WASHINGTON, June 19 (Xinhua) -- Minister of the Chinese Embassy to the United States Li Kexin said Tuesday that sincerity and patience are needed to mend China-U.S. relations.
He made the remarks while delivering a speech at the Institute for China-America Studies (ICAS) 2018 Annual Conference entitled "China-U.S. relations in Year Two of (President Donald) Trump."
CHINA'S POLITICAL WILL
Citing the remarks of U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis on Friday that described China and Russia as major U.S. challenges, Li said he sees Mattis' "referral to political will in the China-U.S. relationship as very relevant: That's the crux for how wrong our two countries at this moment look at each other, especially the way the U.S. looks at China, at least some people."
"How to judge the political will of China will surely lead American politicians to make different choices," said the Chinese diplomat, adding that China's political will to deal with the rest of the world, especially the United States in the next few decades, is "a sincere and pure wish to have peace, stability, harmony, economic prosperity, a decent life for every human creature, and be open to the world."
Also, he said he believed that the Chinese Dream should and can converge, rather than clash, with the American Dream.
What's more, he said that some movers and shakers in the United States see China as a rival. "These people are showing more suspicion about China, arguing that the U.S. policy of engagement with China has failed, unable to realize the goal of reshaping China."
"With this perception, nothing looks right. Even Confucius Institutes for teaching Mandarin can be taken as a form of covert influence. Every Chinese student looks like James Bond. What worries me most is that being unfriendly to China seems to be becoming a new political correctness. Those who understand China's intention well choose to be silent," he said.
BE TRUE, PATIENT, FRANK AND OPTIMISTIC
Li suggested the two nations extend sincerity and engage constructively.
"The sincerity from the Chinese side to be a constructive partner with the U.S. is there," he said, citing China's role on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue.
"China is the important party of cooperation for both the U.S. and the DPRK (Democratic People's Republic of Korea)," Li said.
The Chinese diplomat urged both sides to "be patient" when faced with problems, saying, "It takes time to change people's minds ... Let's wait, but do something at the same time."
The Chinese envoy said being frank is also important for them in dealing with bilateral relations.
"There are many issues between us that are negotiable, but some are not," he said. "The issue of Taiwan is one, because for China, it is not a diplomatic issue, but a sovereignty issue ... But the risk we see today is that some people want to break this framework."
Citing the U.S. Taiwan Travel Act and Capitol Hill's attempt to enhance clauses on Taiwan in this year's National Defense Authorization Act, Li said he is worried that "such breakthroughs will finally make the possible impossible."
"My real worry is that any misjudgment on the Taiwan issue will lead to unwanted consequences," because no politicians in China have any room to compromise on the issue of Taiwan, he said. "This is also not in the U.S. interest."
Meanwhile, Li called for optimism, saying "We see a much brighter picture at the sub-national level. Every time I visit different states, I can feel the strong enthusiasm from the locals to develop closer ties between their states and China."
BE CREDIBLE, CONSISTENT ON TRADE
On trade, China urges the U.S. side to "be credible and consistent," Li said.
"When you agree, you mean it," he said, adding that imposing massive tariffs on Chinese products as a means of pressure will achieve nothing. "We never bend our principles under pressure," he said.
"When the Chinese economy has a problem, we try to find solutions by ourselves, not blaming others," Li added.
When answering questions from the audience after his speech, Li said he believes that "ultimately everybody will come back to the negotiation table because it is the only way to address the issue."
"All trade agreements China has reached with the U.S. side are generally under WTO (World Trade Organization) rules," he said. "For us, we do not understand why this administration does not recognize the agreements of previous administrations. This is not a way for international practice."
"Maybe you say that there is unfair practice in China, but we follow the rules. If you think China is against the rules, you can talk with us or sue us at the WTO," he said.
Li meanwhile said he disagrees with Robert Lighthizer, the U.S. trade representative, who has accused China of stealing technology and forced technology transfer.
"Let's talk about the gist of this issue, and don't make illusions. We cannot agree with Mr. Lighthizer's accusation of stealing technology and forced technology transfer in China. In the national guidelines, there is no such a kind of stipulation for forced technology transfer," he said.