Remarks by President Barack Obama at Town Hall Meeting with Future Chinese Leaders
Museum of Science and Technology, Shanghai, China
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1:18 P.M. CST
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Good afternoon. It is a great honor for me to be here in Shanghai, and to have this opportunity to speak with all of you. I’d like to thank Fudan University’s President Yang for his hospitality and his gracious welcome. I’d also like to thank our outstanding Ambassador, Jon Huntsman, who exemplifies the deep ties and respect between our nations. I don’t know what he said, but I hope it was good. (Laughter.)
What I’d like to do is to make some opening comments, and then what I’m really looking forward to doing is taking questions, not only from students who are in the audience, but also we’ve received questions online, which will be asked by some of the students who are here in the audience, as well as by Ambassador Huntsman. And I am very sorry that my Chinese is not as good as your English, but I am looking forward to this chance to have a dialogue.
This is my first time traveling to China, and I’m excited to see this majestic country. Here, in Shanghai, we see the growth that has caught the attention of the world — the soaring skyscrapers, the bustling streets and entrepreneurial activity. And just as I’m impressed by these signs of China’s journey to the 21st century, I’m eager to see those ancient places that speak to us from China’s distant past. Tomorrow and the next day I hope to have a chance when I’m in Beijing to see the majesty of the Forbidden City and the wonder of the Great Wall. Truly, this is a nation that encompasses both a rich history and a belief in the promise of the future.
The same can be said of the relationship between our two countries. Shanghai, of course, is a city that has great meaning in the history of the relationship between the United States and China. It was here, 37 years ago, that the Shanghai Communique opened the door to a new chapter of engagement between our governments and among our people. However, America’s ties to this city — and to this country — stretch back further, to the earliest days of America’s independence.
In 1784, our founding father, George Washington, commissioned the Empress of China, a ship that set sail for these shores so that it could pursue trade with the Qing Dynasty. Washington wanted to see the ship carry the flag around the globe, and to forge new ties with nations like China. This is a common American impulse — the desire to reach for new horizons, and to forge new partnerships that are mutually beneficial.
Over the two centuries that have followed, the currents of history have steered the relationship between our countries in many directions. And even in the midst of tumultuous winds, our people had opportunities to forge deep and even dramatic ties. For instance, Americans will never forget the hospitality shown to our pilots who were shot down over your soil during World War II, and cared for by Chinese civilians who risked all that they had by doing so. And Chinese veterans of that war still warmly greet those American veterans who return to the sites where they fought to help liberate China from occupation.
A different kind of connection was made nearly 40 years ago when the frost between our countries began to thaw through the simple game of table tennis. The very unlikely nature of this engagement contributed to its success — because for all our differences, both our common humanity and our shared curiosity were revealed. As one American player described his visit to China — “[The]people are just like us…The country is very similar to America, but still very different.”
Of course this small opening was followed by the achievement of the Shanghai Communique, and the eventual establishment of formal relations between the United States and China in 1979. And in three decades, just look at how far we have come.
In 1979, trade between the United States and China stood at roughly $5 billion — today it tops over $400 billion each year. The commerce affects our people’s lives in so many ways. America imports from China many of the computer parts we use, the clothes we wear; and we export to China machinery that helps power your industry. This trade could create even more jobs on both sides of the Pacific, while allowing our people to enjoy a better quality of life. And as demand becomes more balanced, it can lead to even broader prosperity.
In 1979, the political cooperation between the United States and China was rooted largely in our shared rivalry with the Soviet Union. Today, we have a positive, constructive and comprehensive relationship that opens the door to partnership on the key global issues of our time — economic recovery and the development of clean energy; stopping the spread of nuclear weapons and the scourge of climate change; the promotion of peace and security in Asia and around the globe. All of these issues will be on the agenda tomorrow when I meet with President Hu.
And in 1979, the connections among our people were limited. Today, we see the curiosity of those ping-pong players manifested in the ties that are being forged across many sectors. The second highest number of foreign students in the United States come from China, and we’ve seen a 50 percent increase in the study of Chinese among our own students. There are nearly 200 “friendship cities” drawing our communities together. American and Chinese scientists cooperate on new research and discovery. And of course, Yao Ming is just one signal of our shared love of basketball — I’m only sorry that I won’t be able to see a Shanghai Sharks game while I’m visiting.
It is no coincidence that the relationship between our countries has accompanied a period of positive change. China has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty — an accomplishment unparalleled in human history — while playing a larger role in global events. And the United States has seen our economy grow along with the standard of living enjoyed by our people, while bringing the Cold War to a successful conclusion.
There is a Chinese proverb: “Consider the past, and you shall know the future.” Surely, we have known setbacks and challenges over the last 30 years. Our relationship has not been without disagreement and difficulty. But the notion that we must be adversaries is not predestined — not when we consider the past. Indeed, because of our cooperation, both the United States and China are more prosperous and more secure. We have seen what is possible when we build upon our mutual interests, and engage on the basis of mutual respect.
And yet the success of that engagement depends upon understanding — on sustaining an open dialogue, and learning about one another and from one another. For just as that American table tennis player pointed out — we share much in common as human beings, but our countries are different in certain ways.
I believe that each country must chart its own course. China is an ancient nation, with a deeply rooted culture. The United States, by comparison, is a young nation, whose culture is determined by the many different immigrants who have come to our shores, and by the founding documents that guide our democracy.
Those documents put forward a simple vision of human affairs, and they enshrine several core principles — that all men and women are created equal, and possess certain fundamental rights; that government should reflect the will of the people and respond to their wishes; that commerce should be open, information freely accessible; and that laws, and not simply men, should guarantee the administration of justice.
Of course, the story of our nation is not without its difficult chapters. In many ways — over many years — we have struggled to advance the promise of these principles to all of our people, and to forge a more perfect union. We fought a very painful civil war, and freed a portion of our population from slavery. It took time for women to be extended the right to vote, workers to win the right to organize, and for immigrants from different corners of the globe to be fully embraced. Even after they were freed, African Americans persevered through conditions that were separate and not equal, before winning full and equal rights.
None of this was easy. But we made progress because of our belief in those core principles, which have served as our compass through the darkest of storms. That is why Lincoln could stand up in the midst of civil war and declare it a struggle to see whether any nation, conceived in liberty, and “dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal” could long endure. That is why Dr. Martin Luther King could stand on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and ask that our nation live out the true meaning of its creed. That’s why immigrants from China to Kenya could find a home on our shores; why opportunity is available to all who would work for it; and why someone like me, who less than 50 years ago would have had trouble voting in some parts of America, is now able to serve as its President.
And that is why America will always speak out for these core principles around the world. We do not seek to impose any system of government on any other nation, but we also don’t believe that the principles that we stand for are unique to our nation. These freedoms of expression and worship — of access to information and political participation — we believe are universal rights. They should be available to all people, including ethnic and religious minorities — whether they are in the United States, China, or any nation. Indeed, it is that respect for universal rights that guides America’s openness to other countries; our respect for different cultures; our commitment to international law; and our faith in the future.
