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U.S. Department of State 
96/05/17 Speech/Q&A: American Interests & the U.S. China Relationship 
Office of the Spokesman 


 
                        U.S. Department of State 
                        Office of the Spokesman 
 
_____________________________________________________________________ 
Text As Prepared for Delivery                            May 17, 1996 
 
 
           "American Interests and the U.S.-China Relationship" 
 
                       Address And Q&A Session by 
                 Secretary of State Warren Christopher 
         to the Asia Society, the Council on Foreign Relations 
          and the National Committee on U.S. - China Relations 
                              May 17, 1996 
 
                           McGraw Hill Building 
                            New York, New York 


 
	Thank you for that very kind introduction.  It’s a great pleasure  
to see Les Gelb and Barber Conable again.  I want to thank the Council  
on Foreign Relations, the National Committee on United States-China  
Relations, the Asia Society and Business Week for hosting me.  I am very  
pleased to have the chance to speak with you today about the United  
States and China. 
 
	There can be no doubt that the stakes in our relationship with  
China are tremendous.  China’s future will have a profound impact on the  
security and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region and the world.  As  
Secretary of State, I have an important responsibility to develop our  
relationship in ways that will benefit the United States, as well as  
China and our allies and friends. 
 
	To reach this goal, we strongly support China’s development as a  
secure, open, and successful nation that is taking its place as a world  
leader.  China has an important and constructive role to play in the  
coming century -- and we welcome it.  The United States and China share  
many interests that can only be served when our two countries  
deal constructively and openly with each other.  By deepening China’s  
integration into the international system, we can best ensure that  
China’s development as a strong and responsible member of the  
international community promotes our interests as well as its own. 
 
	We do not have any illusions about the difficulty of managing our  
relations during this period of dramatic change and transition in China.   
On some critical issues, we have deep differences.  Our focus must be on  
the long term and we must seek to resolve our differences through  
engagement, not confrontation.  We will do our part -- but China, too,  
must do its part.  Here at home, we must mend the consensus, frayed  
since Tiananmen, that has supported a constructive approach to China for  
almost a quarter-century -- an approach that has profoundly served our  
national interest.    
 
	I have had the privilege of witnessing many of the remarkable  
changes that have shaped America’s role as a Pacific power.  As a young  
officer in the U.S. Navy, I was present in Tokyo Bay at the time of  
Japan’s surrender in 1945.  As a trade negotiator with Japan during the  
1960’s, I saw the beginnings of that nation’s dramatic rise.  As  
Deputy Secretary of State during the 1970’s, I helped achieve the  
normalization of ties with China.  And as Secretary of State, I joined  
President Clinton in uniting the leaders of the Asia-Pacific region  
behind a bold vision of economic growth and integration.	 
 
	The roots of that vision reach back almost two centuries.  From  
the days of the China Clippers carrying merchants and missionaries, to  
Admiral Nimitz’s armadas, the United States has had enduring interests  
across the Pacific.  Over the past half-century, our military presence  
-- and our generous assistance -- have promoted stability and given  
Asian nations the chance to build thriving economies and strong  
democracies. 
 
	President Clinton recognizes that Asia is more important to our  
interests than ever before.  During the last three years, we have  
pursued a comprehensive strategy in Asia that has produced concrete  
benefits for each and every American.  Today, Americans are more secure  
because we have invigorated our core alliances in Asia and maintained  
100,000 troops in a region where we have fought three wars in the past  
half-century.  We are more prosperous because we have opened markets  
among the fastest-growing economies in the world.  Our trade with Asia  
has almost doubled since 1990.  And we face a brighter future because we  
are cooperating with former enemies to  
build new ties across the Pacific. 
 
	China’s evolution will play a central role in shaping that future.   
From North Korea to the Spratly Islands, China can tip the balance in  
Asia between stability and conflict.  Its booming economy holds a key to  
Asia’s continued prosperity and, increasingly, to our own.  Its  
cooperation is essential to combating threats ranging from the spread of  
nuclear weapons to alien smuggling and global environmental damage. 
 
