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Committee of 100 highlights top issues in Sino-US relations

Third round table discussion that focuses on US-China cross border investment; innovation and technology. Panelist include Wei Sun Christianson, co-CEO of Asia Pacific Morgan Stanley(fourth from right). Photos: Xu Guochen/

The Committee of 100, a renowned organization comprising 154 prominent Chinese American leaders, held its 5th Greater China Conference in Beijing on October 31, 2013.

United by the common belief that the US-China relationship is one of the most important bilateral relationships in the world and the common goal to “make this relationship right”, experts from both countries gathered together to discusses top issues in the Sino-US relations.

The conference included four roundtables on philanthropy in China: investing in social impact; US-China strategic trust: building bilateral cooperation; US-China cross-border investment, innovation and technology trends and China’s environment sustainability.

Keynote speakers from the Chinese government included Qiu Yuanping (裘援平), director of the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office of the State Council and Zheng Zeguang, Assistant Foreign Minister. From the US side, Michael “Mickey” Kantor, the 31st US Secretary of Commerce and former United States Trade Representative, and Daniel Kritenbrink, Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Beijing gave insightful speeches at the event.

The Sunnylands summit between President Obama and Xi Jinping was repeatedly mentioned by the speakers. Kritenbrink said the summit established the foundation to increase cooperation between the two countries. “There should be no doubt the United States welcomes a stronger prosperous China,” he emphasized, “A China that shoulders its responsibilities commensurate with its increased economic power and global influence is fundamentally in the interest of the United States.”

Kantor, on the other hand, pointed out that the summit created an atmosphere for the two countries to address the issues that “make a difference”. “The two leaders spent eight hours together in one day,” he said, “that is almost un-heard of in today’s world.”

China should do more about North Korea and play a larger role in Iran and Syria, while the US should be open to China’s investment and invite China to join in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, according to Kantor, who was also candid about the situation in Taiwan. “Taiwan is going to be a part of the Greater China. There is no doubt about that. It is time for Taiwan to be like Hong Kong and Macao,” Kantor said.

As an old friend of Hillary Clinton, who is rumored to be a possible candidate for the 2016 presidential election, Kantor reassured the audience that Clinton “understands the importance of the US-China relationship” as she will be “the most experienced and knowledgeable expert on the US-China relations” since she’s been through it in so many different roles. Kantor humbly advised China “not to pay attention to the rhetoric of the US politicians,” but to “pay attention to what they do.” He also noted that “it is really important for China to get involved with both parties” in the coming election.

Though unable to attend the conference in person, the US Secretary of State John Kerry and the US Ambassador to China Gary Locke both sent letters to congratulate the committee on hosting the conference. Kerry especially mentioned that the US-China Strategic Trust and China’s environmental stability, the two focal topics of the conference are “vital areas of cooperation between the two countries.” Locke, who was a member of the committee before becoming the Ambassador, is leading a delegation of Chinese companies to the Select USA 2013 Investment Summit which opens on November 1 in Washington DC.

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