Remarks by President Obama and President Hu of the People’s Republic of China at State Dinner

Washington, D.C.–(ENEWSPF)–January 19, 2011 – 7:51 P.M. EST

PRESIDENT OBAMA:  Good evening, everybody.  Please have a seat.  On behalf of Michelle and myself, welcome to the White House.  And thank you for joining us as we host President Hu and the Chinese delegation, and as we pay tribute to the bonds between two great nations and two proud peoples.

There are too many distinguished guests to mention all of you tonight.  But I do want to acknowledge a few who have championed relations between our nations:  First of all, President Jimmy Carter and his wonderful wife Rosalynn Carter are here.  (Applause.)  As well as President Bill Clinton and my outstanding Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.  (Applause.)   

President Hu, we have met today in a spirit of mutual respect:  the United States — the oldest democracy in the world, and China — one of the oldest civilizations in the world.  And while it’s easy to focus on our differences of culture and perspective, let us never forget the values that our people share:  A reverence for family; the belief that, with education and hard work and with sacrifice, the future is what we make it; and most of all, the desire to give our children a better life.  

Let’s also never forget that throughout our history our people have worked together for mutual progress.  We’ve traded together for more than 200 years.  We stood together in the Second World War.  Chinese immigrants and Chinese Americans have helped to build America, including many who join us here tonight.

The Chinese and American people work together and create new opportunities together every single day.  Mr. President, today we’ve shown that our governments can work together as well, for our mutual benefit.  And that includes this bit of news -— under a new agreement, our National Zoo will continue to dazzle children and visitors with the beloved giant pandas.  (Applause.)    

I’m told that there is a Chinese proverb that says:  If you want one year of prosperity, then grow grain.  If you want 10 years of prosperity, then grow trees.  But if you want 100 years of prosperity, then you grow people.   

And so I propose a toast — to our people, the citizens of the People’s Republic of China and the United States of America. May they grow together in friendship.  May they prosper together in peace.  And may they realize their dream of the future for themselves, for their children, and for their grandchildren.   

Ganbei.  (Applause.)  

PRESIDENT HU:  (As translated.)  President Obama and Mrs. Obama, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, good evening.  I am delighted to once again come to the United States and pay a state visit at the invitation of President Obama.

Since setting foot on this beautiful land, we have received the gracious hospitality of the U.S. government and people.   This evening President Obama is hosting this welcoming dinner for us, and has just made warm remarks.  On behalf of my colleagues and in my own name, I want to express heartfelt thanks to President and Mrs. Obama and other American friends present today.

I also wish to convey through you the best wishes of the Chinese people to the friendly American people and extend cordial greetings to people from various sectors of the United States who have given care and support to the growth of U.S.-China relations.

The purpose of my visit is to increase mutual trust, enhance friendship, deepen cooperation and advance the positive, cooperative and comprehensive China-U.S. relationship for the 21st century.  

In recent years, particularly over the past two years since President Obama took office, China-U.S. relations have made strong headway, thanks to the joint efforts of both sides.  

We have increased exchanges in cooperation in a wide range of areas, maintained close communication and coordination on major international and regional issues, and played a positive role in promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia Pacific region and the whole world.

Under the current circumstances, our two countries share broader common interests, show their bigger common responsibilities, and face more severe common challenges than at any time in history.  As a result, it is more important than ever for us to maintain the long-term, sound and steady growth of our bilateral relations.  This is the reality we face, and it should be recognized by both sides.

This morning President Obama and I had an in-depth exchange of views on China-U.S. relations and international and regional issues of common interest.  And we reached important agreement.  We agreed that our two countries should increase contacts at the top and other levels, strengthen strategic mutual trust through dialogue and communication, intensify exchanges and cooperation in all fields, and step up communication and coordination on international and regional issues.

We agreed that the two countries should respect each other’s sovereignty, territorial integrity and the development interests, properly handle differences and frictions, and work together to build a China-U.S. cooperative partnership based on mutual respect and mutual benefit.

China-U.S. relations have traveled a extraordinary journey in the past 32 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties. A review of the history of our relations shows that we have far more common interests than differences, and cooperation for mutual benefit as always being the mainstream of our relations.  This has reinforced our confidence in further pushing forward our relationship.

Today both China and the United States are confronted with the arduous task of sustaining steady economic growth and achieving economic transformation.  And we both need to tackle the various challenges brought by economic globalization.  This has added to our need and desire to enhance cooperation.

We should pursue our relations with a stronger conviction, a broader vision and more proactive approach.  We need to take solid steps and make pioneering efforts to fully tap the potential of cooperation and strive for new progress in China-U.S. relations.

I am confident that with joint efforts, a China-U.S. cooperative partnership will yield bountiful fruits for the greater benefit of our people, and make new and bigger contribution to the noble cause of world peace and development.

Now I’d like to propose a toast — to the health of President and Mrs. Obama; to the health of all friends present here; to the stronger friendship between the people of China and the United States; and to the steady growth of China-U.S. relations.  

Cheers.  (Applause.)

8:08 P.M. EST