Speech at the Wilson Center Kissinger Institute

Dr. Kissinger,

General Scowcroft,

President Harman,

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure for me to join you here to launch the new logo of the Wilson Center Kissinger Institute on China and the United States. My warm congratulations to Dr. Kissinger, President Harman, Ambassador Roy--the founding Director of the Institute, and Director Daly for your great work and achievement over the years in advancing this relationship.

It is truly a special honor for me to be asked to write the Chinese character for the new logo. I am not qualified to be called a calligrapher in China. But I have accepted the request as a once-in-a-lifetime privilege and out of my heartfelt respect and admiration for Dr. Kissinger.

When Dr. Kissinger first visited China in July 1971, I was working in a remote rural area in China along the China-Soviet border. At that time, America and China-US relations seemed so far away from us. But somehow we got a sense that something was going to happen that might change our life. Now we all know that something big did happen after the visit.It has changed the world and made it a much better place for the entire international community, including your allies, our neighbors and our mutual friends. Above all, it has benefited the people of our two countries. And indeed it has changed the course of my life.

Today, all this may look obvious. Some may even take it for granted. But just imagine what strategic vision, wisdom and courage it took forty-three years ago for Dr. Kissinger and leaders of the two countries then to take the first step and open an entirely new path for relations between our two great countries. And just think how fortunate we are to have people like Dr. Kissinger and General Scowcroft to help keep the relationship on the right track in the last four decades and more, while the world has undergone tremendous transformation. We are all deeply indebted to you, Doctor, for your historic contribution to our two countries and the world.

Today, we still need such strategic perspective and consistency, or we may now need them more than ever, if we really want to reject the old zero-sum game, if we really want to free ourselves from the constraints of Cold-War mentality and confrontational alliances, if we really want to build a new model of relationship between us, and if we really want to carry on what Dr.Kissinger and so many others have tirelessly built up over all these years.

The Chinese character that I have written is the first character in the Chinese translation of Doctor Kissinger’ last name. This character “基” means a number of things in Chinese: basis, foundation, and what is fundamental. You have helped lay down a good foundation for the relationship, Doctor. On that basis, we should move forward. But we will always need your wise guidance, because that is fundamental for this important relationship.

With that in mind, and in a very humble way, may I now present this Chinese character to you, Doctor, and to the Institute.

Thank you very much.


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