Jan. 19 / Administration of Barack Obama, 2011 and advance the positive, cooperative, and China-U.S. relations have traveled a extraor- comprehensive China-U.S. relationship for the dinary journey in the past 32 years since the es- 21st century. tablishment of diplomatic ties. A review of the In recent years, particularly over the past 2 history of our relations shows that we have far years since President Obama took office, Chi- more common interests than differences, and na-U.S. relations have made strong headway, cooperation for mutual benefit has always be- thanks to the joint efforts of both sides. ing the mainstream of our relations. This has We have increased exchanges in cooperation reinforced our confidence in further pushing in a wide range of areas, maintained close com- forward our relationship. munication and coordination on major interna- Today, both China and the United States are tional and regional issues, and played a positive confronted with the arduous task of sustaining role in promoting peace, stability, and prosper- steady economic growth and achieving eco- ity in the Asia-Pacific region and the whole nomic transformation. And we both need to world. tackle the various challenges brought by eco- Under the current circumstances, our two nomic globalization. This has added to our countries share broader common interests, need and desire to enhance cooperation. shoulder bigger common responsibilities, and We should pursue our relations with a stron- face more severe common challenges than at ger conviction, a broader vision, and more pro- any time in history. As a result, it is more im- active approach. We need to take solid steps portant than never for us to maintain the long- and make pioneering efforts to fully tap the po- term, sound, and steady growth of our bilateral tential of cooperation and strive for new prog- relations. This is the reality we face, and it ress in China-U.S. relations. should be recognized by both sides. I am confident that with joint efforts, China- U.S. cooperative partnership will yield bounti- This morning President Obama and I had an ful fruits for the greater benefit of our people in-depth exchange of views on China-U.S. rela- and make new and bigger contribution to the tions and international and regional issues of noble cause of world peace and development. common interest. And we reached important agreement. We agreed that our two countries [President Hu offered a toast.] should increase contacts at the top and other levels, strengthen strategic mutual trust President Hu. To the health of President through dialogue and communication, intensi- and Mrs. Obama, to the health of all friends fy exchanges and cooperation in all fields, and present here, to the stronger friendship be- step up communication and coordination on tween the people of China and the United international and regional issues. States, and to the steady growth of China-U.S. We agreed that the two countries should re- relations. spect each other’s sovereignty, territorial integ- Cheers. rity and the development interests, properly handle differences and frictions, and work to- NOTE: The President spoke at 7:51 p.m. in the gether to build a China-U.S. cooperative part- State Dining Room at the White House. Presi- nership based on mutual respect and mutual dent Hu spoke in Chinese, and his remarks benefit. were translated by an interpreter.
Remarks Honoring the 50th Anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s Inauguration January 20, 2011
To Caroline and the Kennedy family, to all guests here tonight, it is an extraordinary plea- the Members of Congress and distinguished sure to join you to mark the 50th anniversary of
38 Administration of Barack Obama, 2011 / Jan. 20
John F. Kennedy’s Inauguration. And I can’t erence. And I know him through the legacy of think of a better place to do it than here, in a his children and his brother Teddy, who be- living memorial that reflects not only his love came extraordinarily dear friends of mine. of the arts, but also his recognition of how the But I know him, John F. Kennedy, less as a arts can help sustain our national strength. man than as an icon, as a larger-than-life figure Now, we mark this anniversary with a mea- who graced this Earth for one brief and shining sure of sadness, as we remember the extraordi- moment. But part of this—the function of this nary life of Sargent Shriver, a man who embod- event, on this day, we must remember him as ied the spirit of the New Frontier as well as he was: as a father who loved his children, as a anybody. When a person passes away, there’s friend who lived life fully, as a noble public ser- often an urge to define their legacy and find a vant who wanted to make a difference. way in which it will endure. In the case of A quick wit with a light touch, he was dealt, Sarge, that is not hard to do. His legacy is writ- in many ways, a fortunate hand at birth. At- ten in the villages around the world that have tending one event, early in his career, where clean water or a new school through the Peace every speaker before him pompously claimed Corps. It’s written into the lives of all the chil- humble roots—things haven’t changed that dren in our own country whose fortunes have much—[laughter]—John Kennedy confessed, been lifted through Head Start. And it will en- when he took the podium, that he was, and I dure in the work of his children, who are living quote, “the only fellow here who didn’t come out his legacy of service, and our thoughts and up the hard way.” [Laughter] prayers are with them tonight. And yet it cannot be said that John F. Ken- Now, one of the remarkable aspects in com- nedy lived an easy life. He lost an older brother memorating the JFK Inauguration, in remem- in the war, a sister shortly thereafter. He nearly bering those who were part of his team, like lost his own life too when a Japanese gunship Sargent Shriver, who would help bring Kenne- cut his PT boat in half, casting him into the wa- dy’s soaring vision to life, is that none of it feels ter, from which he swam