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Secretary Cuomo's Welcoming Remarks for
Chinese Housing Delegation

Sackler Gallery Reception
Monday, November 1, 1999

Thank you very much. Good evening. It's my pleasure once again to welcome Minister Yu and members of the Chinese delegation. I want to thank them all very much for coming. I want you to know that today after this experience in translation, I understand where the original concept of the sound bite came from.

I want to thank Bob Heine of Dupont for sponsoring this reception, as well as Scott Seligman of United Technologies, and Monsanto for their help. I also was very impressed by Scott's translation. I would take exception with his translation of hiccup in Chinese, but beyond that I thought it was fine.

I want to thank Dr. Milo Beach of the Freer and Sackler Galleries for opening up this extraordinary facility for us tonight. You could not have a better setting to celebrate what we are beginning today.

China and the United States have had a past history of hiccups if you will. We've gone back and forth between periods of mutual fascination, friendship, and yes, at times mutual frustration.

For over two decades we had no conversation, no dialogue at all. That was not good for China, that was not good for the United States. Avoidance is not progress and we realize that now. But now as we are on literally the doorstep of a new century we recognize a new reality and a new truth that we can do better for each of our people and all of our people if we work together, if we cooperate, rather than through isolation or avoidance.

This is certainly true in the area that we celebrate today, in the area of housing. Housing is so much more than just four walls and a roof. It is the building block of community. It is the building block of a national economy. It is the building block of family. And that's the collaboration that we began today. It will work for China, it will work for the United States. And I know I speak for myself and for my colleague and friend, Minister Yu, when I say that we were honored to launch that collaboration today.

Through the efforts that we start today we can make advancements for our people, economically, more opportunity, more basic human rights, more peace, more fairness, more justice.

I'm excited about the relationship, I'm excited about the prospects, I'm excited to get to work. I feel that we have taken the first step of a great journey today and I thank you all for being part of it. Thank you.

Content Archived: January 20, 2009

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