tv U.S.- China Relations Summit Part 1 CSPAN April 29, 2019 9:52pm-10:46pm EDT
washington journal tuesday at 7:00 a.m. eastern. join the discussion. wednesday at 10:00 a.m. eastern, attorney general william barr will testify before the senate judiciary committee on the mueller report. and on thursday at 9:00 a.m. eastern, he'll testify before the house judiciary committee live on c-span3, cspan.org, and listen on the free c-span radio app. next, a look at diplomatic and trade relations between the u.s. and china with j. stapleton roy, who served as u.s. ambassador to china during the george h.w. bush and clinton administrations. this was part of an event hosted by the student-run organization global china connection. >> so hello fellow ggc-ers and
friends. i'm the president of gcc central math. i'm also the first female president in the history. gcc is the largest student-run nonprofit organization with presence in over 75 university campuses across four continents. it's clear to me that when you're spending your saturday morning sitting here right now, you're all leaders and visionaries who are looking to engage in the coming of china as a global power in one way or another. as we all know, we are in a critical year for the u.s./china bilateral relationship. there is a lack of communication and understanding between these two groups, and gcc will continue to dedicate itself to do the right thing, to serve as a platform and to create a space for dialogue so both sides can benefit and grow with understanding. some people have asked me, what is your agenda for this conference? and my answer is there is none. we are just here to provide you with a platform to hear different voices, and that is
why we have all these remarkable speakers lined up from different fields gathering here to share their most sincere and authentic thoughts with you. gcc is an interconnected family of leaders. we're people that take initiatives, and we're people that will lead the future, whether that will be in the political realm, economic realm, or an altogether uncharted realm. so today i encourage all of you here to listen, to ask questions, to get to know each other, and to stay connected with gcc. now it's my absolute honor to introduce ambassador j. stapleton roy. ambassador roy was a former u.s. ambassador to china in singapore. he was born in nanjing and spent much of his youth in china. with the mission of promoting greater understanding between the united states and china, he's also the founding director of the kissinger institute. now please join me in welcoming ambassador j. stapleton roy. [ applause ]
>> thank you. let me get these out of the way. good morning. it's a pleasure and an honor for me to have this opportunity to meet with you this morning. the mission of global chinese connection, as i understand it, is to build relationships that will change the world. well, i'm here this morning to talk about one of those relationships, the ties between china and the united states. it's a subject dear to my heart, and i think many of us here would agree that it's a relationship that has the potential to change the world. i lived in chengdu, china, for
seven years, so my earliest memories of china as a 3 and 4-year-old were of sitting in a dirt dugout and listening to bombs falling outside. now, if you believe that children are fragile blossoms and that early childhood trauma determines how you think about such issues, i should shudder in terror every time i hear the name china mentioned because of those early experiences. but apparently i was not that sensitive a child and took this as normal environment. when you are young, you just assume that what you encounter is normal. my family returned to nanjing after the end of world war ii
during the final stages of the chinese civil war in 1948. and i was in shanghai as a high school student during the final stages of the battle of shanghai when nationalist planes were strafing near our campus, and we would come out of final exams and see the pla troops fighting their way into the city. a year later, i was a student in nanjing when the korean war broke out in june 1950. i returned to china 26 years later as an american foreign service officer, an american diplomat. i was accompanying the house armed services committee and the chinese leader we met with was tsao, one of the gang of four. a year later, we came back. the gang of four had been purged, and we met with fung.
a third year later, a came back with another congressional delegation and we met with done xiaoping. we had visited a nursery school and these 6-year-old girls and boys came out and danced a little diddy in which the main theme was xiaoping -- [ speaking foreign language ] and curiously, that line was not there the next year, and in 1978, xiaoping was the good guy. two years later, after '76, i was assigned to the american liaison office in beijing as the deputy head of the office, and i participated in the secret negotiations first with hua and later with xiaoping, that led to the establishment of u.s./china diplomatic relations.
