Mr. President, thank you for your gracious introduction. We have an expression in the United States Senate where I served for many years when we want to say something personal, we say, permit me a point of personal privilege. I would like to introduce you to two of my family members who I’ve brought along with me, my daughter-in-law Kathleen Biden and my granddaughter Naomi Biden. Would you guys stand? (Applause.)
It would be more appropriate to say Naomi brought me along with her since she’s a budding Chinese speaker, been taking Chinese for five years, so I’ve been listening to her on the whole trip.
I want to again thank you very much. I had a wonderful few days in Beijing and a series of very positive and productive conversations with Chinese leaders. And I’m pleased to make my first visit to western China, which has played such an incredible, such an incredible role in this nation’s proud, proud history, and which today is the vanguard of Chinese — China’s high-tech future.
Two years ago, Sichuan province suffered one of the greatest natural disasters in China’s recent history. And the American people were inspired — were inspired by the way you all came together to help one another during that crisis. And I’m absolutely amazed as I drive around the city, and I’ll be moving out into the province later, after this speech — I’m amazed at how quickly you have rebuilt and you have recovered.
The people of Chengdu, let me say simply that your hospitality has more than lived up to your reputation as the “land of abundance,” so again, thank you so very much for that hospitality.
It’s also great to be here on a university campus. I also want to thank our host, the university which counts amongst its alumni some of the most illustrious figures in recent Chinese history, including Zhu De and Ba Jin, both of whom are — one a literary icon; the other, one of the most illustrious figures, and a founding father of the republic.
I’m also pleased to be joined today by — he’s already been introduced — but by our ambassador, our new ambassador Gary Locke whose grandfather came to the United States from Canton in the 1890s and toiled as a house servant in the United States in exchange for being able to get English language lessons. In less than two generations — two generations later, Gary Locke, his grandson, has served as the governor of his home state of Washington, the U.S. Secretary of Commerce and the chief of mission in one our most important diplomatic posts in the world.