Zhou Wenzhong’s Interesting Choice of Words

One of the topics of last Thursday’s presidential debates was the issue of setting preconditions before meeting with foreign heads of state.  Senator John McCain believes preconditions are necessary before sitting down with the likes of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Kim Jong Il, while Senator Barack Obama said he would not necessitate preconditions for his meetings with foreign heads of state.  Personal politics aside, the rhetoric was atypical for presidential debates.  I put the policy standpoints into my little store of information and then promptly forgot the information until today.

As many people know, yesterday was China’s 59th Anniversary.  For the occasion, United States Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte said some very nice words about China and U.S.-China relations.

Imagine my surprise when I read in Xinhua news that China’s Ambassador to the United States Zhou Wenzhong, although stating his good tidings to U.S.  Chinese relations, had some very interesting words to attach to his speech about the future of U.S-Chinese relations.  According to Xin Hua news, Zhou Wenzhong told U.S. guests that as long as both sides always bear in mind their strategic and long-term interests, abide by the three Joint Communiques, respect each other’s central interests, increase exchanges, dialogues and cooperation, handle differences appropriately, “we have every reason to expect an even better China-U.S. relationship in the future.


Perhaps I have not forgotten the presidential debate topics as aptly as I would have liked.  The words that Zhou Wenzhong used sounded strongly like preconditions to U.S.-Chinese relations. I had an instant flashback to the McCain-Obama debate.

Of course, these are not the types of preconditions that McCain and Obama were talking about when referencing Iran and North Korea, but they sound a bit threatening especially after the article harps on how the United States thinks China is the greatest thing since sliced bread.  Even though I am a great supporter of U.S.-China relations and trade, my American sensibilities are a bit perturbed.  The article made it sound like Zhou Wenzong was saying that U.S.-Chinese cooperation and trade would not continue amicably if Americans did not remember the basis of the relationship. Perhaps we have finally reached the time when there has been a shift in the power relationship between the United States and China.  Then again, maybe it’s just Xin Hua news.

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