Toast by the Honorable Brent Scowcroft Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Beijing, December 9, 1989”

Following is the full text of Brent Scowcroft’s toast.

Mr. Foreign Minister, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen:

My colleagues and I have come here today as friends, to resume our important dialogue on international questions of vital interest to both our nations. This is a dialogue which we believe has contributed to the historic peace, stability, and prosperity of Asia and the world.

Last weekend, in another corner of the world, Presidents Bush and Gorbachev held talks on the great issues of our day. Afterwards, President Bush instructed me to come to China and inform our Chinese hosts about the talks in Malta. There is nothing between the United States and the Soviet Union that needs to be hidden from the government of China. The peace and stability of the world are enhanced by this dialogue.

We also come today to bring new impetus and vigor into our bilateral relationship and seek new areas of agreement—economic, political, and strategic. And we come to reduce the negative influence of irritants in the relationship.

We believe it is important that we not exhaust ourselves in placing blame for problems that exist. Rather, by working together—within the values of our different social systems—we should seek to solve common problems and remove irritants.

It is the President’s strong desire to see these talks make progress and lay the groundwork for the solutions we seek.

Speaking as a friend, I would not be honest if I did not acknowledge that we have profound areas of disagreement—on the events at Tiananmen, on the sweeping changes in Eastern Europe. We see your complaints about us in the pages of People’s Daily.

But I recall that when we have found ways to work together, the world has been changed for the better; and when we have been at odds, needless tension and suffering were the result. In both our societies there are voices of those who seek to redirect or frustrate our cooperation. We both must take bold measures to overcome these negative forces.

In these meetings we seek to outline broad areas where agreement is possible, and to isolate for another time those areas of disagreement. The sooner we set about this task, the better. The path ahead will not be smooth and it will not be short.

But we have accomplished much when we have worked together in the past. I can cite scientific and technological exchanges, the departure of Soviet combat forces from Afghanistan, limits on missile proliferation, peace on the Korean peninsula, the withdrawal of Vietnam’s combat forces from Cambodia, mutually beneficial trade and investment, technology transfers, scholarly exchanges, and more. We—both sides—must persevere. Now more than ever.

We are not China’s prime enemy or threat, as some would claim. But, like you, we are true to our own values, our heritage and traditions. We can be no other way. We extend our hand in friendship, and hope you will do the same …

This article is available to subscribers only.
Please choose from one of the options below to access this article:

Print Subscription — $74.95

Purchase a print subscription (20 issues per year) and also receive online access to all articles published within the last five years.

Online Subscription — $69.00

Purchase an Online Edition subscription and receive full access to all articles published by the Review since 1963.

One-Week Access — $4.99

Purchase a trial Online Edition subscription and receive unlimited access for one week to all the content on nybooks.com.

If you already have one of these subscriptions, please be sure you are logged in to your nybooks.com account. If you subscribe to the print edition, you may also need to link your web site account to your print subscription. Click here to link your account services.