Qin: Sino-US ties remain key mission

World is wide enough for both nations to develop and prosper, new FM writes


China's newly appointed Foreign Minister Qin Gang has made it clear that building on relations with the United States will remain "an important mission" for him in his new position, as he believes the future of the planet hinges on the sound and stable growth of such ties.

Qin, 56, who was named foreign minister on Dec 30 after serving as ambassador to the US for about 17 months, noted that he left Washington more convinced that the door to China-US relations will remain open and cannot be closed, and that the people of the US, just like the Chinese people, are broad-minded, friendly and hardworking.

"My time here also reminds me that China-US relations should not be a zero-sum game in which one side out-competes the other or one nation thrives at the expense of the other," Qin wrote in an opinion piece published in The Washington Post on Wednesday.

"The world is wide enough for China and the United States to both develop and prosper," he wrote in the article titled "The Planet's Future Depends on a Stable China-US Relationship".

Qin recalled that he went to Washington at a complex and tough time for bilateral relations, with almost all of the dialogue and exchange mechanisms suspended, and Chinese enterprises unfairly sanctioned.

"Compounded by the pandemic, people-to-people exchanges were severely impacted. China was often described as America's' most serious competitor'," he wrote.

In a speech on Dec 6, Qin had said the US administration defines China as a most serious competitor and the most serious, long-term geographical challenge, which is a "great strategic misperception and misjudgment".

"The successes of our two countries are shared opportunities, not winner-take-all challenges. We must not allow prejudice or misperception to ignite confrontation or conflict between two great peoples," he wrote.

The two sides should follow the strategic guidance of their presidents and find the right way to get along for the well-being of the world, he added.

Qin described some memorable scenes from his time in the US, including how his visits to 22 states laid before his eyes a country different from what he knew in Washington.

"In the spring, I visited the Kimberley Farm in Iowa, which President Xi Jinping visited in 2012. I tried my hand at driving a John Deere tractor and tasted the local produce. In the fall, I visited a corn and soybean farm in Missouri and was deeply moved by my hosts' sincerity and hospitality," he wrote.

He also recalled teaching a class at a Chinese-language immersion school in Minneapolis and seeing huge stacks of containers to and from China at the ports of Boston and Long Beach, a testament to the high degree of China-US economic interdependence and a reminder that decoupling serves no one's interest.

"These are, for me, important memories about this country, and I will hold them in my heart," Qin wrote. "Going forward, the development of China-US relations will remain an important mission of mine in my new position."

He wrote that he "was encouraged by the business community's confidence in the Chinese market and its strong desire for continued cooperation".

On Tuesday, while bidding farewell to the people of the US via posts on his official Twitter account, the new foreign minister said he would "continue to care about and support the growth of China-US relations, encourage dialogue, mutual understanding and affinity between the two peoples".

During his tenure in the US, Qin had met with more than 80 members of Congress to explain to them China's positions and concerns, while he listened to theirs.

Days before he left for Beijing, Qin noted in an article published in The National Interest that the US and China should and can listen to each other, narrow their gap in perceptions of the world and explore ways to get along based on mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation.