Remarks by President Clinton and President Jiang Zemin at arrival ceremony
10:18 A.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: President Jiang, Mrs. Wang, members of the Chinese delegation, welcome to the White House, and welcome to America. Mr. President, your visit gives us both an opportunity and a responsibility. At the dawn of a new century and a new millennium, let us strengthen the bonds between us; let us pursue common causes; let us address our differences openly and with respect; let us build a better world for our children.
We admire the progress China has made in such a short time. Your reforms have lifted millions from poverty, offering better housing and better schools. The Chinese people enjoy today a better standard of living than at any time in China's history. China is playing a stronger role in the community of nations, from promoting peace in Korea and Cambodia, to fighting international crime and drug trafficking. Hundreds of international organizations now benefit from Chinese participation, and we welcome tens of thousands of Chinese students to the United States every year. They come to learn, but they also teach us a lot and they teach a lot especially to our young people with whom they will shape the future.
Mr. President, our challenge is to build on this progress for the benefit of China, the United States and the world. For even as we admire the Great Wall of China, we must work to ensure that fewer and fewer barriers separate us.
Both our countries can best advance our interests and our values by working together rather than standing apart. For together we can lay the groundwork for a safer, better world, where peace prevails and prosperity grows; where we join to fight the threats that none of us can conquer alone; where all our children enjoy clean air, clean water, and a healthy future; and where people are treated with dignity, free to express their beliefs and observe their faiths.
Mr. President, Chinese immigrants who came here in the 19th century called America "the Golden Mountain." They made their dream a reality when they helped to build San Francisco into a thriving cosmopolitan city on a hill. Since then our people have climbed many mountains together. When you laid a wreath at Pearl Harbor, you paid tribute to the alliance between our people that brought victory in World War II. Now, on the verge of a new century, our two great nations must join our strength again.
As we cast our eyes over the horizon and toward the future, one thing is absolutely clear: China, with its ancient civilization and renewed economic and political vigor, will have a profound influence on the new world of the 21st century. How China defines its greatness will shape the future for all the world's children.
Mr. President, together, we can make this new era the brightest chapter in China's long and rich history, the best days America has ever known, and a new age of unprecedented peace and prosperity for all the world. That, Mr. President, is the future we hope for as we welcome you to the United States. (Applause.)
PRESIDENT JIANG: Mr. President and Mrs. Clinton, ladies and gentlemen. Let me thank you, Mr. President, for your kind invitation. It is with great pleasure that I have come to the United States of America for a state visit. I wish to take this opportunity to convey to the great American people the cordial greetings and best wishes of the 1.2 billion Chinese people.
Eighteen years ago, Mr. Deng Xiaoping solemnly announced here that a new era for Sino-American relations had begun. Today the Chinese people have sent me on this mission to the United States to enhance mutual understanding, broaden common ground, develop cooperation, and build a future together, and to bring our relationship into a new stage of development.
On the eve of the 21st century, people all over the world are looking forward to a new century full of hope and our planet blessed with peace, tranquility and prosperity for mankind. Both China and the United State are countries that carry considerable weight in the world. In the new international situation, the shared interests between China and the United States have increased, rather than decreased. Our potential for cooperation has expanded, rather than diminished. Our two countries share broad common interests and shoulder a common responsibility on major issues bearing upon human survival and development. All the people in the world and persons of insight are following closely the course of development of China-U.S. relations. We should view and handle our relations from an historical height and with a strategic perspective.
The past quarter of a century has witnessed the conclusion of three China-U.S. joint communiques which facilitated expansion of our exchanges and cooperation in various fields and proper handling of differences between our two countries. I believe that so long as we continue to strictly abide by the principles as set forth in the three China-U.S. joint communiques, China-U.S. relations will advance steadily and soundly.
I hope that the development of China-U.S will positively promote mutual respect, peaceful coexistence and common development of all countries in the world, different in history, culture, social system and level of development. Let us, the Chinese and the Americans, join hands and, together, with people around the world, work hard to bring about a new century of peace, stability and prosperity.
Allow me to thank you, Mr. President, once again for your warm welcome. Thank you all. (Applause.)