"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] Remarks by Ambassador Locke at East-West Center Conference Yingjie Exchange Center, Peking

[Place] Peking University, Beijing, China
[Date] September 1, 2012
[Source] Embassy of the United States (Beijing)
[Full text]

Thank you very much, Karen, for the introduction. And to all of you, welcome to Beijing.

I want to especially thank Mr. Gao from China Daily for your remarks and for your endorsement of the East West Center. And I take it from your remarks that while you did study hard, you also enjoyed Hawaii.

I also want to thank Chairman Tsujimura and the President of the Association, Ned Schultz, for the invitation to speak to all of you. It’s great to know that we have such strong partnerships between the East West Center with Peking University. Beida is actually enjoying its first day of the school year and some 35,000 students are flooding this campus and the associated campus, and it’s great to see the parents and the students here. Beida has such a great history of education and educating and turning out the future business and government leaders of China and indeed the world.

I want to thank Director General Zhang for her remarks and the great cooperation of the Ministry of Education with education institutions throughout the United States and indeed the world. You are right, the future of the world depends on high quality education of all of our children.

I also want to thank all the great sponsors who have made this annual conference possible. They’re listed here, but again, we want to thank China Daily and especially thank Beida for hosting us on this very very busy day.

It’s indeed a pleasure and an honor to be part of the distinguished roster of speakers at this conference. I want to thank all of you for what you have done to strengthen relations between the United States and China. I’m very pleased to be asked to speak here today at the East West Center’s International Alumni Conference because over its 50 year history the East West Center has served as the preeminent academic institution in connecting the United States with Asia, located conveniently in the middle of the Pacific Ocean in beautiful Honolulu.

We can credit the East West Center for much of the understanding between the U.S. academic community and scholars, professionals, journalists, and people in business and government from throughout the Asia Pacific region in China and elsewhere. The United States Department of State is proud to have been a long-time contributor to the East West Center.

As others have noted, there are over 4,000 Chinese alumni of the East West Center programs and they are part of the network of over 60,000 distinguished scholars, leaders, and journalists and other East West Center alumni from 22 countries. From Korea to Burma to Sri Lanka, many of whom are here at this year’s conference.

Actually I was looking over the roster of attendees and I think the farthest location that attendees have come include Canada, Germany, and Haiti. So you must have really exciting, fun conferences to attract people from such large distances.

But we welcome you to China and we salute you for the ongoing role that you play in greater regional and global understanding. There are many famous alumni at the East West Center including, as I’m sure all of you here today know, President Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham.

Much of the history of the 21st Century will be written in the Asia Pacific region. That’s why conferences such as this, focused on community building and leadership in Asia Pacific, are so important.

The research you present and the discussions you have over the coming days will contribute to our understanding of the common challenges that we face in the region. From education to the environment to good governance you will help us develop common solutions.

In the last several decades the Asia Pacific region has emerged as a key driver of international economics and politics, and it’s no surprise this region is known for its dynamism, its creativity and its diversity.

The United States has been a leader in this region for nearly 200 years and our presence in the Asia Pacific has helped maintain stability, foster economic growth, and create opportunities for all of its peoples.

The Asia Pacific is home to more than four billion people. Three of the world’s four largest economies and some of the most vital ecosystems. Taken together, the Asia Pacific region accounts for almost 60 percent of the world’s GDP and this region is critical to addressing nearly every international challenge that we face today.

Recognizing the critical importance of this region it’s no wonder that President Obama from the very beginning identified engagement with the Asia Pacific as one of his top foreign policy priorities and set out to substantially increase our investments -- diplomatic, economic and strategic -- in this part of the world.

That’s why Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has not only made many visits to this region but has also paid attention to nations in the region that had not been visited by a U.S. Secretary of State in a long time, if ever. She’s the first Secretary of State to visit Laos or Burma in over half a century On her upcoming trip to Asia, in addition to a series of important meetings with China’s senior leaders this coming Tuesday and Wednesday, Secretary Clinton will also be the first Secretary of State to visit Timor-Leste, Asia’s youngest country.

