Gov. Terry E. Branstad this evening will offer a toast to Vice President Xi Jinping, and the long-lasting friendship between Iowa and China. Following Gov. Branstad's toast, Vice President Xi Jinping will offer his own toast.
The following is Gov. Branstad's toast, as prepared for delivery, and it is embargoed until 8:10 p.m. Central on Wednesday, February 15, 2012.
I am truly honored to formally welcome Vice President Xi Jinping from the People's Republic of China to Iowa.
Thank you, Vice President Xi, for accepting our invitation to return to Iowa -- and thank you for taking time to visit old friends and meet many new ones.
On July 22, 1983, I signed the formal agreement with the then Governor Zhang Shuguang that established the sister state relationship between the state of Iowa and the Hebei Province of China. In my remarks during that signing ceremony, I noted that this was a "diplomatic milestone for the state of Iowa". And, nearly 29 years later, I realize the deeper significance of those words, and how this long lasting friendship has flourished.
As this sister state relationship has shown, Iowans are sincere people who have actively participated in numerous exchanges with our Chinese friends.
We are proud of our mutually beneficial trading partnerships with China and Iowa farmers are proud to harvest safe and reliable agricultural products for use by the people of China. We hope to build-upon these partnerships in related areas where Iowa leads the world, such as biotechnology, advanced manufacturing, food processing, and financial services.
We hope this dinner tonight, and your entire visit to Iowa will foster an even deeper friendship between Iowa and China, one that will continue to grow and benefit both of our peoples.
In 1985, when you visited me here at the Governor's Office, I was in my late thirties and serving my first term as Governor. At that time, you were in your early thirties and a local party leader in Shijiazhuang.
I am honored to once again be serving as Iowa's Governor and to have this historic opportunity to welcome you back to our state. And so many Iowans are pleased that a man we befriended those many years ago, has risen to such a position of prominence and respect in the great nation of China.
Please join me in raising our glasses to our long-time friend, Vice President Xi Jinping and the long-lasting friendship between Iowa and China.