Remarks With Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi at the EcoPartnership Signing Event

William J. Burns
Deputy Secretary of State
Benjamin Franklin Room
Washington, DC
July 11, 2013

DEPUTY SECRETARY BURNS: Thank you very much, Mr. Ambassador, and good morning, everybody. I want to thank State Councilor Yang and all of our Chinese guests who have traveled so far to be here today. And let me also thank our American EcoPartners who have come from across the country to sign these landmark agreements.

Our nations are not only the two largest economies in the world, but they are also the two largest contributors to climate change. As we work to further strengthen our economic ties, we must also work to foster the innovation that will produce a sustainable way of life for our people and for our planet. For the past five years, the EcoPartnerships program has been helping to do just that, and it has been a great example of U.S.-China cooperation. These laboratories of innovation bring together American and Chinese partners from the public and private sectors to help promote economic growth, energy security, and environmental sustainability. Together, we aren’t just heeding the call, but leading the charge to find solutions to some of our most pressing environmental challenges.

In Columbus, Ohio and the Chinese city of Hefei, we are building electric cars with new technology. In New Orleans and Shanghai, wetlands are being conserved, thanks to shared research. And in Charlotte and Langfang, our utility sectors are learning to create electricity in smarter, cleaner ways. These solutions matter to the United States, they matter to China, and they matter to our planet.

This year we received the most applications in the history of the program. The six new EcoPartnerships we’re committing to today are the best of the best. Some of you will be working on energy efficiency while others will be creating cutting-edge technologies to use landfill gas, conserve groundwater resources, and create plant-based plastic bottles. Whatever your project, I wish you the very best in your work together. All of you are working to solve some of our biggest challenges and are helping the United States and China build a sustainable future together.

So thank you all very much. Congratulations and good luck. (Applause.) And now it’s my great pleasure and honor to introduce State Councilor Yang. (Applause.)

STATE COUNCILOR YANG: (Via interpreter) The Honorable Deputy Secretary Bill Burns, representatives of China-U.S. EcoPartnerships, ladies and gentlemen, friends, good morning. I’m very pleased to join you during the fifth round of the China-U.S. S&ED to witness this important moment of admitting new members to the China-U.S. EcoPartnerships. China and the United States are making earnest efforts to implement the important agreement reached between our presidents at the Annenberg estate to actively build a new model of major country relationship. Making progress towards this goal is the main task of the current round of S&ED.

China and the United States share many challenges, extensive interests, and a broad foundation of cooperation in the fields of climate change, energy, and the environment. The Chinese Government is committed to addressing climate change and making every effort to promote ecological progress. President Obama recently delivered a major speech on climate change and put forward important domestic and international agenda. To step up policy coordination and practical cooperation between our two countries in these fields, not only serves our own interest but also helps to advance global sustainable development.

During this round of S&ED, two special sessions were held on climate change and energy security where we reached broad agreement and further demonstrated our shared resolve to strengthen cooperation in the fields of climate change, energy, and the environment.

As an innovative mechanism under the China-U.S. 10-year framework on energy and environment cooperation, EcoPartnerships offer a good platform for local governments, businesses, and research institutions in our two countries to combine strengthens and engage in mutually beneficial cooperation. Through joint research demonstration projects, technology exchanges and capacity building, 18 pairs of EcoPartners from our two countries have made exploratory and forward-looking efforts in energy-saving and efficiency, clean energy, protection of sea environment, and development of circular economy.

Today, another six pairs of Chinese and American institutions will join the partnerships. Please accept my warm welcome and hearty congratulations. I’m hopeful and confident that the 24 pairs of EcoPartners will draw on their respective needs and comparative advantages, fully tap into their cooperation potential, and constantly innovate on their model of cooperation to maximize the outcomes of the partnerships and contribute to the sustainable development of our two countries and endeavor to build a new model of major country relationship. I wish you every success in cooperation. Thank you.

(In English) (Inaudible) great success to this type of cooperation. I think the family is getting bigger and bigger. We need more and more EcoPartners. So I’m very happy to be here, and I would to like to thank all of you for your (inaudible) contribution to this great cause. I thank Ambassador Gary Locke and our Ambassador, Mr. Cui. They have done a great job. And certainly Mr. Xie Zhenhua on our side, Mr. Stern on the American side, and the science and technology adviser and others, they have all done their great job. So now let us just roll up our sleeves and do our job and make the Earth greener, make this a more beautiful planet for all of us and for generations to come.

Thank you very much. (Applause.)

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PRN: 2013/0873