China's Hu Jintao answers questions with Washington Post

By The Washington Post
Sunday, January 16, 2011; 11:00 AM

This is a full, unedited transcript of written answers from President Hu Jintao of China to written questions from The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. The questions were submitted in late December and the answers, in English, were released to the Post and the Journal by the Chinese government on Jan. 16.

How do you view the current state of China-US relationship? What do you see as the most promising areas of mutually beneficial cooperation between China and the United States? What do you see as the major challenges to the long-term, sound and steady development of China-US relationship?

HU : Since the beginning of the 21st century, thanks to the concerted efforts of both sides, China-US relationship has on the whole enjoyed steady growth. Since President Obama took office, we have maintained close contact through exchange of visits, meetings, telephone conversations and letters. We agreed to build a positive, cooperative and comprehensive China-US relationship for the 21st century and together, we instituted the China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogues mechanism. Over the past two years, China and the United States have carried out practical cooperation in a wide range of areas including economy and trade, energy, the environment, counter-terrorism, law enforcement and culture. The two countries have maintained close contact and coordination in dealing with major international and regional hotspot issues and addressing global challenges, such as climate change and the international financial crisis. The strategic significance and global impact of China-US relations have been on the rise.

China and the United States have major influence in international affairs and shoulder important responsibilities in upholding world peace and promoting common development. Under the new circumstances, the common interests of our two countries have been growing and areas of cooperation expanding. There is great potential for our mutually beneficial cooperation both in advancing Asia-Pacific regional cooperation and in improving global economic governance and promoting sustainable growth of the world economy; both in expanding cooperation in economy and trade and in strengthening cooperation in new areas like new energy sources, clean energy, infrastructure development and aviation and space; and both in fighting terrorism and preventing the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and in meeting challenges like natural disasters, food security and major communicable diseases.

We both stand to gain from a sound China-US relationship, and lose from confrontation. We should act in the fundamental interests of our two peoples and uphold the overall interests of world peace and development. We should rise up to challenges, remove disturbances, work for shared goals and promote continuous growth of our relations. I wish to stress the following four points. First, we should increase dialogue and contact and enhance strategic mutual trust. Second, we should abandon the zero-sum Cold War mentality, view each other's development in an objective and sensible way, respect each other's choice of development path, and pursue common development through win-win cooperation. Third, we should respect each other's sovereignty, territorial integrity and development interests and properly address each other's major concerns. And fourth, we should make constant efforts to expand our converging interests so that China and the United States will be partners for cooperation in broader areas.

There is no denying that there are some differences and sensitive issues between us. Both sides should keep to the right direction in the development of our relations, increase exchanges, enhance mutual trust, seek common ground while reserving differences, properly manage differences and sensitive issues and jointly promote the long-term, sound and steady development of China-US relations.

Despite the continuous growth of foreign investment in China, some American companies have complained about China's business climate. What steps is China taking to ensure a level playing field for US and other foreign companies in China?

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