	China’s people have made dramatic progress in building a market  
economy and a more vibrant society.  In roughly two decades, China has  
managed to quadruple its economic output -- a monumental achievement by  
any measure.  Millions of Chinese consumers have moved well beyond the  
“Four Musts” -- a bicycle, a radio, a watch and a sewing machine -- and  
now often own cellular phones and personal computers.  The most  
revolutionary slogan of the last decade has been Deng Xiaoping’s  
injunction that “to get rich is glorious.”  Party propagandists and the  
People’s Daily compete for attention with radio call-in shows, satellite  
dishes, and the Internet. 
 
	But these changes have also generated what historian Jonathan  
Spence calls “internal pressures that the rest of us can only guess at.”   
Rising incomes and an easing of social controls have raised  
expectations.  Economic advances have brought improved living standards  
for many, but left millions behind.  Farmers flock to cities in search  
of better jobs -- a restive “floating population” that numbers as many  
as 100 million.  Population growth and pollution strain China’s natural  
resources.   
 
	China’s leaders face these complex challenges at a time of  
political transition.  Confronted with the worldwide collapse of  
communism and the passing of the Deng Xiaoping era, they are turning to  
nationalism to rally their country and legitimate their hold on power.   
This, in turn, has prompted fears that an increasingly nationalistic  
China might exert its growing power and influence in ways that challenge  
the security and prosperity of its Pacific neighbors. 
    
	These changes have opened important new opportunities for U.S.- 
China cooperation on a broad range of shared interests -- including   
non-proliferation, peace on the Korean peninsula, and the fight against  
narcotics trafficking.  But the changes in China have also created  
serious strains in our relationship.  In the wake of China’s  
crackdown following the Tiananmen Square demonstrations, some Americans  
see China’s growing power, and our differences on issues such as trade  
and human rights, as proof that China represents a fundamental threat to  
our interests.  Some Chinese contend that despite our public assurances,  
the United States really seeks to contain and weaken China. 
 
	Both views are fundamentally flawed.  We reject the counsel of  
those who seek to contain or isolate China. That course would harm our  
national interests, not protect them.  Demonizing China is as  
dangerously misleading as romanticizing it.  American policy toward  
China has been most successful when we have acknowledged that country’s  
great complexity, recognized that change requires patience as well as  
persistence, and respected China’s  
sovereignty while standing up for our own values and interests. 
 
	Since 1972, the foundation for deepening engagement between our  
nations has been the “one China” policy that is embodied in the three  
joint communiqués between the United States and the People’s Republic of  
China.  This policy is good for the United States, the PRC, Taiwan and  
the entire region.  It has helped keep the peace on both sides of the  
Taiwan Strait -- and under its umbrella, Taiwan’s democracy and  
prosperity have flourished. 
 
	The United States strongly believes that resolution of the issues  
between the PRC and Taiwan must be peaceful.  We were gravely concerned  
when China’s military exercises two months ago raised tensions in the  
Taiwan Strait.  Our deployment of naval forces to the region was meant  
to avert any dangerous miscalculations.  We are encouraged that both  
sides have now taken steps to reduce tensions. 
 
	On the eve of the inauguration next Monday of Taiwan’s first  
democratically elected President, it is timely to reflect on the  
enduring value of our “one China” policy for both the PRC and Taiwan --  
and on our common interest and responsibility to uphold it.  I want to  
tell you publicly today what we have been saying privately to the  
leaders in Beijing and Taipei in recent weeks.    
 
	To the leadership in Beijing, we have reiterated our consistent  
position that the future relationship between Taiwan and the PRC must be  
resolved directly between them.  But we have reaffirmed that we have a  
strong interest in the region’s continued peace and stability -- and  
that our “one China” policy is predicated on the PRC’s pursuit of a  
peaceful resolution of issues between Taipei and Beijing. 
 