These are all things that you should know about America. I also know that we have much to learn about China. Looking around at this magnificent city — and looking around this room — I do believe that our nations hold something important in common, and that is a belief in the future. Neither the United States nor China is content to rest on our achievements. For while China is an ancient nation, you are also clearly looking ahead with confidence, ambition, and a commitment to see that tomorrow’s generation can do better than today’s.
In addition to your growing economy, we admire China’s extraordinary commitment to science and research — a commitment borne out in everything from the infrastructure you build to the technology you use. China is now the world’s largest Internet user — which is why we were so pleased to include the Internet as a part of today’s event. This country now has the world’s largest mobile phone network, and it is investing in the new forms of energy that can both sustain growth and combat climate change — and I’m looking forward to deepening the partnership between the United States and China in this critical area tomorrow. But above all, I see China’s future in you — young people whose talent and dedication and dreams will do so much to help shape the 21st century.
I’ve said many times that I believe that our world is now fundamentally interconnected. The jobs we do, the prosperity we build, the environment we protect, the security that we seek — all of these things are shared. And given that interconnection, power in the 21st century is no longer a zero-sum game; one country’s success need not come at the expense of another. And that is why the United States insists we do not seek to contain China’s rise. On the contrary, we welcome China as a strong and prosperous and successful member of the community of nations — a China that draws on the rights, strengths, and creativity of individual Chinese like you.
To return to the proverb — consider the past. We know that more is to be gained when great powers cooperate than when they collide. That is a lesson that human beings have learned time and again, and that is the example of the history between our nations. And I believe strongly that cooperation must go beyond our government. It must be rooted in our people — in the studies we share, the business that we do, the knowledge that we gain, and even in the sports that we play. And these bridges must be built by young men and women just like you and your counterparts in America.
That’s why I’m pleased to announce that the United States will dramatically expand the number of our students who study in China to 100,000. And these exchanges mark a clear commitment to build ties among our people, as surely as you will help determine the destiny of the 21st century. And I’m absolutely confident that America has no better ambassadors to offer than our young people. For they, just like you, are filled with talent and energy and optimism about the history that is yet to be written.
So let this be the next step in the steady pursuit of cooperation that will serve our nations, and the world. And if there’s one thing that we can take from today’s dialogue, I hope that it is a commitment to continue this dialogue going forward.
So thank you very much. And I look forward now to taking some questions from all of you. Thank you very much. (Applause.)
So — I just want to make sure this works. This is a tradition, by the way, that is very common in the United States at these town hall meetings. And what we’re going to do is I will just — if you are interested in asking a question, you can raise your hands. I will call on you. And then I will alternate between a question from the audience and an Internet question from one of the students who prepared the questions, as well as I think Ambassador Huntsman may have a question that we were able to obtain from the Web site of our embassy.
So let me begin, though, by seeing — and then what I’ll do is I’ll call on a boy and then a girl and then — so we’ll go back and forth, so that you know it’s fair. All right? So I’ll start with this young lady right in the front. Why don’t we wait for this microphone so everyone can hear you. And what’s your name?
Q My name is (inaudible) and I am a student from Fudan University. Shanghai and Chicago have been sister cities since 1985, and these two cities have conduct a wide range of economic, political, and cultural exchanges. So what measures will you take to deepen this close relationship between cities of the United States and China? And Shanghai will hold the World Exposition next year. Will you bring your family to visit the Expo? Thank you.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, thank you very much for the question. I was just having lunch before I came here with the Mayor of Shanghai, and he told me that he has had an excellent relationship with the city of Chicago — my home town — that he’s visited there twice. And I think it’s wonderful to have these exchanges between cities.
One of the things that I discussed with the Mayor is how both cities can learn from each other on strategies around clean energy, because one of the issues that ties China and America together is how, with an expanding population and a concern for climate change, that we’re able to reduce our carbon footprint. And obviously in the United States and many developed countries, per capita, per individual, they are already using much more energy than each individual here in China. But as China grows and expands, it’s going to be using more energy as well. So both countries have a great interest in finding new strategies.
We talked about mass transit and the excellent rail lines that are being developed in Shanghai. I think we can learn in Chicago and the United States some of the fine work that’s being done on high-speed rail.
In the United States, I think we are learning how to develop buildings that use much less energy, that are much more energy-efficient. And I know that with Shanghai, as I traveled and I saw all the cranes and all the new buildings that are going up, it’s very important for us to start incorporating these new technologies so that each building is energy-efficient when it comes to lighting, when it comes to heating. And so it’s a terrific opportunity I think for us to learn from each other.
I know this is going to be a major focus of the Shanghai World Expo, is the issue of clean energy, as I learned from the Mayor. And so I would love to attend. I’m not sure yet what my schedule is going to be, but I’m very pleased that we’re going to have an excellent U.S. pavilion at the Expo, and I understand that we expect as many as 70 million visitors here. So it’s going to be very crowded and it’s going to be very exciting.
Chicago has had two world expos in its history, and both of those expos ended up being tremendous boosts for the city. So I’m sure the same thing will happen here in Shanghai.
Thank you. (Applause.)
Why don’t we get one of the questions from the Internet? And introduce yourself, in case —
Q First shall I say it in Chinese, and then the English, okay?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Yes.
Q I want to pose a question from the Internet. I want to thank you, Mr. President, for visiting China in your first year in office, and exchange views with us in China. I want to know what are you bringing to China, your visit to China this time, and what will you bring back to the United States? (Applause.)
PRESIDENT OBAMA: The main purpose of my trip is to deepen my understanding of China and its vision for the future. I have had several meetings now with President Hu. We participated together in the G20 that was dealing with the economic financial crisis. We have had consultations about a wide range of issues. But I think it’s very important for the United States to continually deepen its understanding of China, just as it’s important for China to continually deepen its understanding of the United States.
In terms of what I’d like to get out of this meeting, or this visit, in addition to having the wonderful opportunity to see the Forbidden City and the Great Wall, and to meet with all of you — these are all highlights — but in addition to that, the discussions that I intend to have with President Hu speak to the point that Ambassador Huntsman made earlier, which is there are very few global challenges that can be solved unless the United States and China agree.
So let me give you a specific example, and that is the issue we were just discussing of climate change. The United States and China are the world’s two largest emitters of greenhouse gases, of carbon that is causing the planet to warm. Now, the United States, as a highly developed country, as I said before, per capita, consumes much more energy and emits much more greenhouse gases for each individual than does China. On the other hand, China is growing at a much faster pace and it has a much larger population. So unless both of our countries are willing to take critical steps in dealing with this issue, we will not be able to resolve it.
There’s going to be a Copenhagen conference in December in which world leaders are trying to find a recipe so that we can all make commitments that are differentiated so each country would not have the same obligations — obviously China, which has much more poverty, should not have to do exactly the same thing as the United States — but all of us should have these certain obligations in terms of what our plan will be to reduce these greenhouse gases.
