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U.S.-China Relationship Not a Zero-Sum Game

On the eve of the upcoming state visit to the United States by Chinese President Xi Jinping, a top American foreign policy official vowed Monday that the U.S.-China relationship is not a zero-sum game, as the U.S. is "steadily and methodically expanding the breadth and depth of our cooperation with China."

"We reject reductive reasoning and lazy rhetoric that says conflict between the U.S. and China is inevitable, even as we've been tough with China where we disagree," U.S. President Barack Obama's National Security Advisor Susan Rice said in a speech on the U.S.-China ties at the George Washington University.

Rice noted that, under the Obama administration, the U.S. has "deepened our engagement with China at every level -- maximizing our cooperation on areas of mutual interest while confronting and managing our disagreements."

"This isn't a zero-sum game. Our capacity to manage our differences is greater than that," she stressed.

The top U.S. official on foreign policy said President Obama will "continue our frank and comprehensive discussions when he welcomes President Xi to the White House later this week for a State Visit."

President Xi will start his first state visit to the U.S. Tuesday in Seattle, Washington state, before traveling to Washington D.C., the U.S. national capital, for a summit meeting with President Obama Friday.

"Over the past two years, President Xi and President Obama have spent many hours meeting in formal and informal settings, as well as communicating through phone calls and letters, because many global challenges today can only be met with China and the United States working in concert," Rice said.

Pointing to the U.S. media's disproportional focus on the U.S.-China differences on issues such as cyber security and the South China Sea dispute, Rice warned that it "can be easy to lose sight of the larger arc of progress in our bilateral relationship with China."

Rice reiterated that pursuing "a productive relationship with China" is a critical element of the larger strategy of the U.S. for the Asia Pacific as it is implementing the so-called Rebalance to Asia strategy to expand its engagement in this dynamic region.

The U.S. "welcomes a rising China that is peaceful, stable, prosperous, and a responsible player in global affairs," Rice said.

Rice also acknowledged that it is natural that China takes on greater leadership to match its economic development and growing capabilities. "When China is invested in helping resolve regional and global problems, the United States - and the world - benefits," she said.

"And, we will continue taking steps to build a productive, cooperative relationship with China that delivers benefits for both our peoples. That's a central pillar of our strategy in Asia," she said.

Rice listed the achievements of the deeper engagement and cooperation between the two sides in various fields, such as enhancing bilateral trade, dialogues, people's and the military-to-military exchanges, and strengthening cooperation on many global issues including the Iranian nuclear talks, denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, Afghanistan, climate change, and fighting the Ebola epidemic.

"So, we are steadily and methodically expanding the breadth and depth of our cooperation with China. Our story is, overwhelmingly, one of progress," Rice said. "Still, the reality is we face difficult challenges. And, we never shy away from pressing our concerns."

Meanwhile, Rice highlighted some of the major differences between the two countries on issues such as China's economic policies, cyber security, maritime disputes in East and South China Seas, and human rights.

She predicted that the two presidents will discuss these issues during their summit meeting at the White House Friday.

"This is a vital relationship of the 21st century, and we have to be upfront about our differences, because they are preventing us from reaching the full potential of our cooperation," Rice said.

"We want the Chinese people to succeed. When China and the United States work together, the world is more secure and more prosperous. That's the truth," she said.

At a final note, Rice vowed that building a stable, productive, and resilient relationship with China "will remain at the center of American foreign policy for years to come."

(Xinhua News Agency September 21, 2015)

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