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Cablegate: U.S. Presidential Delegation August 23, 2008 Meeting With

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UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 BEIJING 003340

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV ELAB KOLY OVIP CH
SUBJECT: U.S. Presidential Delegation August 23, 2008 Meeting with
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao

(U) This cable is Sensitive But Unclassified. Please protect
accordingly.

1. (U) August 23, 2008; 1045; Zhongnanhai Leadership Compound,
Beijing, China.

2. (U) Participants:

United States
Secretary of Labor Elaine L. Chao
Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael O. Leavitt
Ambassador Clark T. Randt, Jr.
Ms. Karen Hughes
Ms. Michelle Kwan
Associate Deputy Secretary of Labor Anna Hui
HHS Special Advisor Allyson Bell
Dr. James Chao
Mr. Brian Langley, DOS Protocol
Mr. Michael Crain, U.S. Embassy Beijing
Eric Barboriak (Embassy notetaker)
Jim Brown, interpreter

PRC
Premier Wen Jiabao
Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi
Commerce Minister Chen Deming
Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui
PRC Ambassador to the United States Zhou Wenzhong
Director General Zheng Zeguang, MFA North American and Oceanian
Affairs Department
Deputy Director General Deng Hongbo, MFA North American and Oceanian
Affairs Department
Deputy Director General Yang Guangyu, MFA Protocol Department
Deputy Director General Qin Gang, MFA Information Department
MFA notetakers
Zhang Yu, interpreter

Summary
-------

3. (SBU) Premier Wen stated that the participation of President Bush
and his family in the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics and the U.S.
Presidential Delegation's participation in the Closing Ceremony
reflect the great friendship between the United States and China.
Secretary Chao offered sympathies for the victims of the May 12
earthquake in Sichuan and praise for China's efforts in hosting the
Olympics. Premier Wen stated that U.S.-China relations are in a
good state due to the policies of the Bush Administration and that
positive bilateral relations promote peace and stability
internationally. China is committed to peaceful development
domestically, continuing on the path of reform and opening and
pursuing a peaceful foreign policy, he said. Premier Wen expressed
hope to see more bilateral cooperation in labor and health issues.
Secretary Leavitt stated that bilateral cooperation on food and
product safety over the last year has yielded positive results,
including the planned October opening of three FDA branch offices in
China. End Summary.

4. (SBU) In his welcoming remarks, Premier Wen stated that President
Bush's attendance with his family at the Olympics Opening Ceremony
and the attendance by this U.S. Presidential Delegation to the
Olympics Closing Ceremony not only demonstrate U.S. support for
China's efforts in hosting the Olympic Games but also reflect the
great friendship between the two nations. Premier Wen noted the
great U.S. athletic achievement in the Olympic Games as reflected in
the U.S. lead in total medal count.

5. (SBU) Secretary Chao expressed thanks for the opportunity to meet
with Premier Wen and passed along warm greetings from President
Bush. She passed along the regrets of Secretary Rice, who was
unable to attend the Closing Ceremony due to the crisis in Georgia.
Secretary Chao offered sympathies on behalf of the delegation for
the victims of the May 12 earthquake in Sichuan Province and praised
the Premier for his great efforts in comforting the Chinese people
during that time of tragedy. Secretary Chao also said she
appreciated Chinese Government efforts to assist the Bachman family
in the aftermath of the assault/murder in Beijing on August 9.
Premier Wen expressed thanks for the sympathy, condolences and
assistance from the United States in the wake of the Sichuan
earthquake, and he wished Mrs. Bachman an early recovery from her
injuries.

6. (SBU) Secretary Chao congratulated the Chinese people on hosting
a spectacular Olympic Games, noting that people around the world are
impressed with China's great efforts in organizing the Olympics.
She thanked the Premier for his generous comments on the
achievements of the U.S. Olympic team, saying she would pass this on
to the athletes. Expressing praise for Chinese athletes, she noted

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the Chinese Olympic team's lead in the gold medal count. Secretary
Chao said the spectacular Opening Ceremony, with its rich symbolism
and reference to Chinese history, gave Americans a greater
appreciation of China and its history. She also made special note
of Lin Hao, the nine-year-old student who helped save his classmates
during the Sichuan earthquake, who accompanied China's Olympic Team
flag bearer Yao Ming during the Opening Ceremony procession. Noting
Chinese officials present at the meeting, Secretary Chao
complimented Foreign Minister Yang for his great understanding of
the United States and noted the good cooperative relationship with
Commerce Minister Chen in the Senior Economic Dialogue. She
expressed appreciation for Ambassador Zhou's great efforts to visit
all parts of the United States in order to gain a greater
understanding of American society. Secretary Chao reported she had
a constructive meeting August 22 with PRC Minister of Human
Resources and Social Security Yin Weimin, in which the two discussed
the initiative to transform China into an "Innovation Society."

7. (SBU) Secretary Leavitt recalled the Closing Ceremony of 2002
Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, which took place during his
tenure as Utah Governor. During the event, he discreetly mingled
with other attendees, one of whom spontaneously chanted "Utah, Utah,
Utah!" as an expression of the great effort and success the people
of Utah felt in hosting the Olympics. Secretary Leavitt said that
the Chinese people should feel similarly proud of their achievement
in hosting this Olympics.

