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Chinese Consul General Calls For Better Relations In ISU Speech

man at podium speaking.
Charlie Schlenker
The Consul General For China, Zhao Jian, spoke to a luncheon for ISU's International Studies Program at the Hancock Club.

The Chinese consul general in Chicago said talks to end the trade war are at a critical point. During a speech at Illinois State University, Zhao Jian said the world's two largest economies are interdependent.

"The China-U.S. relationship is not a zero-sum game in which one's gain is the other's loss. Our success is each other's opportunity, not threat. And we can contribute to each other's success with our respective development," said Zhao.

Zhao said U.S. exports to China support more than 1.1 million U.S. jobs. He noted strong agricultural exports of Midwestern states to China.

Zhao did not address U.S. complaints of intellectual property theft, currency manipulation, or other industry supports the Chinese government allegedly facilitates.

Zhao said the U.S. and China cannot decouple even if they wanted to. He said "attempts to do so are neither sensible nor realistic."

"When China and the U.S. lock horns, the world suffers. The OECD already warned that China trade frictions could dent global growth by at least 0.7 percentage points.," said Zhao.

Zhao said the U.S. and China cooperate in the world industrial supply chain.

This is the 40th year following the establishment of U.S.-China relations. He said four decades ago U.S. Chinese mutual investment was minimal. Now, he said it tops $240 billion. He said there are 360,000 Chinese students in the U.S. and more than 20,000 U.S. students in China.

Zhao quoted the philosopher Confucious saying "one should have no more doubts at the age of 40." Yet doubts remain with what he said were "jarring noises" about trade imbalances and the "clash of civilizations."

He said the two countries can manage their differences with objective viewpoints and mutual respect, acknowledging both differences and common interests.

"There are a thousand reasons to grow friendship, and none to wreck it," Zhao said.

He cited increasing traditional and non-traditional security threats that should push the two counties together not pull them apart.

"No country can fix its issues on its own," Zhao said.

He said talks so far have resulted in some good will gestures toward what may become the first phase of a trade agreement.

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