President Obama and Secretary Clinton’s goal is to contribute to an open, stable and just regional order based on norms and institutions that benefit all peoples and all nations. To that end we’re reenergizing our relationships throughout the region, from our traditional allies to our friends in ASEAN and here in China.

Together we hope to develop common solutions to shared problems, leaving the world a better place for our children.

We’re committed to this region and our commitment is multi-faceted, reflecting the scope of our relations and interests here.

On the economic front we’re seeking to further regional economic integration through the TransPacific Partnership. This agreement would promote innovation, economic growth and development, ensuring the continued economic dynamism of the Asia Pacific region.

We’re also significantly increasing our assistance to the region through the Asia Pacific Strategic Engagement Initiative announced by Secretary Clinton in Phnom Penh in July. As part of this initiative the United States will provide $50 million in assistance through the Lower Mekong Initiative which was launched in 2009 to address the Lower Mekong sub-region’s pressing transnational challenges in area of environment, health, agriculture, food security and energy.

On the security front we’re committed to strengthening our alliances and partnerships in the region, including through joint exercises, training programs, and improved military to military communication. We’re also reviewing our security presence to ensure we are best able to continue to contribute to peace and stability. The United States has had a security presence in the Asia Pacific for more than a century. Our presence here has helped create the conditions in which the remarkable economic growth of the last three decades has taken place. Thus we strongly believe, and I believe most in the region would agree, that our security presence here is beneficial to the countries of the region and necessary for the continued vitality of the Asia Pacific. Our security presence is not aimed at any one country.

We’re also committed to promoting universal values such as transparency, rule of law, human rights and good governance, and we believe these are critical components of a long-term regional stability, prosperity and economic growth.

Individual nations in this region have unique strengths, challenges and histories. At the same time we can learn from each other, we can encourage each other, and we can hold each other accountable. Together we can find the best ways to strengthen the rule of law, to tackle corruption, to support civil society, and to ensure that women, minorities, and persons with disabilities are protected.

We’re committed to doing more to support Asia Pacific regional institutions. We support the East Asia Summit becoming the capstone of an increasingly mature and effective regional architecture that deals with a broad range of key issues including political and strategic issues.

We also remain committed to supporting ASEAN in the region and APEC or the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation as the premier forum for strengthening regional economic integration.

Clearly as countries with the largest economies and populations in the Asia Pacific, the United States and China have a unique role to play in ensuring regional peace and prosperity. We have a shared interest in working together for the good of not just our own peoples, but the peoples of the entire region.

As our leaders have said, we intend to make history in our relationship with China in the 21st Century. We intend to find a way to coexist and cooperate without unhealthy competition, rivalry or conflict.

Because conflict between a rising power and established power is not inevitable, as President Hu Jintao and Vice President Xi Jinping and Secretary Clinton have all argued. We must therefore forge a relationship based on mutual respect and mutual benefit.

But we must also recognize that rhetoric alone, however positive, is not enough. We need to demonstrate that our cooperation achieves real results and brings real benefits to both our peoples and the international community.

In our economic relationship we believe this requires fairness in both policy and practice. Fairness means guaranteeing a level playing field for healthy competition between U.S. and Chinese firms, establishing a more open investment climate and ensuring more opportunities for foreign goods, products and services, ending unfair distorting currency practices and improving protections of intellectual property that allow innovation to thrive.

Fairness also means that the United States will listen and respond to Chinese concerns as well, so that together we can find ways to further unlock the economic potential of our two great nations.

We also need to demonstrate real results in confronting the international challenges that threaten the prosperity and security of our two countries and indeed the globe.

On Iran, we look to China to work with its partners in the UN Security Council to hold the Iranian government accountable for its actions. We must give Iran a clear choice: come in line with its international obligations and rejoin the community of nations, or face growing consequences.

On Syria, we urge China to do more to prevent President Assad from waging war on his own people. The sooner Assad steps aside the sooner the bloodshed will come to an end and the sooner the Syrian people will be able to decide their own future. Both of our countries have an interest in a stable and prosperous Middle East which is threatened by continued violence in Syria.

