China-US Ambassadors Optimistic as Decades-Old Business Council Signals a Warming Trend in Bilateral Relations


The US and China have a “revival of a close coordinated relationship,” according to US Ambassador to China Nicholas Burns, who also noted that the two countries’ relationship is still “intensely competitive.”
“I can report to you this evening that both of our governments have found a way to bring a measure of badly needed stability to the US-China relationship,” Burns said during the US-China Business Council’s 50th-anniversary banquet in Washington.

He went on, citing the “significant” meeting between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) summit in California last month, as evidence that the following year will bring in “a normal diplomatic relationship.”

Burns’ statement is being made as the two nations reexamine their relationship, which was severely damaged after the US shot down a Chinese spy balloon in February. The two parties convened a series of high-level diplomatic consultations a few months later.

“The world expects the United States and China to work together to address issues like the climate crisis, and the global food and health security crises, which would impact lives everywhere and are too big for any nation to resolve alone,” US President Joe Biden wrote in a letter that Burns read aloud at the gala.

“The United States has committed to managing our two countries’ competition responsibly,” Biden continued. Speaking of their most recent encounter, he said that Xi and he had agreed to collaborate “when it is possible, and in our mutual interest.”

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, the gala’s honoree, was also in attendance on Thursday.

Yellen used the occasion to lay out her economic goals for the US and China through 2024, which include encouraging China to provide more information about its economic policies and building up bilateral exchanges to help avert global financial crises.

She will also have to travel to China a second time in her capacity as Treasury Secretary.

Although Yellen outlined several areas where the two nations might work together, such as combating drug use and money laundering, she made it clear that she would not back down from any disagreements.

She referred to the People’s Republic of China on Thursday when she said, “The PRC deploys unfair economic practices, from non-market tools to barriers to access for foreign firms to coercive actions against American companies.”

She stated that the US “cannot and will not compromise” when it comes to using economic measures to safeguard both its own and its allies’ national security.

Beijing claims that the Biden administration’s executive orders, which further limit China’s access to cutting-edge technology, contradict Washington’s claims that they will not “contain or suppress” China. These measures were issued earlier this year.
In a direct response to such actions on Thursday, Chinese Ambassador to the US Xie Feng urged both parties to “keep business cooperation from being politicized.”

“Domestic politics should not sabotage the stabilizing momentum in China-US relations,” he stated. “The US side used to advocate for market-driven decisions.”

Like Burns, however, Xie said to the assembly of influential businesspeople that the relationship felt “warmer” now than it had when he had first arrived in the US in May as an ambassador.

In a letter to his business audience, the Chinese president, Xi Jinping, admitted that “there is huge potential, vast space, and a promising future, for greater economic and trade cooperation between our two countries,” which he read aloud.

“China is resolute in its commitment to cultivating a business environment that is world-class, law-based, and market-oriented,” Xi declared.

Like Biden, Xi stated that the “future of humanity” was at stake in addition to the two peoples when considering whether or not the two nations could cooperate.

President of the US-China Business Council Craig Allen ended Thursday’s remarks with a toast to former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who passed away last month at the age of 100, drawing comparisons to a previous era of US-China reconciliation.
“There is no one in this room who does not owe Henry Kissinger anything,” he declared, referring to the current US-China relationship as his “greatest achievement.”

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