	To the leadership in Taiwan, we have reiterated our commitment to  
robust unofficial relations, including helping Taiwan maintain a  
sufficient self-defense capacity under the terms of the Taiwan Relations  
Act.  We have stressed that Taiwan has prospered under the “one China”  
policy.  And we have made clear our view that as Taiwan seeks an  
international role, it should pursue that objective in a way that is  
consistent with a “one China” policy. 
 
	We have emphasized to both sides the importance of avoiding  
provocative actions or unilateral measures that would alter the status  
quo or pose a threat to peaceful resolution of outstanding issues.  And  
we have strongly urged both sides to resume the cross-Strait dialogue  
that was interrupted last summer.  
 
	The United States also has an important interest in ensuring a  
smooth and successful transition of Hong Kong on July 1, 1997.  We  
support the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration and its “one country,  
two systems” framework.  Beijing’s commitment to maintain Hong Kong’s  
open economy, democratic government, distinct legal system, and civil  
liberties is crucial to Hong Kong’s future prosperity -- and to China’s. 
 
	Building on our enduring “one China” policy, the Clinton  
Administration’s approach to China is guided by three tenets:  First, as  
I said at the outset, we believe that China’s development as a secure,  
open and successful nation is profoundly in the interest of the United  
States.  Second, we support China’s full integration and its active  
participation in the international community.  Third, while we seek  
dialogue and engagement to manage our differences with China, we will  
not hesitate to take the action necessary to protect our interests.   
 
	Let me briefly explain each of these three elements: 
 
	First, the wisdom of encouraging a stable and thriving China is  
best shown by considering the dangerous consequences of its opposite.   
History demonstrates that an isolated China can produce harmful, even  
disastrous, results for the Chinese people, the region and the world.   
The reforms that China has undertaken since the late 1970's have  
produced great benefits.  As China meets the needs of its people, it  
will be more secure.  And a more secure China is likely to be more open  
to reform and to be a better neighbor.  
 
	Our participation in China’s internal economic development, for  
example, has helped to expand our commercial ties, with U.S. exports to  
China doubling in the first half of this decade.  Our exchanges on the  
rule of law are contributing to legal reforms in China that strengthen  
accountable government and make it easier for American companies to do  
business.   
 
	The second element of our strategy is to support a China that not  
only abides by international rules, but that plays an active and  
responsible role in setting them.  As China gains the benefits of this  
participation, it must assume commensurate obligations.  China’s full  
participation in the international community is essential to our ability  
to address the critical global and regional challenges of the next  
century. 
 
	No area better illustrates the benefits of gaining China’s deeper  
involvement in the international community than the fight against the  
spread of weapons of mass destruction.  A little over a decade ago,  
China stood outside the world’s major non-proliferation regimes.  Today,  
China is a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and a  
signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and the Chemical  
Weapons Convention -- a dramatic turnabout that our engagement helped to  
produce.  The United States and China have worked together to achieve  
NPT extension, controls on ballistic missile exports, and the shutdown  
of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.  With China's help, we hope to  
complete a Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty for signature at the UN General  
Assembly this September.   
 
	We still face serious proliferation challenges with China.  But  
the significance of the steps already taken should be recognized. 
 
	China’s smooth integration into the global trading system is also  
in our interest.  That is why the United States strongly supports  
China’s accession to the World Trade Organization on commercially  
acceptable terms.  We have worked with China to develop a roadmap of  
concrete steps to widen access to its markets and bring its trade  
practices in line with WTO rules. 
 
	Both our nations’ interests are also served by China’s full  
participation in new structures for regional security and economic  
cooperation.  China’s membership in the ASEAN Regional Forum is an  
important example.  It encouraged China’s statement last year that it  
would abide by international law to settle its claims in the Spratly  
Islands.  And as a result of its membership in APEC, China is lowering  
its tariffs as part of its down payment toward  
achieving open and fair trade in the region by 2020.  
 
