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Remarks By The President in Welcoming Ceremonies - June 25, 1998

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China Trip

Office of the Press Secretary
(Xian, People's Republic of China)

For Immediate Release June 25, 1998


South Gate of the Old City
Xian, China

8:55 P.M. (L)

THE PRESIDENT: Mayor Feng, Governor Cheng,Secretary Li, nim men hao. (Applause.) Thank you for the key toyour city and for this magnificent welcome.

Here in this ancient capital, China seems very youngto me tonight, blessed with both a proud history and the promiseof tomorrow. I am delighted to begin my journey in Xian, oncethe capital of China, still the heartland of the Chinese people.I was raised in the heartland of my country. I know that thecharacter of a nation is determined by the hard-working peoplewho live here.

Over 1,000 years ago, during the Tang Dynasty, whichI have seen recreated tonight, Xian was perhaps the most open andculturally advanced city in the entire world. From this place,trade routes extended through Asia to Europe and Africa. And tothis place, great thinkers came, spreading philosophy and newideas that have contributed to the greatness of China.

Tomorrow, I look forward to seeing the Terra CottaWarriors, the Old City walls, the Muslim quarter. I look forwardto learning more about China's great contributions to the storeof human knowledge, from medicine and printing to mathematicsand astronomy -- discoveries on which so much of the wholeworld's progress is based. And I want to see more of the newnation you are building on a scale even the emperors could nothave foreseen.

The China that gave us printing now boasts faxmachines, computers, and cell phones. Xian is home tofilm-makers, Internet explorers, businesspeople of everydescription. Here in this city, famous for calligraphy, a newchapter in China's story is being written.

We Americans admire your accomplishments, youreconomy, your hard work, creativity, and vision, your effortsagainst hunger and poverty, your work with us on peace andstability in Korea and South Asia. A new day is dawning for theChinese people, for China's greatness lies, as always, with itspeople.

Our own history has convinced Americans that thegreatness of any country is measured in its people -- in theirshared reverence for family and community, for work and learning,and in their individual thoughts, beliefs, and creativity.

Respect for the worth, the dignity, the potential,and the freedom of every citizen is a vital source of America'sstrength and success. In this global information age, where botheconomic growth and individual opportunity are based on ideas, acommitment to providing all human beings the opportunity todevelop their full potential is vital to the strength and successof the new China, as well.

As I travel across China, I hope to learn as much asI can about the Chinese people, your history, and your dreams forthe future; and I hope to help the Chinese people understand moreof America's history, the lessons the American people have drawnfrom it, and the dreams we hold for the 21st century.

I believe both Chinese and Americans aspire to manyof the same things -- to provide for our families, to teach ourchildren, to build our communities, to protect our Earth, toshape our own futures, and pass brighter possibilities on to ourchildren.

There may be those here and back in America whowonder whether closer ties and deeper friendship between Americaand China are good. Clearly, the answer is yes. We have apowerful ability to help each other grow. We can learn much fromeach other. And as two great nations, we have a specialresponsibility to the future of the world. The steps we takeover the next week can lead to far greater strides for our peoplein the years ahead.

Here in this city of your magnificent history, wemust always remember that we, too, are ancestors. Someday ourchildren and their children will ask if we did all we could tobuild just societies and a more peaceful world. Let our monumentbe their judgment that we did that. Let our progress include allpeople, with all their differences, moving toward a commondestiny.

Let us give new meaning to the words written in theancient Book of Rites, what you call the Li Shi: When the greatway is followed, all under heaven will be equal.

Xie xie. Thank you very much. (Applause.)

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China Trip Speeches - June 25, 1998

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