8. (SBU) Ms. Hughes stated that the Olympics will help Americans see
China in a new way and will improve bilateral relations. Ms. Hughes
noted the great personal connection Premier Wen established with the
Chinese people in the aftermath of the Sichuan earthquake.

9. (SBU) Ms. Kwan stated that the Olympics were well-organized and
noted that U.S. athletes with whom she spoke had positive
impressions of the Olympic Games and China.

U.S.-China relations
--------------------

10. (SBU) Premier Wen stated that U.S.-China relations are in a
historically good state, and much of the positive momentum in
bilateral relations is due to the Bush Administration's policies
over the last seven years. The frequency of high-level exchanges
has rarely been so high over the history of bilateral relations,
Premier Wen noted, adding that President Bush's attendance at the
Opening Ceremony in Beijing, the first time a U.S. President has
attended an Opening Ceremony otside the United States, further
reflects the importance of developing bilateral relations.

11. (SBU) Premier Wen acknowledged that the U.S.-China bilateral
relationship has had its share of "twists and turns." Quoting a
Chinese poem, Premier Wen said, "one must get to the top to have a
bird's view." From such an overall perspective, he said, one can
observe that the development of good relations between the "world's
strongest developed country and the world's largest developing
country" is "conducive to the peace and stability of the whole
world." Premier Wen said that difficulties in the bilateral
relationship are "small hills" that can easily be surmounted. He
expressed confidence that good momentum in bilateral relations will
be maintained with whoever serves as the next President of the
United States. (Note: The August 23 Xinhua report of the meeting
states that Wen also called on the two sides to "properly handle
differences and sensitive issues." This statement was not included
in Wen's actual comments that we noted during the meeting.)

"The Three Commitments"
-----------------------

12. (SBU) Premier Wen outlined three "commitments" that will
characterize China's development in the future. The first is that
China is committed to the path of peaceful development. Premier Wen
noted that though China has achieved a successful Olympic Games, not
all of China has achieved positive success in terms of development,
adding, "national leaders must be aware of this." Premier Wen
pointed out that China will need "decades" of hard work by
Government officials and "generations" of Chinese to pass before
China will reach even a "moderate prosperity level" throughout the
country. He recalled a conversation with a famous Chinese poet who
said that identifying problems in governance during times of chaos
is easier than identifying problems during times of peace. Premier
Wen said Chinese leaders must remain vigilant for the hidden
challenges that can suddenly arise in what appear to be peaceful and
affluent times.

13. (SBU) The second "commitment" is to continue the 30 years of
China's reform and opening policy. Premier Wen stated that China's
achievements can be attributed to this reform and opening policy,
and China cannot stop or step back on this path. "We do not think

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China is free of problems," Premier Wen said, "but we rely on the
reform and opening policy to solve them."

14. (SBU) The third "commitment" is to pursue a peaceful foreign
policy. As China remains primarily focused on national development,
its foreign policy will be independent and peaceful, Premier Wen
said, adding "we will respect other countries and respect
ourselves." Premier Wen stated that all countries should treat each
other on the basis of equality, seeking mutual benefit and
accommodating each other's interests and concerns. Saying that
"China is not yet modernized," Premier Wen stated that "even when
China is modernized, it will not seek to influence (dominate) other
countries nor seek hegemony."

Bilateral Cooperation in Labor and Health Issues
--------------------------------------------- ---

15. (SBU) Premier Wen expressed hope that U.S.-China relations will
not only be strengthened in political, economic and cultural
aspects, but in the areas of labor and health as well. He noted
that the upcoming U.S. Labor Day holiday reflects U.S. appreciation
of its workforce and the importance of social security issues.
China, he said, only ten years ago initiated a social security
program and "can learn from the United States" on how to address the
challenges of providing benefits to China's large population with
limited funding and program management experience. Premier Wen
noted that China will soon roll out a health and drug control and
administration plan. (Note: The August 23 Xinhua report of the
meeting states that Wen also said "inspection and quarantine" are
important aspects of bilateral ties. This statement was not
included in Wen's actual comments that we noted during the
meeting.)

16. (SBU) Premier Wen said that many ordinary Chinese citizens
complain about inability to access and afford medical care, which he
interprets as an implicit criticism of Chinese Government efforts
and an expression of hope for improvement. Premier Wen said he
hopes the introduction of reforms in the medical sector will enable
China to provide medical care for children and those living in
poverty.

New FDA Offices in China
------------------------

17. (SBU) Secretary Leavitt said that bilateral cooperation on food
and product safety over the past year has yielded positive results,
noting that China has taken an "aggressive approach" to addressing
existing problems. Secretary Leavitt reported that in October the
United States will establish three Food and Drug Administration
(FDA) branch offices in China. Such a development is a reflection
of the close working relations between the United States and China
on food and product safety issues.

Compassionate leader
--------------------

18. (SBU) Premier Wen said that perhaps many Westerners still do not
know him that well and saddle him with the stereotype of a "rigid
Communist." On the contrary, he said, his previous experience has
instilled in him a compassion for the people. "Compassion is the
fundamental basis of all moral virtues," Premier Wen stated, "and on
this point, I will not be dwarfed by Western leaders." The
assessment of his performance in carrying out his duties, he added,
"is up to the people to make."

19. (U) The delegation cleared on this cable.
RANDT

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