China – U.S. political parties meeting means the duo could still be friends

Monday, September 20th, 2021 00:00 |
Chinese President Xi Jinping meets with then-Vice President Joe Biden in Davos, Switzerland, Jan. 17, 2017.

The conflict between the world’s superpower and its geopolitical rival has been trending for several years. If there was ill feeling by the U.S. towards China for long, it took former President Donald Trump’s belligerence to bring it out.

The two giants source of conflict is geopolitical positioning. The U.S. feels that China is rising too fast and high for comfort and needs to have its wings clipped. China is also constantly gaining clout in areas that were almost exclusively oriented to the West.

Interestingly, however, there is still a lot of room left for rapprochement, even at this time when positive relations between the two nations seem irretrievable. Away from the glaring cameras of the international media, a lot of work is still going on between them.

For instance, the 12th China-U.S. Political Party Leaders Dialogue concluded on September 14, following two days of dialogue between members of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and both the Democratic and Republican parties. Participants discussed the role of political parties in developing bilateral ties, and exchanged in-depth ideas on their respective domestic situations and prospects for bilateral relations.

In a press release after the event, China noted the fact that the two countries are the largest developing country and developed country, respectively, and the future of their bilateral ties affects the future of the world. A healthy and stable China-U.S. relationship is the common expectation of the people of the two countries and the international community.

The statement called on the two countries to implement the important consensus reached by their respective presidents, adhere to mutual respect, treat each other as equals, take care of each other's core interests and major concerns, enhance mutual understanding and mutual trust, and continue to deepen exchanges and cooperation through dialogue and other channels.

Yang Jiechi, director of the Central Foreign Affairs Commission Office for China

Further, China said the two sides should strengthen communication and coordination on major international and regional issues as a major way of contributing to world peace, stability and prosperity. At a new historical starting point, the CPC promised to adhere to the people-centered development philosophy, comprehensively deepen reforms and expand opening-up, promote Chinese-style modernisation, and provide new opportunities for the world, while advancing the construction of a community with a shared future for humanity.

Indeed, U.S. reiterated that relations between the two countries are critical to both countries and the world. The partners have significantly increased their competition with each other at present, but the two countries still have broad common interests in responding to climate change, fighting the pandemic, encouraging economic recovery, and dealing with issues of global concern.

On September 15, Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs Yang Jiechi held a virtual meeting with representatives of the U.S. Democratic and Republican parties who attended the Beijing meeting.

Yang recalled that President Xi Jinping spoke with President Joe Biden on the phone at the latter's request on September 10, during which the two leaders conducted candid, in-depth and wide-ranging strategic communication and exchanges on China-U.S. relations and other important issues.

Yang hoped that the U.S. government will correct its erroneous attitude towards China and work together to implement the consensus reached by the two heads of state. Talks between the political parties of the two countries are critical in enhancing mutual understanding and deepening dialogue and cooperation.

Undoubtedly, relations between the U.S. and China is the most important bilateral relationship in the world today. People of the two countries and the rest of the world have long benefited from exchanges and cooperation with them. Global challenges such as tackling of climate change, COVID-19 response and economic recovery call for greater U.S.-China cooperation. The two sides should make efforts to deepen communication, continuously expand cooperation in economy, trade, people-to-people exchanges and other fields.

The writer is the Executive Director of South-South Dialogues, a Nairobi based research and development communication think tank.

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