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United States-People's Republic of China Agreements Remarks at the Signing Ceremony.

September 17, 1980

THE PRESIDENT. Vice Premier Bo, Mr. Ambassador, distinguished guests and friends:

I'm delighted to welcome you here to our country, Mr. Vice Premier, and also your delegation. You are among friends, as you know.

We are here today to share some good news with each other. With the four agreements that we are about to sign, the normalization of relations between the United States of America and the People's Republic of China is at last complete. That relationship is a new and vital force for peace and stability in the international scene. In addition it holds a promise of ever-increasing benefits in trade and other exchanges for both the United States and for the People's Republic of China.

I am personally committed, Mr. Vice Premier, to the proposition that our relationship will not be undermined, but will be strengthened. Both the United States and China have made firm and written commitments which form the basis of this relationship. These commitments have the support of the people of my country and of your country and therefore they will be honored.

What we have accomplished together since the beginning of diplomatic relations between our countries has been extraordinary. But, as I said to Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping when he was here in January 1979, our aim is to make these exchanges not extraordinary, but ordinary. In other words, to make the benefits of this new relationship a routine part of the everyday lives of the citizens of this country and of the People's Republic of China. That is exactly what these four agreements will do.

Let me say a brief word about each one of them.

First, the civil aviation agreement. This agreement will mean regularly scheduled direct flights between the United States and China, beginning in the very near future. I have instructed the Civil Aeronautics Board to move quickly to name the first of the two United States airlines which, along with the Chinese carriers, will fly the new routes. At the airports in New York or Los Angeles or San Francisco or Honolulu a few months from today, we will hear flights announced for Shanghai and for Peking as well as to London and Paris.

Second, the maritime agreement. For the first time in more than 30 years, all United States ports will be open to Chinese merchant ships and American ships will have access to all Chinese ports of call. This will mean a stronger American maritime industry. It will mean revenue for United States shippers from the growing Chinese market for American goods, and growing trade and commerce will benefit the people of both China and the United States.

Third, the textile agreement. By permitting orderly marketing in this country of Chinese textile products, this agreement will benefit American retailers and consumers without damaging our own textile industry, which was fully represented in these negotiations.

The fourth agreement is the consular convention. It spells out the duties of consular officers in providing services to citizens of both our countries. One immediate benefit is to ensure the protection of the rights and interests of American citizens in China.

We have two consulates in China already, and now we will open three more. These offices will promote trade, travel, and cultural and educational exchange. They will serve the needs of hundreds of thousands of Americans who will be visiting China in the next few years. On this side of the Pacific Ocean, China now has two consulates in the United States, one in San Francisco and one in Houston. Soon, thanks to this agreement, there will be new Chinese consulates in New York, Chicago, and Honolulu as well.

These agreements, as you well know, are the fruit of some very hard work. A year ago when Vice President Mondale visited China, both nations pledged an effort to complete the political and legal framework of normalization by the end of 1980. We have met that goal with 3 1/2 months to spare. The negotiators on both sides deserve the thanks and the appreciation of us all.

I'm privileged to lead my great Nation in taking this step. I consider this to be one of the most important achievements of my administration, but it's an achievement with a bipartisan history. President Nixon concluded the Shanghai Communiqué of 1972, and President Ford accepted and supported the principles of that communiqué. My administration, working closely with the Congress, has taken the decisive steps which made that goal a reality.

One result has been the activity by private and public organizations on both sides to build human contacts between our peoples after 30 years of near-total, mutual isolation. Another was the establishment of the Joint Economic Committee, which is meeting here this week under the chairmanship of Vice President Bo and Secretary Miller. Our economic ties, like our cooperation in science and technology, grow broader and closer every day. Trade between the United States and China this year will be nearly four times what it was 2 years ago. China will buy some $3 billion worth of American goods. That means jobs for American workers and opportunities for American businesses. And it means help for China's efforts to modernize and to develop her economy.

Almost 700,000 American citizens trace their roots to China. There are strong bonds of blood kinship and history between the United States and China. Yet both countries have acted not out of sentiment, but out of mutual interest.

In a few moments, normalization between our two countries will be a fact. We're building something together—a broadly-based, consultative relationship that will enable us to expand our cooperation as the years go by. Both of us will gain from this relationship. So, I firmly believe, will the peace of the world. America and China, so recently at odds, will have shown the world something about the possibilities of peace and friendship. In a world that badly needs a good deal of both, this is an achievement, Mr. Vice Premier, of which we can all be proud.

Thank you very much.

[At this point, the President and Bo Yibo, Vice Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China, signed copies of the four agreements.]

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

Today, in the field of Sino-U.S. economic cooperation, President Carter and I have completed a task of major significance. Starting from today the economic relations between our two countries will have moved from ordinary exchanges to institutionalization.

Just as President Carter pointed out in his very warm message to the Chinese trade exhibition which opened in San Francisco a few days ago, the cornerstone of our relationship is the communiqué on the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries which was solemnly declared to the whole world by the heads of government of our two countries on December 15, 1978. Since that time the relations between our two countries in various fields have developed rapidly on the basis of both sides abiding by the obligations undertaken in the communiqué. It is our firm opinion that these friendly relations should continue to develop forward.

Here it is my pleasure to declare that with the signing of the consular convention, we'll be setting up three more general consulates in your country. This will give a further impetus to the friendly contacts and trade and economic cooperation between our two peoples. Facts have proven and will continue to prove that such relations are not only beneficial to the two peoples but also to the peace and stability of the world.

Not long ago we held the third session of the Fifth National Peoples' Congress. Our newly elected Premier, Zhao Ziyang, explicitly pointed out that we will continue to carry out unswervingly the domestic and foreign policies which we have set forth in recent years. Through this session of the Peoples' Congress, the whole series of the effective new policies which we have been carrying out have been or will shortly be fully legalized and institutionalized. All our people are with full confidence working hard to build our country into a highly democratic and civilized modern nation. For this purpose, we need peace; we need stability; we need friendship; we need cooperation.

It is my conviction that the American people too need peace, need stability, need friendship, need cooperation. Let our two great nations and two great peoples on both sides of the Pacific advance hand in hand and make common efforts for world peace and stability and for the prosperity and strength of our two peoples.

Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.

Note: The President spoke at 2:42 p.m. in the Rose Garden at the White House. The Vice Premier spoke in Chinese, and his remarks were translated by an interpreter.

Jimmy Carter, United States-People's Republic of China Agreements Remarks at the Signing Ceremony. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/251221

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