So that’s an example of what I hope to get out of this meeting — a meeting of the minds between myself and President Hu about how together the United States and China can show leadership. Because I will tell you, other countries around the world will be waiting for us. They will watch to see what we do. And if they say, ah, you know, the United States and China, they’re not serious about this, then they won’t be serious either. That is the burden of leadership that both of our countries now carry. And my hope is, is that the more discussion and dialogue that we have, the more we are able to show this leadership to the world on these many critical issues. Okay? (Applause.)
All right, it’s a — I think it must be a boy’s turn now. Right? So I’ll call on this young man right here.
Q (As translated.) Mr. President, good afternoon. I’m from Tongji University. I want to cite a saying from Confucius: “It is always good to have a friend coming from afar.” In Confucius books, there is a great saying which says that harmony is good, but also we uphold differences. China advocates a harmonious world. We know that the United States develops a culture that features diversity. I want to know, what will your government do to build a diversified world with different cultures? What would you do to respect the different cultures and histories of other countries? And what kinds of cooperation we can conduct in the future?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: This is an excellent point. The United States, one of our strengths is that we are a very diverse culture. We have people coming from all around the world. And so there’s no one definition of what an American looks like. In my own family, I have a father who was from Kenya; I have a mother who was from Kansas, in the Midwest of the United States; my sister is half-Indonesian; she’s married to a Chinese person from Canada. So when you see family gatherings in the Obama household, it looks like the United Nations. (Laughter.)
And that is a great strength of the United States, because it means that we learn from different cultures and different foods and different ideas, and that has made us a much more dynamic society.
Now, what is also true is that each country in this interconnected world has its own culture and its own history and its own traditions. And I think it’s very important for the United States not to assume that what is good for us is automatically good for somebody else. And we have to have some modesty about our attitudes towards other countries.
I have to say, though, as I said in my opening remarks, that we do believe that there are certain fundamental principles that are common to all people, regardless of culture. So, for example, in the United Nations we are very active in trying to make sure that children all around the world are treated with certain basic rights — that if children are being exploited, if there’s forced labor for children, that despite the fact that that may have taken place in the past in many different countries, including the United States, that all countries of the world now should have developed to the point where we are treating children better than we did in the past. That’s a universal value.
I believe, for example, the same thing holds true when it comes to the treatment of women. I had a very interesting discussion with the Mayor of Shanghai during lunch right before I came, and he informed me that in many professions now here in China, there are actually more women enrolled in college than there are men, and that they are doing very well. I think that is an excellent indicator of progress, because it turns out that if you look at development around the world, one of the best indicators of whether or not a country does well is how well it educates its girls and how it treats its women. And countries that are tapping into the talents and the energy of women and giving them educations typically do better economically than countries that don’t.
So, now, obviously difficult cultures may have different attitudes about the relationship between men and women, but I think it is the view of the United States that it is important for us to affirm the rights of women all around the world. And if we see certain societies in which women are oppressed, or they are not getting opportunities, or there is violence towards women, we will speak out.
Now, there may be some people who disagree with us, and we can have a dialogue about that. But we think it’s important, nevertheless, to be true to our ideals and our values. And we — and when we do so, though, we will always do so with the humility and understanding that we are not perfect and that we still have much progress to make. If you talk to women in America, they will tell you that there are still men who have a lot of old-fashioned ideas about the role of women in society. And so we don’t claim that we have solved all these problems, but we do think that it’s important for us to speak out on behalf of these universal ideals and these universal values.
Okay? All right. We’re going to take a question from the Internet.
Q Hello, Mr. President. It’s a great honor to be here and meet you in person.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you.
Q I will be reading a question selected on the Internet to you, and this question is from somebody from Taiwan. In his question, he said: I come from Taiwan. Now I am doing business on the mainland. And due to improved cross-straits relations in recent years, my business in China is doing quite well. So when I heard the news that some people in America would like to propose — continue selling arms and weapons to Taiwan, I begin to get pretty worried. I worry that this may make our cross-straits relations suffer. So I would like to know if, Mr. President, are you supportive of improved cross-straits relations? And although this question is from a businessman, actually, it’s a question of keen concern to all of us young Chinese students, so we’d really like to know your position on this question. Thank you. (Applause.)
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you. Well, I have been clear in the past that my administration fully supports a one-China policy, as reflected in the three joint communiqués that date back several decades, in terms of our relations with Taiwan as well as our relations with the People’s Republic of China. We don’t want to change that policy and that approach.
I am very pleased with the reduction of tensions and the improvement in cross-straits relations, and it is my deep desire and hope that we will continue to see great improvement between Taiwan and the rest of — and the People’s Republic in resolving many of these issues.
One of the things that I think that the United States, in terms of its foreign policy and its policy with respect to China, is always seeking is ways that through dialogue and negotiations, problems can be solved. We always think that’s the better course. And I think that economic ties and commercial ties that are taking place in this region are helping to lower a lot of the tensions that date back before you were born or even before I was born.
Now, there are some people who still look towards the past when it comes to these issues, as opposed to looking towards the future. I prefer to look towards the future. And as I said, I think the commercial ties that are taking place — there’s something about when people think that they can do business and make money that makes them think very clearly and not worry as much about ideology. And I think that that’s starting to happen in this region, and we are very supportive of that process. Okay?
Let’s see, it’s a girl’s turn now, right? Yes, right there. Yes. Hold on, let’s get — whoops, I’m sorry, they took the mic back here. I’ll call on you next.
Go ahead, and then I’ll go up here later. Go ahead.
Q Thank you.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I’ll call on you later. But I’ll on her first and then I’ll call on you afterwards.
Q Okay, thank you. Mr. President, I’m a student from Shanghai Jiao Tong University. I have a question concerning the Nobel Prize for Peace. In your opinion, what’s the main reason that you were honored the Nobel Prize for Peace? And will it give you more responsibility and pressure to — more pressure and the responsibility to promote world peace? And will it bring you — will it influence your ideas while dealing with the international affairs? Thank you very much.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Thank you. That was an excellent question. I have to say that nobody was more surprised than me about winning the Nobel Prize for Peace. Obviously it’s a great honor. I don’t believe necessarily that it’s an honor I deserve, given the extraordinary history of people who have won the prize. All I can do is to, with great humility, accept the fact that I think the committee was inspired by the American people and the possibilities of changing not only America but also America’s approach to the world. And so in some ways I think they gave me the prize but I was more just a symbol of the shift in our approach to world affairs that we are trying to promote.
In terms of the burden that I feel, I am extraordinarily honored to be put in the position of President. And as my wife always reminds me when I complain that I’m working too hard, she says, you volunteered for this job. (Laughter.) And so you — there’s a saying — I don’t know if there’s a similar saying in China — we have a saying: “You made your bed, now you have to sleep in it.” And it basically means you have to be careful what you ask for because you might get it.
I think that all of us have obligations for trying to promote peace in the world. It’s not always easy to do. There are still a lot of conflicts in the world that are — date back for centuries. If you look at the Middle East, there are wars and conflict that are rooted in arguments going back a thousand years. In many parts of the world — let’s say, in the continent of Africa — there are ethnic and tribal conflicts that are very hard to resolve.
