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Visit of Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping of the People's Republic of China Remarks at the Welcoming Ceremony.

January 29, 1979

THE PRESIDENT. Vice Premier Deng, Madame Zhuo Lin, distinguished Chinese guests, fellow Americans, and friends:

On behalf of the people of my country, I welcome you, Mr. Vice Premier, to the United States of America.

Today we take another step in the historic normalization of relations which we have begun this year. We share in the hope which springs from reconciliation and the anticipation of a common journey.

The United States of America has major interests in the Asian and in the Pacific regions. We expect that normalization of relations between our two countries will help to produce an atmosphere in the Asian and Pacific area in which the right of all peoples to live in peace will be enhanced.

We expect that normalization will help to move us together toward a world of diversity and of peace. For too long, our two peoples were cut off from one another. Now we share the prospect of a fresh flow of commerce, ideas, and people, which will benefit both our countries.

Under the leadership of Premier Hua Guofeng and of you, Mr. Vice Premier, the People's Republic of China has begun to move boldly toward modernization. You have chosen to broaden your cultural, trade, and diplomatic ties with other nations. We welcome this openness. As a people, we firmly believe in open discussion with others and a free exchange of ideas with others.

Our Nation is made up of people of many backgrounds, brought together by a common belief in justice, individual liberty, and a willingness to settle differences peaceably. So, we particularly welcome the opportunity to exchange students and scholars and to improve our trade, technological, scientific, and cultural contacts. We are eager for you and your people to see and to experience our Nation and for our people to experience yours.

There is a Chinese saying that seeing once is worth more than a hundred descriptions. For too long, the Chinese and the American peoples have not been able to see each other for themselves. We are glad that time is past.

China is one of the nations to which a significant number of Americans, our own citizens, trace their ancestry. The American people have warm feelings for the Chinese. From an earlier time when I visited China, 30 years ago, I recall days of close contact and of friendship and hospitality.

But history also teaches us that our peoples have not always dealt with each other wisely. For the past century and more, our relations have often been marred by misunderstanding, false hopes, and even war.

Mr. Vice Premier, let us pledge together that both the United States and China will exhibit the understanding, patience, and persistence which will be needed in order for our new relationship to survive.

Our histories and our political and economic systems are vastly different. Let us recognize those differences and make them sources not of fear, but of healthy curiosity; not as a source of divisiveness, but of mutual benefit.

As long as we harbor no illusions about our differences, our diversity can contribute to the vitality of our new relationship. People who are different have much to learn from each other.

Yesterday, Mr. Vice Premier, was the lunar New Year, the beginning of your Spring Festival, the traditional time of new beginnings for the Chinese people. On your New Year's Day, I am told, you open all doors and windows to give access to beneficent spirits. It's a time when family quarrels are forgotten, a time when visits are made, a time of reunion and reconciliation.

As for our two nations, today is a time of reunion and new beginnings. It's a day of reconciliation, when windows too long closed have been reopened.

Vice Premier Deng, you, your wife, your party are welcome to our great country. Thank you for honoring us with your visit.

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

First of all, I wish to thank the President and Mrs. Carter for this grand and warm welcome, which we consider to be a token of the American people's friendship for the Chinese people. We, on our part, have brought the American people a message of friendship from the Chinese people.

The history of friendly contacts between our two peoples goes back for nearly 200 years, and what is more, we fought shoulder to shoulder in the war against fascism. Though there was a period of unpleasantness between us for 30 years, normal relations between China and the United States have at last been restored, thanks to the joint efforts of our two governments and peoples. In this respect, President Carter's farsighted decision played a key role.

Great possibilities lie ahead for developing amicable cooperation between China and the United States. In the next few days, we will be exploring with your Government leaders and with friends in all walks of life ways to develop our contacts and cooperation in the political, economic, scientific, technological, and cultural fields.

Normalization opens up broad vistas for developing these contacts and cooperation to our mutual benefit. We have every reason to expect fruitful results.

The significance of normalization extends far beyond our bilateral relations. Amicable cooperation between two major countries, situated on opposite shores of the Pacific, is undoubtedly an important factor working for peace in this area and in the world as a whole. The world today is far from tranquil. There are not only threats to peace, but the factors making for war are visibly growing. The people of the world have the urgent task of redoubling their efforts to maintain world peace, security, and stability. And our two countries are duty-bound to work together and make our due contribution to that end.

Mr. President, we share the sense of being on an historic mission. Sino-U.S. relations have reached a new beginning, and the world situation is at a new turning point. China and the United States are great countries, and the Chinese and American peoples, two great peoples. Friendly cooperation between our two peoples is bound to exert a positive and far-reaching influence on the way the world situation evolves.
I sincerely thank you for your welcome.

Note: The President spoke at 10:12 a.m. on the South Lawn of the White House. The Vice Premier spoke in Chinese, and his remarks were translated by an interpreter.

Following the ceremony, which was broadcast live on radio and television, the President and the Vice Premier went to the Oval Office for the first of two separate meetings held during the day.

Jimmy Carter, Visit of Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping of the People's Republic of China Remarks at the Welcoming Ceremony. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/247953

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