Monday, June 1, 2009

A Treasury Secretary in Beijing

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner gave remarks at a reception given in his honor by the Ford Foundation. Geithner’s father Peter, an international development expert, was head of the Ford Foundation’s Asia programs [most likely used by Geithner's father as a front for CIA activities] and opened its China office. Today’s event took place at the Ritz-Carlton in the Financial Street District of Beijing at 5 p.m.

Here are Geithner’s remarks:

It’s a great pleasure to be here today, to be back in China. I came almost 30 years ago to a very different country, at a very important time. Like many of you, I share the great privilege of being a beneficiary of the Ford Foundation. My parents starting with the idea of the Ford Foundation took me to live in countries around the world.

I think my father came to China before I did but I lived in China before he did and studied Chinese before he did and like to remind him of that.

I’m really here to underscore three things. First is to emphasize the importance of long-standing support by the Foundation and the philanthropic community in the United States to support development and reform and research in China. That tradition began many many decades ago. It continued with Rockefeller and Ford. I think it’s important we all recognize the role of those kind of exchanges can play in laying a foundation for more effective cooperative understanding between these two countries.

The second is to underscore the importance of support for basic research—not just in the sciences but in the social sciences. The Ford Foundation has played an enormously important role in providing finance for basic research. I think the work of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences is exemplary. The record of research and support that you’ve provided over the years is tremendously impressive and I think countries around the world--including the United States---have a lot to learn from what you can achieve though that kind of commitment and investment in research.
I also wanted to just provide a tribute to the work of this generation of economists in China. What you’ve accomplished in China is just remarkable. I don’t think there’s any precedent for the scale of transformation in economic structure and growth that China has achieved. That’s to the credit of many of you in this room. I’ve watched this from a distance but with great admiration and respect for a long period of time. And I have enormous respect for what your leaders are putting in place in the interest of broader reforms for the Chinese economy.

I’m here of course in Beijing to build a foundation for a strong cooperative relationship on the economic front with my counterparts in China. We are of course at a remarkable time in the global economy.

The world’s experiencing I think what is without a doubt what’s the most acute level of challenge that we’ve seen in decades. And I think it is important to point out how much we have already achieved working closely together--China and the United States--not just in laying a foundation for the recovery of our own economies but helping shape a consensus in the G-20 among other major economies on a set of measures to strengthen demand, repair these broken financial systems, provide broad support for the international financial institutions to support growth and development in the emerging economies, and to underscore the commitment we all have to keeping our markets open to trade and investment.

I think when people look back at this crisis they will decide and conclude what distinguished this crisis from other crises was significantly the speed and force of the cooperative international response. If you look at how our government, your government working with other major economies responding to this crisis it is in sharp contrast to what we saw in the 70s, what we saw in the 80s, what we saw in the 90s in response to crises that were less severe but still significant challenges to growth.

So it’s a privilege to be here again. I had the great fortune early in life in studying here in China first here at Beida [note:
Chinese nickname for Peking University] and then at Beishida [note: Chinese nickname for Beijing Normal University] and it had an enormous impact on my own view of world, the U.S. role in the world, not just my understanding of China, and enormous impact in my own choices in life in deciding what I wanted to do.

(Portions of this report were provided by pool reporter Ariana Cha of the Washington Post, who is traveling with the Treasury Secretary.

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