Barack Obama photo

Remarks at a Luncheon Hosted by President Xi Jinping of China in Beijing, China

November 12, 2014

President Xi, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen: Thank you for your extraordinary hospitality and the honor of this state visit, which is a reflection of the deep ties between our countries and our peoples.

I'm told that one of your great Chinese authors once wrote, "Originally, there was no path, but after many people travel a certain way, a path is forged."

Thirty-five years ago, our two nations established diplomatic relations. Since then, many people—Chinese and Americans—have traveled between us. Businesspeople, tourists, students and teachers, scientists and researchers. And as a result, a new path has been forged.

Among those who traveled that path was President Xi, who on an exchange program as a younger man visited our State of Iowa and stayed with a local family. Mr. President, as a result of the ties you forged then, families in Iowa still welcome young men and women from China into their homes and communities.

That path has also been traveled by my wife Michelle and our two daughters, who visited China earlier this year. As I was on my visit 5 years ago, they were deeply moved by the history and majesty of this nation and its people. And Michelle even tried her hand at tai chi.

Now this path is being walked in new ways. We recently witnessed an inspiring sight: a Chinese plane landing in Liberia with supplies to fight Ebola, and it was unloaded by Chinese and Americans and Liberians, working together, shoulder to shoulder. And today we showed that we can bring that same spirit to bear as leaders in the fight against climate change.

In closing, I'd like to recall a Chinese saying that reflects this spirit of possibility: "Nothing is too difficult, as long as people have resolve." And so I propose a toast: To our people and the resolve we share, I wish the best of health to President Xi, his family, and the people of China, may we continue to walk the path of friendship and cooperation for the benefit of ourselves and for the world. Ganbei.

NOTE: The President spoke at approximately 1:30 p.m. in the Great Hall of the People.

Barack Obama, Remarks at a Luncheon Hosted by President Xi Jinping of China in Beijing, China Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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