The world is looking for leadership from the United States and China. Fifty years from now we want the history books to describe our great accomplishments together and not that we failed to act.

That is not to say that we will always agree. There are issues on which we hold very differing views such as human rights and basic freedoms. The promotion of universal human rights is an essential element of American foreign policy. It reflects who we are as a people and our belief that respecting these rights is in every country’s national interest.

As Secretary Clinton has so eloquently stated, reforms that support universal human rights give people a greater stake in the success of their nation which in turn makes societies more stable, prosperous and peaceful.

It is our conviction that a China that is more open to all views, ideas and expression will lead to a stronger and more secure China which is something that the United States and the world welcome.

So let me be clear. We welcome a strong prosperous China that takes its rightful role on the world stage. And we want to partner more fully with China to promote peace, stability and development which benefits our two countries, the Asia Pacific region, and indeed, the international community.

The good news is that today the United States and China are already working together more than ever in ways large and small to expand our cooperation and address the global challenges that we face.

On the economic front, we’re working together to achieve real results for our people. Forty years ago it would have been difficult to imagine the interdependence that characterizes our two economies today. To put this in tangible terms, in 1972 when President Nixon first came to China, our yearly bilateral trade was less than $100 million. Two-way investment in each other’s markets was close to zero, and only a handful of American jobs relied on trade with China.

Today more than a billion dollars of goods and services flow between our two countries each day, and over 800,000 American jobs depend on producing goods and services sold to China. An even larger number of Chinese jobs are anchored by trade with the United States. People in both countries are benefiting from this deepening economic integration and measured against the past where the relationship has been. Our two sides have made enormous progress.

In May of this year we convened a highly successful fourth round of our annual Strategic and Economic Dialogue with the Chinese government and among the economic achievements of this past round China agreed to expand opportunities for foreign security firms in China and to grant foreign companies access to the automobile insurance market.

Reforms in the financial services sector will bring more competition and products and services to the Chinese people, ultimately benefiting the Chinese consumer.

China has also agreed to undertake reforms on its tariffs and taxes on imported goods which will expand imports and domestic consumption.

China is also taking steps to improve the protection of intellectual property rights, trade secrets and trademarks -- all of which is as much a priority for Chinese entrepreneurs as it is for foreign companies.

All of these reforms are necessary to promote China’s goals of rebalancing economic growth, encouraging consumption and reducing the reliance on exports. These actions represent progress that also translates into greater opportunities for U.S. workers and companies.

Indeed, Chinese companies with operations in America are already making important contributions to U.S. output and employment and they are valued members of the American communities in which they invest, while at the same time growing their own businesses to the benefit of their shareholders.

Chinese direct investment in the United States increased almost eight-fold between 2005 and 2011, from $700 million to $5.4 billion, and it’s on a record pace so far in 2012 with $3.6 billion in deals completed in just the first six months of this year. This trend is a very positive development for both the United States and China.

Chinese companies benefit by gaining access to the world’s largest market, to a well-educated labor force, to the most modern management and corporate governance as well as to our research and development infrastructure. At the same time, Chinese investment into the United States creates American jobs, boosts U.S. exports, and creates stronger U.S. economic and commercial ties.

Our message to our friends here in China is clear. We welcome Chinese investment in the United States, the same way that companies from other countries have invested in America. We recognize that foreign investment, including Chinese investment, is vital to our economic growth, job creation, and productivity.

The United States and China are working together in many other ways you may not know about. Ways that show that cooperation leads to real benefits for real people in both countries.

I recently learned that research conducted in China in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control directly benefited children in the United States. This research led the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to require all U.S. manufacturers of enriched cereal grain products to fortify their products with folic acid. As a result of this decision the rates of spina bifuda and other serious defects of the brain and spine have decreased significantly in the U.S. as well as other countries that have implemented a similar policy.

The U.S.-China Aviation Cooperation Program has promoted safer aviation operations here, and it was under this program that Petro China and Boeing joined together to test fly a Chinese airline using biofuels for the first time in late 2011.

