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U.S. Department of State
96/11/20 Press Remarks following meetings in Beijing, China
Office of the Spokesman
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
For Immediate Release November 20, 1996
U.S. SECRETARY OF STATE WARREN CHRISTOPHER
China World Hotel
November 20, 1996
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: Good evening. Today I have held an intensive
series of meetings with President Jiang Zemin, Premier Li Peng and Vice
Premier Qian Qichen. These meetings reflect the importance that both
the United States and China attach to strengthening our relationship. I
was particularly pleased that we had time to discuss at some length the
strategic basis for the ties between the United States and China.
Indeed our two nations do share many important interests, which we can
best advance by working together. I intend to elaborate on these common
goals in my speech tomorrow in Shanghai.
Our talks today also helped prepare for the meeting between our two
Presidents this Sunday at the APEC meeting in the Philippines.
President Clinton looks forward to building on the positive momentum we
have established in recent months and to setting the stage for further
progress during his second term in office.
In today's meetings, the United States and China reached some specific
understandings in several important areas. Let me go through them and
highlight them for you tonight.
First in the broadest terms, both sides agreed that a healthy
relationship between the United States and China is in the interests of
both countries. Also, in the interest of the Asia Pacific Region and to
the world as a whole. We are both pleased with the recent progress we
have made and we look to strengthen further our relationship.
Second, both sides agreed to expand high level contacts. We agreed that
further discussions on this topic will be held by our two presidents in
Third, on non-proliferation, we discussed several important areas and I
want to take time to go through them one by one with you. On nuclear
non-proliferation we agreed that both sides will work for an early
implementation of the 1985 US-China Agreement for Peaceful Nuclear
Cooperation. This will require establishing the basis for putting the
agreement into practice. I am encouraged that China has agreed to
formulate and adopt comprehensive nationwide regulations on nuclear
export control. Both sides reiterated that we will fulfill our previous
obligations, including the May 11, 1996 Chinese commitment not to
provide assistance to unsafeguarded nuclear facilities, a very important
commitment on their part. The Chinese also indicated that they are
studying the question of joining the Zangger NPT Suppliers Committee,
and that they will take into account US concerns regarding sensitive
nuclear related transfers. I made clear our strong concerns about
nuclear cooperation with Iran. As we move forward on nuclear
nonproliferation, the United States is prepared to consider, as
consistent with US law, further steps in the area of peaceful nuclear
cooperation, even in advance of our full implementation of the 1985
On missile non-proliferation, a very important but distinct area, the
United States and China reiterated their commitment to the October 1994
Joint Statement on Missile Proliferation that I signed with Vice Premier
Qian Qichen. In our meeting today the Chinese government reaffirmed its
commitment to the guidelines and parameters of the MTCR, the Missile
Technology Control Regime.
On chemical weapons, the United States and China agreed to seek
ratification of the Chemical Weapons Convention by the end of April 1997
so that both of our nations can be original parties to the Convention.
In addition, on the issue of advanced conventional arms, the United
States stressed the risk that is posed for the stability of the Persian
Gulf by the sales of such arms to Iran.
Our discussion generally on non-proliferation has advanced our
cooperation in this area of vital interest. But we agreed we must do
more to achieve our goals. I am very pleased that China has agreed to
establish regular dialogues on global security, non-proliferation and
arms control. I have taken some time to go through these issues on non-
proliferation because, although they are technical, they are of very
high importance, and those of you who have a special interest in this
area will receive some briefings and further information after I have
Now fourth, and turning to trade, I indicated the United States
continues to support Chinese accession to the World Trade Organization
on commercially meaningful terms. We look forward to intensifying our
discussions toward this goal that we share with the Chinese. In
addition, we discussed several areas of bilateral cooperation, including
effective implementation of our agreements on Intellectual Property
Fifth, we had useful talks about the future of Hong Kong. China
confirmed its intention to honor its commitment under the 1984 United
Kingdom-PRC Joint Declaration. I made clear our support for a
successful transition that would preserve Hong Kong's high degree of
autonomy, its distinct economic and legal systems, civil liberties and
We also had good discussions today, reassuring discussions, concerning
the basis of our Consulate General to continue operations in Hong Kong
after July 1, 1997. China indicated its willingness to provide as much
protection to our officials and citizens as currently exists in Hong
Kong. I must say a considerable reassurance to me on that point.