	But the process of integration is incomplete and there remain  
important areas of difference.  To manage these differences, we seek  
engagement.  For engagement to be successful, we must be prepared to  
take the actions necessary to protect our interests -- the third element  
of our approach.  Where we have differences, we will press our views and  
interests candidly and forcefully, with all the appropriate means at our  
disposal. 
   
	Our willingness to enforce U.S. law, for example, was critical to  
reaching an understanding last week with China on nonproliferation and  
nuclear-related exports.  Following intensive discussions that I held  
last month with Vice Premier Qian, China has made a public commitment  
not to provide assistance to unsafeguarded nuclear facilities.  And it  
has agreed to important consultations on export control policies and  
related issues.  At the same time, we have serious concerns about  
China’s nuclear and military cooperation with Iran -- and we will  
continue to press this issue with Chinese leaders. 
 
	We have also stressed to China the importance of fully  
implementing the agreement on protecting intellectual property rights  
that we reached in February 1995.  The piracy of compact disks, videos,  
and software is growing, causing billions of dollars in losses to  
American companies.  The President has made it clear that if the  
Chinese authorities do not act to curtail sharply this piracy, we will  
have no choice but to go ahead with carefully targeted sanctions.   
 
	We do not want a trade war with China.  That would serve no one’s  
interests.  The sanctions lists issued this week should not be seen as  
the end of the process -- but as a step that could lead to a successful  
outcome.  That said, like any other nation, China must fulfill its  
agreements and meet its responsibilities as a leading trading nation.   
No one should doubt that we will protect our interests. 
 
	Trade and investment are helping to create a more open China.  But  
we will not rely solely on the beneficial impact of increasing economic  
development to bring about progress on human rights.  Recent economic  
and legal reforms have somewhat diminished the arbitrary power of the  
Chinese government over the daily lives of its citizens.  But grave  
human rights abuses continue, including the arrest of those who  
peacefully voice their opinions, restrictions on religious freedom, and  
repression in Tibet.   
 
	The American people have a deep and abiding interest in the  
promotion of human rights in China and around the world.  We will  
continue to speak out on behalf of those in China who defend universally  
recognized rights, as we did together with the European Union at the UN  
Human Rights Commission last month.  We will continue to work with China  
to strengthen its judiciary.  We know that change in China will take  
time, and that the most repressive periods in recent Chinese history  
have occurred when China was isolated from the world.  That is why we  
pursue engagement. 
 
	Our support for continuing Most Favored Nation trading status for  
China should be seen in the context of the three elements of our policy.   
The MFN debate should not be a referendum on China’s current political  
system, or on whether we approve of the policies of the Chinese  
leadership.  The issue at stake is whether renewing MFN unconditionally  
is the best way to advance American interests.   The President and I are  
convinced that the answer is a resounding yes -- a conclusion reached by  
every American president since 1979.    
 
	Revoking or conditioning MFN would not advance human rights in  
China.  But it would damage our economy and jeopardize more than 200,000  
American jobs.  It would harm Hong Kong, which is why legislative  
leader Martin Lee and Governor Chris Patten support MFN’s unconditional  
renewal.  It would hurt Taiwan, whose economy depends heavily on its  
commercial ties with the PRC and U.S.-China trade.  It could undermine  
our ability to work with China on regional security issues such as North  
Korea, and on any of the other important interests we share, from  
nonproliferation to the global environment.  And it would weaken our  
influence throughout a region that still looks to America as a force for  
stability and security. 
 
	The issues that I have discussed today only begin to reflect the  
breadth of our relationship with China.  We have an extraordinarily  
diverse and demanding agenda. 
 
	Given the range of our interests, and the importance of China to  
our future security and well-being, I believe the time has come to  
develop a more regular dialogue between our two countries.  Holding  
periodic cabinet-level consultations in our capitals would facilitate a  
candid exchange of views, provide a more effective means for managing  
specific problems, and allow us to approach individual issues within the  
broader strategic framework of our overall relationship.   
 