and ten years later, i returned to china as the american ambassador. it was two years after the events in kanamun in 1989 that had caused attitudes toward china in the united states to turn extremely negative. and when i got there as u.s. ambassador, the soviet union was in the process of collapsing. in fact, the day that i presented my credentials as ambassador to the president of china, the tanks were in red square in moscow, and we spent our time discussing not u.s./china relations but our impressions of the cnn news that was covering events in the soviet union as the country was on the verge of collapse. so i have seen -- just to conclude these reminiscences in
china, when i left china after four years as ambassador, the high buildings that you see in shanghai nowadays were just beginning to rise from the mud flats. they were about a third of the way completed so that the modernization process in china that has occurred in the last 20 years was really just beginning at a time when i ended my tour in china in 1995. so i have seen china in good times and in bad times. i've seen it when it was poor and backward, and i have seen it when it was going through the most rapid economic development in world history. unbelievable change in the face of china over the period that i have been visiting the country and working on u.s./china relations. january 1st this year was the 40th anniversary of the establishment -- two minutes?
no, i need some sense of how long i'm supposed to be talking. i thought i was supposed to be -- still have ten minutes? okay. don't scare me that way. i need to get to substance. i've been talking about personal experiences. january 1st this year is the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between china and the united states. from a base of near zero 40 years ago, bilateral trade between our two countries, between china and the united states, was in excess of $700 billion last year. china's per capita income in 1979, in purchasing power parity terms, was approximately $300 u.s. it's now about $17,000 u.s. per
capita income, meaning it's over 50 times larger than it was 40 years ago. no other country in the world has gone through that pace of modernization. one would think that this would be a cause for celebration of the u.s./china relationship as one of the most successful collaborations between two countries in human history, and yet that's not the case. the foundation for constructive u.s./china relations are more fragile now than at any time in the last 40 years. if washington and beijing cannot reconcile their respective interests and ambitions in east asia and in the world, this will increase the possibility of military confrontations, diversity resources from economic development to military spending, lead to a dangerous and costly arms race, enhance
the likelihood of nuclear proliferation, and increase pressures on the countries of east asia to choose sides between the united states and china, something they do not want to do. the ending of the four decades -- four decades ago of the division of east asia into the so-called free world and the communist world, which was the division that occurred when i began my diplomatic career in east asia in the 1950s and 1960s, it was the ending of that division with the end of the vietnam war that really led to the asian economic miracle because it created one east asia in which all of the countries were able to deal with each other, and that enabled globalization in its east asian
form to bring economic development advantages to virtually every one of the east asian countries with the sole exceptions of myanmar and north korea. re-creating a division of east asia into a u.s. bloc and a china bloc would be an enormous setback for a constructive international environment. most people recognize that the relationship between china and the united states is the most important bilateral relationship in the world. and yet both countries, to be frank, are mishandling this relationship in serious ways, exaggerating the rivalry elements and downplaying or ignoring the opportunities for expanding constructive cooperation. president xi jinping is trying
to curb the western influences and western ideas and western political concepts that have been vital factors in china's rapid economic development. he is insisting that every aspect of china's modernization must have chinese characteristics. the list is so long and so intrusive that it could easily lead to parity because it's not just socialism with chinese characteristics. it's not just a political system with chinese characteristics. it's not just social science with chinese characteristics. it has to do with wisdom with chinese characteristics. it has to do with philosophy with chinese characteristics. now, this is just not right.
