Ambassador, Ag Secretary at 25th JCCT
Amb. Max Baucus and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack (pictured with Ms. Melodee Hanes), took part in the 25th Session of the U.S.-China Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) in Chicago. The parties announced key outcomes in a number of areas, including agricultural market access, intellectual property rights protection.
DCM Kritenbrink Visits Xi’an
On a recent visit to Xi’an, Deputy Chief of Mission Kritenbrink met with local officials and students. He also took time to meet with civil society representatives, such as Imam Ma Liangji (pictured). (Embassy photo)
Ambassador Visits Sun Yat-Sen Museum
During a visit to the Sun Yat-Sen Museum on December 1, Ambassador Max Baucus noted that Sen Yet-Sen “inspired Chinese people to revere their national heritage, democracy, and good livelihood.” (Consulate Shanghai Photo)
Presidential Thanksgiving Pardon
President Obama pardons “Cheese” during the White House annual Thanksgiving Ceremony. Representatives of the National Turkey Federation helped hold “Cheese” during the event. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
AMBASSADOR BAUCUS: Thank you Hanscom very much for that very kind introduction. Before I go any further, I’d just like to say that Hanscom Smith is one of our best Consul Generals, not just in China but around the world. I’m a big fan of Hanscom Smith. Let’s give a big round of applause to Hanscom. Thanks as well to Ken Jarett. I’m getting to know Ken better all the time. There’s nothing like four visits to Shanghai to get to know Ken Jarett a little better. He’s a great guy. As well as Bob Theleen, I’m a big admirer of Bob Theleen too, and for their joint leadership in the Shanghai Chamber of Commerce.
Let me just give you a sense of where I think our economy currently is, what’s happening around the world and where I think it should be, and the chances for us here in Washington to accelerate rather than impede some of the progress that we've made. Around this time six years ago, America’s businesses were shedding about 800,000 jobs per month. Today, our businesses, including some of the most important businesses in the world that are represented here today, have created over 10.6 million new jobs; 56 months of uninterrupted job growth, which is the longest private sector job growth in our history. We just saw the best six-month period of economic growth in over a decade. For the first time in six years, the unemployment rate is under 6 percent.
Today we celebrate International Human Rights Day and commemorate the 66th anniversary of the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In the United States, we use this day to reflect on the importance of human rights, as outlined in the Universal Declaration. We Americans know from our own national experience that promoting justice and respect for human dignity is difficult, never-ending work. We have made progress. More must be done.
Today’s hearing is timely given the debate taking place in Hong Kong over electoral reforms and the implementation of universal suffrage for the 2017 selection of Hong Kong’s next Chief Executive. I welcome this opportunity to share with the Committee the Administration’s views and response to political developments in Hong Kong, particularly with regard to the National People’s Congress Standing Committee’s (NPCSC) August 31 decision and the Hong Kong Government’s response to the protests. I would also like to touch on the importance of our relationship with Hong Kong under the “One Country, Two Systems” framework.
Thank you very much, Dean Yan. That was very generous, your introduction. It’s wonderful to be here at Tsinghua University. This is a wonderful room here. I wish I had such a wonderful lecture hall when I went to college. This is very nice. I’m very envious of all of you.
World AIDS Day is an important opportunity for people around the world to renew our commitment to the global fight against HIV and to achieving an AIDS-free generation. For more than a decade, the United States and China have worked together on public health initiatives and research to prevent, treat and control HIV.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, thank you, President Xi, for welcoming me and my delegation to Beijing and for the extraordinary hospitality that you and the Chinese people have shown to me on this state visit. I also want to take this opportunity to thank the people of China for the warmth and kindness they showed my wife Michelle and our daughters, as well as my mother-in-law when they came to visit China earlier this year -- another sign of the enduring friendship between our peoples.
AMBASSADOR BAUCUS: This afternoon I am very pleased to announce that the number of Chinese students in the United States has once again set a new record. According to the 2014 Open Doors Report on International Education Exchange, almost 275,000 Chinese students studied in the United States last year. That’s an increase of almost 39,000 students from the year before.
Thanks to the hard work of both our peoples, Chinese and Americans, we see ties and cooperation between our countries that would have been unthinkable 35 years ago. Our workers, entrepreneurs and businesses are the backbone of a massive trade relationship that supports jobs in both our nations and helps power the global economy.
Thank you, and I would like to thank in particular the Chinese Disabled Persons’ Federation for hosting today’s event. It is a great honor to be with you today, at what I hope will be the start of a robust, substantive, and on-going dialogue on promoting truly equal access and inclusive development for persons with disabilities throughout APEC member economies. Achieving progress will require sustained engagement, and I would also like to congratulate China for its leadership in developing a Group of Friends to continue this important conversation in the months and years ahead.
It is wonderful to be back in China, and I’m grateful for the Chinese people’s extraordinary hospitality. This is my sixth trip to Asia as President, and my second this year alone. And that’s because, as I’ve said on each of my visits, America is a thoroughly Pacific nation. We’ve always had a history with Asia. And our future -- our security and our prosperity -- is inextricably intertwined with Asia. I know the business leaders in attendance today agree.
WHITE HOUSE FACT SHEET: Supporting American Job Growth And Strengthening Ties by Extending U.S./China Visa Validity for Tourists, Business Travelers, and Students
President Obama announced that the United States and the People’s Republic of China are concluding a reciprocal visa validity arrangement during his visit that will strengthen our ever-broadening economic and people-to-people ties. Both countries have agreed to increase the validity of short-term tourist and business visas issued to each other’s citizens from one to ten years – the longest validity possible under U.S. law – and increase the validity of student and exchange visas from one to five years. The United States will begin issuing visas in accordance with the new reciprocal agreement on November 12, 2014.
State Department: U.S., China to Extend Visas for Short-term Business Travelers, Tourists, and Students
Starting November 12, the United States and the People’s Republic of China will reciprocally increase the validity of short-term business and tourist visas and student and exchange visas issued to each other’s citizens. Chinese applicants who qualify for a B-category nonimmigrant visa (NIV) may now be issued multiple-entry visas for up to 10 years for business and tourist travel. Qualified Chinese students and exchange visitors and their dependents who qualify for F, M, or J-category visas are now eligible for multiple-entry visas valid for up to five years or the length of their program.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: The United States and China Agree to Extending Visas for Short-term Business Travelers, Tourists, and Students
Q: What are the benefits of the visa validity extension?U.S. and Chinese citizens who regularly travel back and forth between the U.S. and China will benefit from the longer validity by not having to apply and pay the application fee every year. Businesses in both countries, including the tourism industry, will benefit from increased travel, investment, and business development opportunities between the two countries. Longer visa validity will allow students and exchange visitors to return to their home countries during school and work holidays more easily.
Well, thank you very much, Dean Nasr. I’ve had the privilege of knowing Vali for a while. When I was in the Senate, he was a very valuable advisor, and I can remember coming down to the State Department and meeting with him and with Richard Holbrooke and others in the early days of working on what was then called AfPak – Afghanistan, Pakistan, and particularly Afghanistan. So Vali, thank you for your journey. Thanks for imparting your wisdom here at SAIS. And thank you all very, very much here at SAIS for allowing me to come here today to share a few thoughts with you about this special relationship with China, an important relationship.
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