Tuesday September 17, 2019

Welcoming Remarks as Prepared by Dr. Chi Wang, President and Chair, U.S.-China Policy Foundation

U.S.-China Policy Foundation 23rd Annual Gala Dinner
December 5, 2018, Washington, DC

 

 

Good evening. Welcome to the U.S.-China Policy Foundation’s 23rd Annual Gala Dinner. It is truly gratifying to see so many faces in the audience who share an interest in promoting positive U.S.-China relations.

Before we begin, I would like to take a moment to acknowledge the loss of President George H.W. Bush. It seems fitting that his funeral was this morning, the same day we have gathered to recognize the importance of the U.S.-China relationship. President Bush had a strong interest in China and truly believed in the necessity of fostering a positive U.S.-China relationship.

While most will remember him as our 41st President, the first thing I always picture when I think of President Bush is the image of him riding his bicycle in Beijing when he served as the Chief of the U.S. Liaison Office to the People’s Republic of China. Many China watchers will be familiar with the photo of George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush with their bicycles in Tiananmen Square. I had the great honor of first meeting Bush when he arrived on bicycle at the gates to the U.S. Liaison Office in Beijing while I was waiting to meet a friend. He could have easily rode by, but he stopped to speak with me and I was touched by his down-to-earth warmth and welcoming manner. I know he will be remembered by all the many people his life touched, myself amongst them.

I would like to ask everyone to observe a moment of silence in remembrance of  the 41st President of the United States, George Herbert Walker Bush.

 

[[Moment of silence is observed]]

 

Thank you.

As we remember President George H.W. Bush and think about the many contributions he made over the years, let us pay special attention tonight to his work to improve the U.S.-China relationship. On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of normalization, it is important to recognize the hard work and effort that has gone into fostering this vital bilateral relationship. From Dr. Kissinger and President Nixon opening the door in 1972, to those like President George H.W. Bush who had the daunting task of building ties during a period of transition, to President Jimmy Carter who met with Deng Xiaoping and announced normalization. And to all those whose names are not well-known, but who worked behind the scenes, doing research, forging ties, and working tirelessly for a better, more positive relationship in the future.

It is this passion and dedication that also drives the work of the U.S.-China Policy Foundation. I am so proud to be able to stand here today celebrating our 23rd anniversary. This is a great accomplishment. But it is one I know would not have been possible without our friends and board members. It also would not be possible without our sponsors. I would like to give a special thanks to this year’s lead sponsor, Las Vegas Sands Corporation, and also thank all our other sponsors.

Businesses truly do play an important role in forging ties between countries.

During times like today, when there is tension in the official U.S.-China relationship, it is up to individuals and unofficial channels to keep the lines of communication open and encourage ongoing cooperation. I applaud everyone here, especially tonight’s honorees and speakers, for your efforts, and hope we will all pledge to continue to promote people-to-people engagement, cultural exchanges, and mutual understanding.

Please enjoy your dinner.