philosophy is universal. wisdom is universal. if you talk about those universal characteristics as having chinese characteristics, you're not talking about the universal element. you're talking about the narrow element. before i came out here, we were discussing -- there was a reference to the chinese debate over 2,000 years ago over whether a white horse is a horse, and the argument was, no, it's not because some horses are black and some horses are yellow. so, therefore, color is not an element of horse-ness. and a white horse, therefore, is not a horse. it's only one category of horses. well, i would argue that china ought to pay attention to chinese philosophers from 10,000 years ago because chinese wisdom is not wisdom. it's now chinese wisdom. and you don't want to attach
characteristics -- i was joking. we have science in the united states with republican characteristics. what is that? it denies that global climate change is taking place. this is foolishness. galileo ran into a problem when you had science with catholic characteristics, and he was told that he couldn't say that the earth goes around the sun. it's the other way around. so be very careful when you attach characteristics to broad categories. the united states, in turn, is demonizing china, defining chinese foreign policy as bent on undermining u.s. alliances and driving the united states from the russian pacific. rather than seeking a stable base, the u.s. military is determined to maintain the dominance
dominance. chinese students and scholars are being portrayed as espionage agents whose primary purpose is to steal american scientific and technological secrets. this is not a healthy situation. let's look at some of the considerations that are relevant to u.s./china relations. washington's traditional policy of seeking constructive engagement with china has been under attack for failing to transform china into a liberal western-style democracy. by falsely portraying the u.s. engagement strategy as a failure, this has paved the way for adoption of a more confrontational approach to u.s. relations with beijing. now, mind you, i was not only u.s. ambassador in beijing for four years, i was the deputy assistant secretary in washington handling chinese affairs. i was assigned in our liaison
office and embassy in beijing in the late sets and early 1980s, and i later held jobs in washington in which i was involved with china relations. at no point was there ever a u.s. paper produced that said that our goal in china was to turn china into a western-style democracy. i had repeated meetings with president clinton, and he never said to me, ambassador roy, your job is to turn china into a western-style democracy. but learned people are writing articles saying that that was the goal of our china policy, and i am simply amazed because if so, it was held so secretly that those of us who were actually in the business of formulating and carrying out u.s./china policy weren't aware of this. the short answer is the
americans have a long tradition of acting in terms of our interests but justifying our actions in terms of our principles or ideals. but if you don't understand that distinction, you can be led astray by the way that we talk about things. for example, why did we support china's entry into the world trade organization? the answer is very clear. a good friend of mine was our u.s. trade representative during the negotiations. the u.s. business community was clamoring for better access to the chinese market, and we wanted to open up the chinese market so that u.s. businesses could operate there, make profits there, make investments there. but president clinton said if china enters the world trade organization, this may speed its sway toward becoming more like western democracy. so he was justifying something that was being taken for narrow self-interest in terms of an
ideal, and some people get confused by this type of behavior that not only the united states but other countries engage in as well. the chairman of the u.s. joint chiefs of staff testified to congress that by 2025, china will be the number one strategic rival of the united states, the number one strategic threat to the united states. well, i'm a career diplomat, retired now. and when i hear that china may be a threat to us in 2025 and i look at the facts, that is possible. but it's not a certainty, and that's what diplomacy is all about. i was serving in our embassy in moscow when all of a sudden dr. kissinger shows up in beijing, in a country that had been our enemy the day before,
all of a sudden was on the road to becoming a strategic partner of the united states in dealing with the soviet threat. in other words, skillful diplomacy by president nixon and dr. kissinger managed to turn a hostile relationship into a cooperative one through diplomacy. but you don't hear a word about diplomacy nowadays. it's all about building up our military budget and dealing with china as a hostile rival. this is a dangerous situation, but the chinese are making the same types of stamistakes. after the 19th party congress, president xi jinping laid out an ambitious program for china's rapid rise to a position of global leadership, featuring activism and chinese movement to a center-stage position in the world. china has now rejected the
xiaoping advice that china should keep a low profile while it was developing its economy. this is often mistranslated as hide your talents and bide your time, which gives -- the chinese phrase is -- [ speaking foreign language ] which actually emerged as a s sayisa saying at scholars who failed to get the positions they hoped for. the advice was don't go run ago round knocking on doors and complaining. cultivate yourself better and wait for the opportunity when it occurs the next time. there's nothing threatening about that. so the idea is china should spend its efforts on improving itself, not because it could then spring ambushes on an unsuspecting world, but because that was the best way for china
