Secretary Alphonso Jackson at the
I am particularly delighted to welcome my friend, Minister Wang Guangtao, to Washington. Minister Wang, good to see you again. Thank you for traveling such a long distance.
Minister Wang, I also want to thank you and the Chinese people for your gracious hospitality during my visit to China in July. The meetings were very productive and informative. I came back with a renewed sense of our common interests and our ability to work as partners in housing. This is a partnership that will benefit all of our citizens, in China and in the United States. And it is a testament to what Nelson Mandela has called "the joining of hands" in housing. For he believes, as do I, that the provision of affordable housing is best when it unites people together.
During my visit to China I was impressed with your economic achievements and with your commitment to affordable housing. There is a dynamic sense of purpose, a strong vision of progress and change. It is timely that this memorandum of cooperation concerns the promotion of affordable housing. It is an area of common concern for both China and the United States.
Each of us...and each of our nations...confront many similar problems. True, each country faces a unique set of challenges. But there is so much overlap and commonality. I believe we have much to learn from each other.
And believe me, I am always ready to learn. I noted with interest the eleventh Five Year Plan released by your government last year. There was an entire chapter dedicated to urban growth. Your country made a powerful commitment to "coordinated development of large, medium and small cities and towns" and to "actively and safely (promoting) urbanization according to the principles of steady and orderly progression, land conservation, concentrated and efficient growth, and rational distribution of cities."
Also, I was interested to study your landmark "Property Law," passed this March. Following constitutional changes regarding private property, it is a powerful statement about ownership and use of property.
We know that affordable housing is a challenge. The problems are complex and difficult. They are intertwined in problems related to economic development, population growth, the environment, infrastructure, transportation, health, water, urban sprawl, and property ownership.
But through cooperative actions and a sharing of experiences we will better address these problems. China and the United States have discovered that our joint cooperation can be mutually beneficial. And it helps us to understand each other better, to see the world through each other's eyes. I personally believe that such engagement and understanding will help build a more economically prosperous and peaceful world.
Minister Wang, I am mindful of the words of Confucius: "Wisdom, compassion, and courage - these are the universally recognized moral qualities of men."
I am hopeful that our partnership together will lead us to wisdom, compassion, and the courage to explore even more areas of cooperation. It can take courage to work together. But courage can put us on the road to wise leadership and the discovery of our common humanity.
I look forward to our efforts together. I am certain our joint cooperation will benefit our citizens, and perhaps other people around the world. I believe that the success of cooperative arrangements can stimulate other cooperative efforts between countries. And such inspiration can begin with a pen and a memorandum.
I am pleased to represent President Bush and the American people at this signing ceremony. Again, thank you all for coming.
Minister Wang, perhaps you would like to make a few remarks. Then we will sign the memorandum.
NOTE: To read the Press Release, visit http://archives.hud.gov/news/2007/pr07-122.cfm