China-U.S. diplomatic ties need recalibration after 45 years

The global community desires a stable China-U.S. relationship.

3 mins read
U.S. Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns addresses the jubilee gala marking the 50th anniversary of the U.S.-China Business Council (USCBC) in Washington, D.C., the United States, Dec. 14, 2023. (Xinhua/Liu Jie)

New Year’s Day of Year 2024 marks the 45th anniversary of the establishment of China-U.S. diplomatic relations.

Over the past years, the China-U.S. relationship has experienced ups and downs. Even though it hasn’t always been smooth sailing, it has generally maintained forward momentum, benefiting both countries and the world.

Today, annual bilateral trade stands at impressive 760 billion U.S. dollars, supporting over 2.6 million jobs in the United States.

China and the United States have collaborated with each other on global issues, including counterterrorism, financial crises and climate change, making significant contributions to global well-being.

The bilateral relationship has faced notable difficulties in the past few years, with some people in the United States perceiving China as their “most serious competitor” and China’s development as “the most consequential geopolitical challenge.”

As the world’s most critical bilateral relationship, China-U.S. relations now stand at a crucial crossroads. Whether the two nations can recalibrate this relationship is of great importance to their fundamental interests, as well as to world peace, global development and the future of humanity.

In a congratulatory message to U.S. President Joe Biden to mark the 45th anniversary of the two countries’ diplomatic relations on Monday, Chinese President Xi Jinping said history has already proven and will continue to fully prove that mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation are the right way for China and the United States to get along with each other as two major countries.

That should be the direction of joint efforts made by China and the United States in the new era, Xi said.

The world remains unsettled, with an ongoing crisis in Ukraine, renewed conflicts in the Middle East and a sluggish global economic recovery. Cooperation between the two major countries is more essential than ever.

The San Francisco summit between Xi and Biden in November was widely and warmly welcomed by the international community and represents a historic opportunity to realign the relationship between the two countries.

Xi pointed out that he and Biden, during their meeting in San Francisco, laid out a future-oriented “San Francisco vision,” charting the course for the development of China-U.S. relations.

He called on China and the United States to earnestly implement the important common understandings and outcomes reached by the two heads of state, and take concrete actions to promote the stable, healthy and sustainable development of China-U.S. relations.

China and the United States have recently engaged in meaningful high-level exchanges, reviving nearly 20 dialogue and exchange mechanisms. Think tanks, provinces, states and legislatures on both sides are also communicating. Direct flights have grown to 70 per week from 20 at the beginning of 2023, with the resumption of nonstop flights between Beijing and Washington, D.C. in November.

Based on the understandings reached during the San Francisco summit, both sides have agreed to strengthen cooperation in artificial intelligence, climate change, counternarcotics and cultural exchanges.

To uphold the mutual understanding reached at the San Francisco summit, the United States must align its words with actions.

The U.S. administration should also honor its commitments made at the summit, where Biden reiterated that the United States does not seek a new Cold War, it does not seek to change China’s system, it does not seek to revitalize alliances against China, it does not support “Taiwan independence,” and that it has no intention to have a conflict with China.

China has exhibited goodwill toward the United States, willing to be a partner and a friend. At the same time, China has principles that must be upheld and red lines that must not be crossed.

The Taiwan question remains the most important and most sensitive issue in China-U.S. relations. China takes seriously the positive statements made by the United States in the Bali meeting, Xi said, adding that the U.S. side should take real actions to honor its commitment of not supporting “Taiwan independence,” stop arming Taiwan, and support China’s peaceful reunification. China will realize reunification, and this is unstoppable.

Navigating China-U.S. relations demands wisdom, foresight and great courage, especially with the 2024 U.S. presidential election approaching. China-U.S. relations mustn’t become casualties of partisan American politics.

The global community desires a stable China-U.S. relationship. U.S. political scientist Joseph Nye has repeatedly noted that both countries are too big for one to invade or coerce the other.

The Harvard emeritus professor told Xinhua earlier that “there’s no endpoint with the U.S.-China relationship. We are going to both be large and successful countries. We are going to have to live with each other for as long as we can see.”

It has been over 50 years since President Richard Nixon’s historic visit to China, famously known as “the week that changed the world.” Both sides should draw inspiration from the half-century of collaboration to foster healthy China-U.S. ties.

Xinhua News Agency

Founded in 1931, Xinhua News Agency is one of the largest news organizations in the world, with over 10,000 employees across the globe. As the main source of news and information for China, Xinhua plays a key role in shaping the country's media landscape and communicating its perspectives to the world. The agency produces a wide range of content, including text news articles, photos, videos, and social media posts, in both Chinese and English, and its reports are widely used by media organizations around the world. Xinhua also operates several international bureaus, including in key capitals like Washington, D.C., Moscow, and London, to provide in-depth coverage of global events.

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