to behave. the next term was -- [ speaking foreign language ] don't grasp for leadership, but have some accomplishments. he was not calling for passivity. he was calling for china to kaep its head down. now that has been rejected. now china is raising its head, and the americans are reacting very negatively because they see this as a chinese bid for hedge emmy both in east asia and the world as a whole. secondly, in the 19th century, every war that china fought was fought inside china. in the 20th century, every war that china fought, every military conflict it was
involved in, was on the borders of china, and no country wants to be so weak that it has to defend itself on its own borders. so china needs military modernization, and if china linked its military spending to its defense needs, that would be good, but china's going beyond that. at the 18th party congress, the military section of the work report said that china needed a powerful military commensurate with the country's international sta standing, and appropriate for its defense and development needs. when you start linking your military spending to your status in the world, you are unleashing what's called great power chauvinism. in other words, you're linking your military requirements to your status. that's like buying a mercedes instead of a chevrolet because you want to show the world that
you're wealthy. at the 19th party congress, they didn't use that language again, but they talked about china having a military capability by the middle of the century of world class -- [ speaking foreign language ] second to none . it was mistranslated as xinhua as the first ranking military in the world, but that's not what the chinese said t. mea. it means second to none. but why does it need a military k capability second to none, and how does that affect the security of japan and thailand and other neighbors of china? so china has de-linked its military requirements from its defensive requirements and is defining them in terms of its intention to become a major
world power. well, not only the united states is acting negatively to that. other countries are reacting negatively as well. so this is a very important consideration. an additional factor -- and then i'll near the end of my remarks. over the ten years since the global financial crisis in 2008, there has been a very significant worsening of attitudes toward china on the part of the best informed policy experts in both parties in the united states and in academia as well. this is not a healthy situation t. remi . it reminds me of the excessively negative reaction that affected the policy community and the academic community after the
television coverage of the june 4, 1989 events in beijing. it was an overreaction, and that's what we are seeing now, and i have described some of the reasons for that overreaction because china is talking in a way that is causing us to react negati negatively and that is being used to justify a u.s. posture of dealing with china that takes into account the fact that china is seen as wanting to become a dominating hegemon in east asia and the world. and china's language is playing into that perception. actually, it's not a fully accurate description of what the possibilities are in the u.s./china relationship. a second aspect that we need to keep in mind is the public
opinion shows that the american public does not share the views of the policy community. a poll by the chicago council on global affairs found, for example, that over 40% of americans did not think that china's rise to great power status would pose a threat to the united states. so we shouldn't assume that china and the united states necessarily have to have a hostile relationship. to a significant degree, global stability and prosperity rest on how well beijing and washington are able to manage their bilateral relationship. what is needed are coherent, long-term strategies in both countries and the will, resources, and leadership to implement them. skillful diplomacy is capable of working miracles if given a chance, and it's in the interests of all of us for that
chance to have an opportunity to show what it can do. thank you. [ applause ] >> if you can proceed to the couch over there. >> okay. >> thank you, ambassador roy, for your speech. now welcome ang lee ca tong. she's the former executive director of the committee of 100. [ applause ] >> ambassador, good morning. i very much enjoyed your remarks this morning. i was backstage listening to you as you outlined your concluding remarks with describing skillful
diplomacy, and that's what our country really needs. and you are very much the embodiment of a skillful diplomat. and i also enjoy very much your reminis reminiscence in the beginning. i feel like a lot of you may overlook this wonderful opportunity to dialogue and to hear from such a man of history. and i know that we have talked a little -- you have shared a bit about your bio. you've been very humble about some of the experiences you've had. for example, ambassador roy also has served in russia and in moscow in the height of the cold war, and that gives him a unique ability to provide comparative perspectives for us on both --
on how exactly the soviet union is different from china in calibrating our policy responses. and many of you who are students of international relations, students of china, aspiring policy practitioners, and one day interlocutor with our chinese counterparts or on both sides, all of us would really owe a debt to ambassador roy for his sdom, for his voice of reason that he has provided for over 50 years to our leaders and to our chief policy elites, strategic thinkers that are talking about u.s./china relations. so, ambassador, you've talked about the downturn of the u.s./china relationship, and i'd
like to know what you think -- you've talked about you served in beijing at a very pivotal moment, just a few years after the tiananmen incident. so many do say that we are at an inflection point in this relationship where we've hit even a lower point in our relations than those years in tiananmen. would you agree, and how do we -- how do we get here, and what are the drivers for this recalibration currently? >> there's a -- i've seen high points, and i've seen low points in the u.s./china relationship. i'm reluctant to say that this point is lower than that point. here's the distinction i would make.
