Well, thank you very much, Minister Xie. I think that you are well-named for all of the thanks that you provided us. But of course, we owe you and your Chinese colleagues, both here in Washington and in Beijing and Shanghai a great thanks as well.
This is an extraordinary day to celebrate the opening of the Shanghai Expo and to share it with so many who it is literally true to say without whom this would not have been possible. I echo Ambassador Bagley’s thanks of an incredible effort to pull this together, to get the word out, to enlist the support, to raise the money, and to actually build the Pavilion.
I well remember visiting the site of the Pavilion last November in a very heavy rainstorm. It was still under construction. But I was told that rain meant good fortune, and good fortune clearly smiled on us that day and will not only today, but through the rest of the time that the Pavilion is open at the Expo. (Applause.)
We expect that this will be the largest event, some say, in human history. It will certainly be very, very big. And it will be a great attraction, not only for tens of millions of people from within China itself, but from around the world.
I vowed last year that I would personally build the Pavilion if I had to so we could be part of that Expo. Thankfully I did not, because all of you worked together to make this a great success. And I would like to thank every single person here at the State Department who was involved in this monumental effort.
Certainly, Ambassador Bagley, her excellent deputy, Kris Balderston, the entire team who understand the power of partnerships and this was a multi-layered partnership. It was a partnership between China and the United States; between the United States Government and many of our great companies and corporations. It was certainly a partnership with our Embassy and our Consulate. So this was a multi-leveled partnership and it was a partnership that would not have been successful without some key players.
I want to thank Under Secretary Pat Kennedy, who has been a champion of this project from day one and whose responsibilities include running all of our worldwide facilities.
I want to thank Kurt Campbell and everyone at EAP who has worked day by day to strengthen and expand our relationship with China to make it that positive, cooperative, comprehensive relationship that President Obama and I are committed to. I want to thank our ECA colleagues, who provided critical assistance at every stage. I want to thank Ambassador Huntsman in Beijing and Consul General BeaCamp in Shanghai and I particularly want to thank Commissioner José Villarreal and the entire USA Expo team, some of whom you can see on the screen.
But I owe our greatest thanks to our sponsors. With the financial and-in kind contributions that you have come forward with, we have more than 50 cosponsors who have donated resources, expertise for the last year to get us ready to open this pavilion. And I think that we’re going to showcase a lot of what is best about America and particularly our young people who are serving as student ambassadors to help engage the millions of visitors expected to come to our pavilion during the next six months. Some of our Student Ambassadors are there with Commissioner Villarreal to celebrate today, and they’re doing a great job already.
I was speaking to State Counselor Dai Bingguo yesterday morning about many matters, but the first thing he had to tell me was that he had accompanied President Hu Jintao to our pavilion and had met some of the young people who are representing us there. The USA Pavilion is a unique opportunity to engage visitors. World fairs and expos have always been a place where the future is previewed. And that is indeed what is happening at this Shanghai Expo. So again, many, many thanks to all of you.
And now, let me ask our Commissioner General to the 2010 World Expo you see there on the screen who has done such a wonderful job making sure that the Pavilion got built, got staffed, got into shape to be able to open. And I knew that when I asked José to do this, I had someone who would be tireless in his efforts. And thank you so much, José and we’re going to ask you to give us a report from our pavilion.COMMISSIONER VILLARREAL:
Thank you, Madam Secretary. Ni hao. PARTICIPANTS:
Ni hao.COMMISSIONER VILLARREAL:
We are thrilled to be joining you from Shanghai. I don’t have to tell you how important this day is for China and the Chinese people as they celebrate the opening of World Expo. As you know, yesterday, we were privileged to receive President Hu Jintao at our pavilion. When I mentioned to President Hu and to Vice Premier Wang Qishan that you were hosting an event in Washington, D.C., contemporaneously with the Expo opening ceremonies, they expressed great appreciation. And in fact, while they were in our first area of – the welcoming area where we have this large sponsor wall with the names of all of the corporate sponsors, Vice Premier Wang Qishan motioned to the president to look at the wall. And the president made a point of mentioning how important all of these corporations are to China and so those of you who are sponsors should be very proud of that.
