Will extremists be able to stir conflict and division, or will we unite on behalf of our shared security? Will nations and peoples define themselves solely by their differences, or can we find the common ground necessary to meet our common challenges, and to respect the dignity of every human being?
We cannot predict with certainty what the future will bring, but we can be certain about the issues that will define our times. And we also know this: the relationship between the United States and China will shape the 21st century, which makes it as important as any bilateral relationship in the world. That reality must underpin our partnership. That is the responsibility we bear.
As we look to the future, we can learn from our past for history shows us that both our nations benefit from engagement that is grounded in mutual interests and mutual respect. During my time in office, we will mark the 40th anniversary of President Nixon's trip to China. At that time, the world was much different than it is today. America had fought three wars in East Asia in just thirty years, and the Cold War was in a stalemate. China's economy was cut off from the world, and a huge percentage of the Chinese people lived in extreme poverty.
Back then, our dialogue was guided by a narrow focus on our shared rivalry with the Soviet Union. Today, we have a comprehensive relationship that reflects the deepening ties among our people. Our countries have now shared relations for longer than we were estranged. Our people interact in so many ways. And I believe that we are poised to make steady progress on some of the most important issues of our times.
My confidence is rooted in the fact that the United States and China share mutual interests. If we advance those interests through cooperation, our people will benefit, and the world will be better off because our ability to partner with each other is a prerequisite for progress on many of the most pressing global challenges.
First, we can cooperate to advance our mutual interest in a lasting economic recovery. The current crisis has made it clear that the choices made within our borders reverberate across the global economy and this is true not just of New York and Seattle, but Shanghai and Shenzhen as well. That is why we must remain committed to strong bilateral and multilateral coordination. And that is the example we have set by acting aggressively to restore growth, prevent a deeper recession and save jobs for our people.
Going forward, we can deepen this cooperation. We can promote financial stability through greater transparency and regulatory reform. We can pursue trade that is free and fair, and seek to conclude an ambitious and balanced Doha Round agreement. We can update international institutions so that growing economies like China play a greater role that matches their greater responsibility. And as Americans save more and Chinese are able to spend more, we can put growth on a more sustainable foundation - because just as China has benefited from substantial investment and profitable exports, China can also be an enormous market for American goods.