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45 years on, more mature China-U.S. ties ready for new heights

Editor: zhenglimin 丨Xinhua

02-21-2017 21:21 BJT

BEIJING, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- Forty-five years ago, then U.S. President Richard Nixon touched down in Beijing for a milestone visit to China, opening what he called a "week that changed the world."

Forty-five years on, China-U.S. interaction has gone through its share of ups and downs, growing into one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world. What's more important, such an engagement has proved capable of navigating rough waters and keeping moving forward.

Nixon's visit, starting Feb. 21, 1972, was one of the first steps -- and a decisive one -- in the budding rapprochement between China and the United States after more than two decades of estrangement in their history. Following the ice-breaking tour, Beijing and Washington officially established their diplomatic ties in 1979.

Since then the two sides have become increasingly interdependent with ever deepening cooperation in such fields as economy, trade, investment, security, people-to-people exchanges and global battles against common threats.

China is now America's largest trading partner and the third largest export market of U.S. goods after Canada and Mexico, according to a report from the U.S.-China Business Council.

China's direct investments in the United States hit a record high of 45 billion U.S. dollars in 2016, marking a threefold increase from 2015.

Robust bilateral trade and investment have supported some 2.6 million jobs in the United States.

On every single day, more than 13,000 people travel across the Pacific, along with 1.6 billion dollars' worth of goods and services.

Meanwhile, the two countries have unprecedented opportunities to work together in dealing with non-conventional global security challenges, such as terrorism, climate change and cyber security.

Common interests and mutual benefits have long been the cornerstone for the steady and healthy development of the bilateral relations.

In a phone conversation earlier this month, U.S. President Donald Trump told his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, that his country is ready to work with China to take bilateral ties to new historic heights.

The call, the first of its kind between the two leaders since Trump's inauguration, helped ease tensions that the new U.S. leader had triggered by accepting a call from Taiwan leader Tsai Ing-wen and claiming that the one China policy was open for negotiation.

In the "extremely cordial" conversation with Xi, Trump returned to the right track and stressed that Washington will honor the one China policy, the bedrock of the bilateral ties ever since the signing of the Shanghai Communique in 1972, a key outcome of Nixon's visit.

Before leaving Washington for his China trip that year, Nixon told reporters at the airport that the United States and China "had great differences" and "will have differences in the future."

Forty-five years later, differences remain, but with their cooperation reaching unprecedented levels and their ties enjoying ever higher levels of maturity, the United States and China are now better experienced and equipped to manage their divergence.

What's more, in face of climate change, terrorism and a raft of other challenges threatening mankind as a whole, more and more nations around the globe are looking to the United States and China -- the world's top two economies and two heavyweight players on international affairs -- for solutions.

Given that, the two countries need to carefully steer their relationship through the break-in period following the inauguration of the Trump administration and back into the smooth running mode as soon as possible.

It is the expectation of both nations and the world at large that they build on the forward momentum they have gathered in bilateral interaction over the past 45 years and lift the China-U.S. ties onto higher levels.

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