THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
(Beijing, People's Republic of China)
For Immediate Release
June 27, 1998
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
IN TOAST AT STATE DINNER
Banquet Hall of the Great Hall of the People
Beijing, People's Republic of China
THE PRESIDENT: President Jiang, Madame Wang, members of the Chinese
government, fellow guests -- I am honored to be here representing the
people of the United States in the Great Hall of the People, which reflects
the impressive progress of the Chinese people in the 20th century.
We Americans first saw it on our televisions 26 years ago when
President Nixon became the first American leader to visit China. Those were
the very first live pictures of China ever seen in my country. Across the
United States, Americans were filled with great hope as relations resumed
between our two great nations.
That visit changed history. It reminded us of the warmth each nation
felt for the other -- long before the Cold War. It recalled our alliance in
World War II and our long history of commercial relations dating back to
the infancy of the United States. We were trading together before our
Constitution was written. Even the tea that our founding fathers threw into
the Boston Harbor in 1773 to protest British taxes was from China.
For most of our history we have looked upon China as a distant friend
across the sea. As the Bamboo Curtain opened, Americans and Chinese learned
about each other all over again. Starting with pandas and ping pong
players, we have built a broad and friendly relationship.
Today China and the United States cooperate across a wide range of
enterprises -- in business, in the arts, in the academic world, and in the
personal friendship that unites Chinese and Americans. More than 1 million
Americans trace their roots to China. Every day, Chinese Americans build a
better America -- as entrepreneurs and architects, artists and public
servants. And we form lifelong bonds with the thousands of Chinese students
who study with us every year, teaching us their culture as they learn from
Americans are proud that many of China's leaders spent time in the
United States. Dr. Sun Yat Sen visited six times between 1896 and 1911, and
he was in Denver when he learned he would become China's new leader. The
great teacher, Hu?hi, was a student in New York when he pioneered a new
system of expressing vernacular Chinese, an idea that changed China
forever. I look forward to seeing Beijing University during its centennial
year, a monument to Hu?hi and so many other friends of America.
As two great nations, the world looks to us to set a good example. In
the last few months, we have seen how much we can and must do together --
in our strong response to the crisis in India and Pakistan, our efforts for
lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula, our cooperation to stem the flow of
dangerous weapons around the world. In so many different ways, we are
upholding the teachings of Mencius, who said: "A good citizen in one
community will befriend the other citizens of the community; a good citizen
of the world will befriend the other citizens of the world."
Mr. President, the American people admire the great strides China has
taken. Your people are leading lives inconceivable just a generation ago.
Your phenomenal growth over 20 years has opened new worlds of possibility
-- for jobs, for more schools, for greater mobility, for instant access to
the outside world. We Americans appreciate the mutual respect of our
relationship -- a relationship based on cooperation, candor, and
recognition of each nation's values and traditions.
An ancient Chinese proverb tell us: "Be not afraid of growing slowly;
be only afraid of standing still." Let us commit to keep moving forward
together, turning small steps into giant strides for our people, our
nations, and the world.
I ask you now to please join me in a toast to the president and the
first lady of the People's Republic of China and to the friendship joining
our two peoples and the future we will build together.