And obviously, right now, as President of the United States, part of my job is to serve as Commander-in-Chief, and my first priority is to protect the American people. And because of the attacks on 9/11 and the terrorism that has been taking place around the world where innocent people are being killed, it is my obligation to make sure that we root out these terrorist organizations, and that we cooperate with other countries in terms of dealing with this kind of violence.
Nevertheless, although I don’t think that we can ever completely eliminate violence between nations or between peoples, I think that we can definitely reduce the violence between peoples — through dialogue, through the exchange of ideas, through greater understanding between peoples and between cultures.
And particularly now when just one individual can detonate a bomb that causes so much destruction, it is more important than ever that we pursue these strategies for peace. Technology is a powerful instrument for good, but it has also given the possibility for just a few people to cause enormous damage. And that’s why I’m hopeful that in my meetings with President Hu and on an ongoing basis, both the United States and China can work together to try to reduce conflicts that are taking place.
We have to do so, though, also keeping in mind that when we use our military, because we’re such big and strong countries, that we have to be self-reflective about what we do; that we have to examine our own motives and our own interests to make sure that we are not simply using our military forces because nobody can stop us. That’s a burden that great countries, great powers, have, is to act responsibly in the community of nations. And my hope is, is that the United States and China together can help to create an international norms that reduce conflict around the world. (Applause.)
Okay. All right? Jon — I’m going to call on my Ambassador because I think he has a question that was generated through the Web site of our embassy. This was selected, though, by I think one of the members of our U.S. press corps so that —
AMBASSADOR HUNTSMAN: That’s right. And not surprisingly, “in a country with 350 million Internet users and 60 million bloggers, do you know of the firewall?” And second, “should we be able to use Twitter freely” — is the question.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, first of all, let me say that I have never used Twitter. I noticed that young people — they’re very busy with all these electronics. My thumbs are too clumsy to type in things on the phone. But I am a big believer in technology and I’m a big believer in openness when it comes to the flow of information. I think that the more freely information flows, the stronger the society becomes, because then citizens of countries around the world can hold their own governments accountable. They can begin to think for themselves. That generates new ideas. It encourages creativity.
And so I’ve always been a strong supporter of open Internet use. I’m a big supporter of non-censorship. This is part of the tradition of the United States that I discussed before, and I recognize that different countries have different traditions. I can tell you that in the United States, the fact that we have free Internet — or unrestricted Internet access is a source of strength, and I think should be encouraged.
Now, I should tell you, I should be honest, as President of the United States, there are times where I wish information didn’t flow so freely because then I wouldn’t have to listen to people criticizing me all the time. I think people naturally are — when they’re in positions of power sometimes thinks, oh, how could that person say that about me, or that’s irresponsible, or — but the truth is that because in the United States information is free, and I have a lot of critics in the United States who can say all kinds of things about me, I actually think that that makes our democracy stronger and it makes me a better leader because it forces me to hear opinions that I don’t want to hear. It forces me to examine what I’m doing on a day-to-day basis to see, am I really doing the very best that I could be doing for the people of the United States.
And I think the Internet has become an even more powerful tool for that kind of citizen participation. In fact, one of the reasons that I won the presidency was because we were able to mobilize young people like yourself to get involved through the Internet. Initially, nobody thought we could win because we didn’t have necessarily the most wealthy supporters; we didn’t have the most powerful political brokers. But through the Internet, people became excited about our campaign and they started to organize and meet and set up campaign activities and events and rallies. And it really ended up creating the kind of bottom-up movement that allowed us to do very well.
Now, that’s not just true in — for government and politics. It’s also true for business. You think about a company like Google that only 20 years ago was — less than 20 years ago was the idea of a couple of people not much older than you. It was a science project. And suddenly because of the Internet, they were able to create an industry that has revolutionized commerce all around the world. So if it had not been for the freedom and the openness that the Internet allows, Google wouldn’t exist.
So I’m a big supporter of not restricting Internet use, Internet access, other information technologies like Twitter. The more open we are, the more we can communicate. And it also helps to draw the world together.
Think about — when I think about my daughters, Malia and Sasha — one is 11, one is 8 — from their room, they can get on the Internet and they can travel to Shanghai. They can go anyplace in the world and they can learn about anything they want to learn about. And that’s just an enormous power that they have. And that helps, I think, promote the kind of understanding that we talked about.
Now, as I said before, there’s always a downside to technology. It also means that terrorists are able to organize on the Internet in ways that they might not have been able to do before. Extremists can mobilize. And so there’s some price that you pay for openness, there’s no denying that. But I think that the good outweighs the bad so much that it’s better to maintain that openness. And that’s part of why I’m so glad that the Internet was part of this forum. Okay?
I’m going to take two more questions. And the next one is from a gentleman, I think. Right here, yes. Here’s the microphone.
Q First, I would like to say that it is a great honor for me to stand here to ask you the questions. I think I am so lucky and just appreciate that your speech is so clear that I really do not need such kind of headset. (Laughter.)
And here comes my question. My name is (inaudible) from Fudan University School of Management. And I would like to ask you the question — is that now that someone has asked you something about the Nobel Peace Prize, but I will not ask you in the same aspect. I want to ask you in the other aspect that since it is very hard for you to get such kind of an honorable prize, and I wonder and we all wonder that — how you struggled to get it. And what’s your university/college education that brings you to get such kind of prizes? We are very curious about it and we would like to invite you to share with us your campus education experiences so as to go on the road of success.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, first of all, let me tell you that I don’t know if there’s a curriculum or course of study that leads you to win the Nobel Peace Prize. (Laughter.) So I can’t guarantee that. But I think the recipe for success is the one that you are already following. Obviously all of you are working very hard, you’re studying very hard. You’re curious. You’re willing to think about new ideas and think for yourself. You know, the people who I meet now that I find most inspiring who are successful I think are people who are not only willing to work very hard but are constantly trying to improve themselves and to think in new ways, and not just accept the conventional wisdom.
Obviously there are many different paths to success, and some of you are going to be going into government service; some of you might want to be teachers or professors; some of you might want to be businesspeople. But I think that whatever field you go into, if you’re constantly trying to improve and never satisfied with not having done your best, and constantly asking new questions — “Are there things that I could be doing differently? Are there new approaches to problems that nobody has thought of before, whether it’s in science or technology or in the arts? — those are usually the people who I think are able to rise about the rest.
The one last piece of advice, though, that I would have that has been useful for me is the people who I admire the most and are most successful, they’re not just thinking only about themselves but they’re also thinking about something larger than themselves. So they want to make a contribution to society. They want to make a contribution to their country, their nation, their city. They are interested in having an impact beyond their own immediate lives.
I think so many of us, we get caught up with wanting to make money for ourselves and have a nice car and have a nice house and — all those things are important, but the people who really make their mark on the world is because they have a bigger ambition. They say, how can I help feed hungry people? Or, how can I help to teach children who don’t have an education? Or, how can I bring about peaceful resolution of conflicts? Those are the people I think who end up making such a big difference in the world. And I’m sure that young people like you are going to be able to make that kind of difference as long as you keep working the way you’ve been working.
