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Toasts of the President and Chairman Chang Ch'un-ch'iao at a Banquet in Shanghai

February 27, 1972

Mr. Prime Minister, Chairman Chang, and our Chinese and American [fiends:

This magnificent banquet marks the end of our stay in the People's Republic of China. We have been here a week. This was the week that changed the world.

As we look back over this week, we think of the boundless hospitality that has been extended to all of us by our Chinese friends.

We have, today, seen the progress of modern China. We have seen the matchless wonders of ancient China. We have seen also the beauty of the countryside, the vibrancy of a great city, Shanghai. All this we enjoyed enormously.

But most important was the fact that we had the opportunity to have talks with Chairman Mao, with Prime Minister Chou En-lai, with the Foreign Minister and other people in the government.

The joint communiqué which we have issued today summarizes the results of our talks. That communiqué will make headlines around the world tomorrow. But what we have said in that communiqué is not nearly as important as what we will do in the years ahead to build a bridge across 16, 000 miles and 22 years of hostility which have divided us in the past.

What we have said today is that we shall build that bridge. And because the Chinese people and the American people, as the Prime Minister has said, are a great people, we can build that long bridge.

To do so requires more than the letters, the words of the communiqué. The letters and the words are a beginning, but the actions that follow must be in the spirit which characterized our talks.

With Chairman Mao, with the Prime Minister, and with others with whom we have met, our talks have been characterized by frankness, by honesty, by determination, and above all, by mutual respect.

Our communiqué indicates, as it should, some areas of difference. It also indicates some areas of agreement. To mention only one that is particularly appropriate here in Shanghai, is the fact that this great city, over the past, has on many occasions been the victim of foreign aggression and foreign occupation. And we join the Chinese people, we the American people, in our dedication to this principle: That never again shall foreign domination, foreign occupation, be visited upon this city or any part of China or any independent country in this world.

Mr. Prime Minister, our two peoples tonight hold the future of the world in our hands. As we think of that future, we are dedicated to the principle that we can build a new world, a world of peace, a world of justice, a world of independence for all nations.

If we succeed in working together where we can find common ground, if we can find the common ground on which we can both stand, where we can build the bridge between us and build a new world, generations in the years ahead will look back and thank us for this meeting that we have held in this past week. Let the great Chinese people and the great American people be worthy of the hopes and ideals of the world, for peace and justice and progress for all.

In that spirit, I ask all of you to join in a toast to the health of Chairman Mao, of Prime Minister Chou En-lai, and to all of our Chinese friends here tonight, and our American friends, and to that friendship between our two peoples to which Chairman Chang has referred so eloquently.

Note: The President spoke at approximately 8: 30 p.m. in the Shanghai Exhibition Hall. He spoke from a prepared text in response to a toast proposed by Chang Ch'un-ch'iao, Chairman of the Shanghai Municipal Revolutionary Committee.

Chairman Chang spoke in Chinese. His remarks were translated by an interpreter as follows:

Mr. President and Mrs. Nixon, ladies and gentlemen, friends and comrades:

After having visited Peking and Hangchow, President Nixon and Mrs. Nixon and our other American guests have today come to Shanghai. On behalf of the Shanghai Municipal Revolutionary Committee, I extend our welcome to all of you.

I would like to take this opportunity to extend to the great American people the good wishes and cordial greetings of the people of Shanghai.

During his current visit to our country, President Nixon had a meeting with Chairman Mao Tse-tung and held many talks with Premier Chou En-lai. The two sides had a serious and frank exchange of views on the normalization of the relations between China and the United States and on matters of interest to the two sides.

We people of Shanghai, like the people throughout our country, welcome this positive action which conforms to the common desires of the peoples of China and the United States. And we are glad that it is in Shanghai today that we have reached agreement on the joint communiqué after the discussions which took place over the past few days.

Shanghai is a city where our people have relatively a lot of contacts with peoples from other countries. In the 23 years since the liberation of this city in 1949, fundamental changes have taken place and our city has now been preliminarily transformed and built into a comprehensive socialist industrial base of our country, but this means that we have only completed the first step of our long march and at present the industry of Shanghai is not yet very advanced and in some aspects it is still rather backward.

More heavy and arduous tasks still await us, and the working class and the people of the entire Shanghai municipality are continuing to work hard under the leadership of the Communist Party of China along the road charted by Chairman Mao Tse-tung, the road of maintaining independence and keeping the initiative in our own hands and relying on our own efforts.

On the eve of the departure from our country for home of Mr. President and Mrs. Nixon, and our other American guests, I would like to propose a toast to the health of President Nixon and Mrs. Nixon, to the health of our other American guests, and to the friendship between the great Chinese people and the great American people.

Richard Nixon, Toasts of the President and Chairman Chang Ch'un-ch'iao at a Banquet in Shanghai Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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