'Business is business, politics is politics', says Chinese Vice-Premier to US

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 July, 2013, 6:05pm
UPDATED : Friday, 12 July, 2013, 6:48pm

Vice-Premier Wang Yang called on China and the United States to tackle economic disputes in a way similar to how he handles his role in his family and the Communist Party.

In an address to a dinner at the National Committee on US-China Relations, Wang said politicising economic issues would only lead to more confrontations. "Business is business, politics is politics," he said.

He went on to say that the situation was similar that which he encountered every day. "I am a Communist Party member. But when I am back home, I have to do what my wife asks me to do. “Because work and life are two separate things," he said.

Work and life are two separate things
Vice-Premier Wang Yang

Wang said his last trip to the US aimed to find common ground between the two nations, but the aim of this trip was to manage the differences, which he said would make the world more colourful.

“The US would not be the US if it only had Manhattan, but not Las Vegas," he said. "The world would not be the same if there was only Washington, but not Beijing.

Beijing had been implementing various economic reforms, but Washington should not expect them to be accomplished overnight, he said.

The US was a "teacher" of market economy with its more than 200 years of experience, but China was still a "student" with only 30 years of experience since its economic opening up, he said.

A man who is impatient cannot eat hot tofu
Chinese saying

If the two countries were in a boxing competition, they would not be in the "same weight class", he said.

Wang quoted the Chinese saying that "a man who is impatient cannot eat hot tofu" to illustrate the idea that an approach that is too radical will not lead to a positive result.

Aware that most of his US audiences did not understand the Chinese phrase, he asked them to try the dish in restaurants in Chinatown or China.

In the Sino-US strategic and economic dialogue held on Wednesday, Wang likened his relationship with US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew to a straight couple.

At the dinner, he simply said he and Lew had now become friends.

“For the next stage [of the relationship], we will aim to be brothers, and for the third stage, we will become sworn brothers,” he said.