All right? All right, this is going to be the last question, unfortunately. We’ve run out of time so quickly. Our last Internet question, because I want to make sure that we got all three of our fine students here.
Q Mr. President, it’s a great honor for the last question. And I’m a college student from Fudan University, and today I’m also the representative of China’s Youth (inaudible.) And this question I think is from Beijing: Paid great attention to your Afghanistan policies, and he would like to know whether terrorism is still the greatest security concern for the United States? And how do you assess the military actions in Afghanistan, or whether it will turn into another Iraqi war? Thank you very much.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I think that’s an excellent question. Well, first of all, I do continue to believe that the greatest threat to United States’ security are the terrorist networks like al Qaeda. And the reason is, is because even though they are small in number, what they have shown is, is that they have no conscience when it comes to the destruction of innocent civilians. And because of technology today, if an organization like that got a weapon of mass destruction on its hands — a nuclear or a chemical or a biological weapon — and they used it in a city, whether it’s in Shanghai or New York, just a few individuals could potentially kill tens of thousands of people, maybe hundreds of thousands. So it really does pose an extraordinary threat.
Now, the reason we originally went into Afghanistan was because al Qaeda was in Afghanistan, being hosted by the Taliban. They have now moved over the border of Afghanistan and they are in Pakistan now, but they continue to have networks with other extremist organizations in that region. And I do believe that it is important for us to stabilize Afghanistan so that the people of Afghanistan can protect themselves, but they can also be a partner in reducing the power of these extremist networks.
Now, obviously it is a very difficult thing — one of the hardest things about my job is ordering young men and women into the battlefield. I often have to meet with the mothers and fathers of the fallen, those who do not come home. And it is a great weight on me. It gives me a heavy heart.
Fortunately, our Armed Services is — the young men and women who participate, they believe so strongly in their service to their country that they are willing to go. And I think that it is possible — working in a broader coalition with our allies in NATO and others that are contributing like Australia — to help train the Afghans so that they have a functioning government, that they have their own security forces, and then slowly we can begin to pull our troops out because there’s no longer that vacuum that existed after the Taliban left.
But it’s a difficult task. It’s not easy. And ultimately I think in trying to defeat these terrorist extremists, it’s important to understand it’s not just a military exercise. We also have to think about what motivates young people to become terrorists, why would they become suicide bombers. And although there are obviously a lot of different reasons, including I think the perversion of religion, in thinking that somehow these kinds of violent acts are appropriate, part of what’s happened in places like Pakistan and Afghanistan is these young people have no education, they have no opportunities, and so they see no way for them to move forward in life, and that leads them into thinking that this is their only option.
