March 7, 2012
Ambassador Zhang Yesui,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is so good to see you through this video link. Modern technologies have brought us close to each other despite the vast distance between Beijing and Washington.
I am honored to attend this conference on China-U.S. relations hosted by the United States Institute of Peace, the Richard Nixon Foundation and the Kissinger Institute on China and the United States to mark the 40th anniversary of President Richard Nixon's visit to China and the issuance of the Shanghai Communiqué. It is so nice to be in your midst shortly after we saw each other during Vice President Xi Jinping's recent visit to the United States. I wish to express my heartfelt appreciation to you for your abiding commitment and long years of hard work to build up China-U.S. relations.
Forty years ago, President Nixon paid a historic visit to China, during which our two countries issued the epoch-making Shanghai Communiqué. With extraordinary strategic vision and political wisdom, the Chinese and American leaders broke the ice of estrangement between China and the United States and opened a new chapter in our bilateral relations. I was in my early 20s and was about to go to Britain to study when I heard the news. And I was very excited. That historic event has changed so many things, from the overall international environment to the lives of many ordinary people.
Forty years have passed since President Nixon's visit to China. Thanks to concerted efforts of both sides, China-U.S. relations have kept moving forward despite some ups and downs over these years. With strong vitality and great potential, our relationship has grown into one of the most important bilateral ties in the world today.
Frequent high-level exchanges and growing dialogue mechanisms have become a regular feature of the bilateral ties. Over the past 40 years and particularly the past few years, our leaders have maintained close contacts through mutual visits, meetings at multilateral occasions, telephone conversations, and letters. These high-level contacts have played an irreplaceable part in steering the growth of our bilateral ties. There are now over 60 bilateral dialogue and consultation mechanisms, including the Strategic and Economic Dialogues and the High-Level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange. These mechanisms cover political, economic, security, cultural and many other fields. Indeed, few other two countries can claim to have so many high-level dialogue mechanisms that cover such diverse fields.
Our trade and business ties are flourishing. At the time of the establishment of diplomatic relations, our two-way trade was only $2.45 billion. But it hit $446.6 billion last year, representing an increase of 182 times. Such strong business ties have brought real benefits to both sides. According to Chinese figures, the United States has invested a total of over $67 billion in China, bringing capital, technologies and expertise that serve China's needs in its economic development. The United States, too, has benefited from trade with China. Over the last decade, U.S. exports to China have grown by 468 percent, creating over 3 million jobs. The quality yet inexpensive Chinese goods have saved more than $600 billion for American consumers.