Thank you very much, Party Secretary Li, for the introduction and for the great hospitality that you and President Tashpolat have extended to me this morning. Thank you very much.
I also want to thank Deputy Director General of the Foreign Affairs Office, Mr. Song, for all the great hospitality and all the arrangements for our very first visit to Xinjiang.
But to the students and the staff and the faculty and all of those attending here this morning: “Ni Hao” and “As-salaam-Alaikum”.
It’s really a pleasure to be here at this great institution of learning and to have in front of me here just a sample of the future leaders of China in business, in government, in the sciences, the arts, and in academia.
I’m here as part of an official visit. It’s the first official visit of an Ambassador from the United States in more than 20 years, and I come with a trade delegation focusing on energy, clean energy, efficiency in energy, as well as transportation, especially the rail sector. We’re here because we want Xinjiang to fully realize its great potential in terms of its mineral resources, but we also want to focus on the human resources, the people of Xinjiang as well, and that’s why we’re here at this university.
For centuries Xinjiang has served as a commercial and cultural center since the Silk Road of ancient times, a vibrant link between the East and West, and this region presents boundless opportunities for further cooperation and engagement between the United States and China.
I want to make sure that we leave plenty of time for any questions that you might have, but I’ve often been asked what makes America so special, so great? I really believe that the secret to our success is the diversity of our people and of our different cultures. So I’d like to tell you really just a little bit about my family history because I think the story of our family from China to the United States is really the story of America.
My grandfather actually came to the United States in the late 1800s and worked as a servant for a family in the state capital close to Seattle, Washington, on the Pacific Ocean. I say on the Pacific, because many people think of the State of Washington as associated with Washington, DC. Washington, DC is on the Atlantic Ocean; Washington State is on the Pacific Ocean.