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Cablegate: Deputy U/S Levine Meets with Premier Wen Jiabao

R 040358Z MAY 04
FM AMEMBASSY BEIJING
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 4385
INFO DEPT OF LABOR WASHDC
DEPT OF TREASURY WASHDC
USDOC WASHDC
AMCONSUL CHENGDU
AMCONSUL GUANGZHOU
AMCONSUL SHANGHAI
AMCONSUL SHENYANG
AMCONSUL HONG KONG
AIT TAIPEI 9288
USMISSION GENEVA

UNCLAS BEIJING 007258


DEPARTMENT FOR EAP/CM, DRL/IL
DEPARTMENT PASS USTR FOR NEUREITER, BCLATENHOFF
LABOR FOR ILAB LEVINE, LI ZHAO, RSHEPARD
TREASURY FOR OASIA/INA-KEIDEL AND DEPUY
USDOC FOR 4420/ITA/MAC/MCQUEEN
GENEVA FOR CHAMBERLIN

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ELAB EFIN ETRD PHUM PREL CH
SUBJECT: Deputy U/S Levine Meets with Premier Wen Jiabao

Ref: A) Beijing 6973 B) Beijing 7059 C) Beijing 7060

1. (U) Summary: Premier Wen Jiabao met with Deputy
Undersecretary for Labor Affairs Arnold Levine, Special
Representative of Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, and with
Labor Ministers attending the China Employment Forum. D/US
Levine met with Ministry of Labor and Cooperation Director
for International Cooperation Liu Xu, and with Administrator
of the State Administration for Work Safety (SAWS) Wang
Xianzheng. End Summary.

2. D/US for International Labor Affairs Arnold Levine,
representing Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, and labor
ministers from 26 countries attending the China Employment
Forum, met April 29 with China's Premier Wen Jiabao. The
Premier opened his remarks by quoting "the first President
of the United States" for the proposition that "the
impoverished have no freedom." Expanding on that theme, he
noted that China has now changed to a development strategy
that puts people first. He emphasized the size of the
challenge, especially that of finding jobs for the 100
million migrant workers flooding the cities. China must
create 10 million jobs per year, he said.

3. Earlier the same day, D/US Levine met with Ministry of
Labor and Social Security Director General for Bilateral
Affairs Liu Xu. D/US Levine reconfirmed the offer made to
Vice Minister Bu to broaden and deepen cooperation on labor
issues, and noted that he would convey the invitation to
visit China to Secretary Chao. DG Xu thanked D/US Levine
for informing him, and said he would convey the news
immediately to his Minister. He called the decision an
important one for the relationship between the two
governments, and for the relationship between the two
departments. D/US Levine briefly introduced the possibility
of funding a China HIV-AIDS in the Workplace program through
the ILO in the amount of approximately USD 3 million. He
noted that DOL intends to work with the MOLSS as lead
agency, and welcomed collaboration with the Ministry of
Health as well.

4. Also on April 29, D/US Levine met with Administrator of
the State Administration for Work Safety (SAWS) Wang
Xianzheng, and with Bai Ran, Director, National Center for
International Exchange and Cooperation (NCIEC), a non-
governmental organization associated with the State
Administration for Work Safety. Administrator Wang thanked
D/US Levine for the visit two years ago of Deputy Assistant
Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety David Lauritsky, and for
assistance given to the Ministry in improving its mine
rescue skills through participation in the mine rescue
competition. D/US Levine noted that Administrator Wang will
travel to the United States in May, and that A/S Lauritsky
plans to travel to China in June.

5. The Chinese government has always paid great attention
to the safety and health of its workers, and the new
government has increased that attention because of its
attention to the human aspects of development, the
Administrator said. That morning, Wang told Levine, he had
attended a meeting chaired by Vice Premier Wu Yi. She told
the group that the rapid increase in GDP had also had an
impact on work safety, in part because of insufficient
management and training. China hopes to learn from the
experience of the United States in workplace safety and
health. He noted that it will take time for China to
develop its workplace health and safety programs and
capabilities. The new leadership has begun to shift
emphasis from reducing fatalities to improving occupational
health, Wang said. To realize fundamental change, China
must learn from the experience of other countries, he said.
In addition, China must improve the safety awareness of
workers, rely on science and technology to improve
equipment, and improve the legal system for work safety.
Within the last several years, SAWS has engaged in
cooperative projects with 20 countries to improve workplace
safety and health.

6. D/US Levine told Administrator Wang that Secretary of
Labor Elaine Chao had designated him to explore broader,
deeper cooperation with China in labor-related areas. He
told the Administrator that he hopes to explore with SAWS
the possibility of expanded cooperation in the area of
occupational safety and health. In a slide presentation
NCIEC Director Bai told D/US Levine about cooperation
projects with Japan, Germany, and the International Labor
Organization.

7. This cable was cleared by the Department of Labor
delegation before leaving Beijing.

Randt

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