Madam Secretary, I’m joined here by U.S. Consulate and Pavilion staff and some of our student ambassadors. The student ambassadors performed their first official ambassadorial duties yesterday by helping me welcome President Hu, and I must say they performed marvelously. Today, we received the president of Armenia and a delegation from Hunan. Tomorrow, it is the vice president of Columbia and the secretary of tourism of Mexico. We will also receive tomorrow a delegation of U.S. mayors from the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
Madam Secretary, your team here in Shanghai, including all of the student ambassadors, are committed to using all of our creativity and energy to fully leverage this very unique public diplomacy opportunity. My deputy commissioner general, Tom Cooney, who is the chief public affairs officer at the consulate, in describing this opportunity has said that there will be more Chinese visiting our pavilion in just six months than the entire China mission will see in more than 20 years.
Madam Secretary, you will be pleased to know that my Chinese is now perfect. (Laughter.) Unfortunately, it is limited to about 10 words. My favorite phrase, however, is (in Chinese), meaning “Welcome, and enjoy this show.” I look forward to saying that to you when you visit in a few weeks and to all of you who will be coming to Shanghai for World Expo. On behalf of all of us here in Shanghai, thank you for including us in this celebration.
We now have a special guest joining us live from the Expo opening ceremonies. I think we have Ambassador Jon Huntsman.AMBASSADOR HUNTSMAN:
Jose, I am here. And all I can say is that your Chinese seems to be getting better with each passing week, my friend. Thank you for your excellent work. We appreciate it so very much.
To Secretary Clinton and all of our friends there, I’m coming to you live from the banks of the Huangpu River in Shanghai. We’ve just had one of the most extraordinary fireworks displays and opening ceremonies I think you could ever imagine, and all you have to do is think back to the opening of the Beijing Olympics, and it was about on that same scale.
Let me just say all of the thanks have been made, appropriately so. And all I want to do is to say that eight months ago when I started this most remarkable job, there wasn’t a strong sense that we would get to the finish line. And there was one person who really did push things along in a way that brought all of the pieces together, generated the enthusiasm, got (inaudible) raised and ultimately brought us to where we are today, and that is you, Secretary Clinton. And I just want to thank you because this is such a huge boost for the bilateral relationship.
We’re moving in a very helpful direction. It was so nice to hear from DCM (inaudible), and I want to thank him and all of his colleagues as well. We’re working through a lot of very important bilateral issues, and the fact that we can all take a moment and gather here under the banner of the Expo is just a remarkable thing.
Tomorrow morning, we will have the great opportunity, along with Jose and Consul General Bea Camp, of opening our doors to the people of China. And what is unique about this is we will be building, I think, a very lasting and durable bridge across the Pacific. We’ll have millions of young people who will be streaming through our pavilion, and many of them for the first time exposed to who we are in the United States. They will be able to better understand and better appreciate some of our finest traditions, and we’re looking forward to greeting them and to playing host to them over the next six months. And I can tell you, when all is said and done, when all 70 million or so people have been through the Expo and a good number of them exposed to the U.S. Pavilion, I think our bilateral relationship will be reaching a high point for the year. And it makes me, as the United States representative here, extremely proud.
So thank you, Secretary Clinton. Thank you, Jose. Thanks to one and all: our sponsors, our volunteers, people who have worked so tirelessly the last many, many months. It’s a thrill to be here in China right now and to see this relationship come to life in large part because of your work. Thank you all so very much. (Applause.)SECRETARY CLINTON:
Thank you. Thank you so much, Ambassador. And thank you for the extraordinary job you’re doing representing the United States in China.
Well, we heard from the Ambassador. We heard from the Commissioner. And then starting tomorrow, we’re going to hear from the millions of visitors who come to the Pavilion. And I hope that many of you in this room get a chance to visit in the next six months. I will be going to the Pavilion when I go to China for the second of our strategic and economic dialogues, and I just really believe that the people-to-people connections that we are trying to promote are the base of a long-lasting relationship.
So thanks to everyone who has been part of what is an extraordinary effort. And I hope that you know how grateful we are here at the State Department that you played a role in enabling this remarkable effort to reach fruition. This is an exciting time and I hope all of you in Shanghai will enjoy every minute of it. I guess it’s about 10:30 at night there, and I thank you for being part of our ceremony here today. And I’m looking forward to seeing all of you when I get to Shanghai. Thank you very, very much. (Applause.)