Address at Reception Hosted by the Chinese Embassy

Liu Yandong

Washington D.C., 12 April 2011


Distinguished Guests,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends,

It is a great pleasure to attend today's reception, meeting old friends and making new ones. I see among you trailblazers of China-US diplomatic ties as well as those who carried forward this friendship. As participants in and witnesses to the remarkable development of our bilateral relations, you have all devoted your sincere and continuous efforts. Your strategic vision, wisdom and courage command our greatest admiration, and your tremendous accomplishment and historic contribution will always be remembered by the Chinese people. I myself have had the privilege of talking with many of you present today, and have been inspired by your insightful thoughts. I wish to take this opportunity to pay my respect and express my heartfelt thanks to you all.

I have come to the United States at your government's invitation to follow through on the important agreement reached by President Hu Jintao and President Barack Obama, enhance people-to-people exchanges and promote China-US cooperative partnership. This noon, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and I hosted the second meeting of the China-US High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange. We reached broad consensus and agreed on a host of new exchange programs. They are future-oriented, long-term programs that facilitate cooperation in education, culture, science and technology, women and youth affairs and encourage participation from governments, schools, enterprises and communities. We do expect another boom in exchanges between the peoples of our two countries. A Chinese philosopher once wrote, "The pond is so clear for fresh water flows in right from the source." When it comes to China-US friendship, people-to-people exchange is that life-injecting fresh water.

Forty years have passed since Dr. Henry Kissinger's secret trip to China and the "ping-pong diplomacy". Great changes have taken place in China-US relations. Today, China-US relationship has become one of the most vibrant and significant bilateral relationships in the world. China and the United States are interconnected and interdependent. Our interests are intertwined. The friendship between China and the United States not only benefits hundreds of millions of people of both countries but also exerts profound impact on politics, economy and security of the world.

As an ancient Chinese saying goes, "A man stood firm at thirty, and had no doubts at forty". China-US relationship is now more mature. Amid deepening globalization and increasing global issues, China, the biggest developing country, and the United States, the biggest developed country, have more common interest and share greater responsibilities. Our bilateral relations, therefore, carry greater strategic and global significance. Last January, the presidents of our two countries made a comprehensive plan for the development of the bilateral relations under the new circumstances. They decided to jointly establish a cooperative partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit. This is a demonstration of the vision of both sides.

China-US relationship is both important and complex. We have different ideological backgrounds, social systems and cultural traditions. We are not in the same stage of development. It is therefore only natural that we may have different views and disputes. The key to handling our relationship lies in the full recognition by the two sides of the importance to base our policies on mutual respect and mutual benefit rather than a conflict scenario. We should therefore stand at a strategic height, extend our vision, bear in mind the whole picture and develop bilateral relations in a spirit of cooperative partnership. We should work for mutual benefits, advance our common interest and make the pie bigger. We should respect each other, engage in candid discussions, seek common ground while reserving differences and properly manage differences. As long as both sides have the patience to sit down and talk with sincerity, there is nothing that we cannot work out.

Now, we have open channels for contact between our two countries. However, the exchanges and understanding between the people of our two countries are yet to catch up with the development of the bilateral relations. Friendship between countries has a solid base when it is rooted in the hearts of the people. A good China-US relationship needs popular support. It is based on such an understanding that the both sides turn their eyes to people-to-people exchange. The Chinese people believe that "amity between people holds the key to sound relations between states", and "true friends understand each other's heart". Therefore, "sincerity is vital to a lasting friendship". People-to-people exchange offers opportunities of face-to-face and heart-to-heart communication between real people. Present here today are all outstanding representatives of people-to-people exchange. You have made important contribution to the mutual understanding between China and the United States. It is our hope that you could continue to exert your influence and participate in and promote people-to-people exchange, so that the general public of both countries will view each other in a more objective light and there will be more popular support for the cooperative partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit. People-to-people exchange constitutes the third pillar of China-US relations, following political mutual trust and business cooperation, and together, the three pillars will make our cooperative partnership more solidly based, more sustainable and more vibrant.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The last century staged a dramatic rise and fall of major powers. I hope that when people look back at our time in this century, they will be told of two big countries respecting each other, and working for mutual benefit and for the good of the whole world. If we can make that happen, we can take pride in what we are doing today.

Once again, I wish to thank you for coming to today's reception. I sincerely hope to continue to benefit from your wisdom and contribution to China-US friendship and people-to-people exchange. We value old friends and we want to make more friends. We want to be good friends forever. Now I wish to propose a toast,

To the prosperity of China and the United States,

To the furtherance of China-US friendship from generation to generation,

To the health of all the distinguished guests and to the happiness of your families!


Thank you!


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