Lessons of history can help improve Sino-US ties
The relationship between China and the United States is one of the most important bilateral relations in the world.
China-US cooperation not only serves the interests of both countries, but also contributes to world peace and development. However, in recent years, the relationship has encountered serious difficulties and been damaged. How to overcome these difficulties and repair the relationship is a serious challenge faced by both countries.
Therefore, it is necessary to summarize historical experiences, learn from the past and promote the stability and improvement of China-US relations.
In the development of China-US ties — whether it was the "icebreaking" of the early 1970s or the subsequent "honeymoon period "of the 1980s; the "shock" that China-US relations experienced in the late 1980s and early '90s; or the significant developments achieved over the past decade — head-of-state diplomacy played a crucial role.
In February 1972, then US president Richard Nixon led a delegation to China and held talks with Chairman Mao Zedong, breaking the thaw that had lasted for more than 20 years between China and the US and initiating the process of normalizing China-US relations.
Under the theme of head-of-state diplomacy, China and the US have established a multifield dialogue and exchange mechanism to pragmatically promote bilateral cooperation.
At the beginning of the new century, based on the important consensus reached by the leaders of both countries, the China-US Strategic Dialogue and the China-US Strategic Economic Dialogue were launched.
The former was the first time since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the US that such a high-level regular dialogue had been held, which has enhanced mutual understanding and strategic trust between the two countries and promoted cooperation in various fields.
The latter is a strategic dialogue that strengthens cooperation in areas such as trade and investment, energy and environment, food and product safety. It also establishes a long-term economic cooperation relationship between China and the US.
Looking back at China-US relations since the 1970s, it can be seen that the fundamental reason for the significant development of the ties — from breaking the ice, initiating the normalization of bilateral relations, and achieving significant development — is that both countries share common interests and have a full understanding of this.
The three joint communiques between China and the US emphasize the common interests of the two countries.
In the Shanghai Communique jointly issued by China and the US on Feb 28, 1972, the two sides stated that "the normalization of relations between the two countries is not only in the interest of the Chinese and American peoples but also contributes to the relaxation of tension in Asia and the world".
The Joint Communique on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the People's Republic of China and the United States of America, issued on Dec 16, 1978, said, "Both believe that normalization of Sino-American relations is not only in the interest of the Chinese and American peoples but also contributes to the cause of peace in Asia and the world."
In the Joint Communique of the People's Republic of China and the United States of America issued on Aug 17, 1982, both sides clearly stated, "The two sides are determined, on the principle of equality and mutual benefit, to strengthen their ties in the economic, cultural, educational, scientific, technological and other fields and make strong, joint efforts for the continued development of relations between the governments and peoples of the United States and China."
Over the past decades since the normalization of China-US relations, despite the ups and downs in the relationship, the two countries have made significant progress in various fields, confirming the broad common interests of China and the US.
The development of China-US relations is the result of the two countries transcending ideological differences and pursuing common interests. It has been proved that only by transcending the constraints of institutional differences can China and the US continuously deepen cooperation and promote the smooth development of bilateral relations.
The Taiwan question has always been the core question in China-US relations, and proper handling of it is the key to the stable development of bilateral relations. After the normalization process of China-US relations began, whether the US side has adhered to its commitments on the Taiwan question has been the key to the stable development of China-US ties.
China-US relations are at a new crossroads. China and the US have the ability and responsibility to explore a correct way of coexistence, in order to benefit the people of both countries as well as the world.