Through the Lens of 'Mutually Assured Prosperity'
by Steven A Orlins ｘ Zhang Weiwei
J・people.cn June 30 2021
Trans-script from the Move and Translation：
Komichi Ikeda （Environmental Reserch Institute）
Independent E-wave Tokyo July 7 2021
|Part1 Through the Lens of 'Mutually Assured Prosperity'|
|Part2 Why is the socialist system so successful?|
|Part3 The CPC is the ‘holistic interest party’of the people|
Click on the photos below to see the video
Left is Orlins、Right is Zhang Weiwei
Profile of Interlocutors
Steven A Orlins
President of the National Committee on U.S.–China Relations. He was among the earliest observers to witness the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and the United States in January 1979. During that period, he served in the Office of the Legal Advisor of the U.S. Department of State and was a member of the American legal team that supported the two countries in their transition to full diplomatic relations.
Zgang WeiWei served as a senior English interpreter for former Chinese leader and architect of China's reform and opening-up, Deng Xiaoping. Mr. Zhang is now the director of the China Institute of Fudan University.
Orlins(President, National Committee on US-China Relations)
So when people say you're a friend of China, I always go well, I'm a friend of China because having good US-China relations are in the interest of the American people.
It is in the interest of the West itself to understand China. They should have the courage to come to China to know how the China model works and how most Chinese feel about their country.
In this episode, the first person we spoke to was Stephen A. Orlins, president of the National Committee on US-China Relations. MR. Orlins was among the earliest observers to witness the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and the United States in January 1979. During that period, he served in the Office of the Legal Advisor of the US Department of State and was a member of the American legal team that supported the two countries in their transition to full diplomatic relations.
The development of China is something that I never expected to witness, you know that in 1979 when I would treat people to lunch or dinner, so I would invite, "wo qingke" this was the best meal that they got, because there was, you know, food and meat and other things still were rationed. You needed ration coupons to purchase some meats, you need ration coupons for rice. Now, they invite me to dinner and it's the greatest food imaginable. You can get absolutely anything that you want. The changes have been enormous. Chinese economic development has been simply extraordinary. I think China's development is based upon a view that, and it still is, of Deng Xiaoping that reform and opening (up) would help lift hundreds of millions of Chinese out of poverty and that has been what has happened. I mean it has happened in a way that many Westerners don't find appealing, but I think there are so Westerners who do not agree that it has succeeded in lifting these hundreds of millions of people out of poverty. And you know, as a witness to it, I have always been absolutely amazed. You know I would have not predicted in 1979 that China would be what it is today. And that has to be something which foreigners respect.
Zhang Weiwei was a senior English interpreter for former Chinese leader, and the architect of China's reform and opening-up, Deng Xiaoping. He is now the director of the China Institute of Fudan University. In a conversation in his office, he shared his views on the rise of China and the reasons behind some of the ideological biases towards China that have since become prevalent in many Western countries.
You always have quite a sizable number of people who understand China very well, like you know Mr. Stephen Orlins. These are very rational and sophisticated conversations about Sino-US relations and about other subjects. The problem is that in Western countries, including United States, there is a rise in populism and the polarization of politics. As a result, for one reason or another, very often these rational and sophisticated voices somehow are not valued as much as before, which is deeply regrettable. The Chinese story has not yet been told very well to the outside world, especially in language, in a way that foreigners can understand. Yet, on the whole I think it's mainly a problem on the part of the West because the rise of China is indeed so unexpected, because they could not believe in a so-called "communist" country, a "socialist" country. So they have a lot of ideological and cultural obstacles to grasp the real meaning and essence of the rise of China. So this is I think why both China and the West should improve their way of dialogue and deepen their mutual understanding.
I think that China, and the Chinese government, needs to have a better ear to the perception of China from outside. Some of Chinese policies have led foreign think tanks to concluding that it is a threat. Even though I support the Belt and Road Initiative, there are many who see it as an expansion of Chinese power, and the creation of ports which are intended for the PLA（中国人民解放軍）and to use. China needs to be sensitive to the reaction to its actions; that it is not 1980 anymore, it is 2021 and it needs to be sensitive to the global reaction to its activities.
