Interview: More people-to-people exchanges conducive to U.S.-China ties -- former ambassador

Source: Xinhua| 2018-05-06 19:23:09|Editor: Lu Hui
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by Ye Zaiqi

SAN FRANCISCO, May 5 (Xinhua) -- If the people of the United States and China engage with each other more frequently, the two countries can have a better relationship in the long run despite some difficulties at present, former U.S. Ambassador to China Max Baucus said Saturday.

Speaking on the sidelines of the 2018 annual conference of the Committee of 100 (C100), a prominent Chinese American group committed to the promotion of the China-U.S. relationship and the advancement of Chinese Americans, Baucus told Xinhua that the United States and China are experiencing some difficulties over trade and tariff disputes, but that people-to-people exchanges between the two countries can help increase their mutual understanding and improve their relations in the long run.

"First go to China, frequently, often," he said of the need for American people to keep a more open mind about China.

"Not enough Americans go to China. The American government issues 3 million visas a year. The Chinese tourists come to America 3 million a year," he said.

"We issue 300,000 student visas a year for the Chinese students to go to America. How many American students go to China?" he said before answering his own question -- "very few."

The former U.S. diplomat said it's very important for Americans to get out and see what's going on in the rest of the world.

Baucus, who served as the U.S. ambassador to China from 2014 to 2017, believed the two sides would ultimately resolve their differences.

"I think ultimately it's going to work out pretty well, because it has to ... though there will be a few bumps in the road and it's going to get a little bit difficult," he said.

Baucus said the two countries got to understand each other and show mutual trust in resolving their differences.

He said he personally does not believe China's peaceful rise will be a challenge to the United States, a misconception held by some people in the West.

He said China is going to grow and continue to develop, and the United States and China need to work together and "open up, talk about it and compromise."

"Nobody can alone be successful," he said.

The former U.S. diplomat was invited to speak at a gala dinner held by the C100 following a full day of panel discussions on pressing topics in China-U.S. relations, such as the trade dispute, intellectual property rights protection and innovation.