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Chinese Premier: US-China Common Interests Outweigh Differences

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao says there are "thousands" of reasons for U.S.-China relations to move forward. Speaking at dinner of American and Chinese businessmen in New York Wednesday, Mr. Wen said he believes all disputes between the two superpowers about trade will be resolved.

A smiling Wen Jiabao took the podium at the Waldorf Astoria hotel and told the audience that he is an optimist about relations between the two nations.

He said he "fully believes that all the disputes and differences in China-U.S. trade at the moment will be resolved. And after the settlement of these problems, the China-U.S. relationship will take a further step forward and be taken onto [a] higher plain."

Mr. Wen, who is in New York for the annual meetings of the United Nations, said the China-U.S. relationship "enjoys a bright future, because common interests between our two countries far outweigh our differences."

Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who helped forge relations with China in the 1970s, introduced the premier. Kissinger says, when he made his first trip to China some 40 years ago, neither side had much good to say about the other.

"Yet we very quickly found a common purpose to work together for peace in the world," he said. "Right now we say pretty good things about each other. But because we are both interacting so much, there are inevitably areas that need adjustment and improvement on both sides. And, each side had to learn to do this. It is the great opportunity of our period. It is not the problem of our period."

Mr. Wen addressed some of the more problematic issues between the allies.

Of China's trade surplus with the United States, he said his country does not seek one and has long adopted measures to expand domestic demand and increase imports to address the issue.

On the currency issue, he said Beijing does not keep its currency artificially low, and noted that his government has kept the rate stable since the global financial crisis began two years ago. He added that there is "no basis for a drastic appreciation" of China's currency.

On the foreign policy front, he said the Chinese people would make "no compromise" on the issues of Taiwan and Tibet.

Mr. Wen said that, although the relationship between the two powers is not always smooth, the two allies "both stand to gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation." He added that dialogue and cooperation have figured prominently in their relationship.