Perception of China changes as it offers opportunities, hope

Updated 2017-12-28 10:31:19 Xinhua

Ten years back, China was known to Americans as "the workshop of the world." And also as one of the biggest foreign holders of the U.S. sovereign debt.

But today that perception has changed. China is now regarded as an export destination and a source of investment contributing to American jobs and growth.

Cooperation with China means "unparalleled opportunities" for Alaska, which boasts rich resources but needs to explore markets and woo capital, said Bill Walker, governor of the largest U.S. state by area, in an earlier interview with Xinhua.

In November, the governor accompanied U.S. President Donald Trump on the latter's first state visit to China. The visit saw U.S. and Chinese organizations inking a cooperation agreement worth over 40 billion U.S. dollars to exploit Alaska's huge liquefied natural gas (LNG) reserves.

The project is expected to create some 12,000 jobs for Alaska, which has a population of about 750,000.

Closer economic and trade ties between the world's two largest economies are creating dividends for both peoples. American beef and lobsters hit the dining table of Chinese households this year, while commuters in U.S. metropolises like New York and Boston are enjoying the convenience of "green buses" and new subway cars made with Chinese technologies.

By the end of 2016, Chinese enterprises' total direct investment in the United States reached about 110 billion dollars, creating over 140,000 jobs, according to a report released by the Rhodium Group and the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations.

The inflow of Chinese capital and opening of more Chinese-run plants have brought dying Rust Belt towns back to life and revived the dreams of many blue-collar Americans hit by recession and lackluster economic recovery.

Though naysayers paint China and the United States as opponents locked in an inevitable "economic war", many say win-win cooperation is the only viable option for the two major powers that have such a significant bearing on global wellbeing.

After the presidents of both countries held a historic meeting at Mar-a-Lago, Florida, in April to chart the course for the future development of bilateral ties, China and the United States completed their first-round of talks under four high-level dialogue mechanisms, addressing each other's concerns and finding ways to deal with regional and global challenges unitedly.

China's increasing role of a "responsible stakeholder" is in the interest of the United States and the world at large, Stephen Orlins, president of the U.S. National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, told Xinhua.

Along with economic and trade cooperation, cultural and people-to-people exchanges are also growing. Arabella Kushner, Trump's six-year-old granddaughter, hit the headlines in both countries after a video clip showing her reciting ancient Chinese poems and singing Chinese songs was played during Trump's China visit and immediately went viral on the web.

Statistics showed that Chinese language learners at U.S. primary and secondary schools doubled from 2009 to 2015. Earlier this month, a Confucius Institute for Global Finance, the first of its kind, was launched in New York City to train specialized bilingual talents for both countries.

China is also receiving increasing attention and respect in leading international organizations.

For the United Nations (UN), World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), China's consistent support support of and unique contribution to the existing global governance system has effectively offset the impact of the anti-globalization sentiments in many parts of the world.

Since the beginning of 2017, a series of Chinese terms and concepts, such as "a community of shared future for mankind" and "the principle of extensive consultation, joint efforts and shared benefits", have been included into resolutions or other official documents of the United Nations.

In May, the heads of the UN, the World Bank and IMF all flew to Beijing to participate in the China-hosted Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. In October, on the sidelines of the World Bank/IMF annual meetings in Washington, D.C., a high-level seminar on the Belt and Road Initiative was held for the first time.

"China's role has dramatically increased, and China has an impact on everything that goes on virtually anywhere in the world," Robert Hormats, former U.S. undersecretary of state, told Xinhua.

Lauding China's tremendous progress over the past four decades of reform and opening up as "one of the greatest stories of human history," Hormats stressed: "We Americans and Chinese need to figure out how we can develop a better sense of strategic thinking on how we can work together as we move into the 21st century."

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