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Can’t be everywhere

I was at the Lamb, one of London’s best pubs happily located a few minutes’ walk from my digs at the Goodenough Club, last night, and not in New York for a gala dinner at which Henry Paulson, the US treasury secretary, spoke. I was wondering what he would have to say about U.S.-China relations, and was glad when the first news story to pop up this morning told me. It comes from China Daily’s excellent free E-Clips service:

NEW YORK: The next US president should fully recognize China’s emergence as a global economic leader, and take US-China relations to the next level through more engagement, US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said here Tuesday.

Addressing the annual gala of the National Committee on US-China Relations (NCUSCR) in New York, Paulson advised the next US president to start from the perspective that China will continue to play a key role in the world economy.

“We must recognize that China’s growth is an opportunity for US companies and consumers, for our producers, exporters and investors,” he said, “A stable, prosperous and peaceful China is in the best interest of the Chinese people, the American people and the rest of the world.”

Paulson appreciated that China has been working closely with the US government in response to the current world financial crisis.

“We welcome Chinese Premier Wen’s statement that China will play a constructive and cooperative role in global efforts to deal with the current financial market turmoil,” said the secretary.

He reiterated that the only path to success with China is through engagement, with the Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED) being an important facility.

Reviewing achievements of the SED talks, which was initiated by Chinese President Hu Jintao and US President George W. Bush in 2006, Paulson said that a strong foundation has been built for this dialogue by focusing on policy areas in which China’s reform agenda and US interests intersect.

He hopes that the next US president will expand on the SED to take US-China relations to the next level.

Established in 1966, the NCUSCR is a private, non-partisan and non-profit organization. In 1972, it sponsored the historic visit of China’s ping-pong team to the United States.

I was at the Lamb with Duncan Mackay, the UK Olympic journalist, who was co-editor of Berkshire’s recent book China Gold: China’s Quest for Global Power and Olympic Glory. I hadn’t seen him since he carried the Olympic torch in London last spring. He was widely interviewed about that experience and I was glad to hear his stories myself. He’s now much involved in writing about the 2012 London Olympics and has a new website, Inside the Games, that I’m sure I’ll be linking to often.

On Monday I attended a session at Chatham House at which the Chinese ambassador to the UK, FU Ying, spoke about China after the Olympics. Thanks to one of our Encyclopedia of China authors and advisers, Kerry Brown, who moderated the event, I was able to meet her and give her a copy of China Gold. It was great to have another relevant China event take place at Chatham House when I happen to have a few days here–there’s been some good fate at work this year. Madame Fu gave an interesting speech about the significance of the Olympics, talked about China’s international relations now and going forward, and also gave thoughtful responses to some challenging questions.

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