U.S. "Looking for Ways to Cooperate" with China
Transcript: Secretary Powell Press Conference in Beijing July 28 (Says U.S. is "looking for ways to cooperate" with China)
U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell told reporters in Beijing following his meetings July 28 with Chinese leaders that the United States and China plan to broaden contacts on a full range of issues such as trade, proliferation, human rights and commerce.
Powell, who met with President Jiang Zemin, Premier Zhu Rongi, Vice Prime Minister Qian Qichen and Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan, stressed that President Bush "wants to build constructive, forward-looking relations with the People's Republic of China. And he is very much looking forward to his visit in the fall."
"President Bush believes, and I believe of course, that a constructive relationship between the United States and China is in the interest of the American and Chinese peoples, in the interest of our allies and friends in Asia, and in the world's interest," Powell added.
In response to a question, he said the issue of U.S. concerns about Chinese missile and weapons technology exports was discussed and that while some outstanding issues remain, "I think we had a good exchange of views and we found a way to move forward."
The Secretary said he "tried to make a comprehensive case of the President's strategy of moving forward with missile defense as part of a restructured strategic architecture.... They listened carefully and I'm sure we'll have many more conversations on this subject because they have a different view of it."
"I told them that our plans with respect to missile defense are for limited missile defense" that would not threaten China's or Russia's strategic deterrents, Powell added.
On the issue of Taiwan, Powell reiterated that the U.S. government has a "One China" policy. "Within that policy we also have an obligation to provide weapons to Taiwan that will be defensive in nature and conventional in nature, so that they will feel secure and thereby in that security have the confidence to engage with the People's Republic and hopefully, with that confidence, they can restart dialogue and discussions on cross-strait issues," he said.
On human rights, he said Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy and Human Rights and Democracy Lorne Craner "will begin discussions right away leading up to more formal discussions later in the year. And no holds barred in these discussions. We plan to talk about all of the human rights issues that are of concern to us and we expect them to do the same. I'm sure they will see things in American society that they think bear discussion, and let's have that kind of discussion back and forth in the spirit of candor and mutual respect."
In his opening remarks, Powell said he was "deeply impressed with the transformation that has taken place in China over the last 20 years and since my last visit some 17-plus years ago," and that the United States wants to "work with China as it continues to move forward and adopt world standards in this area of trade and in other areas as well."
Following is the State Department transcript of the press conference:
Press Conference Following Meetings With Chinese Officials Remarks to the Press
Department of State Office of the Spokesman Date: 07/29/2001
Beijing, China - July 28, 2001
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I just had a productive series of meetings here in Beijing, and I was accompanied throughout the day by our new ambassador to the People's Republic of China, Ambassador Sandy Randt, who is here with us and who presented his credentials this afternoon to President Jiang.
I had meetings with President Jiang, Premier Zhu, Vice Premier Qian, and Foreign Minister Tang. I told them I was here as sort of an advance party for President Bush, who will be here later this year, and conveyed the message that President Bush wants to build constructive, forward-looking relations with the People's Republic of China. And he is very much looking forward to his visit in the fall, both to the APEC meeting in Shanghai and then to be received by President Jiang here in Beijing.
I had to take note of the fact that I was deeply impressed with the transformation that has taken place in China over the last 20 years, and since my last visit some 17-plus years ago. I reiterated, to all of my interlocutors, America's support for the changes that China's accession to the World Trade Organization inevitably will bring. I told Chinese leaders that the United States is prepared to work with China as it continues to move forward and adopt world standards, in this area of trade and in other areas as well. I congratulated President Jiang on Beijing's successful bid to host the 2008 Olympics. The United States looks forward to seeing the changes, in the next seven years, that this historic event is bound to stimulate.
China and the United States have a strong, common interest in seeing a stable Asia, and a world where economies can thrive and security needs can be met. In our discussions, I also emphasized my government's interest in continuing to have dialogue in important areas, such as human rights, nonproliferation, and other global issues, and we will be pursuing that dialogue actively. I am pleased that our two countries will be resuming our dialogue on human rights in the coming months.