Sixth, we agreed to bolster our cooperation in law enforcement, in
combating illegal drugs and in deterring alien smuggling. I extended an
invitation to the Vice Minister for Public Security to visit Washington,
DC in the near future.
Seventh and lastly, on the environment, we reviewed the progress we had
made in recent weeks on several areas of importance to both countries,
including climate change, fisheries and toxic chemicals. I made clear
that Vice President Gore looks forward to strengthening our forum on
sustainable development which he will chair jointly with Premier Li
Peng. Of course, the United States and China continue to have areas of
difference which we discussed today openly and candidly.
On human rights I raised the full range of our concern including the
treatment of those who express their views peacefully, along with
raising also the situation in Tibet. The United States will continue to
speak out in the area of human rights in China and around the rest of
the world. The ideals that guide our actions reflect not just American
ideals, but universal aspirations.
As always we discussed the situation with respect to Taiwan. We noted a
welcome reduction in the tensions in the Taiwan Strait in the last
several months. We will continue to urge both Beijing and Taipei to
pursue the resolution of their differences on a peaceful basis, and to
resume at an early time, the cross Strait dialogue.
We also had an opportunity today, because we had more time than usual,
to discuss several regional and global issues of great interest and
importance to both nations and to the region. These included most
prominently the Korean Peninsula, where China has recently confirmed its
willingness to participate in four party talks. Other topics that we
discussed of that character today included South Asia, the Middle East
and the forthcoming APEC meetings.
In sum, we made useful progress today. We are committed, both of our
nations, to developing our long term cooperation and intensifying our
exchanges. To that end I have invited Vice Premier Qian Qichen to
visit Washington at a time to be determined along with my successor. In
order to deepen our strategic dialogue we have also agreed to establish
regular exchanges between officials responsible for regional affairs and
for policy planning. My sixteen meetings over the last four years with
Vice Premier Qian Qichen, four a year approximately, have helped to
advance, I believe, the common interests of peoples of both countries.
I thank him for his unfailing courtesy and for his professionalism. He
has shown me a good deal of courtesy and he has always been able and
professional in all of the 16 meetings we have had over a four-year
period. I also want to thank President Jiang Zemin and Premier Li Peng
for their hospitality and their courtesy for meeting with me at
considerable length today and for their expressions of appreciation for
me. Thank you
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, your comment about the United States being
prepared to consider some steps for furthering peaceful nuclear
cooperation with China in advance of their full adherence to the
agreement. Could you explain exactly what you mean by that? Does this
mean that the United States is now prepared to go forward with some of
the billions of dollars of nuclear reactor deals that American industry
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: Carol, I really meant just what I said, that if
they are making progress toward putting the 1985 Agreement into effect,
we are prepared to consider other things so long as we feel that they
are making a faithful and conscientious effort and it might well include
cooperation of the kind that you mentioned.
QUESTION: This morning the Chinese Foreign Minister discussing Taiwan
said that what mattered was U.S. actions not words. I'm wondering if
you would apply the same standard to China and its behavior towards Hong
Kong? Specifically its actions concerning the legislation there,
whether you feel that their actions match the words that they agreed to
in the Joint Declaration.
