Participants in the Chicago 2006 China Forum which opened in the American city on Monday have urged that intensified efforts be made to promote better understanding between China and the United States as an important step in deepening bilateral ties.
Former US Senator, Adlai Stevenson III from Illinois, said in his keynote speech that ignorance about China proved to be a major difficulty in US-China relations.
"I find the Chinese better informed about America than America about China and therein lies the main difficulty in US-China relations -- ignorance," said Stevenson on his return from China.
"It (ignorance) is easily acquired and in American politics sometimes convenient but it isn't bliss," he said. "Ignorance is dangerous."
"Changes in China are so profound and rapid that the realities lag behind our perceptions and reflect little of the dynamic social and institutional change which motivates this proud and ancient country," he said.
The two-day forum, organized by the Chicago-based China Star Media Group, brought together experts, scholars, businessmen and government officials from China and the United States.
"Forums like these help dispel ignorance – on both sides of the Pacific," Stevenson said. "With more initiatives like this forum we can make China's challenge to Americans the historic opportunity it is for the world."
Speaking about US-China trade he said, "Some 60 percent of China's exports to the US are re-exports--imports to which value is added in China, including imports from US companies, before they are exported.
"Some American officials blame China for America's unsustainable trade deficit," he said. "But China does not run a trade surplus with the world. Its trade with the world is in deficit.
"For politicians in Washington blaming China and telling China how to manage its economy is a little like General Motors telling Toyota how to make automobiles," joked Stevenson.
He said that Chinese friends should not confuse America with its government in Washington. "Governments come and go," he observed. "The American academic and business communities see the opportunities China offers."
Huang Yuejin, vice chairman of the China Overseas Friendship Association, said China needed not only internal stability but also a peaceful and favorable international environment.
"China will adhere to the independent foreign policy of peace and stick to the path of peaceful development....China will always be an important force for world peace and common development," he said.