Remarks at a Meeting With Chinese Students Studying in the United States

April 16, 1984

I just have a few minutes, and I know you've been in good hands here with the Vice President.

You represent 11,000 students from China who are here in our country now. And I don't know how much history you've studied, but you know, this all began many years ago in the history of your country when there was a situation -- similar to something we'd had in our own country -- called the Boxer Rebellion. And countries from Europe and the United States and others, we went in with armed forces to rescue our people who were there from this strife and trouble.

And as I have read history, all the other countries then imposed reparation payments on China except the United States. And the United States said, ``No, use our share as a scholarship fund to send your students here and ours to your country so we can get to know each other, and never again should there be any bitterness between our two peoples.''

So, you are coming along here as a very definite part of what I think is a nice note in history that hasn't too often happened between great nations. And you're certainly welcome, but we'd like to see the 11,000 become a hundred thousand. And we're going to work toward that goal.

I'll probably be getting back to your country before you are. Why do I say, ``getting back to it''? [Laughter] George has been there. I've never been there. It'll be my first trip, and I'm looking forward to it very much.

But I understand that the only way we can possibly have a chance to meet is that -- it's so crowded in here -- is if I step outside that door in the hall and then if each of you come out one at a time, and we'll all have our pictures taken out there and I get a chance to meet you individually.

But again, welcome. And I'll send them back in here.

Note: The President spoke at 3:27 p.m. in the Roosevelt Room at the White House. The 12 students, who are studying in the Washington, DC, area, were meeting with the Vice President and members of the National Security Council staff.