	I also believe that our nations’ two leaders should hold regular  
summit meetings.  I intend to discuss these ideas with Vice Premier Qian  
when we meet in Jakarta this July. 
 
	In the United States, we also face an immediate priority.  If we  
are to sustain the advances that we have made with China since the  
historic opening in 1972, we must rebuild the bipartisan consensus that  
has guided our relations with China since then.  Our interests demand it  
-- and our allies and friends expect it.  We must continue to have the  
full support of the American people to meet the difficult challenges  
that lie ahead.     
 
	Thank you very much. 



                       QUESTION AND ANSWER SESSION
 
 
 
 
MR. BARBER CONABLE:  Mr. Secretary, I perhaps could ask the first 
question while the audience is getting ready with their questions.  In 
talking to Chinese leaders, we find they frequently assume that we have 
less interest in them since the end of the Cold War, because we no 
longer need them for geopolitical balancing. 
 
There is also an assumption in China and a fear there and in other 
countries that our presence in the Western Pacific is going to be 
diminished over a period of time, and they point to a withdrawal from 
some of our bases there as perhaps one part of this concern. 
 
What can you say about these issues?  I think I'm quite confident you 
don't believe disengagement is an option there any more than it is in 
the rest of the world for a country with as complex relations as the 
United States. 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Barber, I'm very glad to be positive on both 
aspects of your question.  First, the end of the Cold War gave us an 
opportunity to have even closer relationships in the Asia-Pacific 
region.  When President Clinton and I came into office in 1993, one of 
our top priorities was to give more attention to Asia and to China than 
we had in the past. 
 
This was not in derogation of Europe, but it was because we felt that 
the United States had not looked adequately to the west, especially with 
the tremendous economic opportunities  
 
that are presented in Asia.  So I don't have any hesitation in 
indicating that we will maintain a strong interest in Asia. 
 
On the second part of your question, we're committed to being a Pacific 
power.  We're committed to maintaining about 100,000 troops in Asia.  It 
serves the United States' interests to do so, but it's also a very 
important force for stability in the region, because most of the 
countries there trust us more than they trust some of their most 
worrisome neighbors.  So a resounding "yes" on both parts of your 
question, Barber. 
 
QUESTION:  William Blystein, retired American diplomat.  I liked your 
speech.  I think it was a very fine one, and I agree with almost 
everything you've said.  But I would like to get you to comment on an 
accusation that I will make, and that is that if you take the American 
Government as a whole in its addressing China and Japan, there is a 
hectoring quality to some of the points that you've made, particularly 
on your third principle of American policy, namely, compliance with the 
rules. 
 
I think that this doesn't fit well stylistically with Chinese or Asians.  
In other words, you're going to use pressure, as unpublic pressure as 
possible, as the best.  I'd appreciate your comment on this.  I'm not 
accusing you of doing this.  (Laughter) 
 
MR. CONABLE:  His name is "Warren;" not "Hector." 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  Bill, I think your question is a good reminder 
to us that the Chinese civilization has been around for a long time.  
They frequently remind me of that.  It's longer than we have.  
(Laughter)  We need to be careful in the way we address them on various 
issues. 
 
It is a worthwhile thing that if they're going to be members of the 
international community, if they're going to have the benefit of 
institutions that have been created in the post-World War II period, 
there are certain rules that need to be followed for membership.  The 
World Trade Organization is a very good case in point. 
 
For nations to become members of the World Trade Organization, it's 
quite natural that the other countries require a certain amount of 
market access, especially for leading nations such as China.  So we have 
strongly encouraged their membership in the WTO, but on acceptable 
terms; on terms that would provide the kind of access that other great 
nations provide. 
 
I think it's in that sense, Bill, that we need to try to hold them to 
the same standards that others follow, and the United States will 
continue to do it, but we'll try to avoid hectoring. 
 
