.
Citing figures and personal anecdotes, Cui demonstrated the significance of the region. "The continental Asia accounts for one third of the world's economic output and 60 percent of global population while APEC economies account for nearly 60 percent of world GDP and 40 percent of world population. So by whichever measurement, the significance is clear," Cui said.
"How the Asia-Pacific develops will certainly have a major impact on the world," said the senior diplomat, "How our two countries interact in the region will make a difference not only for the future of Asia but also for the whole world."
However, there are some misperceptions and misinterpretations of China's rise in the region, Cui noted.
"There is a need for greater conceptual clarity on a number of key issues that could affect the very basis of China-U.S. interaction in Asia-Pacific," he said.
The first key issue Cui highlighted is "balance versus imbalance and rebalancing," apparently referring to the U.S. rebalancing strategy toward to Asia-Pacific.
People must understand today's Asia is drastically different from the Asia 70 years ago, Cui said. Many countries have forgone their worn-torn past and ushered in a new era of economic prosperity and social stability.
"In historical perspective, today's Asia is moving into a much better balance than before. we are witnessing this historic process of better balance in the sense that so many countries including China, India, and ASEAN countries have not only lifted their own people out of poverty but made contribution to global development," he commented.
If rebalancing by any party is in line with that historic process of better balance, it is welcomed; but if it works against that process and seeks to restore the old order of imbalance, it is on the wrong side of the history, Cui said.
The second issue is "inclusiveness versus exclusiveness," the Chinese ambassador said.
"When we say Asia belongs to Asian countries, people worry whether it's an attempt to exclude others like the U.S. from Asia," Cui explained.
"When we say Asia belongs to Asian countries, what we actually mean is that people in Asia should take the primary responsibility to solve Asian problems." Cui continued. "This does not mean we are excluding others. On the contrary, we very much welcome and appreciate others to join us."
China stands for an inclusive approach, or in Cui's words, "community building."
"We believe we should build a community among regional countries. And China is doing its best to help facilitate the building of such a community," he said.
The third issue is "win-win cooperation versus zero-sum game," according to him.
"Some people believe success of one country will necessarily mean loss of another, particularly in the case of China and the United States," Cui said.
But the fact that China's development in the past few decades has brought enormous opportunities for almost everybody including the United States proves it is not a zero-sum game.
"As Chinese President Xi Jinping said time and again, the broad Pacific Ocean is vast enough to embrace both China and the U.S." Cui said. "We believe a rising tide lifts all boats. China's development is making the cake much bigger for everyone. we are not moving anybody else's cheese."
Cui wrapped up his half-an-hour-long speech by returning to the topic of the new model of major-power relations, which is characterized by no conflict, no confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation.
"What we are doing to build this new model of relationship will certainly give us very good guidance for our interaction in Asia-Pacific; what we are doing in Asia-Pacific together will give more substance to this new model of relationship," Cui said.
"I believe our ongoing efforts for constructive interaction in the Asia-Pacific region will be an important pillar of this new model of relationship. And the region will be a testing ground for this new model," he concluded.