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Consul General Yuan Nansheng on China's Peaceful Development, China-US Relations, and the Chinese Dream

1. How can people believe that China's pledge to pursue peaceful development is sincere?


We pursue peaceful development because we believe it is the right thing to do and the only right choice for us. It is not an act of expediency, still less a diplomatic rhetoric. It is good for China and for the rest of the world. We cannot think of any reason why we should not pursue this approach that has proven so effective.


Historically, China has never waged a war of aggression or engaged in colonialism; China's peace-loving and non-expansionist DNA continues to impact and shape its national psyche.


China's goal is to realize the renewal of the Chinese nation. Only by sticking to peaceful development can it realize this goal. We do not believe China's future depends on overturning the fundamental order of the international system. Over the past decades, China has consistently followed an independent foreign policy of peace, and made it abundantly clear on numerous occasions: China will never seek hegemony or expansion, never compete for supremacy.


Having said that, China firmly upholds its sovereignty, security and development interests. No country should expect China to swallow the bitter fruit that undermines its core interests. The provocative actions that we have seen recently in the East China Sea and in the South China Sea are not taken by China, but by some countries in the regions who want to gain something out of their provocations. China's reactions should be read as a determined response to defend its core interests, rather than as China simply wanting to be more "assertive" or "aggressive".



2. What can we learn from the past 35 years since China and the U.S. established diplomatic relationship?


I believe the following guiding principles are extremely important:


We have got to get China-US relationship right no matter what. Today, more than ever before, the Unites States need China, and China needs the Unites States. A good relationship benefits the two sides, while rivalry and confrontation does harm to both countries. Cooperation is the best and only choice for us.


Mutual respect offers the right approach to managing our differences. Only by respecting each other's system and path chosen by their people, as well as each other's core interests and concerns can we constructively manage our differences and keep this relationship moving forward. On that score, it's what you do, rather than what you say, that really matters.


Always focus on our shared interests. China and the United States have a huge stake in each other's success. What we have in common far outweigh what we differ. We have seen what is possible when we build upon our mutual interests, and we need to continue to expand the quality and quantity of our practical cooperation.


People-to-people contact underpins our relations. The work to strengthen our ties should not just happen at government level; it must be rooted in our people. In the future, we need to invest more in people-to-people interaction, humanizing and bringing down to earth the highly complicated bilateral relations to our people.


3. How do you understand the "Chinese Dream" initiated by your top leader?


We believe that the Chinese Dream is a three-in-one vision: A) A prosperous and strong China B) The revival of the Chinese nation C) a contented life for the Chinese people.


We set two main goals: the first goal is to double both GDP and per capita income by 2020 on the basis of the 2010 level. It means that the building of a 'well-off society' will be completed by then. The second goal is to turn China into a modernized socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious by the middle of this century. The accomplishment of these two goals will coincide respectively with two centenary celebrations: the centenary of the Communist Party of China and the centenary of the People's Republic of China, also known as the 'two centenary goals'.


The Chinese Dream is not just the dream of the government or leaders of China. It is very much the dream of every Chinese. As President Xi puts it plainly: our people wish to have better education, more stable jobs, more satisfactory income, greater social security, better medical and health care, improved housing conditions and better environment; They want their children to grow better, have better education and lead a more enjoyable life. That is our dream; that is our goal.


At the same time, the Chinese Dream is not a dream with parochial nationalism. China has chosen to share its dream with the rest of the world, including the United States. As I see it, the Chinese Dream and the American Dream are far from being exclusive; they actually connect, support, cross-fertilize and reinforce each other.


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