when i went to china as ambassador in 1991, hostility toward china infused the american public, infused the american congress, and infused policy levels of the government. now as i illustrated in one of the polls that has been taken, hostility toward china is not a common feature of the american public, but there is skepticism of china of a disturbing order in what i would call the policy elite at the present time. and this has the ability to obscure possibilities. the reason why you need to be an optimist is because optimists are always looking for opportunities whereas pessimists don't think the opportunities exist, and therefore they don't
bother looking for them. but let me give you an example. i think many of you are familiar with gordon ellison's book about this idea that rising powers always get into conflicts with established powers. and since china is the best example of a rising power and it's threatening the u.s. position of being the sole superpower, and the united states is reacting badly to that, you can see the potential for hostile rivalry between china and the united states. but i mentioned earlier the success of president nixon in seeing beyond such surface analysis and understanding there was a potential to get china onto our side in the cold war, and he did so successfully. but this isn't simply an american skill. everybody knows that territorial issues often lead to conflict and are extremely difficult for countries to handle.
but if you recall, japan was so upset by not being fully briefed in advance about the american breakthrough to china in 1971 and '72 that in 1972, in a way as an act of defiance to the united states, japan went ahead and established diplomatic relations with the people's republic of china, and we weren't able to do so for the next eight years because we had responsibilities for taiwan that japan did not have. but there were territorial disputes between japan and china at the time. the senkaku island dispute was active at that time because we were in the process of returning okinawa to japanese sovereignty. and xiaoping said, this is issue
is too complicated for our generation to solve, so let's leave it to future generations. and for 25 years, saino-japanese relations developed very, very positively. so that was an example of a chinese leader doing something that most political leaders would be afraid to do -- saying, let's not get overexcited about a territorial issue. let's put it aside and let the other aspects of our relationship move ahead. that's what i call statesmanship, and i saw president nixon carry it out. i saw xiaoping carry it out, and smart leaders. before he died, he said, we need to open cross strait contacts. and the framework created by the three communiques opened the possibility for cross strait
contacts, and he had the courage to go ahead and start the process. and before you knew it, you had ov over $100 billion of investment. again, an example of a leader not being forced by events to do something, but actually shaping events so that they would develop in a way that was in the best interests of the entity that the leader was responsible for, whether it was united states, china, taiwan. so i think there is great potential for good leaders who have statesman-like vision to ensure that the united states/china relationship does not turn into one of hostile rivalry. but ordinary leaders who let themselves be shoved along which the course of events aren't able
to head off bad outcomes that later affect the interests of your own country. so that's the challenge we have. >> right. and you also discussed in your remarks earlier a current disagreement, a debate, ongoing debate about china amongst the foreign policy elite in the u.s. and you mentioned a -- i think it was an article in the foreign affairs magazine sometime last year, and the authors were former government officials of the state department, and i think it was kirk campbell, and the authors' thesis was that china policy for the last 40 years has failed, and it was
because the assumption that the bedrock of u.s. policy in their point of view has always been that any policy in the u.s., in order to be successful, should be able to alter or transform china's internal development and external behavior. and you were one of the very prominent dissent and offered a very strong argument for diplomacy and for engagement. and so i would like to hear more about your articulation of a poli policy making using articulating interest versus values and the conflation of those when our leaders discuss policies.