Secretary of the Treasury Paul O'Neill and his Chinese counterpart will convene the 14th Joint Economic Commission Meeting in Beijing in September, and the Joint Committee on Commerce and Trade, led by Secretary Don Evans, will meet later this year. Additionally, we have agreed that the Military Maritime Consultative Agreement Committee (MMCA) will hold a special meeting during the month of August, at a time -- at a place yet to be decided, and a date not quite nailed down. And we will also be holding expert talks on nonproliferation matters. So in the course of the day, we have come to quite a few agreements on how we can move forward with our dialogue, on a full range of issues that the two nations are interested in: from trade, proliferation, to human rights, to commerce, and to the MMCA activities.
President Bush believes -- and I believe, of course -- that a constructive relationship between the United States and China is in the interest of the American and Chinese peoples, in the interest of our allies and friends in Asia, and in the world's interest. And I look forward to working with my Chinese colleagues to broaden and deepen the areas of our cooperation. Thank you very much, and I'd be pleased to take some questions.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, George Gedda of AP. Could you talk about your discussions on the issue of missile transfers and weapons technology transfers? Are the gaps narrower now than when you started?
SECRETARY POWELL: The conversation went to the November 2000 agreement and some of the concerns we had with respect to that agreement: grandfathering contracts that had been signed earlier but delivered after. We still have to work on resolving that problem. Some other issues -- with respect to specific transfers -- we pointed out to them, and the need for expert consultation on their export control policies that we think ought to be in place. And so I think we moved the ball forward. There are still some outstanding issues to be resolved, and some places where we don't have full agreement, and all of this will be taken into account as we look at licensing some of the satellite sales that are on the table before us. But I think we had a good exchange of views, and we found a way to move forward with the experts committee getting together.
QUESTION: I'm a journalist from Beijing Youth Daily. My question is: What kind of things impressed you most during your one day's visit to Beijing, and do you think one day's visit to Beijing is enough for you to learn about this nation -- a nation which is considered to be the so-called potential competitor of the United States? Thank you.
SECRETARY POWELL: No, one day is certainly not enough, and I spent most of the day just going back and forth on the east-west main road, from one government office to the other, looking out the window of a car. And so I wouldn't presume to suggest that I saw a lot of the country, or learned through personal observation a lot of what's going on in China. But, even just that experience, of going up and down that road several times today, and looking out the window, and seeing all the construction that has taken place since I went up and down that street in 1973 -- and went up and down that street again in 1983 -- to see what that represents in the way of transformation in China, what that represents in the way of an economy that is moving forward and starting to join the international economic system in generating a level of wealth that permits that kind of development to take place and eventually spread out across the whole society; to see what that represents in the way of gifted, skilled political leadership that would move the country in that direction, and to see what that also represents in terms of the energy of the Chinese people to move forward.
So a lot has happened since my earlier visits, and in the 20-odd years since relations took a different turn between the United States and China. And much more will happen in the future, with accession to the World Trade Organization. And I believe much more needs to be done, because as you suggest, it is not just what you see in a main street in Beijing, but what you see in the furthest reaches of the nation. And until all people are touched by a level of success and given hope and food on their table and education for their children and a roof over their heads and a satisfactory life, then political leaders must continue to work to develop an economy that will do that, and to open a society that will give people a pass to achieve their dreams and achieve their ambitions, hindered not by government but by their own willingness to dream big and to work hard.
QUESTION: Robin Wright, Los Angeles Times: On human rights, did you bring up the case of Zheng Zhensheng, the former U.S.-based scholar and father of an American citizen, or any other specific cases today? And secondly, despite the resolution of the EP-3 and the three scholars with U.S. ties, do you believe that you can actually close a fundamental gap between the United States and China on issues such as Taiwan, missile defense -- especially in light of the language about China as a strategic competitor?
SECRETARY POWELL: I didn't raise specific cases, because I think it's more important not to focus all the time on individual cases. We've seen some progress -- and I might say success -- in three cases within the past few days. I was more interested in raising the whole issue of human rights and the rule of law and treating people properly. And that was done in every single meeting. And we had a candid exchange of views: that there are two different perspectives to this, two nations come at this problem from different historical perspectives and different traditions, and I made the case and the strong point that there is, nevertheless, a universality with respect to human rights that I think all nations should aspire to.
