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Remarks by Consul General Zhao Weiping at the 20th Ambassador Leonard Woodcock Legacy Seminar
2013-11-21 00:56

Meadow Brook Hall, Michigan

Nov 7, 2013

Co-Chairman Gilroy,
Co-Chairman Stamps,
Ambassador Michalak,
Ladies and Gentlemen:

I feel deeply honored and pleased to attend the 20th annual Ambassador Leonard Woodcock Legacy Seminar. I am particularly honored that Colonel John Woodcock is also with us today.

Ambassador Woodcock was a great diplomat. He was appointed Head of the US Liaison Office in Beijing just before the establishment of China-US diplomatic ties, and then became the first US ambassador to China. Ambassador Woodcock, as a diplomat, was lucky to be posted to China at the crucial time. China-US relations were also lucky to have such an excellent US ambassador to navigate the early years of the diplomatic ties.

As pointed out in April 2004 at the 10th session of this Seminar by then Chinese Ambassador to the US Yang Jiechi who is now Chinese State Councilor, Ambassador Woodcock played an important role in the historic breakthrough in China-US relations.

It is particularly touching that Ambassador Woodcock, after retiring from government office, still had great care for China-US relations with enormous enthusiasm and spared no effort in promoting China-US friendship. When he was professor emeritus at University of Michigan, he often invited Chinese students to his home and treated them with wonderful hospitality. As Ambassador Yang Jiechi rightly commented, it was like a kind of calling for him that he must do something, in whatever way, to help promote this relationship.

By attaching great importance to China-US relation, Ambassador Woodcock has fully demonstrated his wisdom and vision of an outstanding diplomat. His friendly sentiments towards the Chinese people originated from his sincere wish for friendly relationship between China and the US from generation to generation, and reflected his personality of kindness, integrity and amicability.

We gather here today to commemorate a great diplomat and a good person. He passed away more than ten years ago, but his legacy is still inspiring all the people dedicated to China-US friendship.

Tremendous changes have taken place in China and China-US relations since the time when Ambassador Woodcock was posted to China.

The great achievements China has made in the past three decades were the result of reform and opening-up to the outside world. And China is now embracing another wave of reform and opening up.

The Third Plenary Session of the 18th CPC Central Committee to be held in Beijing in two days will put forward a blueprint of comprehensive reforms and make overall arrangement on deepening reform in an all-around manner.

China will press ahead with reforms in economic, political, cultural, social and ecological fields, address the challenges cropping up in the course of development, remove institutional obstacles to sustained and healthy economic growth, and create new impetus to economic development through reform. And China will also make greater strides in opening-up to the outside world, as was evidenced by China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone which was launched not long ago.

In order to achieve its goals of development, China will firmly adhere to a development path that was suitable to its own national conditions. China's development has been and will continue to be a peaceful development. Along with its further development, China will shoulder more international responsibilities and participate in international affairs and the reform of international system in a more proactive way so as to make greater contribution to world peace, stability and development.

China-US bilateral relations take a special and important position in China's overall diplomacy.

Thanks to the development in the past 30 years, China-US relationship is now standing on a fairly solid ground with both countries sharing extensive and significant common interests.

China and the US are both permanent members of the UN Security Council and members of such important international organizations and institutions as G20, the APEC and the East Asian Summit, and they maintain close communication and coordination on major international and regional issues such as global economic recovery, the Korean peninsula nuclear issue, anti-terrorism and climate change.

China and the US are each other's second largest trade partner. The US is a major foreign investor in China and the Chinese investment in the US is growing rapidly. The development of China-US economic relations has not only brought tangible benefits to the people of our two countries, but also played an important role in promoting the global economic growth.

The people-to-people relationship between our two countries is also witnessing the best time in history. There is a flight between China and the US every 24 minutes, and about 10,000 people are traveling across the Pacific every day. 9 years ago when Ambassador Yang delivered his speech here, there were about 70,000 Chinese students studying on American campuses. Now, the number has increased to more than 200,000. Thirty-nine pairs of sister province/state relationships and 185 pairs of sister cities have been established between our two countries.

Over 90 inter-governmental dialogue and communication mechanisms have been set up between China and the US to deepen the bilateral exchanges and cooperation in various areas, among which are the Strategic and Economic Dialogue as well as the High-level Consultation on People-to-People Exchange.

The most important development in bilateral relations this year is the first summit between President Xi Jinping and President Obama which was held in California in June. At the meeting, both leaders agreed to build a new model of major-country relations between China and the US. The essential features of this model include "no conflict or confrontation", "mutual respect" and "win-win cooperation". This agreement is strategic, constructive and path-breaking in nature and has charted the future course for our relations.

China stands ready to work together with the US side to implement the important consensus of the leaders by strengthening dialogue, deepening mutual trust, properly managing differences and expanding cooperation so as to advance China-US relations towards the goal of building a new model of major-country relations.

The State of Michigan was Ambassador Woodcock's home state where he used to study, work and live for a very long time.

I am delighted to notice that the friendly relations and cooperation between China and Michigan has been developing smoothly over the years. Governor Snyder has visited China three times. The Chinese investment in Michigan continues to grow and more and more Chinese students choose to study here in Michigan. The Chinese Consulate General in Chicago will continue to provide our strong support the friendly exchanges and cooperation between China and Michigan.

In closing, I wish to express my deep appreciation to Co-Chairman Gilroy, Co-Chairman Stamps and all the members of the Ambassador Leonard Woodcock Legacy Fund as well as all the friends present today for your contribution to China-US friendship and your support for China-US relations. I wish this Seminar a complete success.

Thank you.

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