Yang Jeichi, the Central Foreign Affairs Commission director called to the United States to work towards a more collaborative and constructive relationship. The China-U.S. relations dropped to its lowest point in 40 years during the Trump presidency. Yang declared during his speech that China is prepared for a no conflict and mutual respect relationship if the United States is ready. He stated that the United States should, “correct recent mistakes [referring to decisions made during the Trump administration], and work with China to promote the healthy and stable development of China-U.S. relations by upholding the spirit of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation.”
He also called for the United States to stop interfering in their domestic affairs. The United States has previously interfered with issues in Hong Kong and Tibet without consultation of the Chinese government. Yang made it clear that any similar actions will not be accepted. Respecting China’s national sovereignty is crucial to cooperation between the two nations. The core values of both nations should be respected even if they do not agree with each other; nations are separate from each other and therefore can conform to any political and economic systems that they see fit. Yang was quoted saying, “Each side should focus on taking care of its own domestic affairs.”
There is a common mentality in global political relations that all relationships are zero-sum, meaning that one side will win, and the other side will lose. Yang stated that he does not align himself with this concept and would like to work towards a positive-sum outcome. Positive sum refers to a mutual win, wherein both sides come away with some benefits. For example, Yang pointed to the fact that over the course of 2020, two-way trade increased by eight per cent between the two countries, resulting in economic growth for both. A positive relationship between these two largest economies would help create a stable economic environment for all other participating countries.
While the sentiments about staying out of domestic affairs are appropriate and should be respected in order to maintain good trading relations between these two massive economic players, the Secretary of State of the United States, Antony Blinken, raises the question of human rights. While domestic affairs should be handled by the domestic government, Blinken states that the United States and its allies will not stand by if there are threats to human rights in China or threats to democracy in Hong Kong. This raises the ethical question of how much jurisdiction should each government allow for the other.
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