——Speech at the joint welcome banquet of American friendship groups
(November 15, 2023, San Francisco)
President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping:
Ladies and gentlemen, friends:
I am very happy to meet friends from all walks of life in the United States in San Francisco and share friendship and friendship. My first visit to the United States in 1985 was through San Francisco. My first impression of the United States came from San Francisco. I still have a photo of me at the Golden Gate Bridge.
First of all, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks to the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, the National Committee on U.S.-China Business, the Asia Society, the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Chamber of Commerce and other friendly groups that organized this event! I would like to express my sincere greetings to the American friends who have long been committed to the development of Sino-US relations! Best wishes to the friendly American people!
San Francisco has witnessed a century-old history of exchanges between the peoples of China and the United States. 158 years ago, a large number of Chinese workers came to the United States to build the Pacific Railway connecting the east and west coasts. They built the oldest Chinatown in the Western Hemisphere in San Francisco. Starting from here, China and the United States have developed bilateral trade of US$760 billion and accumulated two-way investment of more than US$260 billion, established 284 pairs of sister provinces, states and sister cities, with a maximum of more than 300 flights per week and more than 5 million passengers per year. of mutual interactions. This is a magnificent picture drawn by nearly a quarter of the world’s population.
San Francisco has witnessed the efforts of China and the United States to build a better world. 78 years ago, after joining hands to defeat fascism and militarism, China and the United States jointly participated in the San Francisco Constitutional Convention and promoted the establishment of the United Nations. China was the first to sign the United Nations Charter. Starting from here, the international order after World War II was established, more than 100 countries successively achieved national independence, billions of people were finally lifted out of poverty, and the force for world peace, development and progress continued to grow. This is a fruitful achievement achieved by the people of all countries and the international community.
Ladies and gentlemen, friends!
The foundation of Sino-US relations is laid by the people. During World War II, our two countries fought together for peace and justice. General Chennault led American volunteers to the Chinese battlefield and formed the famous Flying Tigers. Not only did they directly fight the Japanese invaders, they also established a hump route to transport urgently needed supplies to China. More than 1,000 Chinese and American aircrews died on this route. After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, 16 U.S. Air Force B-25 bombers attacked Japan in 1942. Due to lack of fuel, Lieutenant Colonel Doolittle and other pilots abandoned the plane and parachuted in China. The Chinese soldiers and civilians fought bravely to rescue them. As a result, the Japanese army massacred 250,000 Chinese civilians. . The Chinese people have not forgotten the Flying Tigers. We built a special memorial hall in Chongqing and invited more than 1,000 Flying Tigers veterans and their families to return to China. I have been exchanging letters with some of them. Recently, Flying Tigers veterans, 103-year-old Moyer and 98-year-old McMullen came to China and climbed the Great Wall, and were warmly welcomed by the Chinese people. The American people have not forgotten the Chinese people who risked their lives to rescue American soldiers. There is an Operation Doolittle Memorial Hall in Quzhou, Zhejiang. Descendants of the American soldiers who were rescued often come here to pay their respects to the Chinese people who fought bravely for justice. I believe that the friendship between the peoples of China and the United States forged in blood and fire will be passed down from generation to generation.
The door to Sino-US relations is opened by the people. The two countries were separated and opposed for 22 years. It is the trend of the times that brings us toward each other, it is common interests that allow China and the United States to transcend differences, and it is the people’s desire that allows the two countries to break the ice. In 1971, the American table tennis delegation came to Beijing, and the small ball turned the big ball. Shortly thereafter, the first delegation of U.S. Congressmen came, led by Mr. Mansfield, the first delegation of U.S. governors, including Iowa Governor Robert Ray, and many business people came, It set off a wave of friendly exchanges between China and the United States. After the world emerged from the COVID-19 pandemic, I met with Dr. Kissinger and Mr. Bill Gates in Beijing. I also met with Mr. Schumer and several other senators, as well as Governor Newsom. I told them that the hope of Sino-US relations lies in the people, the foundation lies in the people, the future lies in the youth, and the vitality lies in the localities. I welcome more U.S. governors and congressmen to visit China, and I welcome American people from all walks of life to visit China.
The story of Sino-US relations is written by the people. When I first visited the United States, I stayed at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Dvorcheck in Iowa. I still remember that the house number was 2911 Bonny Street. This was my first face-to-face contact with the American people, and it was also an unforgettable experience for me and the American people living together. To me, they are America. I also found that although the two countries have different histories, cultures, social systems, and development paths, their people are kind, friendly, hardworking, and pragmatic. They both love their motherland, their families, and their lives, and they both have a good impression and interest in each other. It is the trickle-down flow of goodwill and friendship that makes the vast Pacific no longer a natural chasm; it is the people’s two-way rush that makes Sino-US relations return to the right track from the trough time and time again. I believe that once the door to Sino-US relations is opened, it will never be closed again. Once the cause of friendship between the two peoples is started, it will not be abandoned halfway. The tree of people-to-people friendship has grown up and will surely withstand the ups and downs.
