Speech by H.E. Xi Jinping Vice President of the People's Republic of China At Welcoming Luncheon Hosted by Friendly Organizations in the United States
Washington DC, 15 February 2012
Ambassador Carla Hills, Chair of the National Committee on US-China Relations,
Mr. Muhtar Kent, Chair of the US-China Business Council,
Dr. Henry Kissinger,
Secretary John Bryson,
Ambassador Gary Locke,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am delighted to meet you, friends from various friendly organizations, during my official visit to the United States. The National Committee on US-China Relations and the US-China Business Council had been promoting friendship and cooperation with China long before China-US diplomatic relations were established. The normalization and development of China-US relations would not have been possible without your tremendous contribution. I salute you for your efforts, and I wish to send warm greetings and express heartfelt appreciation to all the friendly organizations and American friends from various professions who have valued and supported the growth of China-US relations over the years.
I am paying an official visit to the United States at the invitation of Vice President Biden, and I have come to further implement the important agreement reached between President Hu Jintao and President Obama and advance the building of a cooperative partnership between China and the United States based on mutual respect and mutual benefit. During the visit, I had a meeting with President Obama and held talks with Vice President Biden. I also had separate meetings with Secretary of State Clinton, Secretary of Defense Panetta, Speaker of the House Boehner and Senator Reid. We had candid and in-depth discussions on many issues, reached new and important consensus and achieved fruitful results.
This afternoon, I will go to visit Iowa, which will be my second visit in 27 years. I am going to tell my old friends there that the "golden keys" presented to us by the representative of the Muscatine City Hall 27 years ago symbolized the opening of local exchanges and cooperation between our two countries. And today, there are already 38 sister province/state relationships and 176 pairs of sister cities between our two countries. Forty-seven out of the 50 American states have seen their exports to China grow several or even dozens of times over the past 10 years. This shows that once open, the door to local exchanges and cooperation between China and the United States cannot be closed by any force. On the contrary, it will only open wider and wider.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As a Chinese saying goes, when you drink water, don't forget those who dug the well. We will always cherish the memories of the older generations of Chinese and American leaders who, with extraordinary strategic vision and political wisdom, opened the door of friendship and cooperation between the two countries. Forty years ago, President Nixon paid a historic visit to China. His handshake across the Pacific with Chairman Mao Zedong and Premier Zhou Enlai and their strategic discussions broke the ice of long estrangement between the two countries. Over the past 40 years, especially over the past 33 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties, the friendship between our two peoples has deepened, our mutually beneficial cooperation has expanded, and our interests have become increasingly interconnected. All this has brought benefits to our two peoples and greatly promoted peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific and the world at large. Despite some twists and turns, China-US relations have on the whole kept moving forward, just like an unstoppable river that keeps surging ahead. At a time when people throughout the world call for peace and development, China-US friendship and cooperation accords with the general trend and popular will. It is a cause that cannot be stopped or reversed.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
China-US relations are now at a new historical starting point in this second decade of the 21 st century. In January last year, President Hu Jintao reached important agreement with President Obama on building a China-US cooperative partnership. We should work hard to implement the agreement between the two presidents, expand our shared interests and mutually beneficial cooperation, strive for new progress in building our cooperative partnership and make it a new type of relationship between major countries in the 21st century. To this end, our two sides need to make joint efforts in the following four areas:
First, we should steadily increase mutual understanding and strategic trust. According to a Chinese saying, "Without trust, one can achieve nothing." China and the United States have important interwoven interests. For us, strategic trust is the foundation for mutually beneficial cooperation, and greater trust will lead to broader cooperation. The two sides should increase mutual understanding and trust and reduce misunderstanding and suspicion. President Obama has stated on a number of occasions that the United States welcomes a strong, prosperous and successful China that plays a greater role in world affairs. Vice President Biden stressed in an article he wrote after his visit to China last August that China's rise is not America's demise. We in China hope to work with the US side to maintain close high-level exchanges. We hope to increase dialogue and exchange of views with the United States by making full use of our channels of communication, including the Strategic and Economic Dialogues, cultural and people-to-people exchanges, and military-to-military exchanges. By doing so, we can better appreciate each other's strategic intentions and development goals, avoid misinterpretation and misjudgment, build up mutual understanding and strategic trust, and on that basis, fully tap our enormous cooperation potential.
Second, we should respect each other's core interests and major concerns. George Washington, the first president of the United States, said that "actions, not words, are the true criterion of the attachment of friends". History shows that when we properly handle each other's core and major interests, China-US relations will grow smoothly. Otherwise, they will be in trouble. We hope that the United States will adhere to the three Sino-US Joint Communiques and the one China policy, oppose "Taiwan independence" and support the peaceful development of relations across the Taiwan Straits with concrete actions. We hope that the United States will truly honor its commitment of recognizing Tibet as part of China and opposing "Tibet independence", and will handle Tibet-related issues in a prudent and proper manner. Given the differences in current national conditions and in historical and cultural background between China and the United States, it is only natural that we have some differences on the issue of human rights. The history of mankind shows that the cause of human rights has been a process of continuous improvement. China and the United States should continue dialogue and exchanges to implement the consensus reached between our two presidents on respecting each other's development paths chosen in light of their national conditions, and improve the cause of human rights in both countries.
