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Chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People's Congress Delivers Speech at Stanford University
2016/05/11
Fu Ying, chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People's Congress, sees a gap between the worrisome perception of US-China relations and the countries' closer-than-ever bonds in reality, and calls for more dialogue and communication between the two countries in building new consensus for China-US relations.
The countries' presidents hold meetings at least twice a year; China has become America's biggest trading partner on the monthly basis; nearly 5 million people traveled between the two countries in 2015; and the two nations together pushed for the signing of the Paris Agreement on climate change.


But all those accomplishments occur while some experts in the US predict that "if China continues to grow at the current speed, US-China conflict would be unavoidable", said Fu, who is also chairperson of Academic Committee of China's Institute of International Strategy, CASS.
"The need for cooperation and the impact of competition are both growing. The gap between perceptions and real life may reflect the need to rebuild consensus," Fu said on Tuesday at a seminar titled Rebuilding Trust: China-US Relations at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California.
Despite a sizable number of optimistic voices on US-China relations from the US side, Fu acknowledged that there are also voices in the US that wonder whether "the constructive engagement" policy that eight successive US administrations followed should continue.
There are concerns about China's possible economic hard landing and its effect on the US recovery, and rising anxiety about China's global role.
"In the past 30 years, we had friendly moments, but never very close; we had problems, but the tie was strong enough to avoid derailing. Now we are at a high level, and if we work together, we are capable of making a difference in the world, but if we fight, we will bring disaster to the world," Fu told the audience.
She found the message from the US side to be sometimes rather confusing, reflected in its reluctance to acknowledge China's effort to help improve the existing order by providing new public goods such as the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Belt and Road initiative.
Fu saw the recent tension over territory in the South China Sea as a reflection of the risks involved in the relationship.
Fu explained that "the South China Sea issue is basically territorial disputes between China and some of its neighbors about some of the land features of Nansha Islands, which is one of the four archipelagos in the South China Sea taken back by China from Japan's occupation after World War II."
There were dash lines drawn on China's map 1948 to indicate China's ownership. The US knew about the claims, and its recognition of China's sovereignty also was reflected in maps and encyclopedias published in the US until 1971.
She walked the audience through the history of the disputes and milestones of past decades, and pointed out that in the past few years, "after the US launched [its] pivot to Asia, more blatant provocations to China's sovereignty happened, and there are even attempts of expanding disputes."
"Back in China, people are getting more and more anxious," said Fu, citing the example of Philippines navy boats entering the Huangyan Island lagoon and harassing Chinese fishermen in 2012.
As China tries to prevent further encroachments and losses in the South China Sea, she said, the role of the US added a new dimension to the issue.
She said that it is widely perceived in China that the "Asia-Pacific rebalancing" of the United States from the beginning targeted China not only in rhetoric but also in its actions.
"According to the US, China is vying for dominance in the Asia-Pacific. But that, from our point of view, is projecting the US' own hegemon image on China," she added.
Fu called on the two countries to follow up on President Xi Jinping's proposal that China and the US move toward a new model of major-country relations, avoiding conflict and confrontation and respecting each other in cooperation.
"China is a newcomer on the world center stage, but it should not try to copy the US. America also needs to learn to work with countries like China, which may not be an ally, but should not be an enemy either," Fu said.
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