The Belt & Road Initiative is a “valuable concept,” said former U.S. Senior Diplomat Charles W. Freeman. The BRI is “a means of developing commerce, increasing prosperity, reducing costs, making trade more efficient,” Freeman said.

Freeman was the Chief Interpreter for then U.S. President Richard Nixon during his 1972 maiden trip to China and served as Assistant Secretary of Defence in the 1990s.

“I think it’s very good. And I don’t think the United States can influence it by standing outside and cursing it,” Freeman said, adding that “we have to get inside and cooperate.”

Speaking of the Chinese dream, he said, “as I understand … it is to fulfil China’s potential. It is to realise a good life for Chinese. It is to achieve domestic tranquillity.”

“All of those things are entirely compatible with the American dream and, with American interests.”

A witness of the establishment of bilateral ties over four decades ago, Freeman said that Washington and Beijing may differ a lot, “but it’s still in our interest to cooperate.”