Let us be honest: We know that some are wary of the future. Some in China think that America will try to contain China’s ambitions; some in America think that there is something to fear in a rising China. I take a different view. And I believe President Hu takes a different view, as well. I believe in a future where China is a strong, prosperous and successful member of the community of nations; a future when our nations are partners out of necessity, but also out of opportunity. This future is not fixed, but it is a destination that can be reached if we pursue a sustained dialogue like the one that you will commence today, and act on what we hear and what we learn.
Thousands of years ago, the great philosopher Mencius said: “A trail through the mountains, if used, becomes a path in a short time, but, if unused, becomes blocked by grass in an equally short time.” Our task is to forge a path to the future that we seek for our children — to prevent mistrust or the inevitable differences of the moment from allowing that trail to be blocked by grass; to always be mindful of the journey that we are undertaking together.
This dialogue will help determine the ultimate destination of that journey. It represents a commitment to shape our young century through sustained cooperation, and not confrontation. I look forward to carrying this effort forward through my first visit to China, where I hope to come to know better your leaders, your people, and your majestic country. Together, I’m confident that we can move steadily in the direction of progress, and meet our responsibility to our people and to the future that we will all share.
Thank you very much. (Applause.)
(Source: White House)