So part of [President Obama's] visit resulted in a few important things that I’m going to point out. First, military to military exchanges, something that we haven’t seen much of for over a year now. The increase in officers going back and forth; the increase in search and rescue operations; the ability for junior officers to engage in important exchanges; and for us to communicate more openly about our intentions, promoting transparency, which is mighty important between our two countries today.
Second, facilitating a bilateral mechanism for people-to-people and cultural exchanges, which is what many of you are part of. Now I can think of few things more important than this one because if we’re really going to take the U.S.-China relationship seriously, you have to ensure that the next generation coming up is given the opportunities to study and to engage in exchanges, to learn languages, and to have a better opportunity to investigate a system that is foreign to Americans and our system which is very foreign to Chinese students here. So by getting 100,000 more U.S. students [to China] over the next four years – this won’t be easy, to be sure, but it’s doable – I think it could be one of the more important lasting legacies of this year in U.S.-China relations.
Third, on climate change, we may have some differences on how hard and how fast certain commitments play out over the short term, but both sides recognize the importance of dramatically reducing carbon emissions by mid-century and finding new energy conservation measures. The Danish proposal was always discussed, having been put forward by Prime Minister Rasmussen, that includes a peer review feature that we feel is very important.
Fourth, clean energy. Aside from the U.S.-China Clean Energy Research Centers, which have been written about and talked about for some weeks now, there were several new initiatives in the areas of electric vehicles and clean building energy efficiency.
People just stumble over these things. Just take that one area, for example. Clean building energy efficiency. When you stop to consider that China over the next ten years will be building more in the way of commercial office space than we have in our total inventory in the United States, you get some sense of how important this is and what an important contribution it could be if done right to global emissions over the next many years. We’re also going to promote an energy partnership on shale gas resources as well as work to promote technologies and cooperation on large-scale carbon gas sequestration projects.
Fifth, on nuclear proliferation, we’re going to pursue ratification of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty; negotiations are going to be launched on the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty; and China has agreed to actively participate in preparation for the April 2010 Nuclear Safety Summit.
Sixth, on the global economic crisis, the two Presidents were quite outspoken that what has emerged from this crisis and our joint cooperation was essential in weathering the early storms. Much of what both countries did was not public or visible in the early days of the crisis, but we did end up with good stimulus packages, reassured the markets, and stabilized bonded credit systems.
But we need to keep in mind that the new global economic order that emerges in the aftermath of the crisis that we are experiencing will look very different from the one that preceded it, which means recognizing the limits of depending primarily on American consumers and Asian exports to drive growth.
The new strategy of balanced economic growth in America means more saving and less spending; reforming our financial system; reducing our long term deficit; exporting more; and in the process, creating more and better paying jobs and committing to an open market all the while.
In China, the new strategy of economic growth means higher standards of living for workers and consumers through greater choice in the market place, improved infrastructure, a modern financial structure, better housing, quality health care, and a more fully developed social safety net that Premier Wen Jiabao mentioned just the other day as being critically important to the economic transition that is now underway.
There is every reason to think that on China will succeed, and that its extraordinary record of accomplishment over the last 30 years can be sustained. And there is every reason to think America will once again regain its preeminent role as an American powerhouse. You see, we are a nation that responds well to adversity. I think we’re going to look back on the last few years as a period that allowed us to change course and to look anew at our priorities in the future.