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: We will be watching both their actions and their
words in the Hong Kong situation. We discussed today how much it is in
their self interest to live up to their commitments made to the United
Kingdom to insure that Hong Kong remains a region where they have the
rule of law, where there is respect for property rights and where the
rights of the individual are respected as they have been in the past,
and I think the entire world will be watching that. I made the point to
Vice Premier Qian Qichen that the United States and its citizens were
very interested in this. The matter will have high visibility as we
roll up to the date of July 1, 1997. So, yes, we will be watching both
their words, but also the actions they take to carry out the commitments
they made under their agreement with the United Kingdom.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, when you met with the Chinese leadership, did
you raise the case of Mr. Wang Dan, and also last month another Chinese
dissident, Mr. Wang Xizhe, sent you a letter and requested you to hand
over the letter to Mr. Qian Qichen. This letter was about his
willingness to go back to China. Did you do so? If yes. what was the
response of Mr. Qian Qichen?
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: On your first question, I did raise the
question, the answer is yes. On the second question, I have not seen
the letter so I cannot answer your question.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, you obviously talked to the Chinese officials
about human rights. I have two questions: One, did Mr. Shattuck
participate in the discussion or did he merely sit at the table and,
two, did the Chinese actually engage with you on a discussion of human
rights and individual cases or did they simply say these were a question
of Chinese internal law, and none of United States' business as their
spokesman had said yesterday?
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: Human rights was discussed in each of the three
meetings that I had today. I suppose that probably more time was spent
on that subject than any other with the possible exception of non-
proliferation . You can see from my catalogue of matters, on non-
proliferation a good deal of time was spent on that. The format of the
meeting was that it was conducted by Qian Qichen on the Chinese side and
by me on the American side. That's the tradition. That's the way that
those meetings generally work and that' s the way this one worked.
If I could go back to the lady that I just spoke to. I didn't mean to
be impolite about that at all, I simply have not received a letter. If
the letter is brought to our attention, we will have some comment on it,
but the pace of today is such that I did not receive the letter about
which you spoke.
QUESTION: Recently, there has been quite a tax on textiles. Was this
issue brought up in the recent discussions and what was the Chinese
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: We discussed the textile issue briefly. I
pointed to the importance of the resumption of the negotiation in early
December and urged that there be a prompt resolution of that issue
before it becomes more intensified.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, the Foreign Minister this morning also linked
the issues of cooperation on U.S. non-proliferation with the curtailment
of arms sales to Taiwan. Is that something the United States is
prepared to consider now?
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: We are faithfully carrying out the commitments
under the three communiqus. We are accessing, very carefully, any arms
sales to Taiwan and even though it is not called for in the communiqus,
there has been in the past and we continue to limit those sales to
defensive weapons. So we are proceeding with that, as I say, with a
faithful commitment carrying out the provisions of the three
QUESTION: Two questions: One that was put to you earlier and that was,
did the Chinese in fact engage with you during your discussion of human
rights or simply listen to your presentation. And my second question is
were your surprised at all with the nature of Mr. Qian Qichen's
presentation this morning in which he began with the Taiwan issue and
called it the core issue between the United States and China.
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: Steve, they very definitely engaged with us on
the human rights issues. There was a detailed discussion of several of
the most important and urgent issues. Our stating our position and they
stating their position. It was, I think, probably the most coming-to-
grips discussion that we have had of human rights issues for some time
and maybe the most of all. I'm never surprised when the Chinese raise
the Taiwan issue first. They do regard it as the core issue; it is of
high importance to them. So that comes as something that I've learned
through the course of these discussions, the importance of that issue to
the Chinese, and once again we had a good discussion of that today and
its various parameters.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, bearing in mind the points that you raised on
progress, do you think that there was enough progress for you to
recommend a summit to the President? And do you expect a summit
conference between President Clinton and President Jiang?
SECRETARY CHRISTOPHER: Tyler, we had a good discussion of the issue of
the highest-level meetings. I think I will save my recommendations for
the President himself. I do expect that this matter will be discussed
between the two Presidents when they meet in Manila in four days.
Thank you very much, and thank you for your patience and courtesy.
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