QUESTION:  There are certain hectoring qualities about the way the 
Chinese treat us.  I realize the difficulty of getting all the questions 
on human rights into one question.  Why do you believe that when Chinese 
leaders continue to condone long years of torture of their own citizens 
and violation of their own laws, that they can be relied on to honor 
legal business commitments, and, for that matter any other commitments? 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  We have, of course, a good deal of differences 
over human rights with China and have made that regularly known, and 
most recently at the Human Rights Commission meeting in Geneva.  We'll 
continue to make those points. 
 
On the other part of your question, I would say, though, that most of 
the judgments about Chinese willingness to carry forward on their 
commitments are made by American businesses, and American businesses are 
there in very large numbers. 
 
The Chinese have made tremendous strides in developing their economy.  
As I said in my remarks today, it's a remarkable development.  The 
growth in the cities of China is absolutely stunning.  The growth of 
their economy, as a whole, is stunning. 
 
United States businesses want to participate in that.  Although there 
are certainly frustrations for all of those who, in the audience, have 
dealt with China would understanding, even in the business field, 
nevertheless, our businesses are prepared to undertake big commitments 
on our side in return for the great opportunities that exist. 
 
With respect to the attitude of the United States Government, there are 
many areas in which we have good, sound relations with China and have 
been able to depend upon an ability to do business with them.  They are 
a permanent member of the United Nations with veto power.  Although, as 
Madeleine Albright will tell you, relationships are not always easy.  
Nevertheless, it has been possible for us to accomplish a number of 
things, such as in Haiti, with their concurrence. 
 
In the nuclear field, their membership in the Non-Proliferation Treaty, 
I think, has given us an opportunity to bring them into conformance with 
some but not yet all standards.  So we see a good deal of compliance in 
that area, for example, when they agreed to join the Missile Control 
Regime.  They have been following the commitment they took to that. 
 
I would say that we will monitor the situation very carefully.  But we 
must continue to try to find ways to do business with as important a 
country as China.  Of course, it's one of the reasons why we enjoy and 
look forward to having a dialogue with them about the rule of law and 
about their judiciary. 
 
QUESTION:  I'm Karen Elliot House from the Wall Street Journal.  After 
several years of resisting the idea of presidential summits, I found 
interesting your remarks that you now think it's a good idea.  So I have 
two questions. 
 
Why this change in view?  And am I correct in inferring that we should 
assume there may be such a summit before November? 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  I think it's important for the leaders of our 
two important nations to meet and talk.  There have been meetings 
between our two Presidents around the edges of other international 
meetings -- around the edges of the APEC meeting, or here at the United 
Nations.  I think we should regularize our contacts with China. 
 
I said in my remarks, I think we should regularize them at the Cabinet 
level so that every meeting doesn't become a crisis, or meetings don't 
just respond to crises.  We should have a broad dialogue with them.  We 
have many, many things in common with China.  We have some points of 
difference. 
 
But the points of differences would be so much easier to manage and 
handle if we had a regular dialogue with them.  So I think there ought 
to be a regular dialogue, both at the Cabinet level and, ultimately, at 
the highest level. 
 
I said in my remarks I want to talk to Foreign Minister and Vice Premier 
Qian Quichen about this when we meet in July.  I would not expect that 
either part of my suggestion would be taken up in the course of this 
year.  But I do think they're very important suggestions for the future. 
 
We quite regularly met with the Russian leaders.  Even in the darkest 
days of the Cold War.  Our relations with China, I think, merit regular 
contacts between our leaders in the future.  I do hope that will happen. 
 
QUESTION:  I'd like to go back to the issue of human rights.  
(Inaudible) in Geneva.  That failed miserably this year, partly because 
China made very effective use of the common trade deals, or the spread 
of smoking trade deals as a way of putting pressure on countries 
(inaudible).  It's not really an option next year.  It's not an 
effective tool. 
 
