U.S.-China Social and Cultural Dialogue
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong co-chaired the first U.S.-China Social and Cultural Dialogue (SCD) September 28, 2017, in Washington, D.C. President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping launched the SCD in April 2017, at Mar-a-Lago. With a focus on seven cooperative areas – education, social development, science and technology, health, subnational, arts and culture, and environment and conservation – the SCD aims to advance our social and cultural relations consistent with the results-oriented approach of the new Comprehensive Dialogue Mechanism.
The new SCD opens doors for our two countries to continue engaging in positive and open conversation on issues and policies that affect the citizens of both our nations, including on topics such as environment and conservation, health security, and science and technology. For decades, exchanges between the United States and China – including on social and cultural issues – have been effective at building understanding, breaking down barriers to a more constructive relationship, and connecting our peoples. As our two peoples connect, they deepen their understanding and trust of each other in ways that can strengthen our partnerships. The SCD showcases how our peoples can live together for the next 50 years and build a shared future. Together, we can nurture greater connections between our scholars, scientists, students, journalists, and non-governmental leaders for the benefit of our two countries and the world.
Our bilateral relationship is one of the most consequential in the world. We each have a stake in each other’s success. When we work together cooperatively, our countries can make progress on improving the lives of our citizens. Our social and cultural cooperation is no exception. Together, the United States and China have the potential to increase opportunities for high-quality education, expand cultural exchanges, prevent the spread of disease, subnational cooperation, and protect the environment.
Cooperative Area One: Education
The United States and China both recognize that by encouraging our respective students to study in each other’s countries, promoting exchanges between our respective scholars, and facilitating networks between our academic institutions, we promote mutual understanding and expand people-to-people ties, the foundation for stronger relations. Facilitating opportunities for Chinese and American students, scholars, and academic institutions brings our two countries closer.
The United States and China plan to partner to promote educational opportunities in the United States for Chinese students, and opportunities in China for American students. China welcomes the U.S. Embassy’s “EducationUSA” public diplomacy programming.
The Fulbright Program is the United States’ oldest international educational exchange. Working with China, the United States is committed to ensuring that the U.S.-China Fulbright Program continues to increase mutual understanding between the American and Chinese people. The United States and China announced the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on the U.S.-China Teachers of Critical Languages Program. Both sides commit to jointly carry out activities including conferences for students, scholars, and alumni, including those from the Fulbright Program. China committed to establish a “Short Term Scholarships for Outstanding Students” program, in which the Chinese government plans to provide 10,000 credit scholarships to U.S. students in the next four years. China committed to work with the private sector and plans to set up a number of U.S.-China Young Makers Exchange Centers in both countries, and to host the U.S.-China Young Makers Competition each year.
Through the U.S. Department of Education and the Chinese Ministry of Education, the United States and China intend to cooperate to enhance Career, Technical, and Vocational Education in both the United States and China.
Cooperative Area Two: Social Development
The active involvement of all of civil society in U.S.-China exchanges – including women, athletes, and youth – promotes mutual understanding through collaboration and inquiry. Much of the success of our people-to-people ties is sustained by the dynamism and commitment of many non-governmental organizations (NGOs) such as universities, museums, foundations, advocacy groups, cultural institutions, sports groups, and businesses.
In the field of social development for the coming year, the United States and China plan to continue to promote U.S.-China sports exchanges, promote bilateral exchanges and cooperation on gender equality and women’s empowerment, welcome the contributions of U.S. and Chinese NGOs, and promote the role of youth in the development of U.S.-China relations. Both sides commit to support participation in future leadership programs such as the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) and Zhi-Xing China.
Both sides discussed China’s foreign NGO management law, and concurred that it will not impede the legal activities of American NGOs in China. The United States looks forward to consultations with China on the foreign NGO management law before the end of this year.
Cooperative Area Three: Science and Technology
U.S.-China science and technology cooperation provides significant benefits to both American and Chinese researchers, government agencies, and the general public in the form of shared access to data, resources, facilities, and expertise.
The U.S.-China Science and Technology Agreement was signed in 1979 by Jimmy Carter and Deng Xiaoping and is a cornerstone of our bilateral political and economic relationship. The Agreement serves as a legal framework for over 50 active sub-agreements and has facilitated thousands of joint projects across multiple Chinese ministries and U.S. departments and agencies. Both sides are working together toward the successful renewal of the longstanding and positive U.S.-China Science and Technology Agreement, with each side affirming its commitment to fully implement the provisions of the Agreement.
Cooperative Area Four: Health
U.S.-China collaboration on health issues has been strong for the past 40 years, addressing mutual priorities that advance the health and prosperity of both nations. Priorities include surveillance, prevention, and control of infectious diseases; biomedical research; countering non-communicable diseases; and enhancing food and medical product safety. This area of partnership remains a vital priority in our bilateral relationship. Both sides intend to further enhance collaboration to promote bilateral and global health security to contribute to build a community of shared future in health for our peoples.
The United States and China remain committed to implementing the International Health Regulations and to monitoring and evaluating this implementation. Both sides remain committed to implementing their multi-sectoral National Action Plans on Anti-Microbial Resistance based on the One Health approach. The United States and China also remain committed to maintaining a clear process and timeline for the rapid, consistent, and continuous sharing of novel influenza viruses with human pandemic potential.
The United States and China are continuing to jointly plan and carry out key exchange, training and capacity building programs related to health innovation, infectious disease prevention, global public health collaboration in Africa, and non-communicable diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer.
Cooperative Area Five: Subnational
Regular interaction between American and Chinese citizens is one of the most positive and dynamic aspects of the U.S.-China relationship, demonstrating that our similarities greatly outweigh our differences. Advancing subnational cooperation between the world’s two largest economies benefits both nations.
The United States and China committed to promote cooperation between administrative departments, as well as educational, science and technology, environmental, cultural, and health cooperation and exchanges, at the subnational level. Both sides intend to explore the expansion of U.S.-China people-to-people exchanges as a mechanism to further the development of U.S.-China relations.
The United States and China both recognize the importance of the EcoPartnerships program which harnesses the energy and ingenuity from civil society, academia, and industry in both countries to conduct innovative projects.
Cooperative Area Six: Arts and Culture
Our two governments have promoted cultural exchanges between our two peoples by reaching out to young, diverse, and underserved audiences through the performing and visual arts, supporting work that conserves and protects our cultural heritage, and fostering cooperation among cultural institutions, representatives, and scholars.
The United States and China committed to support cultural institutions of both countries in establishing long-term communication and cooperation, including cultural exchange activities. They are committed to promoting exchanges and cooperation between public culture services, and to strengthening cooperation in “cultural” industries. Both countries encourage mutual visits of high-quality art groups’ representatives of various cultures of the respective country to the other.
Cooperative Area Seven: Environment and Conservation
The United States and China have helped catalyze environmental action on a global scale. In taking cooperative action to protect the ocean, ensure sustainable fisheries, combat wildlife trafficking of marine and terrestrial species, promote environment and energy technologies with full intellectual property protection, address climate change issues, improve environmental law enforcement and compliance, and help protect and improve the ambient environment (air, water, and soil ecosystems) from pollution for generations to come, both countries have built strong national and subnational cooperation. The United States and China see the importance of making environment and conservation data sets publicly available.