The Sino-US relationship is multifaceted, involving both competition and cooperation. Given the belief that a win-win result will be achieved only through cooperation, it is sensible to cling to the latter as a policy choice.
The importance of cooperation has always been a part of China’s traditional culture. Several celebrated dictums and idioms pronounce the advantages and benefits of cooperation, such as “unity is strength”, “people in the same boat help each other in crossing a river” and “pool the wisdom of all concerned for good solutions”. What is implied is the basic belief that mankind can solve its problems and move forward only through cooperation. The Sino-US relationship is one of the most important bilateral relations in the world today. Its handling will not only have a direct bearing on the interests of the Chinese and the US people, but also exert an influence on global governance and the interests of all the people in the world. It is very clever, sensible and important, therefore, for China and the United States to prioritize cooperation in their dealings with each other.
Improvement in global governance is the most urgent task in our world today; a task which calls for cooperation between all countries in the world. Viewed from a state level, what is targeted in public governance usually includes affairs and issues handled by the government or society of a country or region. These affairs and issues may come under direct government administration, or be handled by non-governmental or non-profit mass organizations in an indirect way. They may also be dealt with through internal and external cooperation, including cooperation between government departments and private institutions. As a result, an extensive network for cooperative governance has taken shape. Encouraging collaborative planning and interactive management, public governance fully embodies the principle and spirit of cooperation.
International relations is a public domain involving an even bigger sphere and standing at an even higher level. When it comes to the handling of international affairs, cooperation is an option both advisable and necessary for facilitating solutions of different issues and promoting common development. Viewed as a whole, Sino-US relations have kept its course of steady growth in recent years, a development that has become possible mainly due to the willingness and the actual need of the two countries to solve their issues and settle their disputes through cooperation.
It is by no means illusory to say that man is the lord of creation, as evidenced by the fact that man minds cooperation in both thinking and practice. Another proof is the body structure of a normal, healthy human being; any discordance will sink it into illness. It is natural and omnipresent for human beings to help and cooperate with each other.
It is well-reasoned and logical for China and the United States to cooperate in the international arena. So long as they maintain their cooperative instinct and intelligence, these two countries will see their relations continually improving and the future of mankind growing ever brighter.
Mankind has been impeded in its progress by numerous roadblocks including natural and man-made disasters. Taking its developmental history as a whole, however, advancement through cooperation has been the mainstream course. As a matter of fact, the history of mankind can be rated as one of development through cooperation. Since human survival and production can hardly be sustained without extensive cooperation, one for all and all for one has been the act underlying human development, whether it is executed consciously or not.
How will a developed country sustain its development? And how will a developing country get rid of poverty and move ahead? Coordination of different factors is an issue of concern in both cases. If all countries readily give and take, learn from others’ strong points to offset their own weaknesses, cooperate with and help each other, and work together for common development, many of the regrettable situations haunting mankind will improve tremendously.
What was called for at the recent Rio+20 summit in Brazil is precisely promotion of the team spirit among all countries. Development of the world economy, improving the environment, and solving other issues relating to the development of mankind will be achieved through collaboration and cooperation between all countries in the world, whether they are developed or developing. It is impossible for the summit to solve all of today’s issues and disputes. It is extremely valuable, however, for it to promote the awareness about teamwork and cooperation.
It has been in the press recently that human wisdom grows through collaboration and cooperation. This is a scientific conclusion, it should be acknowledged. Man is the lord of creation, as we have said above. Cooperation is not only a mark of human beings, but also an act heightening human wisdom. Unfortunately, some people prefer to work for their own gains, only to hurt others without benefiting themselves in the end.
Human cooperation will gradually attain new heights and take on new looks if all people pool their wisdom into it. Cooperation is a most reliable yardstick measuring and testing human wisdom. Let our honest call for cooperation resound through the skies, and let us all join hands to work for the realization and achievement of the UN Millennium Development Goals and solution of all issues facing mankind development in a fair and reasonable way.
It is very important to work together and refrain from adopting double standards or taking one’s own advantages to pressure the other. Vigilance should be heightened, in particular, to prevent the development of factors negative in effect and detrimental to cooperation, and to leave no loop-holes for cooperation under miners.
It is our firm belief that adherence to the principle of cooperation and promotion of the spirit of cooperation will surely benefit the whole mankind and lead to universal peace and stability.
Xia Shuzhang, 93, is the President (Hon) of Chinese Public Administration Society, Chairman (Hon) of the China Center for Public Administration Research at Sun Yat-sen University, and an Honorary Member of the American Society of Public Administration.