That is a point Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed in a phone conversation on September 10 with his U.S. counterpart, Joe Biden, and also a premise both sides need to bear in mind when managing bilateral ties.
Noting that China and the U.S. are respectively the biggest developing country and the biggest developed country, Xi pointed out that whether they can handle their relationship well bears on the future of the world, and it is a question of the century to which the two countries must provide a good answer.
With the international community facing many common challenges, China and the U.S. need to show broad vision and shoulder great responsibilities, he said, adding that they should look ahead and press forward, demonstrate strategic courage and political resolve, and bring bilateral relations back on the right track of stable development as soon as possible for the good of people everywhere.
On the basis of respecting each other's core concerns and properly managing differences, the relevant departments of the two countries may continue their engagement and dialogue to advance coordination and cooperation on climate change, COVID-19 response and economic recovery as well as on major international and regional issues, Xi said.
In the meantime, the two sides may tap into more cooperation potential to inject more positive dynamics into the relationship, he added.
Biden said the two countries have no interest in letting competition veer into conflict, and that the U.S. side has no intention to change the one-China policy.
The U.S. side, he added, is prepared to have more candid exchanges and constructive discussions with China to identify key and priority areas where cooperation is possible, avoid miscommunication, miscalculation and unintended conflict, and get U.S.-China relations back on track.
It is true that China and the U.S. differ in ideology, social system, history and culture. However, if history is any guide, differences are not necessarily hindrances to the development of China-U.S. relations.
The two countries both stand to gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation. And the world will reap so much good if they can join their hands.
Unfortunately, the China-U.S. relationship has over the past several years run into serious difficulties due to Washington's misguided policy toward China. And it seems that the current U.S. administration has yet to dispel various deep-seated misperceptions and is still taking cues from its predecessor on handling interaction with Beijing.
China has always been clear, and consistent, on which direction bilateral relations should take.
It is high time that Washington started to view China's development in an objective and rational way, and take concrete actions to create favorable conditions for the healthy development of bilateral relations.
In this age of expanding global interdependence, whether China and the U.S. can manage their relationship well is a question of the century. To that end, Washington must join Beijing in providing a good answer.