Zoellick With Hong Kong CE Donald Tsang
Remarks to the Press Following Meeting with Hong Kong Chief Executive Donald Tsang
Robert Zoellick, Deputy Secretary of State
Central Government Offices
July 30, 2005
DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: Good morning. You came out on a rainy day to see me. Thank you. I appreciated the opportunity to meet the Chief Executive this morning.
As you may know, I just came from a series of meetings with the ASEAN Southeast Asian countries in Laos. Tomorrow, I head up for some meetings in Beijing. So I wanted to take the intervening day and half and stop in Hong Kong. I lived in Hong Kong in 1980, so I always have very fond feelings towards the city. I think it's one of the most beautiful places in the world and always a place of great dynamism and activity.
I very much appreciate that the Chief Executive had some time to talk to me a little about the process of economic evolution in Hong Kong. Obviously, he assumed office relatively recently, so we talked about some of the political changes. We had a little chance to talk about U.S. relations with Hong Kong. We obviously value Hong Kong very much as a partner and appreciate the special role that it has to play as part of China. So it gave me an opportunity to learn a little bit more about what is going on in a very important place in the world.
QUESTION: Did you raise any special concerns in your meeting with the Chief Executive?
DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: I was really more trying to listen and to learn. I talked about some of the bilateral things we have, such as aviation agreements. We've been very pleased with a lot of the work we've done in Hong Kong in terms of intellectual property rights protection. I had worked with John Tsang before in my prior post to try to get a sense of the lessons we might be able to draw for the rest of China. One of my colleagues, Ambassador Shiner, had come through here to try to learn about what you have done in terms of law enforcement on the Customs side.
We talked a little bit about the state of the regional economy. I briefed the Chief Executive about some of the discussions on avian influenza that took place at the meeting that we just had in Laos and the importance that my country and others in the region put on trying to prepare for any potential problems.
So it really was a chance more to get a better sense of what is happening in Hong Kong and also to get the Chief Executive's views on China. He mentioned that he hoped to visit the United States later this year, and he is certainly welcome. I know that there will be many senior officials who will be interested in learning more about Hong Kong and developments here as well.
QUESTION: Are you optimistic about progress on the six-party talks?
DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: I didn't talk about the six-party talks with the Chief Executive. I think Ambassador Hill, who is doing the negotiations, has done a recent briefing. As you've said, we have some differences with North Korea; that's not a surprise. I think we're pleased that all the parties are back at the table. The United States has tried to describe the nature of the proposal we put forward. We've been cooperating with China, with others with Korea, Russia and Japan -- in the process and have been having what I think have been extensive discussions with the DPRK as well.
QUESTION: Your next stop will be Beijing. Can you please tell us what you will do there?
DEPUTY SECRETARY ZOELLICK: I am going to start what is a dialogue that President Hu and President Bush discussed late last year. It's a Senior Dialogue that I'll have with senior members of the Foreign Ministry about strategic issues of common interest. We'll try to step back from the individual items on the agenda and see how we can integrate the topics. I'll also be meeting with some members of the National Development and Reform Commission to have a similar set of discussions on the economic side.
So we'll have some foreign policy and economic discussions that I hope will enable the United States and China to get a better sense of one another's interests: where there are points of mutuality and I believe there are many ; how to work cooperatively; but also, where we have differences, how best to try to manage them.
Released on July 30, 2005