And so part of what we want to do in Afghanistan is to find ways that we can train teachers and create schools and improve agriculture so that people have a greater sense of hope. That won’t change the ideas of a Osama bin Laden who are very ideologically fixed on trying to strike at the West, but it will change the pool of young people who they can recruit from. And that is at least as important, if not more important over time, as whatever military actions that we can take. Okay?
All right, I have had a wonderful time. I am so grateful to all of you. First of all, let me say I’m very impressed with all of your English. Clearly you’ve been studying very hard. And having a chance to meet with all of you I think has given me great hope for the future of U.S.-China relations.
I hope that many of you have the opportunity to come and travel and visit the United States. You will be welcome. I think you will find that the American people feel very warmly towards the people of China. And I am very confident that, with young people like yourselves and the young people that I know in the United States, that our two great countries will continue to prosper and help to bring about a more peaceful and secure world.
So thank you very much everybody. Thank you. (Applause.)
2:08 P.M. CST
我今天准备这样，先做一个开场白，我真正希望做的是回答在座的问题，不但回答在座的学生问题，同时还可以从网上得到一些问题，由在座的一些学生和洪博培大 使代为提问。很抱歉，我的中文远不如你们的英文，所以我期待和你们的对话。这是我首次访问中国，我看到你们博大的国家，感到很兴奋。在上海这里，我们看到 了瞩目的增长，高耸的塔楼，繁忙的街道，还有企业家的精神。这些都是中国步入21世纪的迹象，让我感到赞叹。同时我也急切的要看到向我们展现中国古老的古 迹，明天和后天我要到北京去看雄伟壮丽的故宫和令人叹为观止的长城，这个国度既有丰富的历史，又有对未来憧憬的信念。
不过美国与这个国家的纽带可以追溯更久远的过去，追溯到美国独立的初期，乔治·华盛顿组织了皇后号的下水仪式，这个船成功前往大清王朝，华盛顿希望看到这 艘船前往各地，与中国结成新的纽带。希望中国开辟新的地平线，建立新的伙伴关系。在其后的两个世纪中，历史洪流使我们两国关系向许多不同的方向发展，而即 使在最动荡的方向中，我们的两国人民打造深的，甚至有戏剧性的纽带，比如美国人永远不会忘记，在二战期间，美国飞行员在中国上空被击落后，当地人民对他们 的款待，中国公民冒着失去一切的危险罩着他们。
而参加二战的老兵仍然欢迎故地重游的美国老兵，他们在那里参战。40年前，我们两国间开启了又一种联系，两国关系开始解冻，通过乒乓球的比赛解冻关系。我 们两国之间有着分歧，但是我们也有着共同的人性及有着共同的好奇，就像一位乒乓球人员一样，那的国家就是一样，但是这个小小的开头带来了《上海公报》的问 世，最终还带来了美中在1979年建交。在其后的30年我们又取得了长足的进展，1979年美中贸易只有50亿美元，现在已经超过了4000亿美元。
在需求趋于平衡的过程中，这种贸易可以是更广阔的贸易。如今我们有着积极合作和全面的关系，为我们在当前重大的全球问题上建立伙伴关系打开了大门，这些问 题包括经济复苏、洁净能源的开发、制止核武器扩散以及应对气候变化。还有在亚洲及全球各地促进和平和稳定，所有这些问题我明天与胡主席会谈时都会谈到。 1979年的时候，我们两国人民的联系十分有限，如今当年乒乓球运动员的好奇可以在许多领域建立的联系中都可以看到，在美国数量最多的留学生都来自中国。 而在美国的学生中，学中文的人数增加了50%。我们两国有近200个友好城市，美中科学家在许多新的研究领域和发现领域进行合作，而我们两国人民都热爱篮 球，姚明就是个例子。不过，此行中我不能观看上海鲨鱼队的比赛，有点遗憾。
那么我们两国之间的这种关系给我们带来了积极的变化，这并不是偶然的，中国使得亿万人民脱贫，而这种成就是人类历史上史无前例的。而中国在全球问题中也发 挥更大的作用，美国也目睹了我们经济的成长。中国有句古言，温故而知新。当然，我们过去30年中也遇到了挫折和挑战，我们的关系并不是没有困难的，没有分 歧的。但是我们必须一定是对手这种想法不应该是一成不变的。由于我们两国的合作，美中两国都变得更加繁荣、更加安全。我们基于相互的利益、相互的尊重就能 有成就。
不过，这种接触的成功要取决于我们要彼此了解，要能够进行开诚布公的对话，彼此进行了解。就像当年美国乒乓球运动员所说的，我们作为人有着共同的向往，但 是我们两国又不同。我认为我们两国每个国家都应该勾画出自己要走的路，中国是一个文明古国，它有着博大精深的文化。相对而言，美国是一个年轻的国家，它的 文化受到来自许多不同国家移民的影响，而指导我们民主制度文件的影响，我有一个非常简单的向往，代表了一些核心的原则，就是所有的人生来平等，都有着基本 的权利，而政府应当反映人们的意志，贸易应该是开放的，信息流通应当是自由的，而法律要保证这个公平。
当然，我们的国家历史也不是没有过困难的地方，从很多方面来讲，很多年以来，我们是通过斗争来促进这些原则或者是所有的人民能够享受到，为了缔造一个更完 美的联合，我们也打过一个很痛苦的内战，把一部分我们被奴役的人口释放出来，经过一段时间才能使妇女有投票权，劳工有组织权，包括来自各地的移民能够全部 不接受。即使他们被解放以后，非洲与美国人也和美国人经过一些分开的、不平等的条件，经过一段时间才争取到全面的平等权利，所有这些是不容易的。但是我们 对这些核心原则的信念我们取得的进展，在最黑暗的风暴当中是作为我们的指南针。
这是为什么林肯在内战期间站起来说过，任何一个国家以自由、以所有人类平等的原则能够长久的存在，也就是为什么金博士在林肯纪念馆的前台站起来，说我们国 家要必须真正的实现我们的信念。也就是为什么来自中国或者肯尼亚的移民能够到我们的家，也是为什么一个不到50年前以前在某些地方连投票都遇到困难的人， 现在就能够做到那个国家的总统。
这就是为什么美国永远为了全世界各地的核心原则说话，我们不寻求把任何政治体制强制给任何国家，但是我们也不认为我们所支持的这些原则是我们国家所独有 的，这些表达自由、宗教崇拜自由、接触信息的机会、政治的参与，我们认为这些是普世的权利，应该是所有人民能够享受到，包括少数民族和宗教的族群，不管是 在中国、美国和任何国家，对于普遍权利的尊敬，作为美国对其他国家的开放态度的指导原则，我们对其他文化的尊重，我们对国际法的承诺和对未来的信念的原 则。
