Speech by Ambassador Cui Tiankai at the 25th Anniversary Award Gala of the Committee of 100
2015/04/09

Dr. Kissinger,

Chairman Kwan of the Committee of 100,

Friends from the Committee,

Ladies and gentlemen,

 

It is indeed a great honor for me to be invited to address this distinguished group, a group of prominent Chinese Americans who are leaders in a variety of fields, and a group of "cultural ambassadors" dedicated to the promotion of constructive exchange and better mutual understanding between the peoples of the United States and Greater China. Thank you for giving me this honor.

The honor is even more unique for me as I have this opportunity to speak after Dr. Henry Kissinger. I recall our most recent encounter in Beijing just three weeks ago when President Xi jinping met with the Doctor again. Over the past four decades and more, the growth of relations between our two great countries has been closely associated with and benefited enormously from the vision and wisdom of Dr. Kissinger. For generations of Chinese and Americans alike, you are a great pioneer and a respected mentor, a distinguished scholar who has a deep understanding of China and a wise statesman who knows how to steer forward the China-US relationship through numerous challenges. We are all deeply indebted to you and thank you for being with us tonight.

I also want to express my special thanks to I M Pei, one of the co-founders of the Committee. Thank you very much for giving us a magnificent new embassy in Washington DC.

We are gathered here tonight to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Committee of 100. For a quarter of a century, the Committee has dedicated itself to the spirit of excellence and achievement in America. Your success stories are examples of full participation of Chinese Americans in American society. Your achievements show how far and how high one can go with devotion and persistence. You are a great source of inspiration for the entire Chinese-American community and for all people of Chinese origin living in so many parts of the world.

Moreover, the Committee has served as a bridge for mutual understanding between China and the United States. Obviously, our two nations have very different cultural heritages and are at different stages of economic development. Yet we have growing mutual needs and common interests in this globalized world. And despite the apparent differences, our peoples actually share many qualities for success, such as optimism, self-confidence and a strong belief in hard work. The Committee has done a good job in promoting such mutual understanding and appreciation between us, winning respect and recognition from both sides of the Pacific. I wish to take this opportunity to pay high tribute to the founders and members of the Committee of 100 for your contribution to building up the foundations of this most important relationship.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The number 100 has special meanings in the Chinese culture. It could indicate a great length of time. It may signify the complexities of a formidable task. It could stand for a lofty goal. And it may represent a high level of achievement or even a degree of perfection. I guess the founders of the Committee of 100 may well have all this in mind when they chose its name.

In China's modernization drive, this number of 100 has taken on a historic dimension. When Mr. Deng Xiaoping launched reform and open-up in China in the late 1970s, he declared that the country should be unswerving in pursuit of economic and social development for at least 100 years. We are still following his wise advice. Today's China has two centenary goals: one is to complete the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects by the year 2021, when the Communist Party of China celebrates its 100th anniversary; the other is to build China into a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced and harmonious by the year 2049, when the People's Republic of China marks its centenary.

To realize these goals, we are working for coordinated progress on economic, political, cultural, social and ecological fronts. We are comprehensively deepening our reform. We are advancing law-based governance. And we are enforcing strict Party conduct. These efforts are interrelated and mutually reinforcing. Their impact is far-reaching. They are motivated by the aspirations of an ancient civilization to modernize itself while preserving its distinctive characteristics. They embody the commitment of the ruling party of the most populous country in the world to keep its roots firmly in the people while shouldering the historic mission of national rejuvenation.

Today we are closer than ever before to the realization of these centenary goals, But we know that for a hundred-mile journey, ninety miles is only half way through. The responsibility of this generation of Chinese is to redouble our efforts and bring the long march to the culmination when the Chinese dream comes true.

The centenary goals dictate the nature of China's policies, both domestic and foreign. As President Xi pointed out at the Boao Forum for Asia about two weeks ago, what China needs most is a harmonious and stable domestic environment and a peaceful and tranquil international environment. Turbulence or war runs against the fundamental interests of the Chinese people. He noted the lesson of history that no country that tried to achieve its goal with force ever succeeded. He reaffirmed that China will be steadfast in pursuing the independent foreign policy of peace, the path of peaceful development, the win-win strategy of open-up, and the approach of upholding justice while pursuing shared interests.

What does all this mean for America and China-US relations? The answer is clear and simple: great opportunities. The rise of China has not only lifted China itself once and for all out of poverty and chaos that beset the country over 100 years since the mid-19th century, it is also bringing to the world stage the success story of one fifth of humanity, a new and powerful global economic engine, a staunch force for international peace and stability, and a great partner for the community of nations, including the United States, in the joint response to the challenges of the day.

What China seeks is to rise from its own past, not to challenge or threaten anyone else. We support and benefit from the existing international order. We advocate necessary reform, not to reject the current order, but to make it better suited to the changing realities of the 21st century. We recognize and respect America's prominent role in the world and believe that all countries should show respect for each other's legitimate interests. We stand for win-win cooperation rather than zero-sum games among nations, especially among major powers.

Such is the rationale behind the proposal for a new model of relationship between China and the United States. We are encouraged to see that the two Presidents, through their strategic communication, are giving guidance to this new endeavor and that practical cooperation between the two sides in a growing range of areas is translating this visionary concept into reality. Together we are now making preparations for President Xi's state visit to the United States in September this year. I am confident that the visit will be a milestone in the relationship and will open up new prospects for mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries.

The new model of relationship requires firm commitment by the two governments. It also needs strong and wide support from the general public in both countries. Here the Committee of 100 has a truly unique role to play. Your leadership in various fields and the cross-culture bridge you have been building for the last 25 years will help bring about deeper mutual understanding between the two peoples and greater public awareness of the significance of this new model of relationship. Let's pool our efforts to make sure that our two countries will seize the once-in-a-hundred-years opportunity to build a better future not only for ourselves, but also for the entire world.

Thank you.

 

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