Ambassador Zhang, thank you for your gracious hospitality tonight. I am delighted to join Acting Secretary Blank, members of the diplomatic corps and other distinguished guests in congratulating the Chinese people on the 62nd anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China. In the company of so many good friends, this is a moment to highlight the remarkable and continuing progress in our bilateral relationship, a relationship based on mutual respect and mutual benefit.
This year in particular our two countries have achieved considerable momentum in building positive, cooperative, and comprehensive ties. For instance, we saw a continuation of exchanges at the highest levels, beginning with President Hu’s state visit in January, followed by the third annual Strategic and Economic Dialogue in May, followed by highly successful visits by Secretary Clinton and Vice President Biden. But we also broke ground on new ways to interact. In May, we began the Strategic Security Dialogue, an important forum for building trust and one I look forward to leading on the U.S. side. As our governments broaden dialogue, we are also working to increase people-to-people programs to strengthen our relationship by building ties of friendship and understanding. Next year we are looking forward to hosting a visit by Vice President Xi.
As President Obama and other U.S. officials have said on numerous occasions, the United States welcomes the rise of a strong, prosperous, and successful China that plays a greater role in world affairs. This is not to say that we will always agree--but the simple truth is that we have far more to gain, and the world has far more to gain, when we work together.
Thank you again, Mr. Ambassador, for being such a gracious host and for such a wonderful evening. Best wishes on your National Day and best wishes for the coming year!