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Remarks at a Welcoming Ceremony for President Xi Jinping of China

September 25, 2015

President Obama. Good morning.

Audience members. Good morning.

President Obama. Ni hao.

Audience members. Ni hao.

President Obama. President Xi, Madame Peng, members of the Chinese delegation: On behalf of Michelle and myself, welcome to the White House. And on behalf of the American people, welcome to the United States.

Across more than two centuries, Americans and Chinese have traded together. Chinese immigrants helped build our railroads and our great cities. The United States is enriched by millions of proud Chinese Americans, including those who join us here this morning. So this visit reflects a history of friendship and cooperation between our two great peoples.

This is also an opportunity for Michelle and me to reciprocate the hospitality shown to us during our visits to China. And Michelle, our daughters, and my mother-in-law were warmly welcomed last year as they traveled across the country, as was I when I made a state visit to Beijing. And I'm told that news about Michelle's trip got some 1 billion views online. [Laughter] President Xi, I believe that we are both accustomed to being outshone by our dynamic spouses. [Laughter]

As I have said many times, the United States welcomes the rise of a China that is stable, prosperous and peaceful, because that benefits us all. Our work together—to increase our trade, boost the global economy, fight climate change, and prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon—shows that when the United States and China work together, it makes our nations and the world more prosperous and more secure.

Even as our nations cooperate, I believe—and I know you agree—that we must address our differences candidly. The United States will always speak out on behalf of fundamental truths. We believe that nations are more successful and the world makes more progress when our companies compete on a level playing field, when disputes are resolved peacefully, and when the universal human rights of all people are upheld.

During our multiple visits together, I believe that we have made significant progress in enhancing understanding between our two nations and laying the foundation for continued cooperation. President Xi, you've spoken of your vision of China's peaceful development. And during my visit to Beijing last year, you said that there were "wide areas" where our two nations "need to and can cooperate with each other." And I fully agree.

In fact, I believe that our two great nations, if we work together, have an unmatched ability to shape the course of the century ahead. And, President Xi, Madame Peng, members of the Chinese delegation: In that spirit, with the eyes and hopes of the world upon us, welcome to the United States of America.

Xiè xiè. President Xi. Mr. President, Mrs. Obama, ladies and gentlemen, dear friends: In this golden season of autumn, my wife and I are very pleased to come to the beautiful city of Washington, DC.

At the outset, I wish to thank you, Mr. President, for your kind invitation and the gracious hospitality. I also wish to convey to the American people the warm regards and the best wishes of over 1.3 billion Chinese people.

China and the United States are both great nations. And the Chinese and American people are two great peoples. Since we established diplomatic relations 36 years ago, China-U.S. relations have forged ahead despite twists and turns and have made historic advances.

At our Sunnylands meeting in the summer of 2013, President Obama and I made the strategic decision of building a new model of major-country relations. More than 2 years have passed, and we have made important progress in various areas of exchange and cooperation. This has been welcomed by people of our two countries and the world at large.

Working together, China and the United States can make a greater impact than our individual efforts. To grow our relationship under the new conditions, we must adapt to the changing times and seize the positive momentum. I come to the United States this time to promote peace and advance cooperation. We would like to work with the U.S. side to make great advances in our relationship and deliver more benefits to people of our two countries and the whole world.

We must uphold the right direction of building a new model of major-country relations; make sure our relationship is defined by peace, respect, and cooperation; and see to it that it keeps moving forward on the sound track of steady growth. We must enhance strategic trust and mutual understanding, respect each other's interests and concerns, be broadminded about our differences and disagreements, and strengthen our people's confidence in China-U.S. friendship and cooperation.

We must pursue win-win cooperation, update the model and broaden the scope of our collaboration, and improve the well-being of people of our two countries and the world through concrete actions and outcomes of cooperation. We must enhance friendship and promote interactions between our people, encourage our two societies to meet each other halfway, and cement the social foundation of China-U.S. relations.

We must promote world peace and development, improve coordination on major international and regional issues, make concerted efforts to address global challenges, and work with other nations to build a better world.

Thirty years ago, during my first visit to the United States, I was hosted by an American family in Muscatine, Iowa. My hosts were so warm, sincere, and friendly. We had cordial conversations, and we hugged tightly when we had to say goodbye. To this day, those moments are still fresh in my memory.

Three years ago, I went back to Muscatine and had a reunion with my old friends there. They said to me, friendship is a big business. Well, from these old friends and from many other American friends, I can feel firsthand the genuine friendship between the Chinese and American people. We do share each other's feelings. And this gives me every confidence about the future of our relations.

Mr. President, and Mrs. Obama, ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, success comes with dedicated efforts. China-U.S. relations have reached a new starting point in the 21st century. For further growth of our relations, we have no choice but to seek win-win cooperation. Let us work hand-in-hand with great resolve to write a new chapter in China-U.S. relations.

Xiè xiè.

NOTE: The President spoke at 9:22 a.m. on the South Lawn at the White House, where President Xi was accorded a formal welcome with full military honors. In his remarks, President Obama referred to Peng Liyuan, wife of President Xi. He also referred to his mother-in-law Marian Robinson. President Xi referred to Muscatine, IA, residents Roger and Sarah Lande, who hosted President Xi during his 2012 visit to the U.S. as Vice President, and Thomas and Eleanor Dvorchak, who hosted President Xi during his 1985 visit as a Hebei Province official. President Xi spoke in Chinese, and his remarks were translated by an interpreter.

Barack Obama, Remarks at a Welcoming Ceremony for President Xi Jinping of China Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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