Secretary Kissinger, Secretary Lew, Ambassador Cui, Ambassador Randt, members, and friends:

President Xi Jinping frequently says, “不 忘 初 心,方 得 始 终,” or “Never forget why you started and what was in your heart, and your mission can be accomplished.”

As you saw in the Committee’s history over last few minutes and as we complete the celebration of our 50th anniversary in Beijing next week, we have never forgotten why we were founded and what we have accomplished. We celebrate how far we have come and ask how far we need to go. While our president and President Xi have established a real rapport, there are ill winds blowing that should trouble all who support constructive U.S.-China relations. But tonight rather than focusing on the ill winds, I started to imagine my vision for U.S.-China relations when the National Committee celebrates its 60th anniversary.

I hope our annual investment report, which will be in its 13th year then, includes an investment of Chinese capital and technology in the Boston-Washington rail corridor. My daughter recently moved from here in New York to Baltimore. If we had high speed rail like China, the trip would be less than 40 minutes. I could continue our tradition of Sunday night family dinners, which the Orlins family has done for three generations. Today’s rail system makes this virtually impossible. This investment would be a bright shining example of Chinese investment materially improving the quality of life for millions of Americans, including me.

I see our PACOM briefings analyzing a thousand-ship navy exercise led by American, Chinese, Indian, Japanese, and British naval officers. The joint exercise simulates the evacuation of thousands from a South Pacific island after an historic typhoon.

This multinational fleet leaves from newly internationalized Chinese built islands in the South China Sea as we have suggested in our Track II Dialogue on Maritime Issues & International Law.

My hope for 2027 is that, as proposed in our Track II Economic Dialogue, the leading underwriters of Chinese debt and equity are U.S. investment banks and the leading issuers of insurance are U.S. insurance companies. I was thrilled to see the Chinese government move in that direction immediately after President Trump left Beijing ten days ago.

I picture the National Committee hosting the Chinese President in the United States in our 60th year as we have every Chinese leader since Deng Xiaoping. And after that event, partly as a result of the numerous congressional member and staff delegations we have run, the Chinese President goes to Capitol Hill and addresses a joint session of Congress to celebrate China’s global partnership with the United States, and describe why the Chinese and American dreams can live together side by side in peace.

I could go on and enumerate more of the positive contributions the Committee has made and will continue to make, but tonight is about the contributions of every single person in this room.

When, at the beginning of last year, I announced that we were embarking on a $15 million campaign, many said it was impossible. Many said the Committee had never undertaken anything so ambitious. So, I am thrilled to announce that our 50th Anniversary Campaign exceeded its goal and to date—there are 6 weeks still left—has raised $15.2 million. Let me repeat that in Chinese: 一千五百二十万多. I want to recognize those that made it possible. First and foremost is our Vice Chairman Hank Greenberg who continued his decades long generosity to NCUSCR, and his $4 million is not included in this total. I also want to thank our lead donors who committed $1 million or more:

  • Steve Schwarzman
  • Chubb and Evan Greenberg
  • Xcoal Energy & Resources and Ernie Thrasher
  • Akiko Yamazaki and Jerry Yang

Finally, I want to thank someone who flew all the way from Beijing to be with us tonight. He painted the beautiful paintings that you see on the screens and will be presented to each of the honorees in the second half of the program. Please join me in thanking Xiong Honggang.

I began my remarks by quoting President Xi. Let me close by borrowing his concept articulated at the 19th Party Congress of a 新时代, a new era. Because of the support of all of you in this room, the National Committee’s 新时代 will have new programs that ensure that the U.S.-China relationship is strong and prosperous. And when we implement these new programs, I am convinced that 明天会更好. Tomorrow will be a better day.

Now for some musical entertainment. Jan’s history briefly mentioned our Young Leaders Forum—and the two marriages that it has produced. We invite an eclectic group of leaders under 40 from America and China to join an annual four-day retreat. The retreat seeks to build bonds between the best and the brightest of both countries. In 2006, we invited Huang Ruo to join the forum. In many ways this composer embodies the program. His scores are original combinations of Chinese and Western music lauded by music critics throughout the world. Tonight’s pieces will be performed by his Ensemble Fire. Please join me in welcoming Huang Ruo.