>> this is a very big issue, but you are all students, and therefore taking an intellectual approach to such issues is not something that would disturb you in the least. does the united states have the capability to intervene in our countries and reshape their political systems effectively? well, let's pose the question this way. if you face a problem, should you start with the most difficult aspects first or start with some easier aspects and work your way toward the more difficult aspects? for example, the president of the taiwan decided to deal with economic issues during his first term and to deal with political issues under his second term. but when he got re-elected to a second term, he had lost his political base in taiwan for
conducting political negotiations with the mainland, so he wasn't able to do so. but his view was economic are ease, political are difficult, so let's do it in that order. well, let's assume that the united states has this magical power to transform the political systems and economies of other countries. why don't we do it on our neighbors? canada we don't have to worry about. mexico, questionable. haiti? cuba's there. why do we have these refugees leaving guatemala and honduras and el salvador? why don't we just intervene in these countries? after all, it's easier to change them than it is to change china. but we can't do it. so if we can't do it in our own neighborhood, where we have a better understanding of the background and histories of the countries that, in theory, would be the objects of our efforts to change them, but we start with china, the most populous
countries in the world, 5,000 years of history, et cetera, which americans are not familiar with. why would we think that we have the capability to change other countries? but let's take a different approach. let's not assume that we have a magical capability. let's look at what is the experience of other countries. and if we look in east asia, we find that authoritarian governments that have been able to deliver rapid economic growth for around 40 years have tended to give way to more representative forms of governance. this happened in south korea. it used to be a military dictatorship. you recall when general park, the president of south korea, was assassinated, and now it's a thriving democracy. it happened in taiwan, which used to be a dictatorship under the control of one party, the kmt. and now it has a thriving democracy there. it happened in thailand, and in
thailand the resulting representative forms of government was so bad that it resulted in military re-intervention. so this is not a process that is irreversible. and it happened in indonesia while i was ambassador there, when sue harter was forced to step down and to the surprise of the indonesians, indonesia has had an effective democratic system in a muslim country, the country with the largest muslim population in the world, has had a successful, thriving democracy because sue hardo had given them over 30 years of rapid economic development. well, what's happening to china? is china different because of the scale of china, which is so much larger than all these other countries? well, when did rapid economic growth begin in china? it didn't really begin with the
reform and openness policies in '79. the period from '79 to '89 was really a period of laying the basis for subsequent rapid growth in china. if you recall, they set up experimental economic zones in the south of china, and then you had the wrenching developments of '89 to '91, and you re-affirmed the reform and openness policies at the 14th party congress in 1992. and it was '93 when china's rapid growth took off. and it was noted immediately by the american business community, and it was totally ignored by the american political system, which thought that nothing had happened. so we have only had about 25 years of rapid development in china. but what's going on in china right now? all of a sudden we discover western ideas have become this
dangerous element, undermining the legitimacy of the communist party. so while we are saying that engagement with china failed, xi jinping is struggling with the influences that have emerged in china as china has successfully modernized its economy and modernized its social structure. china is totally different from what it was like 25 years ago. 25 years ago, not a single member of the politburo in china had a formal college education, and now virtually all of them do. no other country has gone through such a radical change in the educational level of its top leaders, and yet it's happened in china. you now have middle classes in china in the hundreds of millions, and these didn't exist before. and so china's social structures are different. china now has extensive access to the outside world, which is characteristic of the countries in east asia that later had
authoritarian systems give way to more representative forms of government. there are additional criteria. your country has to be open to the outside world, and you have to have an economy that is embedded in the global economy. this is the case in south korea, taiwan, thailand, indonesia. and it's the case in china. but we're only 25 years along in this process, and yet we see that the forces in china that are pushing for opening up of the political system are getting stronger, and the impression we see in china is the reaction of the authorities to those emerging forces. this is not the united states interfering in china. this is what happens to countries when they are successful in modernizing their economies and their social structures, and the problem in china -- the number one contradiction is you have successful modernization policies for the economy and for