You know, for the BRI per se, it's a great initiative. As you know, if you look at the international community as a whole you have a vast number of developing countries, they are in an acute shortage of infrastructure and China can supply this kind of demand. And China has put forward this great idea of what's called the "discussing together, building together, benefiting together.(共商共建共享的大構想）" It's a great principle, a golden rule for international co-operation and whatever the Western propaganda or bias, distortion about BRI, it is working, over one hundred countries have signed all kinds of agreements with China and the projects are booming. If you look at the past two years, Sino-US trade dropped (in 2019), but Sino-African trade boomed, China trade with ASEAN countries boomed. So that shows that BRI is working and is working reasonably well. On the part of the West, I think they should try their effort to be really objective about China. I told BBC, I told CNN: just tell the truth. You know, for instance, we have all kinds of surveys done by Pew, Ipsos, Dalia Research, Harvard Kennedy School Ash Center, you know all these opinion surveys show most Chinese
think their country is on the right track.
Other than competition between the two, what major areas of bilateral cooperation can China and the US focus on? How can both countries manage their differences in such a way as to restore and strengthen their ties?
We have existential threats. One of those existential threats is climate change. The United States and China absolutely must work together to combat climate change. If we don't your generation is not going to have much of a world to enjoy and that would be very, very sad. So that is clearly something we will work together on. Pandemic prevention, we still have not, you know we're dealing with this pandemic. You know, I am always disturbed when I get up in the morning and I see, you know, competition in pandemic diplomacy. What? It should be co-operation in pandemic diplomacy. China's got vaccines, Russia's got vaccines, and America now has three safe vaccines. We should be working with China and Russia to distribute them globally, but clearly there will be another pandemic in the future and we, China, Russia need to co-operate in order to confront that. So those are two critical things.
He said these are what he called existential threats, which means threats which can undermine the very existence of your people. So an existential threat is a very big word and I think he's right, whether it is climate change and how to deal with this pandemic, how to deal with climate change, and at least on these two issues, China and the United States have obviously common interests and we should work on this. We do have areas of competition but we also have areas of co-operation, and I think this is Mr. Orlins’ point, which I share 100%.
You know, whether our economy, the world economy, China's coming back nicely, the United States will start coming back nicely come the third quarter of 2021. So we will see the US and China leading economic growth, but we need to establish better mechanisms to co-ordinate economic growth. That will benefit the people of the United States and the people of China. So we need to find ways to co-operate better, whether it's re-establishing some mechanism for high-level economic dialogue, China needs to reform a lot of its economic policies but I think it is moving in that direction. We're seeing the new five-year plan, we're seeing additional reform and opening, we're seeing financial services opening, we're seeing a lot of things going on and that's beneficial to US-China relations. Lower tariffs, more education, more Chinese expertise in the US government, this whole list of things are good for the American people. So I think it's important that the Chinese media understand and portray that accurately: that the good US-China relations are in the interests of American people. And I advocate these policies because I believe they're in the interest of American people, my children and my grandchildren.
I think Orlins has a great insight and indeed it is his belief that it is in the interests of the American people to promote US relations with China. I think this kind of belief that has driven him to work for improving Sino-US ties, which is great and admirable. especially in this time of tremendous odds against Sino-US relations within United States give the rise of "Cold War" hawks. You know, the Cold War is based on the concept of "mutually assured destruction"-M.A.D.(相互保証破壊原則）. China and the United States have every reason to embrace what I call "Mutually assured prosperity-M.A.P.(相互保証繁栄).So we should really have a long-term thinking, there's no way to contain a country like China and it's very stupid to think so, there's no way, as I said, it is the largest economy by PPP, largest middle class, largest trading nation with 130 countries. You have no way to contain a country like China. So the best way is let's have win-win co-operation and to use this M,A,P, to replace this so-called M.A.D., I think that would be the correct way forward. And to promote Sino-US relations is in the interests of both the American people and the Chinese people, and on the part of the Chinese we should also do the same thing.