The relationship between the United States and China is critical to both our countries and to the future of our world.
The coming days offer two powerful examples of how diplomatic and cultural dialogues can broaden our understanding and deepen our cooperation. Next week in Beijing, I will join Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner for the Strategic and Economic Dialogue with Chinese Vice Premier Wang, State Councilor Dai and many other cabinet-level officials from our two governments. We will discuss how to continue building a positive, cooperative, and comprehensive relationship that advances our shared interests and is capable of addressing common challenges, from ensuring balanced and sustainable economic recovery and development to cooperating on clean energy and climate change to addressing international and regional security issues such as Iran and North Korea.
Few global problems can be solved by the U.S. or China alone and few can be solved without the U.S. and China together.
I am also looking forward to visiting the Shanghai Expo. With over 70 million visitors expected in the coming six months, the Expo will be the largest World’s Fair in history and an opportunity for people from around the world to learn more about each other and to exchange ideas and strategies for meeting the global challenges we all share.
Its success is a testament to China’s hospitality and to the hunger for mutual understanding and cooperation that draws people together across cultures and continents.
Each pavilion showcases the culture and accomplishments of the nation it represents, but the Expo as a whole tells the broader story of our common aspirations and challenges. The China Pavilion, a soaring inverted pyramid, has much to show the world. As does our own pavilion. The USA Pavilion showcases the qualities that make America dynamic and prosperous, including innovation, sustainability and diversity, and is an example of successful public-private partnership.
Creative problem-solving is a key theme of the USA Pavilion in Shanghai. Many of America’s leading companies helped build the Pavilion and their cutting-edge technologies that hold the promise of unlocking a more sustainable and prosperous future are not just displayed, they are woven into the building itself. From the photovoltaic cells that convert sunlight into electricity and help power the Pavilion to the solar water heater, the rooftop garden and the recycled bamboo flooring, the USA Pavilion is a model of both innovation and environmental responsibility that will be carbon neutral for the duration of the Expo.
The United States and China are the world’s two largest energy consumers and greenhouse gas emitters. So we have a unique responsibility to lead the effort against climate change and to chart a clean energy future.
At the Strategic and Economic Dialogue meetings in Beijing, we will discuss ways that our two countries can expand our cooperation on energy and climate issues.
And some of the new tools and technologies that will help us meet this global challenge are on display at the Expo. Innovation has always been a hallmark of world’s fairs and expositions. Many people got their first look at the telephone, typewriter, x-ray and even the ice cream cone at an expo or fair. We are pleased to carry forward that tradition in Shanghai.
And because innovation is fostered by the free flow of commerce, the open exchange of ideas and the unfettered expression of creativity, we are working to turn the USA Pavilion into a launching pad for new partnerships and ventures, a hub of commercial diplomacy and a laboratory for new ideas. More than half a million people have already visited the Pavilion and more are coming every day.
One of the most moving exhibits they will find there is dedicated to the millions of Chinese-Americans who have contributed so much to the cultural and economic development of the United States. From Yo-Yo Ma to I.M. Pei to my Cabinet colleagues Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Chinese-Americans have achieved great success in business, government, the arts and sciences.
But at the USA Pavilion, we also celebrate the lives and contributions of all the Chinese-Americans whose names are unlikely to ever end up in the newspapers. Thousands of them have sent photographs and testimonials documenting the Chinese experience in America -- parents and children, teachers and students, small business owners and hard-working professionals -- a true pageant of American life. We Americans are proud of our diversity, and our sometimes noisy democracy. We believe it makes us a stronger and more vibrant nation. At the USA Pavilion, this spirit is embodied by the Student Ambassadors who greet our visitors. Every day, with outstretched hands and wide smiles, and in fluent Chinese, these young American students are building bridges of understanding and respect. I can’t wait to meet them.
When he opened the first world expo hosted by the United States, in Philadelphia in 1876, President Ulysses S. Grant pledged "our earnest desire to cultivate the friendship of our fellow-members of this great family of nations."
Today in Shanghai we share the same goal. The doors of the USA Pavilion are open. We welcome the people of China and the world to join us.