From the Consulate General of the United States in Shanghai:
As a former businessman, former politician, former diplomat, and perhaps most important– 30-year student of this relationship, I have four simple recommendations for you as you focus on the broader, more bedeviling challenges of U.S.-China relations in the years ahead.
1. Invest in people-to-people interaction. iPhones, iPads, Twitter and all the other new technologies that are beginning to define the way we communicate are all only tools; and they cannot replace real-world relationships. We cannot rely on even the most advanced communications technology to improve U.S.-China relations. Only people can do this because in the end, it＊s good old fashioned heart-to-heart and mind-to-mind contact takes us beyond the headlines and helps deepens trust. Increasing people-to-people exchanges between our countries is the most important long-term investment bar-none.
The more that Americans get to know China and vice versa, the broader the support will be for the continued development of the relationship. For in spite of the immense scale of our relationship, the simple fact remains: individuals 每 including all of you present today 每 shape U.S.-China relations. In order for our relationship to have the strength to advance shared goals, it cannot exist solely between governments. It requires the support of every segment of society.
So, use the tools we have available to us, including, especially, the Internet. But use them to share information, increase understanding and build relationships, not to erect barriers or foment distrust.
2. Respect culture. Our two countries have different histories, customs, and political traditions that inform how we engage each other. We all should appreciate this fact and dedicate more mutual effort to cracking each other＊s code, so to speak, by understanding the elements of our two societies that influence and inform our behavior.
If we want to communicate a shared vision for the future, we need first to appreciate how much our different histories, culture, geography and political systems impact how we pursue our goals today.
3. Humanize the relationship. Your generation will have the technology and the reach literally to bring the bilateral relationship into the home of every American and Chinese family. When you do, I hope you do it in a way that highlights the benefits 每 and not just the tensions 每 that each of us derive from productive U.S.-China relationship. Humanizing or bringing down to earth the highly complicated U.S.-China relationship- from the interactions among our leaders to those among our businessmen, scholars, artists and athletes 每 will make a seemingly vast and complex and distant relationship feel closer and more tangible.
Citizens on both sides of the Pacific will need to better understand now they directly benefit from a strong U.S.-China relationship if it is to succeed beyond your generation because citizens will be increasingly in a position to make their feelings known.
4. Tackle misperceptions. Misperceptions can be corrosive. Left unchecked, they can take on an aura of reality and even shape our policies toward each other. At base, misperceptions are fed by a lack of mutual trust. As you reach positions of authority, be brutally honest with your American counterparts about China＊s concerns and aspirations. Trust is born out of such honesty and, ultimately, trust will be the fuel that takes this bilateral relationship to ever higher heights.
Read more at the Consulate General of the United States in Shanghai.