Fraught Relations, Friendship or Both?

Seemingly contradictory to Xi Jinping’s rhetoric that constantly builds tension between China and the West, China’s consul general in Los Angeles has published this newsletter seeking friendship and exchanges with the United States. Such statements are approved by Chinese government leaders. To add to this complexity, U.S. citizens who have worked in China in the past are beginning to receive invitations from previous business partners to resume trade.

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On June 9, Chinese Consul General in Los Angeles published an article “Friendship appeals for cooperation, communication advances trust” on ChinaDaily. Attached is the full article:

At this critical moment of the China-US relationship and on the occasion of the 35th anniversary of the opening of the Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Los Angeles, I am honored to take the role of consul general and deeply aware of the mission and responsibility.

The past four months have been spent interacting with people from all walks of life in the consular district, especially in Southern California. Despite the complex and serious challenges facing the China-US relationship, the local people displayed a warm friendliness toward the Chinese people and an earnest expectation for China-US relations to be stabilized. They also want bilateral cooperation to be enhanced.

At the BYD electric bus factory in Lancaster, a worker gave me a self-made welcome plate. He said the Chinese factory is helping him realize his dream by creating a better life for him and his family along with friendships with colleagues from China. At the Port of Long Beach, bustling cargo ships loaded with goods from China and the United States showed that the two countries cannot “decouple” or be severed in industrial and supply chains. At the La Salle College Preparatory High School, there was a virtual signing ceremony with the girls’ basketball team and that of China’s Tsinghua University High School. The players were enthusiastic and delighted to make friends across the Pacific. At the San Diego Zoo, the joyful atmosphere of Chinese Lunar New Year demonstrated the American people’s affection for giant pandas along with their interest in Chinese culture.

The US business leaders and those working in the entertainment industry explained that China-US trade and cultural exchange are mutually beneficial; they believe cooperation is the right choice, and that the China-US relationship is expected to be improved. Many local friends excitedly told me that they had been to China and were amazed by China’s rapid development. They also said that they were fond of Chinese food and kung fu. Local restaurant waiters and supermarket cashiers said that the Chinese communities here are industrious and amicable. They exert great effort to integrate into the diverse culture and make contributions to help ease the problem of homelessness.

Those touching moments reflect the American people’s aspirations for strengthening communications and mutual trust between China and the US; their expectations to promote bilateral cooperation; and their good wishes for friendship between our two peoples. Such experiences give me the confidence and motivation to fulfill my mission and make continuous efforts to promote China-US subnational exchanges and cooperation and the stable development of bilateral relations.

A sound, steady relationship bears on the fundamental interests of the two peoples and the future of the world. The successes of the two countries are shared opportunities, not challenges. The goal of China’s development is to meet people’s aspirations for a better life, not to challenge or replace any other country. The American Civil War, which happened 160 years ago, aimed to prevent the United States from being divided. Just like any other country in the world, China has the legitimate right to safeguard its sovereignty, security and development interests and pursue national reunification.

There have been some false news reports about China and irresponsible remarks about China-US relations, which show that there is still a long way to go in promoting mutual understanding and trust between the two peoples. Only by strengthening communication and exchange can we avoid misunderstanding and prejudice and read each other’s strategic intentions correctly. Only by taking the fundamental interests of our two peoples as the yardstick can we make decisions that represent the common expectations of the people.

As consul general, guided by the spirit of the Bali meeting between our two national leaders, I will follow President Xi Jinping’s three principles of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation. My goal will be to have more communication and engagement with all friends in the consular district, promote mutual trust, deepen pragmatic cooperation, and make unremitting efforts to strengthen the friendship between our two peoples. That way, we can bring China-US relations back to the right track of sound and steady development.