The future of Sino-US relations is created by the people. The more difficult times are, the more necessary it is to tighten the bonds between people and enhance people-to-people communication, and the more necessary it is for more people to stand up and advocate for Sino-US relations. We need to build more bridges and pave more roads for people-to-people exchanges, instead of erecting various obstacles and creating a “chilling effect.” I reached an important consensus with President Biden today. The two countries will launch more measures to facilitate personnel exchanges and promote people-to-people and cultural exchanges, including increasing direct passenger flights between China and the United States, holding a China-US high-level tourism dialogue, and optimizing the visa application process. We look forward to more visits, exchanges and exchanges between the two peoples, so as to jointly continue to write the story of friendship between the two peoples in the new era! I also look forward to California and San Francisco continuing to take the lead in the journey of Sino-US friendship!
Ladies and gentlemen, friends!
We are in an era full of challenges and changes, but also an era full of hope. The future of the world requires cooperation between China and the United States. As the largest developing and developed countries in the world, China and the United States must deal with each other well. In the face of a world intertwined with chaos, China and the United States need to have a broad mind, demonstrate the pattern of major powers, assume the responsibilities of major powers, and play their role as major powers.
I have been thinking about how to make the giant ship of China-US relations avoid reefs and shoals, sail through strong winds and waves, and not yaw, stall, or collide? The first thing to answer is whether China and the United States are rivals or partners. This is a fundamental and general issue. The reason is simple. If we regard the other party as the most important competitor, the most significant geopolitical challenge and an ever-increasing threat, it will inevitably lead to wrong policies, wrong actions and wrong results. China is willing to be a partner and friend with the United States. The fundamental principles we follow in handling Sino-US relations are mutual respect, peaceful coexistence, and win-win cooperation.
Mutual respect is the basic etiquette for people to deal with each other, and it is also the minimum principle for China and the United States to get along. The United States has a unique history, culture and geographical location that have shaped its own development path and social system, which we fully respect. The path of socialism with Chinese characteristics is guided by the theory of scientific socialism and is rooted in the Chinese civilization that has lasted for more than 5,000 years. We are also proud of it. The two paths are different, but both are choices made by the people, both lead to the common values of all mankind, and both should be respected.
Peaceful coexistence is the basic norm of international relations, and it is the bottom line that China and the United States must adhere to. To regard China, which insists on peaceful development, as a threat and engage in a zero-sum game in which you lose and I win, and you rise and I decline, is to go astray. China never bets on the United States, never interferes in the internal affairs of the United States, and has no intention to challenge or replace the United States. China is happy to see a confident, open, developing and prosperous United States. Similarly, the United States should not bet on China to lose or interfere in China’s internal affairs. It should welcome a peaceful, stable and prosperous China.
Win-win cooperation is the trend of the times and the foundation of China-US relations. China is committed to high-quality development, and the United States is also working to revitalize the economy. There is unlimited space for cooperation between the two sides, and they can achieve mutual success and win-win results. The Belt and Road Initiative, as well as the global development initiative, global security initiative, and global civilization initiative proposed by China, have always been open to all countries, including the United States. China is also willing to participate in the multilateral cooperation initiatives proposed by the United States. This morning, President Biden and I agreed to promote dialogue and cooperation between the two countries in the fields of diplomacy, economy and trade, humanities, education, science and technology, agriculture, military, law enforcement, artificial intelligence and other fields in the spirit of mutual respect, and expand the list of cooperation. to make the cake of cooperation bigger. I want to tell you that China deeply sympathizes with the poisoning of fentanyl to the American people, especially young people. President Biden and I have agreed to establish an anti-drug working group to further cooperate and assist the United States in dealing with drug abuse. I would like to announce here that in order to expand exchanges between the people of China and the United States, especially the young generation, China is willing to invite 50,000 American teenagers to come to China for exchange and study in the next five years.
Not long ago, three giant pandas from the National Zoo in Washington returned to China. I heard that many American people, especially children, were reluctant to leave and went to the zoo to see him off. I also learned that the San Diego Zoo and the people of California are eager to see giant pandas return to California. Giant pandas are messengers of friendship between the people of China and the United States. We are willing to continue to cooperate with the United States in the protection of giant pandas, strive to meet the wishes of the people of California, and enhance the friendship between the two peoples.
Ladies and gentlemen, friends!
China is the largest developing country in the world. It is the ardent wish of more than 1.4 billion Chinese people to work better, live better and their children to grow better. The Communist Party of China serves the people. The people’s yearning for a better life is our goal and the people’s heart that must be guarded. After a century of exploration and continuous struggle, we have found a development path that suits us and are comprehensively promoting the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation with Chinese-style modernization.
