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Toasts at a State Dinner During the Visit of Vice Premier Deng of China

January 29, 1979

THE PRESIDENT. Vice Premier Deng, Madame Zhuo Lin, distinguished visitors from the People's Republic of China, President Nixon, my fellow Americans, and friends:

This house belongs to all Americans, people who are firmly dedicated to a world of friendship and peace. And, Vice Premier Deng, on behalf of all Americans, I welcome you here to our house.

Your visit here, Mr. Vice Premier, is an important milestone in the development of friendly relations between the United States of America and the People's Republic of China. I'm gratified that after too many years of estrangement, that our two countries have now grasped the opportunity to reestablish these vital, formal links that exist between us.

In the past year, more than 120 delegations from the People's Republic of China have come here to the United States to visit us. And an even greater number of American groups have left here and gone to visit China. Exchanges have already begun in the natural sciences, in space, in agriculture, in medicine, in science, in technology, and other fields. And now with the establishment of normal diplomatic relations, the exploratory nature of these many exchanges can give way to a more valuable and a more permanent relationship. This will serve the interests of both our nations and will also serve the cause of peace.

Today, for the first time since the establishment of normal diplomatic relations, the Governments of the United States of America and the People's Republic of .China have begun official discussions at the highest level. Our discussions are fruitful and they are constructive, because both of us are keenly aware that what we do now will establish precedents for future peaceful relationships.

We've not entered this new relationship for any short-term gains. We have a longterm commitment to a world community of diverse nations and independent nations. We believe that a strong and a secure China will play a cooperative part in developing that type of world community which we envision. Our new relationship particularly can contribute to the peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific region.

Your nation, Vice Premier Deng, like ours, has been created by the hard work of ordinary men and women. Despite our cultural, political, and economic differences, there's much for us to build on together.

The United States, born out of a revolution for freedom, is a young country with an independent history of only 200 years. But our Constitution is the oldest continuing written constitution in the entire world.

Chinese civilization, with more than 4,000 years of recorded history, is one of the oldest cultures in the world. But as a modern nation, China is quite young. We can learn much from each other.

There are many hundreds of thousands of Americans of Chinese origin, and their contributions to our society have been even greater than their numbers could possibly suggest. Our national life has been enriched by the work of Chinese American architects, artists, and scientists-including three recent winners of the Nobel Prize.

Like you, Mr. Vice Premier, I'm a farmer, and like you, I'm a former military man. In my little farming community, when I grew up, our agricultural methods and our way of life were not greatly different from those of centuries earlier. I stepped from that world into the planning and outfitting of nuclear submarines. And when I later returned to the land, I found that farming had been absolutely transformed in just a few years by new scientific knowledge and by technology.

I know the shocks of change in my own life, and I know the sometimes painful adjustments required when change occurs, as well as the great potential for good that change can bring to both individuals and to nations.

I know, too, that neither individuals nor nations can stifle change. It is far better to adapt scientific and technological advantages to our needs, to learn to control them, and to reap their benefits while minimizing their potential adverse effects.

And I know that the Chinese people and you, Mr. Vice Premier, understand these things about change very well. Your ambitious modernization effort in four different areas of human life attests to that. The American people wish you well in these efforts, and we are looking forward to cooperating with you and with the people of China.

In his final message, the day before he died, Franklin Roosevelt—who would have been 97 years old tomorrow—wrote these words: "If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships—the ability of people of all kinds to live together and to work together, in the same world and at peace."

In that spirit, Mr. Vice Premier, I would like to propose a toast: To the newly established diplomatic relationships between the United States of America and the people of the republic of China; to the health of Premier Hua Guofeng; to the health of Vice Premier Deng and Madame Zhuo Lin; and to the further development of friendship between the people of China and the people of the United States of America.

THE VICE PREMIER. Mr. President and Mrs. Carter, ladies and gentlemen:

We thank the President and Mrs. Carter for hosting this grand dinner in our honor. Allow me to take this opportunity to extend good wishes to the American Government and the people on behalf of the Chinese Government and people, Premier Hua Guofeng, and in my own name.

Our arrival in the United States coincides with the Spring Festival in China. From time immemorial, the Chinese people have celebrated this festival marking "the beginning of the annual cycle and rejuvenation of all things in nature." Here, on this occasion, we share with our American friends present the feeling that a new era has begun in Sino-U.S. relations.

For 30 years, our two nations were estranged and opposed to each other. This abnormal state of affairs is over at last. At such a time we cherish, in particular, the memory of the late Chairman Mao Zedong and Premier Zhou Enlai, who blazed a trail for the normalization of Sino-U.S. relations.

Naturally, we think also of the efforts made by former President Nixon, former President Ford, Dr. Kissinger, many U.S. Senators and Congressmen, and friends in all walks of life. We think highly of the valuable contributions of President Carter, Secretary of State Cyrus Vance, and Dr. Brzezinski to the ultimate normalization of our relations.

Our two countries have different social systems and ideologies, but both Governments are aware that the interests of our peoples and of world peace require that we view our bilateral relations in the context of the overall international situation and with a long-term strategic perspective. This was the reason why the two sides easily reached agreement on normalization.

Moreover, in the Joint Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations our two sides solemnly committed themselves that neither should seek hegemony and each was opposed to efforts by any other country or group of countries to establish such hegemony. This commitment restrains ourselves and adds to our sense of responsibility for world peace and stability. We are confident that the amicable cooperation between the Chinese and American peoples is not only in the interest of our two countries' development but will also become a strong factor working for the preservation of world peace and the promotion of human progress.

I ask you to join me in drinking to the health of the President and Mrs. Carter; to the health of the Secretary of State and Mrs. Vance; to the health of Dr. and Mrs. Brzezinski; to the health of all friends present; to the great American people; to the great Chinese people; to friendship between the Chinese and American peoples; and to the peace and progress of the people of the world.

Note: The President spoke at 8:48 p.m. in the State Dining Room at the White House. The Vice Premier spoke in Chinese, and the translation of his remarks follows the White House press release.

Jimmy Carter, Toasts at a State Dinner During the Visit of Vice Premier Deng of China Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/248077

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