所有这些都是你们知道关于美国的一些情况，我们有很多要从中国学习。我们看看这个伟大城市的各地，也看看这个房间，我就相信我们两国有很重要的共同点，也 就是对未来的信念，不管是美国还是中国，对现在的成就不能感到自满。虽然中国是一个古老的国家，你们也是充满信心展望未来，致力于下一代能够比这一代做的 更好，除了你们不断增长的经济之外，我们很配合中国在科学和研究方面所投入的力量，包括建设的基础设施和使用的技术，中国是世界上使用互联网技术最多的国 家，这就是我们很高兴互联网是今天活动的一部分，这个国家也拥有最大的机动电话网络，对新的投资保持继续增长，和应对气候变化方面有新的投资，我也希望两 国加强这方面的合作。
但是更重要是看到年轻人你们的才能、你们的献身精神、你们的梦想在21世纪实现方面会发挥很大的作用。我说过很多次，我认为世界是互相连接的，我们所做的 工作，我们所建立的繁荣，我们所保护的环境，我们所追求的安全，所有这些都是共同的，而且是互相连接的，所以21世纪的实力不在零和游戏，一个国家成功不 应该以另外一个国家的牺牲作为代价。这就是我们为什么不寻求遏制中国的崛起。相反，我们欢迎中国作为一个国际社会的强的、繁荣的、成功的成员。
再回到刚才的谚语，我们应该考虑过去。在大的国家合作的时候，就比互相碰撞会取得更多得好处，这就是人类在历史上不断吸取的教训。我认为我们合作应该是超 越政府间的合作，应该是以人民为基础，我们所研究的内容，我们所从事的生意，我们送获得的知识，我们所进行的体育比赛，所有这些桥梁必须是年轻人共同合作 建立起来，这就是我为什么非常高兴我们要大大的宣布我们到中国学习的留学生人数，要增加到10万人。这样交流就会表现出我们是愿意致力于加强两国人民的联 系，而且我是绝对有信心。对美国来说，最好的大使、最好的使者就是年轻人，他们和你们一样，很有才能，充满活力，对未来的历史还是很乐观的，这是我们合作 的下一步，惠及两国和全世界。
非常感谢你的问题，我在来之前和上海的市长共进午餐，他和我说他跟芝加哥，也就是我的家乡有着很好的关系，他两度访问芝加哥，我认为城市间有这种交流非常 非常好，我刚才和韩市长谈的问题之一就是我们这些城市如何可以彼此进行交流，比如就洁净能源的策略进行交流。因为美中两国共同面对的问题就是我们如何在人 口增长的过程中，又解决气候变化的问题，同时减少我们二氧化碳的排放。
很显然，在美国以及在很多发达国家，人均能耗量都比中国的人均能耗量大，不过在中国成长的过程中，能耗量会增加，因此，我们找到新的战略，这符合我们两国 的利益。我们刚才谈了大众捷运，我知道上海和其他城市之间就有这种快轨，我相信美国以及芝加哥可以在这种快轨方面向中国学习。而在美国我们也在学习如何建 造这种绿色建筑，当然，在上海我看到有很多的吊车，很多的建筑在盖起来。因此在这些新的技术上我们进行合作是非常非常重要的，使得我们每一个建筑在采光、 取暖等等方面都能减少能耗，使能源效率更高，这方面是我们两国可以相互学习的。
我知道上海世博会的焦点之一就是提高能效的问题，刚才韩市长跟我讲了这个问题，我将非常乐于参加上海世博会，当然，我现在不知道那时候我的时间安排怎么 样，不过我感到非常高兴上海世博会将有我们的美国馆，我们知道现在参观世博会的人会有七千万人。芝加哥已经举办过两次世博会，这两次世博会都给我们芝加哥 带来了巨大的好处，我希望上海情况也是如此，谢谢。
好。这次访问的主要目的就是加深我对中国和中国对未来的愿景的理解，我已经和胡主席进行了几次会晤，我们一起参加20国峰会，就是应对金融危机，另外，我 们就范围广泛的问题也进行磋商。但是我认为很重要的是美国要继续不断的加深对中国的了解，同样中国要不断加深对美国的了解也是重要的。至于我这次会晤希望 有什么成果或者访问的成果，除了能够看紫禁城和长城这么伟大的好的机会，还有会见各位，所有这些都是我的一些高潮和亮点。
除此以外，我打算和胡主席谈到一些问题，也就是洪大使提到的一点，世界上除非美中两国一致，不然能够解决全球的挑战是极少的。我举个例子来说，刚才谈到的 气候变化这个问题，美国和中国是世界上最大的两个温室气体的排放者，也就是造成全球变暖的因素。那么美国作为一个高度发达国家，就像刚才说的，从人均来 讲，人均消耗的能源多得多，排放的温室气体按人均来算比中国多得多，但是中国增长速度快得多，人口多得多，所以除非我们两个国家都愿意采取一些关键的步骤 来应对这个问题，我们就无法解决这个问题。
那么12月份举行哥本哈根会议，世界的领导人正在努力找到一个方案，能够使我们大家都作出承诺，是有区别的，不会说每个国家承担的义务一样，显然中国贫穷 的人数多得多，所以他不需要跟美国做的一样。但是各方都应该承担一些具体的义务，就是有关我们打算做些什么来减少温室气体。这只是一个例子，我希望会晤的 成果，就是我和胡主席能够就美中两国怎么共同发挥领导作用而达成一致。因为我可以告诉各位，甚至很多其他国家他们将等着我们，他们要看我们做什么，他们要 说，“你看美国、中国他们对这个并不认真，那他们也不会认真”。
我是同济大学黄立赫(音)。首先我想引用“有朋自远方来不亦乐乎”这句话来欢迎您，在《论语•子路》中有一句话叫和而不同，我们中国人民的理想就是在世界 构建一个文化多元化的和谐世界。我们知道美国文化本身是在历史沉淀当中由不同的文化元素所积淀而成的多元混合型文化，请问在您的这届政府中会采取哪些措施 来共同构建这个世界向着文化多元化发展?在您的外交政策中会有哪些措施去尊重各国的不同的历史文化?我们中美两国在此方面会有哪些合作?谢谢您。
我认为这是非常好的一点，美国的优势之一就是我们是一个非常多元化的文化，我们那有来自世界各地的人，因此，这对于美国人长什么样，你确实不能一言以蔽 之，比如像我家我父亲来自肯尼亚，我母亲来自中西部的堪萨斯州，我妹妹是半个印度尼西亚人，她又嫁了一位加拿大的华裔人。因此当你看到我们奥巴马全家聚会 的时候我们就像联合国一样，什么人都有，而这就是我们美国的力量所在，因为它意味着我们从不同的文化、从不同的饮食，从不同的想法中相互学习，这使得我们 社会变得更加富有活力。同时每个国家在你中有我我中有你的世界中，每个国家有着自己的历史传统和文化，因此我认为对于美国来讲重要的一点就是不能推断说， 我们有好的做法适用到别人身上的时候也可以带来好处。实际上这方面我们要虚心一点才行，对别的国家这种态度要虚心一点才行。
如果要说正如我在开场白中所说的一样，我们确实认为一些基本的原则是所有人不管你是什么样的文化，对所有人都应该是共有的共性，比如在联合国我们非常活跃 于联合国来努力确保世界各地的儿童都能够得到某些基本权利的待遇。当然，有些地方儿童受到剥削、压榨，强迫他们做童工，尽管以前不同的国家包括美国发生过 这样的事情，但是世界上所有的国家都应当有一个共同的标准，就是要以比过去更好的方式来对待我们的儿童，这是一个普世的价值观。
我相信对妇女的问题上情况也是如此，我跟上海的韩市长在吃午餐的时候进行了很有趣的讨论，他跟我说现在有很多专业人士，在中国的专业人士中，比如在大学生 中女生比男生还多，而且她们的表现非常的好。我认为这是一个取得进展的很好的、很小的指标，因为你看看世界各地的发展，一个最好的指标就是一个国家是不是 成就斐然的一个最好的指标就是他的教育以及妇女所受的教育。而那些能够发挥妇女的潜力的国家，那些做得好的国家他们得到好处就比那些不发挥妇女潜力的国家 要大。当然，男女关系中不同的文化有不同的做法，不过我认为在美国，我们很重要的一点是要确认世界各地妇女的权利，当然，有些社会中妇女受到压迫，她们不 能得到足够的机会，还有妇女受到暴力的影响等等，见到这些情况的时候我们都会直言不讳地提出来的。当然，有些人可能不同意我们的观点，我们可以就此展开对 话，但是我们能够实现我们的理想才行。
总统先生，您好。我们非常荣幸来到这儿，我叫张新(音)，来自于上海外国语大学。我想找一个网上的问题，这个问题是来自于台湾的一位同胞。他说我来自于台 湾，现在我在大陆做生意，现在两岸关系在近年来不断地改善，我现在在大陆的生意做得很好。当有人在美国说，美国想向台湾售武的时候我们非常担心，因为这样 的话会破坏两岸关系。总统先生，我想知道您是否支持改善两岸关系。当然，这个问题是来自于一位商人。但是其实对于所有的年轻中国人来说，其实都非常关心这 个问题，所以我们特别希望听下您的看法。谢谢。
