Jimmy Carter photo

Visit of Vice Premier Deng of China Remarks Following a Performance at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

January 29, 1979

THE PRESIDENT. All of us are fortunate in being able to participate in a truly momentous and historic occasion, the formal cementing of friendship now and permanently in the future between the 220 million Americans and the more than 900 million Chinese. We are grateful for this opportunity to extend our welcome to Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping, to Madame Zhuo Lin, to all the delegation, who've come here from China.

We are grateful for the opening up of new avenues of scientific, trade, cultural exchange. And there could be no better way to demonstrate what our Nation is, what we have to offer, than the wonderful performers who have joined us tonight to give them just a tiny glimpse, but a beautiful glimpse of some of the superb talent of great American performers.

Mr. Vice Premier, it's indeed a great honor for me, as President of a great country, to welcome you, the Vice Premier of another great country, to the people of America. Thank you for coming.

God bless all of you. We thank you for being with us as we join our two nations together on this formal occasion.

Thank you very much.

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

Thank you, Mr. President and Mrs. Carter, for arranging this magnificent performance by American artists, which gives us an enjoyable evening and leaves on us an indelible impression.

This occasion reminds me of what Lu Xian, the great Chinese thinker, once said. He said, "It would be best if mankind could avoid lack of mutual understanding and show concern for one another."

Art and literature will provide the best means towards that goal.

The art and literature of each nation is unique. International exchanges in this area will contribute to mutual understanding between peoples, to the flourishing of art and literature of each country, and to world peace and human progress.

No doubt there should be active cultural exchanges between China and the United States following normalization. Here I'm happy to inform you that the Boston Symphony Orchestra, as the first cultural exchange item since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the United States, will visit China in March.

We hope that more American musicians, dancers, actors, and other artists will come to China on performing tours. We, on our part, will send more Chinese artists here to perform for the American people.

Thank you.

Note: The President spoke at 10:35 p.m. in the Opera House. The Vice Premier spoke in Chinese, and his remarks were translated by an interpreter.

The program, entitled "An Evening for the Performance of American Arts," was broadcast live on television.

Jimmy Carter, Visit of Vice Premier Deng of China Remarks Following a Performance at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/248127

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