“In 1972, [the United States and China] were connected only through a narrow official channel,” U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said recently at the 40th anniversary celebration of President Richard Nixon’s historic door-opening trip to China. “Today, the web of connections linking our nations is vast and complex, and reaches into just about every aspect of our societies.”
The economies of the United States and China are now tightly intertwined. Both countries face the same challenges of nuclear proliferation, piracy, and climate change. “The opportunities before us are also shared, and they define our relationship much more than the threats,” Secretary Clinton said. “We have the chance, if we seize it, to work together to advance prosperity, pursue innovation, and improve the lives of our people and others worldwide.”
The United States is attempting to build a partnership with China that contributes to global security, stability and prosperity. “We are trying to do this without entering into unhealthy competition, rivalry, or conflict . . . and without falling short on our responsibilities to the international community,” Secretary Clinton said. “We are, together, building a model in which we strike a stable and mutually acceptable balance between cooperation and competition. This is uncharted territory. And we have to get it right, because so much depends on it.”
There is no intrinsic contradiction between supporting a rising China and advancing America’s interests. A thriving China is good for America, and a thriving America is good for China.
“We are now trying to find . . . a new answer to the ancient question of what happens when an established power and a rising power meet . . . Interdependence means that one of us cannot succeed unless the other does as well . . . This is, by definition, incredibly difficult,” Secretary Clinton said in conclusion. “So let us remember and take inspiration from how far apart our countries were when President Nixon landed in Beijing and how much we have accomplished together since then . . . It is now up to us to make sure that the future is even more promising than the past.”