A pragmatic and cooperative approach would best serve the mutual interests of the United States and China, a U.S. expert said on Wednesday.
At the U.S.-China Sister Cities Mayors' Summit held in Houston, Charles Foster, chairman of the U.S.-China Partnerships, said that "while there are important issues that must be addressed, it must be done in the context of mutual respect and appreciation that both of our countries have fundamentally different histories and institutions."
Stressing that the U.S.-China relationship is "too big to fail," he said any effort by the United States to stop China or impede its growth is doomed -- "not only will not be successful, but in the long run, could be mutually destructive."
Regarding the trade tensions, he said while the U.S. additional tariffs can hurt China, they will neither prevent the Chinese economy from continuously expanding, nor prevent China from playing a growing role in world affairs.
He added that China's continued engagement in the international system is essential to world stability.
The Houston-based lawyer expressed his hope that the trade issues can be resolved in a win-win manner, adding that "when that happens, Houston, as one of the largest U.S. exporters, will be a major beneficiary."
"Amity between people holds the key to sound relations between states, and the amity between people lies in mutual understanding. Mutual understanding and friendship of the people serves as the basis and guarantee for consolidating and developing China-U.S. relations," said Xie Yuan, vice president of the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC), at the opening ceremony.
According to Xie, up to now China and the United States have built 227 pairs of sister cities and 50 pairs of sister provinces and states. "The growing number of friendship cities between the two countries has provided an effective channel for local governments to carry out multilevel and diversified cooperation."
Ron Nirenberg, chair of Sister Cities International (SCI), for his part, said the summit is an "important moment" for the relations between the United States and China, as 2019 marks the 40 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
He expressed his hope that the summit will help strengthen economic and cultural ties, and grow local developments and meet their needs across the United States and China.
The summit, which gathered some 200 representatives, was co-sponsored by the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries and Sister Cities International, a U.S. organization dedicated to promoting friendship with foreign cities.
Themed "40 Years Ahead: Stronger Friendship, Closer Cooperation," the one-day event featured panel discussions, keynote addresses, case studies as well as a multimedia exhibit of more than 300 historic photos to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the China-U.S. diplomatic ties.
(ASIA PACIFIC DAILY)