Zhu Guangyao: Support for a Good Idea

Jan 27 , 2021

Zhu Guangyao, Former Vice Minister, Ministry of Finance, P. R. China.


Dr. Fung, I will follow your suggestion directly, making some comments on Professor Stephen Roach’s proposals:

First, I think that Stephen made a very important proposal, about full-time communication, or a full-time office to be established. Maybe his suggestion that the office be placed in a neutral jurisdiction or some details need more discussion. But that proposal is a very strategic view — that we will have China and the U.S. back to a normal track with 24-hour communication every day. And it’s so important for the U.S. and China, as the largest economies, which have a geopolitical strategic impact on global peace and development. The last four years have been too bad, with their negative impact not only on China and the U.S. but also on the globe.

So that’s how people in China, people in the U.S., and the people of the world can watch how the behavior of China and the U.S. returns to normal channels. I think that Stephen’s proposal is very important. And 24-hour communication — that’s really necessary. We must design this carefully with a step-by-step approach.

And two points are very important. Number one, the importance of the leadership role of the two presidents, and their great vision and direction should always be based on reality.

Less communication, less trust. We need trust, and the immediate thing is to recall some communications and gradually reach out with trust. Now that will take time. But we must do it now, immediately. And that’s why we say such kinds of communication today are so important: It’s people-to-people also. So I think that both sides’ officials must be involved. And the binary channel situation needs a real programmatic path for both sides to take.

And, the second thing about Stephen’s proposal is re-establishing BIT negotiation, which is also mentioned in Mr. Bi’s keynote speech and other addresses. That’s important. Indeed, during the Obama administration, both the U.S. and China have had very professional negotiation on BIT. Great progress has been made but still, some key issues including data flow across borders still need legalization. Those are structural issues that both sides should give very serious consideration and find ways to solve, because the digital economy is so important for the global future, including artificial intelligence and the quantum information industry. They are so important. I also paid close attention to Ambassador Allen’s points; he would like to resume the phase one deal and keep phase two under discussion.

Those remind us of important communications. Even with the alliance and the U.S., there has not been enough talk. We must deepen our communication. So that’s why today's meeting is very important, and we hope for more.

Thank you.