a crewmate to safety. dated. Even now, one half century later, Another sister struggled with a severe mental there’s something about that day—January 20, handicap. His own health was so poor that 1961—that feels immediate, feels new and ur- priests pronounced his last rites on several dif- gent and exciting, despite the graininess of the ferent occasions. And he endured the personal 16-millimeter news reels that recorded it for prejudice and political poison of anti-Catholic posterity. fervor. There he is, the handsome Bostonian, sum- And there is surely a possibility, under such moning a generation to service and a nation to circumstances, that a person will retreat from greatness in a speech that would become part the world; that a person, particularly one born of the American canon. And there’s the crowd, to wealth, will seek a life of luxury and ease; bundled up for the cold, making their way that a person, confronted by the coldness of through streets white with snow, full of expec- chance, will become bitter or cynical or small. tation; a nation feeling young again, its mood It has happened to others. brightened by the promise of a new decade. But that is not the life that John F. Kennedy Now, I confess, I don’t have my own memo- chose. As he famously said at a press confer- ries of that day. [Laughter] I wasn’t born until ence, “Life is unfair.” We can’t choose the lots later that year. [Laughter] What I know of that we are given in life, but we can choose how to day and the 1,000 days that followed, what I live that life. John F. Kennedy chose a life in know of President Kennedy, came from a the arena, full of confidence that our country mother and grandparents who adored him, could surmount any obstacle, as he’d seen it do from books I read and classes I took, from himself. He chose a life of leadership, fired not growing up in a country still mourning its be- by naive optimism, but committed realism: loved leader, whose name was spoken with rev- “idealism,” as his wife Jackie put it, “without
39 Jan. 20 / Administration of Barack Obama, 2011 illusions.” That is the idealism—soaring, but again throughout history, to defy the odds, to sober—that inspired the country and the world fashion our future, to make the world anew. one half century ago. The world is very different now than it was I can only imagine how he must have felt, in 1961. We face new trials and new uncertain- entering the Oval Office in turbulent times. ties, from our economy to our security. We [Laughter] The Soviet Premier, Khrushchev, have a politics that can often seem too small for had threatened to “bury” America just a few the hardships at hand. So meeting these tests years before. Wars of liberation, as they were won’t be easy. But we cannot forget: We are called, were being waged around the globe, the heirs of this President, who showed us from Laos and Vietnam to Congo and Cuba, what is possible. Because of his vision, more people prospered, more people served, our just 90 miles from our shore. At home, a young Union was made more perfect. Because of that preacher’s cause was gaining traction across a vision, I can stand here tonight as President of segregated land. the United States. In this volatile America, this tinderbox of a So John F. Kennedy captured that American world, President Kennedy led with a steadying spirit that not only put a man on the Moon, but hand: defusing the most perilous crisis of the saved a continent from tyranny and overcame a cold war without firing a single shot, enforcing Great Depression, that forged, from 13 Colo- the rights of young Black men and women to nies, the last, best hope on Earth. And if we attend the university of their choice, launching can hold onto that spirit today, I know that our a corps of volunteers as ambassadors for peace generation will answer its call as ably as earlier in distant centers of the globe, setting Ameri- ones did before us. ca’s sights on the Moon, unwilling to lose the In December 1962, President Kennedy was space race in the wake of Sputnik. asked by the Saturday Evening Post to submit We know the moonshot story. It’s a familiar his favorite quotation. A student not only of one, often invoked to make the case for an am- history, but also of literature, he chose a pas- bitious idea. But it’s easy to lose sight of just sage written by the poet Oliver Wendell Holm- how improbable it seemed in May of 1961. es, Sr., father of the Supreme Court Justice. When President Kennedy proposed going to Mr. Holmes wrote: “I find the great things in the Moon, America had just 15 minutes of this world—is not so much where we stand, as manned flight experience in space. NASA had in what direction we are moving: to reach the neither a plan nor a shuttle for making a lunar port of heaven, we must sail sometimes with voyage. [Laughter] Its own engineers had tak- the wind and sometimes against it—but we en out the slide rules, and they were deeply must sail, and not drift, nor lie at anchor.” skeptical of the mission. [Laughter] That, I think, captures well the daring, graceful spirit of the unfinished life we cele- The science just wasn’t there. President brate today, a life that inspires us and lights our Kennedy understood that. But he also knew way as we sail on to the new frontiers of our something else. He knew that we, as a people, own time. Thank you. God bless you, and may can do big things. We can reach great heights. God bless this country that we love. We can rise to any challenge, so long as we’re willing to ask what we can do for our country, NOTE: The President spoke at 7:10 p.m. at the so long as we’re willing to take America’s desti- John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing ny into our own hands. What President Kenne- Arts. In his remarks, he referred to Robert S. dy understood was the character of the people Shriver III, Timothy P. Shriver, Mark K. Shriv- he led: our resilience, our fearlessness, our dis- er, Anthony P.K. Shriver, and Maria Shriver, tinctly American ability, revealed time and children of R. Sargent Shriver, Jr.