We are committed to uniting and working hard to enable all Chinese people to move towards modernization together. A large population is China’s basic national condition. No matter how big an achievement is, it will become very small when divided by 1.4 billion. No matter how small a problem is, it will become very big when multiplied by 1.4 billion. This is the big difficulty. At the same time, being big also has big advantages. The leadership of the Communist Party of China, the socialist system with Chinese characteristics, and the support of the broad masses of the people are our greatest advantages. China is a very large economy and has formed a very large market. Not long ago, we successfully held the sixth China International Import Expo, which attracted more than 3,400 companies from 128 countries, including the United States. The United States had the largest exhibition area for six consecutive years. The modernization of more than 1.4 billion Chinese people is a huge opportunity that China brings to the world.
We are committed to common prosperity so that every Chinese person can live a better life. Getting rid of poverty has been a millennium dream of the Chinese nation. Common prosperity is the common aspiration of the Chinese people. When I was less than 16 years old, I lived and worked with farmers in a small village in northern Shaanxi. I know what the people are worried about and what they hope for. Half a century has passed since then. Being among the people makes me feel at ease, and being with the people gives me strength. I will be selfless and live up to the people. This is my lifelong belief. When I first became General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee and President of the People’s Republic of China, there were still 100 million people in China living below the poverty line set by the United Nations. After eight years of hard work, these impoverished people have all been lifted out of poverty, achieving the poverty reduction goals of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development 10 years ahead of schedule. More than 1,800 members of the Communist Party of China have sacrificed their lives in poverty alleviation.
Our goal is not the prosperity of a few people, but the common prosperity of all people. Employment, education, medical care, childcare, elderly care, housing, and the environment—these things that are close to the people, close to their heart, and concrete matters are constantly integrated into the top-level design of China’s national development, and continue to become the people’s sense of gain, happiness, and security. We will continue to promote high-quality development and let the fruits of modernization benefit all people. This is the original mission of the Communist Party of China and our commitment to the people, and it will be realized with the support of the people.
We are committed to comprehensive development so that people’s material and spiritual worlds are equally rich. The Chinese have long understood that “having enough food and clothing means you will know honor and disgrace.” Material poverty is not socialism, and spiritual poverty is not socialism. Chinese-style modernization is people-centered modernization. One of its important goals is to continuously improve the country’s economic strength and people’s living standards while constantly enriching the people’s spiritual world, improving the civilization of the entire society, and promoting the all-round development of people. I proposed the global civilization initiative to promote the international community to solve the problem of material and spiritual imbalance and jointly promote the continuous progress of human civilization.
We are committed to sustainable development and harmonious coexistence between people and nature. “Unity of man and nature” and “Tao follows nature” are important concepts of China’s excellent traditional culture. We are in the same global village, and we may not find another planet for human survival in our lifetime. There is also a saying in English: “We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, but borrow it from our descendants.” When I was the governor of Fujian in 2002, I proposed that Fujian should be built into China’s first ecological province. After working in Zhejiang, I proposed in 2005 that “lucid waters and lush mountains are valuable assets”, and now this has become the consensus of the Chinese people. Now, nearly half of the world’s installed photovoltaic power generation capacity is in China, more than half of the world’s new energy vehicles are driving in China, and a quarter of the world’s new green area comes from China. We strive to reach carbon peak before 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2060. We do what we say.
We are committed to peaceful development and promoting the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. Chinese civilization inherits the concepts of peace, harmony, and harmony, and China has no genes for foreign aggression and expansion. The Chinese people are deeply impressed by the turmoil and suffering they have suffered since modern times. I often say that what the Chinese people oppose is war, what they seek is stability, and what they hope for is peace in the world. The great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation cannot be achieved without a peaceful and stable international environment. We will never take the old path of modernization through war, colonization, plunder, coercion or other means.
Over the past 70 years since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, China has never initiated any wars or conflicts, and has never occupied an inch of land from other countries. It is the only major country that has written peace and development into its constitution and the ruling party’s party constitution, making it a national will. China is a beneficiary and defender of the current international order. We will firmly safeguard the international system with the United Nations at its core, the international order based on international law, and the basic norms of international relations based on the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter. No matter where we develop in the future, we will never seek hegemony, expansion, impose our will on others, seek spheres of influence, and will never engage in a cold war or a hot war with any country. China will adhere to dialogue rather than confrontation, partnership rather than alliance, and continue to pursue an open strategy of win-win cooperation. China is not pursuing modernization in isolation. It is willing to work with other countries to achieve world modernization of peaceful development, mutually beneficial cooperation, and common prosperity, and to promote the construction of a community with a shared future for mankind!
Ladies and gentlemen, friends!
The long river of history washes away the sand, and the most valuable things always settle down in the end. No matter how the situation changes, the historical logic of peaceful coexistence between China and the United States will not change, the fundamental desire of the two peoples for exchanges and cooperation will not change, and the general expectations of people around the world for the stable development of Sino-U.S. relations will not change. To succeed, any great cause must find its foundation among the people, gather strength from the people, and be completed by the people. Sino-US friendship is such a great cause. Let us pool the strength of our two peoples, continue Sino-US friendship, advance Sino-US relations, and strive to make greater contributions to promoting world peace and development!