Thank you very much. On behalf of all of the American delegation, I want to thank our generous hosts, Vice-Premier Wang and State Councilor Dai, for their excellent preparation and the extraordinary time that has been given to this dialogue, along with the Chinese team and the American team. This dialogue is the premier forum for one of the most important and complex relationships in the world. And the breadth and depth of our delegation continues to grow, because it reflects the agenda that we are working on together.
Earlier this year, our relationship faced uncertainty, and many questioned the direction we were heading. Now, in an earlier era, we might have experienced a lasting set-back. But this dialogue mechanism, and the habits of cooperation it has helped create, along with the confidence it has built, helped put us rapidly back on a positive track. This strategic and economic dialogue (inaudible), and it reflects the maturity, durability, and strength of our relationship. So, over the last days we discussed a wide range of the most complex bilateral, regional, and global challenges.
Now, as we have said many times, we do not agree on every issue. We don't agree even sometimes on the perception of the issue. But that is partly what this dialogue is about. It is a place where we can discuss everything, as State Councilor Dai said, from Taiwan to universal human rights. And in the course of doing so, we are developing that positive, cooperative, and comprehensive understanding that leads to the relationship for the 21st century that both President Obama and President Hu Jintao put into motion when they agreed to do this dialogue.
The success of the U.S.-China relationship will ultimately be measured by the results we deliver to our people. Do our dialogues and our collaborations produce changes that people see in their daily lives, and that contribute to global progress or not? That is both our challenge and our responsibility.
So, this round of the dialogue did not solve all of our shared problems, but it did produce a number of concrete results, some of which you saw as Chinese and American officials came forward to sign memoranda of understanding.
One in particular is in our efforts to meet the challenges of climate change and clean energy. We signed an agreement that, for the first time, will allow American experts to work closely with Chinese colleagues to begin exploring China's vast natural gas potential. We believe that could well lead to new economic opportunities in both countries, and a lower carbon emission load for our planet. This is part of the broader drive for energy security and greater market transparency and efficiency, closer cooperation, and more focus on cleaner energy (inaudible).
Earlier today I was pleased to sign with State Councilor Liu (inaudible) U.S.-China consultation on people-to-people exchange. President Obama has announced a goal of sending 100,000 American students to China in the next 4 years to learn Mandarin, to experience Chinese culture, and to learn about the hospitality of the Chinese people, while they serve as ambassadors for the United States in China. And toward this end, I want to thank State Councilor Liu for her announcement of 10,000 scholarships for American students.
Our U.S.-China relationship must extend beyond the halls of government to our homes, our businesses, and our schools. And these exchanges really offer the opportunity for people to connect and collaborate, and they remind us of how much we have in common.
As part of this dialogue, we also had our most serious high-level discussion to date on development, which is a core pillar of our foreign policy, along with diplomacy and defense. And we had very frank and detailed conversations about international security challenges and regional hot spots, including Iran and North Korea. We stressed the importance of reaching a conclusion on resolution of the United Nations Security Council to send a message to Iran to, "Live up to your international responsibilities or face growing isolation and consequences."
Similarly, with respect to North Korea, the United States and China share the objective of peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. Last year, we worked to pass and enforce a strong UN Security Council resolution in the wake of North Korea's nuclear test. Now we must work together again to address the serious challenge provoked by the sinking of the South Korean ship.
We are looking forward to working with our friends in South Korea. We appreciated the very statesmanlike approach that President Lee is following, and the prudent measures that he announced in his speech. No one is more concerned about the peace and stability in this region than the Chinese. We know this is a shared responsibility. And in the days ahead, we will work with the international community and our Chinese colleagues to fashion an effective and appropriate response. The consultations between China and the United States have started here in Beijing. They continue very closely, and we expect to be working together to resolve this matter.
China and the United States are two great nations with a compelling interest in global stability and security. We have different histories, and are at different stages in our development. But we recognize that we share a responsibility for meeting the challenges of our time, from combating climate change to curbing nuclear proliferation and rebalancing the global economy. This dialogue is a mechanism to exercise that collective leadership and meet our collective responsibilities.
So, there is much that we have worked on and that we are accomplishing that can only happen when people come together and meet as we have. Yesterday, President Hu Jintao said in his opening remarks, "Not even the most sophisticated telecommunication technology can replace face-to-face exchanges." Well, he is absolutely right. So I am very pleased that we had face-to-face exchanges, and we developed greater understanding and deepened our relationship. And we look forward to hosting you, Vice Premier Wang and State Councilor Dai, next year in Washington for the third round of the strategic and economic dialogue.