Bill Gates: Friendship Luncheon Honoring Hu Jintao, President, People’s Republic of China

Welcoming Remarks by Bill Gates, Chairman and Chief Software Architect, Microsoft Corporation
Friendship Luncheon Honoring Hu Jintao, President, People’s Republic of China
Everett, Washington
April 19, 2006

BILL GATES: Thank you, Governor Locke, for the kind introduction. It is my great pleasure, as a representative of the Washington state business community, to welcome President Hu to the United States.

Ladies and gentleman, a few words about President Hu’s distinguished public and political career. President Hu Jintao is a graduate of Qinghua University, China’s most prestigious science and engineering university. He began his career as an engineer in Western China.

Since the early 1970s, President Hu held important positions in both local and central government. In 1992, he became the youngest member of China’s governing Politbureau. He was elected China’s Vice President in 1998, and President in March 2003.

Mr. President, we are honored that you are visiting Seattle on your first official trip to the United States as China’s President. Although you have been here only one day, I hope you have already felt our strong sense of friendship, and our commitment to partnership and cooperation.

I know I am not alone in the view that an open and prosperous China can benefit China, the United States and the rest of the world.

China has taken great strides over the past few decades to reform its economy, fostering remarkable economic growth and improving the lives of hundreds of millions of people. I applaud your commitment to spread this new prosperity to all of China’s people – both urban and rural.

Both the United States and China will prosper in an environment of open trade and mutual respect for international norms. And China and the United States will flourish in an environment that encourages the exchange of people and ideas.

My passion, and our fundamental mission at Microsoft, is innovation that helps people to realize their full potential.

As you have stated Mr. President, science and technology are the most important drivers of productivity, economic and social development. You have said that developments in technology are giving rise to a new round of industrial revolution.

We agree with you. And we are encouraged by the efforts of the Chinese government to strengthen intellectual property protection.

The world is now in a new era where people and businesses everywhere are harnessing the power of the Internet, which will have a profound and constructive impact on economic development, education and communications.

This new era of an Internet-based economy also presents new challenges to all of us. It is my belief that industry and government around the world should work even more closely to protect the privacy and security of Internet users, and promote the exchange of ideas, while respecting legitimate government considerations.

Mr. President, it is our sincere hope that your visit to the United States will increase our understanding of one another, and create a closer and deeper partnership between our governments, our economies, our cultures and our people.

Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming the President of the People’s Republic of China, President Hu Jintao.

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