By Julia DiGiacomo
Consul General Hong Lei, a diplomat from the People’s republic of China, spoke on the merits of creating an economic bridge between China and the U.S. on Wednesday afternoon.
He described the state of affairs between the two nations in his lecture, entitled “New developments in China and Sino-U.S. Relations,” at the IMU. Within it, he laid out a series of tactics and goals for strengthening China-US relations and emphasized the importance of collaboration between the two nations.
Lei is a prominent Chinese diplomat responsible for overseeing relations with nine Midwestern states, including Iowa.
Associate Provost and Dean of International Programs Downing Thomas said they also work with him at the University of Iowa regularly on developing educational collaborations and connections to China.
“It’ll be an opportunity to engage a famous diplomat responsible for the Midwest from China with questions and to hear what he has to say about the current state of affairs,” Thomas said.
Lei started off by describing recent developments in China and background information on the state of affairs there.
“Reform over the last four decades has made great impacts on my country. With united and determined efforts, the Chinese people have added a glorious chapter to the development ethic of the country and the nation,” Lei said. “China has grown into the world’s second largest economy, the largest industrial producer, the largest trader of goods, and holder of the largest foreign-exchange reserves.”
Lei outlined five new concepts of developments China hopes to achieve in the future. For example, he said they will stick to sustainable development in order to pursue a healthy ecological environment. He also emphasized continuing openness in trade and striving a balance between imports and exports. Another goal Lei mentioned is China’s desire to improve their people’s standard of living.
Lei said they hope to take initiative to expand imports, as well as expand protection of international property rights.
“We believe China’s development will offer a new and attractive option to cultures in developing countries,” he said.
Lei also spoke on the state of U.S. and China relations and how they economically benefit each other through trade. He said our common interests far outweigh our differences.
“China should be America’s economic partner for the next 100 years and beyond. I fully subscribe to this vision,” Lei said. “China’s development in the coming three decades will be a great opportunity for the United States.”
Lei listed various proposals to help ensure mutually beneficial China-U.S. relations, such as staying committed to mutual trust instead of suspicion. He said competition between the two countries should not lead to conflict.
Lei said China’s win is not the U.S.’s loss.
“Both countries will gain from cooperation and lose from confrontation,” he said.
UI student Ruido Song said that Lei is quite famous in China and is known for often speaking on television. He said Lei’s presentation helped point him in the right direction in regards to his studies.
“This opportunity is very priceless for international students, especially for the Chinese students to hear the presentation,” Song said.