In 1973, the Philadelphia Orchestra gave a performance in China, the first-ever by an American orchestra. Today, the symphonies performed by the ensemble during that historic visit still resonate, a constant reminder of the groundbreaking moment marking the start of the normalization of China-U.S. relations half a century ago.
The Philadelphia Orchestra is currently in China commemorating its trip 50 years ago ahead of the upcoming meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden in San Francisco. There is a growing expectation worldwide that interactions between China and the United States, the top two economies of the world, should be like a symphony, where different notes compose chords and harmonies.
For that end, China and the United States must work together on the global stage while dancing to the same tone, which should be based on the principles of mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and win-win cooperation.
Trust must be based on respect. And without trust, genuine cooperation would not be possible and the risk of conflict could abound. This is a crucial lesson learned from previous interactions between the two nations and a necessary condition for the bilateral ties to get back on track.
It is critical for Washington to recognize and appreciate the differences between the two countries in order for their relationship to function well. There shouldn’t be any attempt to remake the other in its own image, or change or sabotage the other’s system. The leadership of the Communist Party of China and China’s socialist system are supported by all Chinese nationals, and are the fundamental guarantee for China’s development and stability.
Peace is the bottom line of the bilateral relationship. A Cold War mentality is the most significant impediment to peaceful coexistence between the two major countries of the world. Just as colonialism was in the twentieth, the Cold War mindset is the anachronism in the twenty-first century.
For a long time, some in the United States have aspired to encircle China by geopolitical maneuvering. They have scrambled to push forward the Indo-Pacific strategy by duplicating the containment method once used on the Soviet Union.
Such attempts will only prove futile, because the world is not what it once was. Those U.S. politicians must accept that the Cold War era is over for good and handle China-U.S. relations in a cool-headed, rational and realistic way.
On improving China-U.S. relations, the current U.S. administration has made multiple promises. It is imperative that they walk the talk.
Furthermore, win-win cooperation has been the genuine story as well as the mainstream of China-U.S. ties for the past half-century, and it should remain both nations’ ambition in the future.
China and the United States, as the world’s largest emerging and developed economies, have a lot to offer to each other. The two sides also have a lot of space to work together in a variety of areas, including business and trade, energy, science and technology, education, and people-to-people and cultural interactions. They are responsible for solving global challenges like economic recovery, climate change, terrorism, nuclear proliferation, and regional hotspots.
A constant in China-U.S. interactions is that both sides stand to benefit from cooperation and lose from confrontation. China-U.S. ties should not be a zero-sum game, and neither party’s prosperity should come at the expense of the other.
As President Xi has pointed out, the most important event in international relations over the past 50 years was the reopening and development of China-U.S. relations, which has benefited the two countries and the whole world.
Looking forward, Xi said that the most important event in international relations in the coming 50 years will be for China and the United States to find the right way to get along.
The right path forward is defined by mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, and win-win cooperation. Only by adhering to the three principles can China and the United States, the two “leading orchestras,” be able to successfully perform together. It is vitally important for both sides and for the rest of the globe.