A beacon of sanity shown through the darkness this week as 400 U.S. state leaders, business people, non-profits and Chinese delegates representing four provinces, converged on Lexington, Kentucky from May 22-24 for the 5th Annual US-China Governors Collaboration Summit.
The summit was a breath of fresh air in a sea of increasing turmoil and hostility between the two countries. The Conference is sponsored jointly by the National Governors Association, the China Chamber of Commerce and Chinese Peoples Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries. The forum’s website described itself as “a forum for governors, leaders and investors from the United Stats and China to discuss economic development opportunities and to forge and reinforce mutually beneficial relations”.
China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lu Kang described the event in the following terms: “The active participation of local governments of both countries have demonstrated sincere will for strengthening sub-national exchange and cooperation. I believe this forum will inject new impetus into the efforts to deepen friendship and cooperation between the two countries.”
American and Chinese Patriots call for Win-Win Cooperation
Trump ally Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin whose state hosted the event, opened the conference saying that the summit “offers a tremendous opportunity for constructive dialogue that will pave the way for a brighter economic future in both our nations.” Earlier, Governor Bevin expressed the importance of the summit at this dark moment of turmoil in China-US relations: “We are in a pivotal juncture in US-China relations and this gathering will provide a platform for progress, cultural understanding and development of mutually beneficial trade relationships.”
Another governor who spoke at the event was Bill Lee of Tennessee who said that “China is the 3rd highest export market for the goods we have in Tennessee. So the relationship between China and Tennessee is very important.” Gov. Lee’s remarks were followed by Gov. Bevin who noted that 40% of the world’s economic product is produced in the USA and China. Echoing a spirit of win-win cooperation, Bevin said in his closing remarks “when one side wins, the other side wins. When China is strong, it is good for America. When America is strong it is good for China.”
Describing the need to tackle infectious diseases, global poverty and nuclear war, Cyrus Habib, lieutenant governor of the U.S. state of Washington, said “Those problems cannot be solved without China, and those problems cannot be solved without the United States… We must strengthen our friendship, not only for our economic good, but truly for the sake of our entire planet…. I want to say now, not as a Washingtonian, but as an American, how important the U.S.-China relationship is and will continue to be for the next 40 years. It’s not just about making money, it’s not just about creating jobs, although all of those things are important. It’s about friendship through which we can solve the world’s greatest problems.”
Punctuating this spirit of good will and cooperation for a higher good, China’s top diplomat to the USA, Ambassador Cui Tiankai said “cooperation is the only right option for our two countries. Both the Chinese and the American people are pursuing a better life. This is our common goal.”
By the end of the event, multiple Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) were signed between American and Chinese counterparts including: 1) an MOU between Kentucky and Chongqing China, 2) an MOU for the Yushen Industrial Park Comprehensive Gas Island Project, 3) a China-USA joint venture for an international magnesium exporting endeavour which will handle 24 000 tons of exports/year, 4) cooperation agreements between the University of Louisville and Jiangxi Normal University, and 5) the International Ingredient Corporation Cooperative Project.
While America’s relationship with China may appear beleaguered and at historic lows, such conferences renew one’s hope that a bright future is yet upon us.
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