Published August 1980 — Download PDF of the original newspaper column
Byrd's-Eye View By U.S. Senator Robert C. Byrd Building a Beneficial Friendship A recent visit to the People's Republic of China has convinced me, more than ever, that a secure, peaceful, and modernized China is vital to stability in the Asian-Pacific region. My nine-day trip, taken at the invitation of the National People's Congress, enabled me to explore ways to strengthen further cooperation between the United States and China. Our growing relationship with China can benefit both nations' economies through increased trade and business investment, and it can contribute to stability in international affairs. There are several areas of potential cooperation between the United States and China, including the addition of consular offices in each country. Normalization of relations also should envision civil aviation and maritime agreements, as well as a bilateral business practices accord relating to investment. In international affairs, Premier Hua Guofeng and other top Chinese leaders said they shared our country's outrage over the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan. The Chinese Premier also expressed the fear that the Soviets were attempting to transform Vietnam into the Cuba of the Orient. There is clearly a convergence of strategic interests between the United States and China, and a shared view of significant aspects of current world affairs. China, representing one-fourth of the world's people, has an increasingly important role to play in the international arena, and along with Japan, has a particularly significant role in the Asian-Pacific region. There will be no turning back the clock in the growing Sino-American relationship, which has been carried forward by two Republican and Democratic Administrations. Its maturization is, and should be, a fundamental element of U.S. foreign policy. The United States will work to help China achieve its 20-year modernization program and to increase trade between our countries. This cooperation will contribute to greater international stability, and it will add to our mutual security interests.