The Administration has rejected linkage with MFN so that economic 
sanctions are probably not a tool to use on human rights any longer.  A 
dialogue, per se, hasn't produced any kind of concrete results, and 
we're facing many of the problems that you mentioned, including very 
ominous signs on Hong Kong with the effective dissolution, or promise of 
dissolution of the first elected legislature that Hong Kong has had. 
 
MR. CONABLE:  May we have the question? 
 
QUESTION:  Could you please outline what tools the Administration does 
have available to address these very concrete issues? 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  I've been involved in working on human rights 
matters almost all of my professional career and almost all of my career 
in government. 
 
One lesson I have learned, it is a very long-term project.  Progress is 
not made overnight, but it's necessary to continue to seek progress over 
a longer term. 
 
As I said in my remarks, we do not depend entirely or solely on the 
economic development of China as a way to seek remedies  in its human 
rights.  We're going to continue to talk with them; we're going to 
continue to pursue it in both international fora as well as bilaterally. 
 
We hope to get more support from our allies around the world.  But it's 
something we're not going to give up on.  We can't turn our back on 
these problems.  I think engagement is much more likely to produce a 
positive result than simply trying to walk away from the situation. 
 
As I said in my remarks, some of the worst repressive period in Chinese 
history has come when they've been isolated, when somebody has sought 
containment.  That's one of the reason we seek engagement.  It's not 
easy but we'll continue our to make human rights a point with them as we 
go through building a more solid relationship. 
 
QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, thank you for your lucid presenting.  I'm Mike 
McGaster from Rutgers University.  I have a question about the joint 
communiques as a basis for the one-China policy that is the root of 
American policy. 
 
The Shanghai Communique was issued over 20 years ago at a time when 
Taiwan democracy had not yet developed.  It was not permitted in Taiwan 
at that time to even express any ideas of Taiwan independence. 
 
The Shanghai Communique is based on the principle that all Chinese on 
both sides of the Taiwan Straits agree that there is but one China and 
that all Chinese believe that there is but one China.  That clearly is 
no longer the case. 
 
Can American policy continue to be based on a principle that's so out of 
keeping with reality, and won't it be certain that the more Taiwan 
democracy develops, particularly if there's a removal of the threat of 
force in the Taiwan Straits, the more outspoken the voices of Taiwan 
independence will be, and this does, it seems to me, create a certain 
contradiction for American policy.  We can persuade China to reduce the 
threat of force, but this will only increase the voices for independence 
in Taiwan, won't it? 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  As I said in my remarks, I think that the one-
China policy has served both countries -- I'm sorry, both entities very 
well -- (laughter).  It has served China.  You can see the great 
progress in China, but it served equally well in Taiwan.  Not only has 
there been a great march toward democracy, but there's been a great 
march toward economic progress and economic prowess. 
 
I see no reason to change a policy that's worked so well, both in Taiwan 
and in China.  I think I have some question about the premise of your 
question.  I'm sure you can find people both in Taiwan and China who 
have some doubts about the one-China policy, but from the standpoint of 
United States' interests, I think we're well served by having robust 
unofficial relations with Taiwan and managing good relations with China.  
That's served us well in the past. 
 
Of course, what we need to examine here is what is in the long-term 
interests of the United States.  That's what our policy ought to be 
based upon, has been based upon, will be based upon, and in those terms 
I think the maintenance of the one-China policy continues to be sound 
and sensible. 
 
MR. CONABLE:  Mr. Secretary, I understand we have time left for only two 
short questions.   
 
QUESTION:  We've for many years discussed China in the context of the 
great strategic triangle involving previously the Soviet Union, now 
Russia.  With the active courtship that has been resumed between Russia 
and China, are you satisfied that we have an open discourse with Moscow 
to explain each other's intentions and plans in our several policies 
towards China? 
 
