On November 20,2009, U.S Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman addressed a group of international students attending the Common Ground Conference at Peking University in Beijing about the state of the U.S-China relationship. Following are excerpts of his remarks:
2009年11月20日，美国驻华大使洪博培（Jon Huntsman）在北京大学向参加“求同论坛”（Common Ground Conference）的各国学生发表讲话，阐述美中关系的发展现状以及奥巴马总统对美中关系的瞩望。以下是此次讲话的摘要：
Remarks by Ambassador Jon Huntsman at the On Common Ground Conference
Peking University, Beijing, China
November 20, 2009
It’s interesting to note because when you put U.S.-China relations in proper context in history, it reads like a roller coaster. Caleb Cushing was sent over here by John Tyler because there was great concern that the British were getting way too much out of their trading relationship with China.
You’ll remember the first Opium War, right? 1837 to 1842. 1842 resulted in the Treaty of Nanjing which opened up several important ports – Xiamen, Fuzhou, Ningbo, Shanghai, and one old Canton port. Trade facilitation was achieved. They lowered tariffs and they also dealt with Hong Kong, as you will recall, which later was dealt with a little differently. It was an open-ended agreement in 1842 and it later became quite specific, a 99 year lease in, I think, 1897 or 1898.
The U.S. was very concerned about this agreement between the UK and China, which resulted after the first Opium War. President Tyler sent over Caleb Cushing, my colleague a long time ago, and he negotiated another treaty called the Treaty of Wangxia, which essentially gave the United States more of a level playing field with the UK. It similarly opened up a lot of ports for commerce and for trade facilitation, but it also achieved a sense of extraterritoriality, the first ever, which meant that American citizens would be treated under U.S. law if they found themselves in trouble in China, which was quite unique and novel in those days, back when Ambassadors and Consuls General had enormous power over setting both trade policy for the United States, so on and so forth.
So the roller coaster ride continued up and down.
Now we sit with a large complicated relationship that is multi-faceted, that covers virtually every foreign policy issue imaginable, and one that my President, Barack Obama, has asked to be handled in a positive, collaborative and comprehensive fashion.
[At a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House, President Obama] began to lay out his vision of the U.S.-China relationship, which he described as being something that he wanted to see as positive, collaborative and comprehensive, for reasons that we discussed thereafter. He said I think the headline issues really need to be the global economy, climate change and clean energy, and regional security, because those are the issues that affect not just the two countries, not just the region, but also the world, and we are the only two countries today that together can solve these issues. No one else can. I said, Mr. President, I think we can do that. I think we can achieve that in our relationship. It won’t be easy. We’ll have our ups and our downs, the roller coaster like I described earlier, but I think that’s achievable.
So when President Obama stepped off his plane in Shanghai just a few days ago in a very driving and cold rain – I was standing out on the tarmac and my shoes became waterlogged pretty quickly, and I didn’t take an extra pair of shoes, so I was quite cold that night – he arrived and found what he had hoped for, I believe: a relationship that by and large is entering a period where our focus will be more and more on global issues that the two of us increasingly can problem solve around. He also landed to find that despite our differences, and we have our differences, we are moving in a direction that is positive, collaborative, and comprehensive.
Now while the President was here – I just want to add by giving you a sense of what was left behind – he talked more about the Pacific Ocean as something that no longer divides us, but something that we are bound by, and that the U.S.-China relationship should work in a way that meets our challenges, knowing full well that no one nation alone can meet the multiple challenges of the 21st century.
I would encourage all of you to take a look at the nine pages of detail that were part of the joint statement that was hammered out between both sides in the many days leading up to the visit. In it you will find key areas, which are the focus of cooperation, including global economic recovery; regional crises in Iran, Korea, Afghanistan and Pakistan; non-proliferation; climate change and energy – four sections. Read through it sometime if you really want to get an update on where this relationship is going.
We’ll have an opportunity in just a few short months to convene the next round of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue right here in Beijing, which will allow us again to get a check on the relationship to see how things are going, based upon having achieved a positive atmosphere that’s important to begin implementing and executing other things that together we can do.