Truly precious for China-California friendship to carry forward: Global Times editorial
Published: Oct 23, 2023 12:06 AM
Gavin Newsom. Photo:AFP

Gavin Newsom. Photo:AFP

California Governor Gavin Newsom begins his week-long trip to China Monday. He will lead a delegation to visit Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Beijing, Shanghai, and Jiangsu Province. Even though the visit is not short, the schedule is very full, demonstrating Newsom's keen desire to make the most of this trip by visiting as many places as possible and engaging with various sectors in China. High-level exchanges between China and the US have improved substantially in the second half of this year. Among the American officials who have visited China, Newsom has received at least one of the highest levels of attention. 

To be honest, Chinese people currently lack faith in Washington as a whole and have distrust toward some US politicians. However, the welcome for Governor Newsom's visit is sincere and warm, as "it is always a pleasure to greet a friend from afar." California sees this visit as a "historic opportunity." Although this is Newsom's first visit to China as Governor of California, he developed a deep connection with China during his tenure as mayor of San Francisco. California in recent years has pursued a friendly policy toward China, which is notable given the current state of China-US relations. The stability and continuity that California has maintained in its handling of relations with China are particularly commendable.

It is anticipated that Governor Newsom's visit will yield significant results, not only expanding exchanges and cooperation in a variety of areas, including commerce, climate change, technology, education, culture, and youth, but also carrying forward China-California traditional friendship and cooperative relationship. It is no exaggeration to say that this traditional friendship is a significant catalyst for mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and mutually beneficial cooperation between China and the US. It holds great significance not only for the China-US relationship but also for global peace and stability. In the eyes of some American media outlets, the unique historical relationship between California and China is the main reason for it to become a model of "subnational diplomacy" between China and the US. California is one of the leading states for Chinese Americans and frequently engages in people-to-people exchanges with China. At the same time, California is by far the biggest state economy in the US and has the closest economic and trade relations with China. Whether it is in the high-tech industry or the agricultural sector, there is great potential for cooperation. In terms of climate issues, California has been negotiating with various provinces in China on climate issues since the governorship of Arnold Schwarzenegger. California announced in August a new initiative with the Chinese province of Hainan in the global fight against climate change. 

The official website of the California government introduced Governor Newsom's visit to China, stating that "our economies - the second and fifth largest in the world - are intertwined and have been since the earliest days of our statehood." While historical connections with China are important, the key reason why California has been more rational and stable in dealing with its relations with China is its recognition that economic and trade exchanges cannot be separated from cooperation and openness. Pragmatic cooperation that transcend ideological boundaries bring about results that are truly beneficial to regional development and the well-being of the people.

Unfortunately, the American public opinion has shown a lot of caution and concern toward this visit, saying that it "takes a risk on China" and "walks a diplomatic tightrope." Some even warned Governor Newsom to "be very careful that he doesn't appear in Washington to be kind of violating federal government policy towards China." To a certain extent, this reflects the negative impact of the US government's policy of containment and suppression toward China, as well as the increasingly extreme anti-China perception and bias in the political arena, which greatly hinders the economic and trade exchanges and pragmatic cooperation between China and the US at the local level. 

Objectively speaking, due to the increasingly radical strategic orientation of the US toward containment and suppression of China, and the worsening anti-China public opinion atmosphere, it remains to be seen whether Governor Newsom's visit could achieve a breakthrough in the overall improvement of China-US relations. However, as long as the communication and cooperation between China and the US at the local level can continue, it will be considered as an achievement. As President Xi Jinping pointed out, the foundation of China-US relations lies in the people and the source of strength lies in the friendship between their peoples. It is hoped that California can become a prism that allows more people to see the pragmatic cooperation between China and the US. Whether it is the federal government or local state governments, China welcomes the arrival of American officials who embrace a sincere and pragmatic cooperative attitude. It's hoped they can promote China-US relations toward a direction that is more beneficial to the peoples of both countries and to world peace and development.