Third, we should work hard to deepen mutually beneficial cooperation. Mutual benefit is the defining feature of China-US exchanges and cooperation. Over the past 33 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations, trade between China and the United States has increased by over 180 times, reaching US$446.6 billion last year. And it is expected to top US$500 billion this year. In the last ten years, US exports to China have grown by 468%. China has become the fastest growing export market of the United States. Since the international financial crisis broke out, China has been taking measures to increase imports, especially imports from the United States. Investment and trade promotion delegations sent by the Chinese government to the United States every year from 2006 to 2011 have made purchases of more than US$100 billion. China's overall trade surplus has dropped from the pre-crisis level of over US$300 billion to US$150 billion in 2011. China's trade surplus-to-GDP ratio dropped from over 7% to 2%, and moved within the reasonable range by international standards. The reform of the RMB exchange rate formation mechanism has played an important role in this process. It is very important for addressing China-US trade imbalance that the United States adjusts its economic policies and structure, including removing various restrictions on exports to China, in particular, easing control on civilian high-tech exports to China as soon as possible. This will help balance China-US trade, stimulate economic growth and job creation in the United States and improve the balance of US international payments. China has proposed to the United States a framework for promoting two-way trade and investment. Our two sides need to continue to work together to tide over difficulties, advance our business cooperation to a higher level and broader areas, and create new highlights of mutually beneficial cooperation.
Fourth, we should steadily enhance coordination and cooperation in international affairs and on global issues. Our world is undergoing complex and profound changes. China and the United States should meet challenges together and share responsibilities in international affairs. This is what China-US cooperative partnership calls for and what the international community expects from us. China and the United States should enhance coordination regarding the situation on the Korean Peninsula, the Iranian nuclear issue and other hotspot issues through bilateral and multilateral mechanisms. We should increase cooperation on global issues such as climate change, counter-terrorism, cyber security, outer space security, energy and resources, public health, food security and disaster prevention and mitigation. We should jointly promote global peace, stability and common development and make the international system a more equitable, just, inclusive and orderly one. As the interests of China and the United States converge more closely in the Asia-Pacific than in anywhere else, this region should naturally become an important area where China and the United States engage in positive interactions and pursue mutually beneficial cooperation. China welcomes a constructive role by the United States in promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific. At the same time, we hope the United States will respect the interests and concerns of China and other countries in this region.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In the spring of 1992, when I was working in Fuzhou city in Fujian province, I came across an article entitled "My Guling" on a newspaper. It told a story about an American couple who tried but failed to revisit a place called Guling in China, which had a special place in their heart. Milton Gardner, the husband, was a professor of physics in the University of California. In 1901, his parents took him to China, and he had a happy childhood in Guling, Fuzhou, which left him with unforgettable memories. In 1911, the family returned to California. In the decades that followed, Milton Gardner had been longing to revisit his childhood home. However, he could not make it due to failing health. In the final days of his life, he kept uttering "Kuling, Kuling". His wife had no idea where this Kuling was, but still she went to China several times, hoping to find the place which meant so much to her late husband. But her efforts were in vain until finally a Chinese student in the United States helped her locate Guling. After I read their story, I immediately contacted Mrs. Gardner through relevant departments and invited her to visit Guling. I met her four months later in August 1992 and arranged for her to visit the place her husband had missed so much. There, she met nine childhood friends of Milton Gardner, all in their 90s, and listened to them reminiscing about the past. It was a happy occasion. Mrs. Gardner was so excited that she finally fulfilled her husband's last wish. And she said that she would cherish this bond of friendship between her husband and the people of China, because after seeing for herself the beautiful Guling and the warmth of the Chinese people, she now understood why her husband had been so deeply attached to China. I am sure there are many such touching stories between our two peoples. We should further strengthen our people-to-people exchanges and build even stronger public support for China-US mutually beneficial cooperation.
China is stepping up efforts to implement three projects that will each benefit 10,000 people, including giving scholarships to 10,000 American college students to study in China within four years, receiving 10,000 Americans in China as part of the "Chinese Bridge Scholarship" program and sending 10,000 Chinese students on government scholarships to the United States for doctoral degrees. The US government, on its part, has launched the "100,000 Strong" initiative. This augurs well for China-US exchanges and cooperation and means that there will be no lack of people to carry on this cause. I hope that more Chinese and Americans from all sectors will join in the cause of building China-US friendship. Let us seize opportunities, intensify exchanges, build trust, deepen cooperation and make China-US cooperative partnership grow from strength to strength!