我过去很明确，我的政府全面支持一个中国的政策，也就像三个联合公报所反映出的那样子，就是几十年前开始的关于针对与台湾的关系，也包括和中华人民共和国 的关系在内。我们不愿意改变这个政策和这个态度。我非常高兴看到紧张局势的缓和和跨海峡两岸关系的改善。而且我非常希望我们继续看到两岸不断地改善关系， 解决很多这样的问题。
有一个事情，美国在对外政策当中，也包括针对中国的政策，我们一直寻求的一件事情就是要通过对话和谈判问题能够得到解决，我们一直认为这是最好的途径。我 认为这个地区正在发生着经济和商务的联系，正在帮助缓和很多在你们出生或者我还没有出生以前就已经产生的紧张局势，有些人还希望回顾过去来考虑问题，而不 是展望未来，我还是希望能够展望未来。就像我刚才说的，现在建立的商务关系是有益的，有人认为做生意赚钱的话，他们会考虑得很清楚，而不会那么过分地担忧 这些意识形态的问题，而且我认为这个地区已经看到这个现象，我们非常支持这样的进程。好吧。现在轮到女生。
这个问题问得非常好，谢谢。正如我开始所说，关于我得到的和平奖这个问题最惊奇的就是我自己，当然，这是一个殊荣，不过我认为这个荣誉我有点不配。因为考 虑到以前得奖的人所做的工作我有点不配，但是我希望做的工作就是以本着非常卑谦的态度来对待这个事情。那就是他们这个诺贝尔提名委员会对于美国所发生的变 化以及美国对世界的态度所发生的变化受到了启发，所以他们把奖项颁发给了我，不过我只是对我们对世界态度的变化的一个象征而已。
我感到这是一种殊荣——能够成为美国总统。正如我夫人经常提醒我说的，有时候我抱怨工作太忙了，她经常提醒我说：你是自己找的这份工作。英文里说你自己铺 了床你只好自己到里面去睡觉。这个意思就是说有时候你要想得到什么东西真要小心一点，你真有可能得到这份东西，我认为我们每个人要在世界上促进我们的和 平，做到这一点并不容易。
现在世界上有很多冲突，这些冲突有数百年的历史，比如你看看中东的情况，这些战争和冲突他们来源于一千年以前的斗争，比如在非洲有部落的冲突，这都很难得 到解决，作为美国总统，我的工作之一是我们美国武装力量的总指挥，我的当务之急首先要做的就是保护美国人民，由于9•11发生的袭击事件，以及世界各地的 恐怖事件造成无辜人的死亡，我有这样的任务就是要根除这些恐怖主义组织，要和很多国家进行合作来应付这种恐怖暴力。当然，我想我们不可能完全杜绝国与人以 及国与国之间的暴力，但是我们可以大大减少这些暴力。这个做法就是通过交流、通过对话，通过加深人与人、文化与文化之间的理解来做到这一点。
此时此刻，一个人可以引爆炸弹，带来很大的破坏。因此，我们要实行这种和平的策略就变得更加重要了。技术可以造福于人，但是也可以使这些少数人造成巨大的 破坏。正因如此，我希望在我跟胡主席的会谈中，以及今后进行的会谈中，美国和中国可以共同合作来共同减少我们在世界各地所看到的冲突。同时，我们还要牢记 这样一个事实，当我们动用军事力量的时候，因为我们是大国、强国，我们自己要三思而行，我们要看看自己有什么动机，有什么利益来确保我们不仅仅由于别人管 不了我们我们就动辄使用我们的军力，而这些大国要在世界之林中本着负责任的做法采取行动才行，我希望美国和中国能够共同地帮助建立国际准则以减少世界各地 的冲突。
首先让我说，我从来没有使用过TWITTER。我注意到一些年轻人，他们一直很忙，有各种各样的电子器材，很笨重。但是我还是非常相信技术的作用，非常重 视开放性。在信息流动方面，我认为越是能够自由的信息流通，社会就变得越强，因为这样子，世界各地的公民能让自己的政府负责，有一个问责制度，他们自己会 思考，这样会有新的想法，鼓励创造性。所以我一直是坚定的支持互联网开放的使用，我是非常支持不审查内容，在美国我过去谈过，这是我们的一个传统，我也认 识到不同的国家有不同的传统，但是我可以告诉各位，在美国，我们有没有受限制的使用互联网的机会，这是我们力量的来源，也应该受到鼓励的。
在人处于一个实力地位的时候就会想到，你为什么这样说我，你这样说是很不负责的。可是真实的情况是这样，因为在美国信息是自由的，因为在美国有很多人批评 我说各种各样的事情，但我还是认为，这样才会使得我们的民族制度变得更强，使我变成一个更好的领导人，因为它迫使我听到一些我不愿意听到的意见，也迫使我 审查我正在做的事情，每天都要审查，要看我是不是真的为美国人民做我能做的最好的事情。所以我认为互联网现在已经变成一个更强的工具，可以让公民来参与。
实际上，我这次胜选，当了总统的一个原因之一我们能够动员很多年轻人，通过互联网来动员。刚开始的时候，没有人会想到我会赢，因为我们不是得到最富裕的支 持者、政治上最有权利的人支持我们，可是人们通过互联网看到我们竞选，他们开始感到很兴奋，他们就组织起来成立一些竞选的活动、事件和集会，结果就产生了 这些从下往上的一种行动，使我们很成功。
所以要不是有很自由的开放性，就像互联网所提供的开放性，那Google不会存在，所以我很支持一个做法，就是不要限制互联网的使用、接触或者像 TWITTER这种信息技术，越开放越能够沟通，使全世界联系在一起。像我的两个女儿玛丽亚和娜塔莎，一个是11岁，一个是8岁，在她们的房间可以上网， 通过互联网可以达到世界任何地方，可以学到她们想学的内容，这是她们巨大的力量，她们拥有这种力量，也有利于促进相互理解。
我想说我非常荣幸，站在这里向您提问，我认为我很幸运，我也感谢这个机会，您的演讲非常清楚。我是周元天(音)，复旦大学管理学院的学生，我想问一问，现 在已经有人问您得诺贝尔奖的问题了，那么我不会以同样的角度问您，我想问的是从另外一个角度来看，因为您很难才能得到这个奖，所以我在想您是怎么得到这个 奖的?还有您的大学教育怎么样使您得到这个奖项?我们很好奇，想请您给我们分享一下您的校园经历，如何才能走上成功的道路?
而我现在经常见到的这些人他们对我最有启发的以及最成功的这些人，我认为这些人都是那些愿意不断努力工作的人，同时还不断地通过找新的途径进行提高的人， 他们不仅仅是接受现状、接受常规。很显然，在成功的问题上殊途同归，有些人进入政府服务，有些人想当老师、教授，有些人想经商。但是我认为不管你从事哪个 领域的工作，如果你不断地努力更新和改进，而不只是满足于现状，一直在扪心自问，看看是否能够以不同的方式来解决问题的话，那么不管是科学也好、技术也 好、艺术也好，去尝试前人没有用过的方法，只有这些人才能出人头地。
我还有一个忠告，这个忠告对我来讲很有用，就是说我最敬仰的那些成功的人士，他们不但考虑自己，他们同时还考虑超越自己的事情，他们希望对世界做出贡献， 他们希望对他们的国家做出贡献，对他们的城市做出贡献，他们希望除了对自己的生活有所影响，同时对别人的生活也带来影响。有时候我们会忙于挣钱、买好车、 买大房子，所有的这些都重要，但是那些真正在青史留名的人是因为他们有更大的向往，看如何帮助更多的人能够吃饱饭，能够让更多的儿童受到教育，如何能够以 和平方式解决冲突等等。只有这些人他们才能在世界上做出贡献，我相信只要在座的你们努力的话也能够做出这样的贡献。[ 11-16 13:56]
很显然，这是非常困难的事情。我这个工作最难做的一件事情之一就是命令年轻的男女要到战场去，我经常要会见那些战争死亡人员的父母亲，他们没能回家，这使 我心里感到非常痛苦。幸好我们的武装部队的年轻的男士、女士们，他们为国家服务的信念这么强，他们还是愿意去，所以我认为还是有可能，通过更广的联合合 作，包括北约的同盟者和其他的，像澳大利亚做贡献的人，我们可以一起帮助训练阿富汗人，使他们能够拥有一个发挥作用的政府，拥有自己的安全力量，然后我们 可以慢慢的撤出我们的部队。
当然有很多不同的原因，其中包括有一种歪曲宗教的作用，使人们认为这种暴力行为是适当的，就像巴基斯坦和阿富汗发生的因素之一，那些人没有受到教育，也没 有机会，所以他们看到在生活中没有向前走的路子，所以他们就想唯一的选择就做那种事情，所以我们在阿富汗要实现的目的之一就是找到一些方法来培训老师，建 立学校，改善农业的状况，给人民更大的希望。
今天我过得非常愉快，非常感谢各位，首先我想说我对大家的英文印象很深刻，很明显你们是很用功的学习。有机会和大家见面，使我感到美中关系的未来是很有希 望的，我希望你们很多人有机会到美国来，你们会受到欢迎，我想你们会发现美国人民对中国人民是很热情的，而且我是充满信心，向你们这种年轻人和我在美国所 认识的青年，我们两个伟大的国家会继续繁荣昌盛，会帮助实现更和平安全的世界。