Sat. Jul 13th, 2024
Secretary Antony J. Blinken at a Discussion with NYU Shanghai Students

SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Thank you again very much.  Great to be with all of you this morning.  I was really intent in coming here to get a chance to talk to each of you, hear from you, because I think what you’re engaged in is so important to the future of both of our countries and the relationship between us.  Whether you’re Chinese, whether you’re American, I think you know that this relationship between China and the United States is one of the most consequential, one of the most complicated in the world.

But where the balance really comes in, where we can make sure that we are talking to each other, hearing each other, understanding each other, really comes through connections between students, business community, citizens across the board – but especially with students, with Americans studying in China, Chinese students studying in the United States, getting to know each other’s countries, getting to know each other.  This is really the best way to make sure that we start by hopefully understanding one another, and that’s a really important way to make sure that we avoid miscommunications and misperceptions, and even where we have profound differences, we can find ways for improvement – and, I hope, also build things together, build cooperation together.

President Biden, President Xi are determined to strengthen our people-to-people ties, including the educational exchanges.  We have about – almost 300,000 Chinese students in the United States, and that’s something we very much support.  This last year I think we had more than 100,000 new visas (inaudible) students studying in the United States.  Here, unfortunately, we’ve gone from about 15,000 students – Americans – here a decade or so ago to now just about 800, and in fact we hit a low of about 300 – COVID and other reasons.  We’d like to build that back up, because, again, I think it’s so important to make these connections.  Of course, we want to have the most welcoming environment possible so that our students feel welcome here, just as we want to make sure that Chinese students are welcome in the United States.

So for me, getting a chance to hear from you what this experience has been like – what you’re taking from it, how we can do more to support it – makes a big difference.  And then finally, I’ve seen this program; it’s really extraordinary.  I know that folks who’ve graduated the program have gone on to do incredible things.  In fact, we have some who joined the Foreign Service and are with us today.  (Applause.)

And that, too, gives me tremendous hope for the future, because one thing I want to make sure is that, in both of our countries, we develop and we have rising generations who know each other, who know about each other, and hopefully, who understand each other.  And that’s the best way to make sure that we’re managing this relationship between our countries responsibly, effectively, and hopefully for the good of the people not only in our countries but around the world.  (Inaudible) great to be with you.  Mostly I’m anxious to hear from you.  Thanks.  (Applause.)

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originally published at Politics - JISIP NEWS