China-US relations may take a warmer turn
In letter read by Chinese ambassador to US, Chinese President Xi Jinping acclaims ‘huge potential, vast space, a promising future’ in ties.
China-US relations may take a warmer turn

China-US relations may take a warmer turn

Photo: AFP/Saul Loeb
Eurasia 20/12/2023 07:00

US ambassador to China Nicholas Burns touted a “revival of a close, coordinated relationship” between the US and China, while also saying the relationship remains “intensely competitive”.

Speaking at the 50th anniversary gala of the US-China Business Council in Washington, Burns said: “I can report to you this evening that both of our governments have found a way to bring a measure of badly needed stability to the US-China relationship", according to South China Morning Post.

The next year would usher in “a normal diplomatic relationship”, he continued while crediting the “consequential” meeting between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in California last month.

At the gala, Burns also read out a letter from Biden in which the US president said: “The world expects the United States and China to work together to address issues like the climate crisis, and the global food and health security crises, which would impact lives everywhere and are too big for any nation to resolve alone.”

“The United States is committed to responsibly managing the competition between our two countries,” Biden added. He referenced his most recent meeting with Xi, saying both sides affirmed they would work together “when it is possible, and in our mutual interest”.

Earlier this year, the Biden administration issued executive orders that further restrict China’s access to advanced technology – moves that Beijing has said undermine Washington’s rhetoric to not “contain or suppress” China. Chinese ambassador to the US Xie Feng directly spoke to such moves on Thursday, urging both sides to “keep business cooperation from being politicised”.

“The stabilising momentum in China-US relations should not be disrupted by domestic politics,” he said. “The US side used to call for letting the market decide.”

But similar to Burns, Xie told the gathering of top business leaders that the relationship felt “warmer” now than when he first arrived in the US as ambassador in May.

He read out a letter from Xi, in which the Chinese president acknowledged his business audience by saying “there is huge potential, vast space, a promising future, for greater economic and trade cooperation between our two countries”.

“China will remain firmly committed to fostering a market-oriented, law-based and world-class business environment,” Xi said.

Echoing Biden, Xi also noted that whether the two countries could work together concerned not only their two peoples but the “future of humanity”.

Invoking an earlier period of US-China reconciliation, US-China Business Council president Craig Allen concluded Thursday’s speeches with a toast to former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger, who died last month at the age of 100.

“Everyone in this room owes a debt to Henry Kissinger,” he said, calling the contemporary US-China relationship his “greatest achievement”.

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