And so, I think that I laid the predicate that as individual cases come along, they should be measured against the rule of law and commonly accepted standards of jurisprudence. And I don't think that that message was missed by my interlocutors.
With respect to the EP-3, I think that is behind us. There is an outstanding accounting matter that has to be dealt with -- and will be dealt with in due course. Narrowing the gap on Taiwan and missile defense: with respect to Taiwan, we have a clear policy that has been U.S. government policy for a number of administrations, and our policy is "One China," and within that policy we also have an obligation to provide weapons to Taiwan that will be defensive in nature and conventional in nature, so that they will feel secure, and thereby in that security have the confidence to engage with the People's Republic and hopefully, with that confidence, they can restart dialogue and discussions on cross-strait issues.
On missile defense, I tried to make a comprehensive case of the President's strategy of moving forward with missile defense as part of a restructured strategic architecture: why that made sense, and why we shouldn't hang on to old concepts and old treaties if they're not relevant to the present. They listened carefully, and I'm sure we'll have many more conversations on this subject, because they have a different view of it. But that's why friends talk to each other and consult with one another.
QUESTION: I'm Jaime Flor Cruz with CNN. Many things have changed between the U.S. and China, and China and Taiwan, and you work for a new administration in Washington. Do you see a need now to negotiate a new communiqué that perhaps can redefine the relationship with China, or supercede the existing three communiqués?
SECRETARY POWELL: No, I don't see a need, and no one has suggested such a need -- either on the Chinese side or any of my colleagues in the State Department or in the new Administration. So the Taiwan Relations Act, and the three related communiqués still remain the basis of our policy.
QUESTION: New York Times: The Administration has made some progress with the Russians this week on missile defense, and a little bit of progress has been made with the Senate Democrats. Did you tell the Chinese today that the Administration's plans on missile defense would leave their limited nuclear deterrents in tact?
SECRETARY POWELL: I told them that our plans with respect to missile defense are for a limited missile defense that will be clearly -- when you see it come into being, when you see the kind of systems that our development put in place - would not threaten, not intended to threat(en), and I also don't think they would see it actually threatening the strategic deterrents of either Russia or China.
QUESTION: Good evening, Mr. Powell. I'm from China Central Television, and Mr. Bush and many U.S. Government officials said that the Sino-U.S. relationship was very important. The officials of other Asian countries also agree that the stability of this relationship will contribute to the peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific region, and even of the world. So could I know what specific steps does the US Government plan to take to improve the Sino-U.S. relationship? My second question is about Taiwan. Both you and Mr. President Bush said that the United States pursues one-China policy, and it is well known that the United States has already made concrete promises in the three Sino-U.S. joint communiqués. However, actually, I know the United States has never given up selling weapons to Taiwan. This obviously violated the spirit of the Three Communiqués. So would you please tell us what on earth is the U.S. policy on Taiwan? That's all. Thank you.
SECRETARY POWELL: That's all? I think I've described what our policy is. Our policy is "one China." And within the context of that policy, for many, many years, since its very beginning, we have examined arms sales to Taiwan. We've examined those arms sales in terms of their defensive needs, but we also examine what they say they need to make sure that it does not upset the balance in the region, and that it is always of a conventional nature, and it is always of a defensive nature. I don't believe that in any way arms sales policy has destabilized the region and certainly is not inconsistent with our one-China policy and the three communiqués.
With respect to stability in the relationship between China and the United States, we are doing many things. My presence here today is an example of trying to let the world see that we are not enemies, and we are not looking for an enemy. We are looking for ways to cooperate. We are looking for ways to move forward in a positive manner. President Bush's visit this fall, both in Shanghai for the APEC meetings and in Beijing, also illustrate that we're reaching out and building on the areas of common interest, and where we have disagreements, not shrinking from those disagreements, not saying they don't exist, but facing them and talking about them and trying to solve them. And just because we have a disagreement in one area doesn't mean we have to ignore all the other positive areas in which we can move forward.
