Gerald R. Ford photo

Toasts of the President and Vice Premier Teng Hsiao-ping of the People's Republic of China at a State Banquet in Peking

December 01, 1975

Mr. Vice Premier, Mr. Foreign Minister, and all Chinese friends here tonight:

On behalf of Mrs. Ford, our daughter, the members of our family, and the people of the United States, let me express appreciation for your very friendly reception. It is symbolized by this gracious banquet that you have accorded us tonight.

Although this is the second visit by me to the People's Republic of China, it is the first time that I have been in your country as President of the United States. In 1972, I had the opportunity to meet a number of your leaders, including Premier Chou En-lai. I learned something of their views and saw the impressive work of the people of China in developing their country. And I recall your hospitality with great pleasure.

It is now more than 4 years since our two countries started discussing how to build a more constructive relationship. Reality and common necessities brought us together in a bold and farsighted move.

In the Shanghai communique, our two Governments recognized that there are essential differences between China and the United States in their social systems and foreign policies. But more importantly, we also agreed that the normalization of relations would be in the mutual interests of our peoples and would contribute to the development of a more secure international order. We therefore established certain principles to guide the growth of our relations and our approach to the international scene.

The moves that were taken in 1971 and 1972 by the leaders of China and the United States were of historic significance. And I take this occasion to reaffirm my commitment to the objectives and to the principles that emerged from those first steps, and specifically to the normalization of our relations.

Developments since 1972 verify the wisdom of the Shanghai communique. We still differ on certain issues, but we have progressed toward a more normal relationship. Our many authoritative discussions have enabled our two nations to explore areas of mutual interest and to understand each other's views on the issues on which we disagree.

The two liaison offices which we established in our respective capitals facilitate our contact and understanding. The development of cultural and scientific exchanges, as well as trade, strengthens the ties between the Chinese and the American people.

In the international field, we have a mutual interest in seeing that the world is not dominated by military force or pressure, what in our joint statements we have called hegemony. In pursuing our objectives, each of us will, of course, determine our policy and methods according to our differing positions in the world and our perceptions of our respective national interests.

In the past 4 years, there have been many changes in the international situation. The world confronts us all with dangers, but it also offers opportunities. The United States will strive both to reduce the dangers and to explore new opportunities for peace without illusion.

The current situation requires strength, vigilance, and firmness. But we will also continue our efforts to achieve a more peaceful world, even as we remain determined to resist any actions that threaten the independence and well-being of others.

I look forward to our frank and beneficial discussions. We will explore areas of agreement and seek to foster understanding where our perspectives differ.

In that spirit, we remain firmly committed to the process of building a normal relationship between our two countries on the basis of the Shanghai communique and to enlarging the areas of cooperation on international issues of mutual concern.

So, as I begin my visit, I would like to propose a toast to the health of Chairman Mao, to the health of Premier Chou En-lai, to the health of Vice Premier Teng Hsiao-ping, to the health of other officials and friends here tonight, to the success of our discussions here this week, and to the further development of friendship and understanding between the peoples of China and the United States.

Note: The President spoke at approximately 9 p.m. in the Great Hall of the People in response to a toast proposed by Vice Premier Teng. In his opening remarks, he referred to Foreign Minister Chiao Kuan-hua of the People's Republic of China.

Vice Premier Teng spoke in Chinese. His remarks were translated by an interpreter as follows:

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

We are very glad today that President and Mrs. Ford, traveling thousands of miles across the ocean, have arrived in China for an official visit. As the Republican leader of the House of Representatives, Mr. Ford visited China before in June 1972 with Mrs. Ford. So, they are already known to the Chinese people.

At this banquet, which I am entrusted by Premier Chou En-lai to host, I wish to express welcome on behalf of the Chinese Government to President and Mrs. Ford and the other American guests accompanying them on the visit.

The Chinese and American peoples are both great peoples. Our two peoples have always been friendly to each other. I would like to take this opportunity to convey the cordial greetings of the Chinese people to the great American people.

More than 3 years ago, President Nixon visited China, and the Chinese and American sides issued the famous Shanghai communique. This is a unique international document. It explicitly sets forth the fundamental differences between the policies of China and the United States, which are determined by their different social systems, and at the same time points out that in today's world our two countries have many points in common.

An outstanding common point is that neither should seek hegemony and that each is opposed to efforts by any other country or group of countries to establish hegemony.

The communique provides the basis for the development of Sino-U.S. relations and indicates its direction and goal. Its issuance accords not only with the common desire of our two peoples but also with the interests of the people of the world. And it has made a deep impact internationally.

Since the Shanghai communique, there have been, on the whole, an increase in the contacts and friendship between our two peoples and an improvement in the relations between our two countries.

Since he took office, President Ford has stated more than once that he will adhere to the principles of the Shanghai communique and work to promote Sino-U.S. relations, a statement which we welcome. To realize the normalization of relations between our two countries conforms to the common desire of the Chinese and American peoples.

We believe that, so long as the principles of the Shanghai communique are earnestly observed, this desire will eventually be realized through the joint efforts of our two sides.

At present, a more important question confronts the Chinese and American peoples--that of the international situation. Our basic view is: There is great disorder under heaven, and the situation is excellent. The basic contradictions in the world are sharpening daily. The factors for both revolution and war are clearly increasing.

Countries want independence, nations want liberation, and the people want revolution. This torrential tide of our time is mounting. In particular, the Third World has emerged and grown in strength and has become a force that is playing an important role in the international arena, a force that must not be neglected.

On the other hand, the contention for world hegemony is intensifying, and strategically, Europe is the focus of this contention. Such continued contention is bound to lead to a new world war.

This is independent of man's will. Today, it is the country which most zealously preaches peace that is the most dangerous source of war. Rhetoric about detente cannot cover up the stark reality of the growing danger of war.

The wind sweeping through the tower heralds a rising storm in the mountains. The wind is blowing harder and harder, and nothing can prevent the storm. In the face of this international situation, the crucial point is what line and policy to pursue.

We consider that it is in the interest of the people of the world to point out the source and danger of the war, dispel illusions of peace, fully arouse the people, make all preparations, unite with all the forces that can be united with, and wage a tit-for-tat struggle.

Hegemonism is not to be afraid of. It is weak by nature. It bullies the soft and fears the tough. Its expansion in all parts of the world bears the seed of defeat. The outcome of a war is decided by the people, not by one or two new types of weapon.

In this regard, the consistent policy of the Chinese Government and people is dig tunnels (Iccp, store grain everywhere, and never seek hegemony. We base ourselves on independence, self-reliance, and millet, plus rifles.

The people are the makers of history. Mankind always advances in storm and stress. The road is tortuous, the future is bright. We are full of optimism and confidence in the future of mankind.

President Ford's visit to China is a major event in the present international relations. It is beneficial for leaders of the two countries to have a direct exchange of views on issues of mutual interest. We wish President Ford a successful visit.

In conclusion I propose a toast to the friendship between the Chinese and American peoples, to the health of President and Mrs. Ford, to the health of the other American guests, and to the health of all comrades and friends present here.

On the following day, the President went to the Great Hall of the People in the morning for a meeting with Vice Premier Teng. In the afternoon, he met with Chairman Mao Tse-tung at his residence.

Gerald R. Ford, Toasts of the President and Vice Premier Teng Hsiao-ping of the People's Republic of China at a State Banquet in Peking Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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