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A speech delivered by Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr. at Shanghai Normal University

 

Thank you for the kind introduction. There is a Confucian aphorism (use phrase) that means when all is well with the family, all is well under Heaven. Today, among new friends here at Shanghai Normal University, I can tell that things are well among your school family and under Heaven.

In the early 1980's I worked in the White House for President Reagan. I soon found myself here in your beautiful and vibrant city, preparing for President Reagan's speech that was to take place just across Shanghai at Fudan University. We stayed at the old Jin Jiang Hotel and visited Pudong where there wasn't a building in sight.

It was a balmy, breezy day in late April when President Reagan gave his remarks. I remember well standing in the auditorium waiting for his speech to begin. The respectful audience consisted primarily of students your age, as well as school officials, government leaders and, of course, a curious group from the international media. All were anxious to hear the leader of the United States of America deliver a major address in China. All were anxious to learn of his perspective of the new relationship between the People's Republic of China and the United States of America.

President Reagan was a man of principles and vision. And, not surprisingly, his insightful remarks are as relevant today as they were almost a quarter century ago.

He noted: "We are two great and huge nations on opposite sides of the globe. We are both countries of great vitality and strength. You are the most populous country on Earth; we are the most technologically developed. Each of us holds a special weight in our respective sides of the world."

President Reagan also commented on how "We live in a troubled world, and the United States and China share a special responsibility to help reduce the risks of war." He added, "A nuclear war cannot be won and must never be fought. And no matter how great the obstacles may seem, we must never stop our efforts to reduce the weapons of war. We must never stop at all until we see the day when nuclear arms have been banished from the face of the Earth." I agreed then, and I agree now.

President Reagan's words spoken long ago were almost prophetic considering the news coming from one of your neighboring countries. North Korea's recent actions make the world less safe, less stable, and pose a threat not only to this region but to all of humankind. The possibility of North Korea possessing nuclear weapons coupled with their threats to use them is a hostile act that neither China nor the United States can ignore or tolerate.

Working together, we must take the appropriate steps necessary to ensure that harmony and peace prevail in this region.

Without China and the United States working together - a positive solution is simply impossible.

And in order for the United States and China to maintain a constructive relationship, I believe the following elements must exist.

1. First, we need to continue to build and strengthen the bridge that exists, now a generation old, between our two great nations. This includes not demonizing each other when things go wrong. Our bilateral relationship will have its challenges, like any other, but our shared interests must be solid enough to weather the storms.

2. Second, we must acknowledge the leadership roles that our two countries play in the world - and how together we can promote peace, economic prosperity, and advance multilateral diplomacy. Whether you recognize it or not, our two countries are poised like never before to shape a better tomorrow.

The United States and China have responsibilities to the other nations of the world, to forge a future built on real issues and a consistent dialogue undertaken at the highest levels of government and civil society. We must forge a future of ideas and philosophical debate that envisions long-term prosperity for the world's developing partners and her post-industrialized states. We must look to interdependence for trade and environmental well being. Long gone are the days when prosperity could be viewed through the lense of nationalistic prowess. The lense is now a prism.

3. Third, both nations need to continue to embrace the economic successes that are taking place, realizing that with economic strength comes the ability to perform acts of generosity in the world - such as curing diseases that afflict underdeveloped nations like AIDS and malaria, fighting poverty, and developing environmental standards that will sustain the next generation.

4. And finally, we must strengthen our efforts to understand the cultural divide that sometimes stands between us. (Chinese aphorism) Our histories and traditions are very different, but nonetheless must allow us to arrive at similar destinations on the big challenges of the day. Beyond the hard power issues like global security, our dialogue must increasingly include the so-called soft power issues as well.

While hard power is still an important factor and will continue to play a critical role to ensure that rogue countries and terrorists do not hold hostage law-abiding nations, soft power will ultimately rule the 21st century - the power of ideas, philosophy, and mutual interdependence.

For example, as leading stakeholders in the international community, the United States and China must be good examples and stewards of the Earth. We must match economic progress with environmental stewardship. The effects of industrialization are felt worldwide. In the United States our smokestacks of the Midwest caused acid rain and the destruction of our forests in the Northeast. And even in my home state, Utah - placed in the western mountain region of the United States, our state environmental regulatory agency recently had to issue warnings about consuming water fowl from our Great Salt Lake region due to high concentrations of mercury in the water, the first issuance of such a warning in the entire United States. Where is the mercury coming from, neighboring states? Local industry? No! The mercury is blowing in from Asia; a direct result of the construction and industrialization taking place there. A stark result of how we are all interconnected.

In 1984, President Reagan said, "To many Americans, China is still a faraway place, unknown, unseen, and fascinating."

35 years following the Shanghai Communique, signed not far from here, 22 years since President Reagan's visit to Fudan University, and years since China joined the World Trade Organization, Americans still have an enormous fascination with the mystery surrounding China.

Thanks to increased trade and tourism, the mystery surrounding China is being replaced with friendships and deeper understanding. For example, in 1984 there were 10,000 Chinese students attending colleges or universities in the United States. There were only 20 American students studying in comparable Chinese institutions. Twenty years later more than 62,000 Chinese students are studying in the United States, and 13,000 American students are learning from your universities. Today we will be signing a scholarship that adds to this number and solidifies our commitment to building a lasting bridge between our two countries.

And if these numbers weren't enough, soon the Summer Olympic Games will be held in Beijing. The state I am honored to serve as Governor, the State of Utah, knows a little bit about hosting the Olympic Games. A few years ago, our capitol city, Salt Lake City, served as the host of the Winter Olympics. As was the case in our state, the world will watch with a critical eye. The world learned, like never before, that Utah is the crossroads of the American West. A state of stunning mountains and desert landscapes that are unlike anyplace else on Earth. A state that embodies the characteristics of Americans that President Reagan shared with your country 22 years ago.

We are a fair-minded people.

We're idealistic.

We're a compassionate people.

We're an optimistic people.

Let me conclude by sharing a personal story. (Adoption of Gracie Mei).

When I look at Gracie Mei, I do not see a child that looks different than my other children. I do not see someone who is of Chinese descent instead of Northern European ancestry. When I see Gracie Mei, I see my daughter. I see someone whose heart beats just like mine and whose spirit is just as resilient - whether it was born in rural China, like hers, or urban California, like mine. Nor do I judge her based upon any interpretation of the role of the individual in society - derived from Confucian or Jeffersonian ideals.

Rather, I see my Chinese daughter through a prism of common humanity and understanding. A reminder that the most important thing you will do with your education or that I will do as an elected official, is to improve the human condition - through better economic opportunity, education, quality of life, and security - regardless of which side of the Pacific we came from.

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