Off the Horn of Africa international naval patrols including Chinese and U.S. warships have helped sharply reduce the acts of piracy this year, making some of the world’s most important shipping lanes safer.

We’re also cooperating to expand people to people exchanges, recognizing that the most important part of any relationship is the last three feet. Travel between our countries fosters improved understanding between our two peoples and facilitates cooperation and collaboration in every field.

As Director General Jang indicated, student exchanges help foster the lasting personal relationships that are essential to U.S. China cooperation over the long term.

Most of you know that more students from China study in the United States than from any other country. But just as important, the United States government funds more American students to study in China than any other country in the world.

As the Director General indicated there are almost 160,000 Chinese students studying in America every year. Though we only have, as she indicated, some 20,000 American students studying in China. That’s not enough. That’s why President Obama launched his 100,000 Strong Initiative which seeks to have 100,000 students studying in China over the next four years. We’re working hand in hand with key private sector partners to make this objective a reality. We hope that many of you in your companies will support this endeavor.

So as Ambassador I’ve made streamlining our visa processes a priority in order to facilitate these exchanges, and I’m happy to announce that our embassy in Beijing and our consulates throughout China have processed more than 1.1 million visa applications for travel to America. This is a 40 percent increase over last year.

We’ve been able to do all of this while keeping our wait times down for appointments on average between three and eight days.

To keep with future growth, however, we’re going to need reforms that go beyond the changes that we can make to our internal systems. We’ve informed the Chinese government that the United States is willing to give five year visas for business, tourism or educational travel to the United States for Chinese visitors.

But we first need China to agree to give Americans the same five year visas. Actually, we’re having good discussions on this effort.

All of these joint efforts that I’ve talked about show that the United States and China can work together in the Asia Pacific region and indeed around the world to support common goals and achieve real results.

Again, we’ve still got a long ways to go, but I’m hopeful that working together we can escape from the historical patterns and instead forge a legacy of cooperation and partnership that will be a model for future generations.

The more we’re able to bring our two peoples together in common cause, the more we’ll be able to deepen a shared conviction between our two peoples that a prosperous China is good for the United States. And a strong U.S. economy is good for China. And a strong U.S.-China relationship is good for the Asia Pacific region because geopolitics today cannot afford a zero sum game.

The world of the 21st Century is fundamentally different than the world of the 20th or even the 19th Century. The power politics of the past no longer work.

No country can isolate itself from the rest of the world and be immune from the political, economic and societal elements in other nations. We live in an interdependent world, transformed by advances in technology and transportation that allow the rapid flow of goods, information and people to every corner of the world.

And just as the opportunities we face are global in scope, so are the challenges. From climate change to poverty, from nuclear proliferation to diseases. No country can solve these problems alone.

In today’s world we’re more interconnected and more interdependent than ever before. Pollution knows no national borders. Drought knows no national borders. An epidemic can travel from one continent to another as quickly as a passenger jet can fly.

Economic turmoil on one side of the globe can upset the economies and stabilities of nations on the other side. And a picture or a video or a comment can travel from Smart Phone to Smart Phone on the opposite side of the planet in an instant.

Our countries may have different cultures, languages and histories, but our peoples have the same shared goals -- a better life for themselves and their children and their children’s children.

Imagine what we can accomplish 50 or even 100 years from now if our governments, our companies and our peoples are working together.

All of us now share a common challenge -- to promote even stronger relations throughout the Asia Pacific region that deliver real results for our peoples and for the entire world. The United States has an enduring interest in maintaining peace and prosperity across this entire region, and we will remain fully committed to long-term engagement with the countries and peoples of Asia Pacific.

I’m confident that with the help of the East West Center and all the work that you do and the relationships that you have formed and will form, the U.S. and China will make great strides in unlocking the full potential of not just our two peoples, but working with your countries realize the dreams and aspirations of all of the peoples of this rich, diverse and dynamic Asia Pacific region.

Thank you very much. Have a great conference. Mahalo.