Vice President Biden on the Relationship Between the U.S. and China

Watch the Vice President's full remarks here.

Yesterday, Vice President Joe Biden spoke from Sichuan University in Chengdu, China on the important relationship between the United States and China. During his remarks, the Vice President reflected on the partnership that our two nations have been working to build: 

A rising China will fuel economic growth and prosperity and it will bring to the fore a new partner with whom we can meet global challenges together.  When President Obama and I took office in January of 2009, we made our relationship with China a top priority.  We were determined to set it on a stable and sustainable course that would benefit the citizens of both our countries.  Our Presidents have met nine times since then, including very successful state visits in Beijing and Washington, and have spoken numerous times by telephone.

Direct discussions between senior policymakers and the personal ties that result from such discussions in my view over the last 35 years of conducting foreign policy are the keys to building cooperation.  They're built on understanding.  They allow us to better understand each other and allow us to define our interests in ways that are clear so that each one of us know what the other country’s interests are, and to see the world through the eyes of the other with the intention of preventing miscommunications and misconceptions that tend to fuel mistrust.

With that goal in mind, we have worked very hard to develop our cooperative partnership through more than 60 separate dialogues on issues of matter to both China and to the United States; and I would suggest to the world as a whole.

The Vice President also addressed how continuing to build opportunities for trade and economic partnerships will create jobs right here in America:

Trade and investment between our countries are growing rapidly in both countries, in both directions, creating jobs and economic opportunities in both countries.

We often hear about Chinese exports to the United States, but last year American companies in America exported $110 billion worth of goods and services to China, supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs in America.  The American people and the Chinese people are hopefully -- are becoming aware that it’s in our mutual interest in each of our countries to promote that exchange.

A more prosperous China will mean more demand for American-made goods and services and more jobs back home in the United States of America.  So our desire for your prosperity is not borne out of some nobility.  It is in our self-interest that China continue to prosper.

While there are many common challenges and economic opportunities that bring the United States and China together, the Vice President also spoke about the differences and disagreements our nations have, particularly in regards to human rights:

But President Obama and I see protecting human rights and freedoms, we see it in a larger context, as well.  Protecting freedoms such as those enshrined in China’s international commitments and in China’s own constitution -- we see them as a key aspect of China’s successful emergence and the key continued growth and prosperity.  I know that some in China believe that greater freedom could threaten economic progress by undermining social stability.  I do not pretend to have the answer, but I believe history has shown the opposite to be true, that in the long run, greater openness is a source of stability and a sign of strength, that prosperity peaks when governments foster both free enterprise and free exchange of ideas, that liberty unlocks a people’s full potential.  And in its absence, unrest festers. 

Openness, free exchange of ideas, free enterprise and liberty are among the reasons why the United States, in my view, is at this moment the wealthiest nation in the history of the world.  It’s why our workers are among the most productive, why our inventors and entrepreneurs hold more patents than any other country in the world, why we are reinvesting in the fundamental sources of our strength -- education, infrastructure, innovation, and why President Obama and I are so confident that America will weather the current economic storm and emerge even stronger, just as we always have in past economic crises, and why there’s no reason why China cannot tap into the same source of strength.

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