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Consul General Huang Ping's Speech at the Penn China Research Symposium
2020/02/03

Provost Wendell Pritchett,

Dear Friends,

It’s my great pleasure to join you at the Penn China Research Symposium 2020. I have lost counts how many times I have visited UPenn, probably more than any university in New York city. I just met President Gutmann, and was very impressed by UPenn’s growing relationship with China. My colleagues told me that faculties from all of UPenn’s 12 schools have launched over 350 research projects and instructional activities in China, and there are over 20 international partnerships between UPenn and Chinese institutions. I was also informed that you are all experts on China, and many of you speak Chinese so well that no one could recognize a foreign accent. We are grateful to UPenn’s commitment to continuous engagement with China, and the outstanding work you have done.

Over the past four decades, China-US relations have made historical progress, with close economic ties and robust people-to-people exchanges. However, this relationship have been overshadowed by the trade frictions and extreme rhetoric such as “new Cold War”, “decoupling” and “clash of civilizations” during the last two years. It’s no exaggeration to say China-US relations have once again come to a crucial juncture. At such an important moment, it’s very necessary for us to review China’s strategic intention, the latest global context and the key principles for cultivating this relationship. I’d like to take this opportunity to share with you some of my opinions.

First, China does not seek to challenge or replace the United States. It’s true that China has a big population, a giant economic aggregate, and a steady rate of GDP growth. But putting aside those impressive figures, China still remains a developing country. Its per capita GDP is no more than 1/6 of that of America, its 83 million disabled people is almost 7 times the population of Pennsylvania. The blueprint for China’s development in the coming decades is often referred to as the “two centenary goals”. By the end of 2020, we will reach our first centenary goal for a moderately prosperous society in all aspects on the eve of the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party of China, and we are determined to eliminate absolute poverty across the country. We plan to accomplish the second goal for a strong socialist modernized country as we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the People's Republic in 2049. The focus of this blueprint is obviously on domestic development, becoming a better self while bringing the Chinese people better life and good governance. It’s not a geopolitical plan scrambling for global dominance.

Second, the so-called "Thucydides Trap" can be avoided by our two countries. People now talk a lot about the so-called “Thucydides Trap”. The world today has become profoundly different from the past, and is increasingly becoming a community of common destiny. With the rapid development of science and technology, globalization is unstoppable. Our life will be more closely interlinked to each other. No country can insulate itself from the threat of terrorism, infectious diseases, economic crisis or climate change. With this world outlook, China has chosen the path of peaceful development. It has been proved time and again that alarmism will only waste valuable resources. It’s not to prevent the worst-case scenario, but to turn the scenario to a “self-fulfilling prophecy”. I believe the US also could make a wise choice in its own fundamental interests on China US relations .

Third, China-US relationship can not be defined by absolute competition or rivalry. Forty years of diplomatic ties and cooperation have served the interests of both countries quite well, and our mutual needs and common interests are still expanding. China and the US have far more common interests than differences, and our cooperation far outweighs frictions. Of course, it’s inevitable we do have a certain degree of competition between us. But as long as we both follow the basic international norms, and the competition is fair, constructive and mutually stimulating, such competition will serve the long-term interests of both countries.

Forth, “Decoupling” is not a right choice for China and the US. Decoupling our two countries in trade and industrial development goes against globalization and the tide of history. And considering China’s advantages in cost, market and supply chain and its growing edge in innovation, to decouple from China is to decouple from opportunities. Scientific and technological decoupling would not secure America’s status as the technology leader, as science and technology can only develop and generate maximum effects through big data sharing, extensive application and collaboration. And it is most unconstructive to decouple people-to-people exchanges. It is these exchanges that have sustained the China-US relationship and added a human touch to it.

Dear friends,

The Year of the Mouse marks a new beginning of a 12 years cycle. At this starting point, I hope both China and the US can make new progress in economic and social development, and our bilateral relationship can take a new turn for more positive results. What it takes to serve this aspiration? We could start from the following four steps.

We need to strengthen strategic communication. Communication is the basis of understanding, whereas understanding is the basis of mutual-trust. The two countries need to enhance dialogue at all levels in all areas, build up mutual understanding and mutual trust, reduce misunderstanding and misjudgments, so as to develop a China-US relationship based on coordination, cooperation and stability.

We need to properly handle differences. China and US are two big countries. It’s unrealistic for us to agree on everything. But we shall always settle our differences through dialogue and consultation on the basis of mutual respect, and properly manage issues that can not be resolved immediately. We both have our own core interests, and we should put feet in each other's shoes and address the concerns of both sides. Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Taiwan and Tibet concern our sovereignty, territorial integrity and national reunification. We hope the US side could handle these issues properly.

We need to expand win-win cooperation. This month China and the US have signed the phase one trade agreement. It will certainly serve the interests of both sides and beyond, but we must keep a clear head that the tariff still remains, and protectionism remains a headwind for the international trade and investment. China will further widen market access for foreign investors and cut negative list for foreign investment, import more goods and services to promote balanced trade, and further improve its business environment to ensure all types of businesses registered in China being treated equally. Last year, China’s middle-income consumers reached 400 million, this number will double in the next 15 years. In face of the huge and ever improving market, the US companies have great potential to win a bigger slice of the pie. We wish to see more US business in China to cater our people’s ever-growing needs for a better life.