So we want to approach China with a broad agenda, from trade through human rights through proliferation through arms sales through missile defense through relations with other countries in the region, reminding them that America is an Asian-Pacific nation as well, not only by our presence in the Pacific, but by the large Asian population that lives in the United States. We want to talk about the rule of law. We want to talk about how the rule of law is important to economic development. So we have so many things that are in common, and we have areas of disagreement. Let's talk about all of them for the purpose of keeping a positive relationship moving forward. The region and the world and both nations need the United States and China to cooperate and move forward.
QUESTION: Terry Schultz, Fox News: Mr. Secretary, this morning you had an interesting little exchange with the Foreign Minister, when he said you didn't really need to discuss the things you'd gone over in Hanoi, and you said, "Oh, I think we'll continue on." How resistant was he to going back over some of the things in Hanoi? For example, did it seem that because they released these two detainees he wanted to push human rights discussion further down the agenda? And, could you tell us a little more about the resumption of dialogue? Did you get any answers to some of the questions you were asking, or were they pushed forward now that you've set up talks for further in the future?
SECRETARY POWELL: He did say that at the outset of the meeting while you were there, but as soon as you all left, we went back to the agenda. And he had several agenda items he wanted to talk about, and he identified my agenda items for me. And he said, "I'm sure you'll want to talk about proliferation and human rights." And I did. So we went back over in considerable detail the proliferation issue, and my answer to George reflected that earlier. We also talked in considerable detail about human rights. The dialogue will begin with immediate conversations between Assistant Secretary of State Lorne Craner, who has responsibility for this area (and) who is traveling with me and participated in all the meetings today. My Assistant Secretary for Democracy and Human Rights was here, and he is part of this, and I introduced him to the leader in every single meeting. And he will begin discussions right away leading up to more formal discussions later in the year. And no holds barred in these discussions. We plan to talk about all of the human rights issues that are of concern to us, and we expect them to do the same. I'm sure they will see things in American society that they think bear discussion, and let's have that kind of discussion back and forth in the spirit of candor and mutual respect.
QUESTION: As we know, after the collision of the U.S. spy plane and Chinese jet fighter, the Sino-American military relationship has been broken off. How do you think there is a possibility to resume these kinds of exchanges?
SECRETARY POWELL: The MMCA? Oh, military exchanges in general.
QUESTION: Yeah, yeah.
SECRETARY POWELL: Secretary Rumsfeld has got that under review now, and he is examining all of the various ideas and requests with respect to military exchanges, and I think you will see a resumption of them. I can't specifically tell you which ones and at what time frame, because that is the responsibility of Secretary Rumsfeld. For example, I know that we've got some ship visits in Hong Kong right now, if I'm not mistaken. So things will pick up again, and I think we've got the EP-3 incident pretty much behind us. I'm not saying that the exchanges will be exactly as they were in the past, because it is a new administration, and Secretary Rumsfeld will have to take a hard look at all of them to see that both sides are mutually benefiting from such exchanges.
QUESTION: Would you just clarify on a couple of the issues you've touched on already? On missile defense, any thought or discussion about actually negotiating with China on missile levels or on missile defense systems or anything? Similar to what you do in Russia? And also wondering whether you had touched on the issue of the build-up in Chinese missiles in the Fujian coast, and whether or not something might be worked out with that?
SECRETARY POWELL: No, we didn't talk about formal discussions with respect to either offensive systems or defensive systems. We don't have any bilateral treaties with the Chinese as we do with the Russians, so there wasn't a need to move in that direction, nor did they suggest it. With respect to the build-up of missiles: yes, that was touched on. It was touched on in the context of -- as we look at what Taiwan's defensive needs are. To some extent that is a reflection of what is facing Taiwan -- to the extent that build-ups take place. That starts to shift the balance and requires us to take a hard look when examining arms sales. So yes, it did come up in that context.
QUESTION: Any response?
SECRETARY POWELL: The response was that there was not such a missile build-up.
Thank you very much.