the society, but you have no mid-everyonizati mi modernization in the political system. and all modern systems of government are based on the concepts of the just powers of governance being derived from the consent of the governed, meaning there has to be some sort of legitimatization process that involves the people, and the concept that power corrupts, meaning you can't concentrate it in the hands of a single party or a single ruler or a single king or a single shah. you have to have checks and balances on use of power, exercise of power. so these forces are at work in china, and who knows what's going to happen. but it's far too early to say that this is the end of the game, and yet that's what people here who say that engagement with china failed. the purpose of engagement was not to unleash these forces. we thought it was in our own narrow self-interest in the
united states to have a big, more prosperous society in china, eager to buy u.s. goods, and in fact that's the way it has turned out. china is the number one target for our goods -- no, it's the number three target for our goods exports, but we and china have the largest bilateral trade in goods as opposed to services. so i don't predict the outcome, but what i say is, it is nonsense to say that we were so foolish as to think that we had, through our policies, the ability to guarantee that china would become a liberal democracy. but the forces at work to have a more representative type of governance in china are, in fact, easily discernible. >> right. so, ambassador, you're also
saying that washington policymakers, when they're publishing their -- when they're talking about their policies, they first highlight the values. but when they're actually formulating them, it's really america's first. >> yes. >> and america's first has really pre-dated donald trump, right? >> right. >> as a bona fide soviet expert, ambassador roy, i think you have said that what we're going through and a lot of china watchers are saying this is not really a cold war. the soviet union and china are very different as you well know. so what engagement motto and what framework of this engagement that you propose would be ideal? and what would you call it because we've gone from -- we've
gone from peaceful rise to peaceful development to major power relations and then back and forth. and we have this strategic rivalry. now how best to manage that? >> the advantage of growing up abroad and of having extensive experience with foreign countries is that you tend not to romanticize people. my parents' best friends in china were chinese. my playmates when i was growing up were chinese. my parents cautioned me to be careful not to be lured into chinese students' rooms because the possibility existed of abuse. so i didn't grow up romanticizing the chinese. we had to watch out for pickpockets and thieves and
murderers, and we had wonderful friends from different segments of chinese society. and i found that chinese human nature was no different from american human nature. so one of the problems the united states has, we have less exposure to foreign people than many other countries because we're further away from them, and we can kind of ignore the rest of the world if we want to. and the result is we find that foreigners are strange people who have strange characteristics, and you can assign any characteristics you want to them because you don't know anything about them. so i frequently make reference to the fu man, chu novels. go out and get yourself some sax
romer novels. he was a brilliant chinese scientist who was an act of the ching dynasty, and his goal was to gain world domination for china through his brilliant str stratagems and outwitting the western world. and this wise british colonial official saw through the scheme, and he was nobly capable of defeating the wicked schemes of fu man chu, and keeping the yellow peril at bay. this is wonderful stuff. it's total fantasy. one of the nice things about it is that the chinese were seen as smart. fu man chu was a brilliant scientist. so it wasn't demeaning the capabilities of the chinese, but it was put in the context of yellow peril. well, fortunately, too much of what we're seeing now, angie, is a yellow peril version of what china is. china is getting stronger economically. it's getting stronger militarily. it has the potential to abuse
its power the way any other country has the potential to abuse its power. but the united states is a very powerful country, and we are better position ted than any otr country in the world to be able to deal effectively with a strong, prosperous china without having to engage in yellow peril types of presentation of the problem. and at the moment we are seeing the rivalry aspects of china, and we are ignoring the cooperative aspects of china. and this is not the way to have a good policy, and it's not the way to advance u.s. interests in the future. >> thank you so much. thank you so much, ambassador. i think we have run out of time, and we very much enjoyed this conversation about china that is growing, a country that has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty that you often talk about in your reflections, and it's most
definitely the most prominent hiss history of advancement in human history. i thank you for sharing with us these wonderful insights and your wisdom for going forward. thank you. >> thank you. thank you all. [ applause ] now more from that event, which included a discussion on the current state of u.s./china relations and whether it is leading to a new cold war. >> let me see a show of hands. how many of you are from outside of washington? outside of washington, but you're living in washington, though, right? no. how many of you are originally from china or studying here from china? oh, wow. about half, right? that's wonderful.