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The President's Radio Address

June 21, 1997

Good morning. I'm speaking to you today from Denver, Colorado, where the leaders of the world's top industrial democracies are about to begin our Summit of the Eight. Over the next 2 days, the eyes of the world will be on Denver and on America, and we'll all have a lot to be proud of.

Our economy is the healthiest in a generation and the strongest in the world, with the lowest unemployment in 24 years, the lowest inflation in 30 years, the biggest decline in inequality among our working families since the 1960's, and over 12 million new jobs. Our exports are at an all time high. We cleared a new path to prosperity and security with a strategy of reducing the deficit, investing in our people, and opening the world to our trade. Now America is poised to lead in the 21st century, as we have in the 20th century, about to end.

Today I want to talk about why this summit is important to our Nation and our people and what we'll be working to achieve here. The leaders of the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, Japan, the European Union, and Russia will gather shoulder to shoulder around the table. The very fact that we're gathering speaks volumes about the world today. Our homelands are thousands of miles apart, but the rise of the global economy, spurred by revolutions in technology, transportation, and communications has brought us all closer together. And the fact that this is the very first of these annual summits where a democratically elected leader of Russia joins us from beginning to end reflects just how far we've come from the days of the cold war. This moment of possibilities creates vast opportunities for all our people. Ideas, goods and services, technology, and capital fly across borders faster than ever, enriching our lives in many ways and contributing to our prosperity.

But while progress spreads quickly in our global neighborhood, problems can, too. A currency crisis in one country can send shock waves far beyond its borders, endangering jobs and stability in a completely different part of the world. Modern technology and more open borders help businesses to prosper, but they also help terrorists and drug traffickers and criminals to organize their plans and hide their tracks. Greater international travel and commerce exposes our people to new cultures and opportunities, but they also expose us to the spread of dangerous diseases from which no nation is immune. And erosion of environmental quality in one country can contribute to global problems which degrade the quality of life for all of us.

Now, we've worked hard over the last 4 years to take common action against these common threats and to make this common action a central part of our summits. Here in Denver, we'll announce further steps to protect our citizens against them. Two years ago, when we met in Halifax, Canada, we agreed to work together to help prevent financial crises from occurring and to keep them from spreading if they do. Since then, our finance ministers have agreed that we should create a global network of banking and marketing officials to monitor financial policies and police risky practices. Our cooperation will help to prevent a financial shock in a foreign country from threatening prosperity here at home.

We're also working with the developing countries to help them to adopt sound financial practices so that their markets work smoothly and they can build stable businesses and attract trade and investment. These emerging economies are the fastest growing in the world. Helping them to build their prosperity means greater opportunities for American exports and more good American jobs.

We'll also continue to advance our fight against new forces of destruction that have no regard for borders. Last year, when we met in Lyons, France, we agreed on a series of measures to combat terrorism and organized crime. Since then we've actually implemented concrete steps, from improving airline security to denying safe haven for criminals. We've also made significant progress in bolstering the safety and security of nuclear materials, something that simply wouldn't have been possible without Russia as a partner. Together, the eight are working to tighten the management of plutonium from dismantled nuclear warheads to keep them from falling into the wrong hands. To better prevent and investigate nuclear smuggling incidents, we set up a rapid response network, stepped up law enforcement intelligence and customs cooperation, and improved our nuclear forensics capabilities so that we can identify the sources of smuggled nuclear materials. Soon, more than 20 additional countries in Europe and central Asia will be joining us in these common endeavors.

This year, we'll be taking on another global challenge: the spread of infectious disease. Many people believe this will be one of the most serious problems of the 21st century. I will press here for an agreement to develop together a global disease surveillance network to provide early warning of outbreaks so that we can respond quickly and effectively, to coordinate that response so that we get the right medicines where they're needed as fast as possible, and to strengthen our public health systems, especially those in the developing world. I will also urge my fellow leaders to join America in a vigorous search for an HIV/AIDS vaccine, as I called for at Morgan State University in Maryland last month.

Together, the meeting of the eight is part of the larger effort we're making to organize the world to deal with the global challenges in the century ahead. We know that if we pool our strength, our experience, and our ideas, we stand a far better chance of success. And for American families, that will mean greater prosperity, greater peace, and greater security for our children.

Thanks for listening.

NOTE: The address was recorded at 4:30 p.m. on June 20 at the press filing center in Denver, CO, for broadcast at 10:06 a.m. on June 21.

William J. Clinton, The President's Radio Address Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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