We need to promote people-to-people exchanges. From the 1780s when the first American Ship, the Empress of China, sailed to China for trade, to the 1940s when American soldiers came to our help in fighting against foreign aggression, and to this day when we witness tens of thousands of Chinese and Americans flying across the Pacific on a daily basis, the friendship between our two peoples transcends time and space and represents a constant driving force for our relations. At a time of difficulties, it is all the more important for us to step up exchanges in the fields of education, culture and tourism. The future of China-US relations lies in the youth. We welcome more American students to study in and travel to China, and hope the US can provide the Chinese students reciprocity. I highly appreciate the important role that UPenn has played in this regard.

Looking forward, China-U.S. relations have tremendous opportunities as well as challenges. As President Abraham Lincoln said, “The best way to predict the future is to create it”. At this time of Lunar New Year, let’s keep up our efforts and work together for the mission of our friendship, and bring new tangible benefits to our two peoples and beyond.

Dear Friends,

The Chinese people are now fighting a very serious battle against the pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus . I believe many of you have been following this issue closely. I want to take this opportunity to introduce some of the development.

According to the National Health Commission, the number of confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus rose to 9812 on the Chinese mainland and the death toll hit 213 as of Wednesday midnight. Hubei province remains the center of the outbreak.

The prevention and control of the outbreak is the country’s most important work for now. President Xi Jinping chaired a special meeting of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee on the outbreak on Jan 25th, the first day of this lunar new year. Entrusted by President Xi, Premier Li Keqiang visited Wuhan on Jan 27th to inspect novel coronavirus prevention and control efforts. The Chinese government so far has taken strong measures that any other country can hardly take to deal with the disease, and will continue to resolutely make sure measures are effectively implemented.

First, we have built an all-round and multi-layered prevention and control system focusing on Wuhan and Hubei. From the central government to the local government, all aspects of work are open and transparent, and are advancing scientifically and orderly.

Second, we have taken all-around strict measures to further contain the corona-virus epidemic, including transport restrictions, extending the Spring Festival holiday, postponing school openings, temporary closures of public venues, personnel tracking and management, temperature detection at subway and railway stations, airports, etc. Passengers with abnormal body temperatures will be sent to the hospital for medical observation.

Third, more medical supplies and teams have been sent to Hubei to contain the epidemic situation. By Monday Jan. 30, 3.94 billion USD has been allocated to support the battle across the country; nearly 6000 medical workers from across the country have arrived in Wuhan and some other cities of Hubei province; large number of medical supplies are sent together with the personal. Many medical equipment factories are producing medical masks and protective clothing around the clock to meet the needs of hospitals and pharmacies around the country.

Forth, we continue to carry out public health knowledge education, making epidemic prevention a conscious action of every Chinese. We also release information about the epidemic to the public in a timely, open, transparent and responsible manner.

Fifth, we take great efforts to prevent the epidemic from flowing out of the country. So far, the number of confirmed cases reported overseas stood at 68, accounting for only less than 1% of the total number.

As we stand together to safeguard regional and global public health security, there is no need to panic. I was told by American doctors for people live in the US, the risk of contracting the new strain of corona-virus is exceedingly low. In fact, The influenza that people are all quite familiar with is considered more threatening. Epidemic prevention is a challenge for all human-beings. China has full confidence and capability to win the battle against the outbreak of pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus.

Dear Friends,

While China are bravely fighting the virus, people from United States and all over the world are offering massive support in preventing and controlling this outbreak.

The US government has decided to send a group of experts from CDC to China to work with the WHO and the Chinese government. Large multinationals such as Microsoft, Dell, Boeing, L’Oreal and Cargill have donated roughly 1.4 million dollars in cash and items to Chinese Red Cross and Hubei province. Johnson & Johnson has initiated vaccine development and will provide antiviral medicines to China for investigational use.

In the past week, my consulate has received numerous emails and phone calls asking for ways to donate and help. According to uncompleted statistics, overseas Chinese communities in my consulate region have donated 600,000 RMB and more than 1.2 millions masks, 20,000 protective suits and other medical supplies to China. The logistics people have also offered tremendous help in the delivery of relevant items.

Three days ago, Dr. Walter Lipkin with Columbia University, who has been known as the virus-hunter, arrived in China at the invitation of the Chinese authorities. This is the second time that Dr. Lipkin works with Chinese scientists and medical staff to fight the epidemic, after he assisted China fighting SARS in 2003.

We are deeply touched and encouraged by all these out-pouring supports. I believe that in the face of catastrophe, people around the world will put aside differences and unite together, humanity will eventually overwhelm calamity. What we have already seen is a vivid example of countries building a community with shared future for mankind. The cooperation between China and the US is an indispensable part of this historic trend.

Thank you!

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