And, secondly, are there issues on which you might be concerned that 
Russia and China are headed toward collaboration that would prejudice 
American interests. 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  The triangular relationship, of course, is one 
of great importance.  The key point I would make is that it's not a 
zero-sum game.  If China and Russia have good relationships, that does 
not somehow detract from our relationships with China and with Russia.  
Indeed, I think the United States serves to benefit very greatly from 
good relationships between China and Russia. 
 
We need to put the Cold War behind us when we think about that and not 
be obsessed with the notion that we should try to keep them from having 
a satisfactory relationship.  Good relationships between China and 
Russia can help to avoid tensions and border skirmishes and even worse 
than that in the Asia region, and I think it would be very conducive to 
long-term American interests. 
 
I have no question that we have a very active dialogue with Russia.  
Certainly, part of that dialogue can be and will be on the subject of 
China.  For example, when President Clinton met with President Yeltsin 
in Moscow recently, they talked about the importance of China joining 
with us in the Comprehensive Test Ban, and I think those discussions 
between President Yeltsin and President Ziang Jemin were useful to our 
longer-term goals. 
 
I see the triangular relationship as a plus, and I just urge we not be 
rooted in the Cold War mentality that said that somehow if they had good 
relationships with each other, that it would detract from United States 
relationships with either one. 
 
MR. CONABLE:  Thank you.  One last question.   
 
QUESTION:  Mr. Secretary, Norman Kaplan.  At a recent meeting that I had 
with a senior official of the Chinese People's Institute of Foreign 
Affairs, I was told, "Why don't your leaders come here more often and 
talk to us face to face about our problems."  And he repeatedly said, 
"On very sensitive issues, most of the issues that have been raised here 
-- human rights, Taiwan, trade, the Chinese people are open to anything.  
Why don't you make suggestions?  Why don't you work with us to help us 
resolve these problems?" 
 
My question specifically is why don't the professional diplomats, such 
as yourself, get much more deeply involved in resolving the current 
trade dispute between our two countries before it gets out of hand and 
results in the loss of China's friendship or cooperation or mutual 
economic benefits, and the loss of China's cooperation with the free 
world?  Thank you. 
 
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER:  There's been some interest in my travel 
schedule, and it's noted that I was only in China once.  (Laughter)  I 
think it's perhaps useful for me to point out that I have met 13 times 
with Chinese Vice Premier and Foreign Minister Qian Qichen in the three 
years that I've been in office in cities all over the world. 
 
Indeed, with no disrespect to the Foreign Minister, I think I've met 
with him more times than I've seen my grandchildren.  (Laughter)  So 
I've been doing my part, and I will continue to do my part on meetings.  
I did outline in my remarks an enhanced basis for contacts with China at 
the highest levels, so I respond to your question positively on that 
score. 
 
With respect to the trade issues that are now so much in the news, the 
sanctions that were proposed this week are the beginning of a dialogue, 
not the end of the dialogue.  But I want to emphasize, the United States 
has very strong interests.   
 
One of the economic areas of the world where we are ahead is in 
software, in just the kind of products that are protected by 
intellectual property.  Karen (Elliot House), I restrained myself 
earlier, but I don't think I'll do so now.  I was just flabbergasted to 
see the leading economic paper in the United States say in its editorial 
this morning that they didn't think IPR was very important.  Somehow 
they sympathized with the Chinese. 
 
I don't sympathize when they break the 1995 agreement as flagrantly as 
they have.  I hope the one-month period we have for discussion will 
produce an agreement that is satisfactory to us, that we can go forward 
on.  But the fact that last year's agreement was violated gives us a 
good deal of concern. 
 
But I'll be involved in those discussions in this next month, doing 
everything that I can to try to help resolve that urgent issue, because 
none of wants a trade war, none of us wants to see the escalation of the 
oscillation back and forth between various kinds of sanctions.  So we'll 
work hard to settle that, but it won't be settled because it's 
unimportant.  It will be settled because it's extremely important to 
American business, and I think it's one of our core issues.  Thank you 
very much. 
 
MR. CONABLE:  Thank you, Mr. Secretary. 
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