U.S. State Department Geographic Bureaus: East Asia and Pacific Bureau

U.S. Department of State
95/11/16 Briefing: Winston Lord on China
Office of the Spokesman

U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman

(Osaka, Japan)

For Immediate Release           November 16, 1995

ON THE RECORD BRIEFING BY ASSISTANT SECRETARY FOR EAST ASIAN AND PACIFIC AFFAIRS WINSTON LORD

Royal Hotel Osaka, Japan November 16, 1995

ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: I'll talk about the Chinese meeting and then secondly, a few comments about the cancellation of the trip. And as you know, the Secretary will be seeing you tomorrow morning as well. Let me start with the China meeting. It lasted about an hour. You heard the public statements so I won't go through that again. The Chinese Foreign Minister characterized the meeting and we also did so it was sort of a joint characterization as "useful and productive." They've been meeting regularly as you know. As the Secretary said, it's been four times since early August and it's been part of a process. I can speak at New York speed, right, because this is being taped.

MR. DAVIES: Right.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: It's part of a process we've been doing now for several months and they agree that through the efforts of both sides that we have made progress and resumed some momentum in the relationship and they both talked about the good meeting in New York of the two presidents. Obviously, Christopher expressed regret that the bilateral between the presidents here in Osaka won't take place now. The Chinese agreed that was too bad, but there is a chance. We're waiting to hear about the Vice President and President Jiang. We're waiting to see whether that's convenient for the Chinese side and the Vice President's schedule. It's not confirmed yet but there's at least a chance it might take place.

Now, basically, they carried forward the process that we've been engaged in in recent months of sort of resuming momentum in the relationship. A very broad agenda was discussed and it was acknowledged that there is a broad agenda between the two countries. And so there's a whole series of visits, exchanges and dialogues that either have resumed or have been agreed to in principle and we've set out to work out the dates or others that we're still exploring. These include visits and meetings on protection of the environment and sustainable development, on fighting international crime, on strategic issues, both regional and global at both the Under Secretary Tarnoff level or the Assistant Secretary Lord level, more systematic exchanges on United Nations issues. Some discussions are clearly going to take place on non-proliferation but we want to expand this further so we're still working out the full agenda but it includes continuing discussions on comprehensive test ban treaty including a zero yield and both sides are clearly moving in the same direction on that. I have no specific announcement but as you know, the Russians at Hyde Park agreed to that; the other nuclear powers agreed to it, so it's clear the Chinese are heading in that direction but they still have some questions and we've agreed that we'll continue to have expert talks between the two sides on this subject. Also, on the general field of non-proliferation we'll be talking again about the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. But there are other non-proliferation issues of great concern to us and we're going to continue to work on those as well.

QUESTION: Are there dates for these?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: Some have dates, some don't. There are no specific dates on most of the ones I just mentioned but confirmation by the Chinese side of their agreement in these areas. On the military talks that have already resumed, Joe Nye is in China, I believe right now, for discussions. And on the economic side, Ambassador Barshevsky, Deputy USTR, has just been in China.

Secretary Christopher underlined two of our major concerns in this area which Barshevsky also emphasized. First, the general imbalance of trade with China which is growing and this has to do with the whole question of market access in China. Secondly, the enforcement of the Intellectual Property Rights Agreement. We reached a very good agreement but the enforcement is of course the important element and although some enforcement has taken place, there are other ongoing incidents of piracy that are very serious and so that was also underlined. The Secretary reaffirmed our seriousness about working with the Chinese on their accession to the WTO on commercially acceptable terms and again, Charlene Barshevsky, when she was there, outlined the U.S. position in some detail and I think it's fair to say the Chinese are studying that and appreciate the comprehensiveness and concreteness of her approach. I'm not saying they agree with everything. I'm just saying they felt it was reflecting the New York discussions of the presidents that we would be serious about this but again, in our view, it must be on commercially acceptable terms and again I would remind you this is just not the U.S. position; this is the position of all the negotiating partners including Europe and Japan and Canada and so on.

In the economic area generally, I might say that the Chinese in the last couple of days invited Secretary Pena, while he's in the area, to go to China. You have to talk to him about his schedule. I have the impression that it's difficult for him to do it, by the way, but it's interesting they did invite him. I would point out that the earlier trip by him had been postponed by the Chinese.

The Secretary particularly underlined our interest of course in non- proliferation and human rights - the importance of dialogue in both these areas, the administration's concern in these areas but also the Congressional concern in these areas and how we have to move forward on these subjects.

QUESTION: But nothing on that yet...

ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: Nothing specific in terms of dates but the Secretary underlined our concern on that. So, that's a broad discussion of that meeting. In the short hour they covered a great deal and, as I say, many exchanges and visits have gone forward but still incomplete in terms of specific timing in some cases and completeness. We, again, remain particularly interested in more discussions on non-proliferation and the dialogue on human rights. But the tone was very positive, clearly both sides feeling that we have made progress in the last couple months and that the New York meeting between the presidents was a very productive one.

Should we stick with China and then go on to the other or do you want me to make a few opening remarks on the cancellation? How do you want to proceed? Can I take questions or both? Shall I get everything out first?

Basically, I won't say much on the cancellation. I think you really should really go to White House press folks and Mike McCurry's statement and his answer to questions on that. As you know, the Vice President will be coming here for the APEC leaders' meeting. You'd have to go to his office for the precise arrival and departure times. That's still being worked out as well as his exact schedule while he's here. It's clear that he would go to the leaders' meeting but in terms of other appointments or commitments it is not clear except for one, and, that is that clearly he will meet with Prime Minister Murayama of Japan. So that is one bilateral that is certain to take place since obviously there won't be any visit to Japan at this point.

I would like to underline what Mike McCurry also said and that is the graciousness of the Japanese understanding the need for the President to cancel his trip. Clearly, they're disappointed. Clearly, the President is disappointed but, in a twenty minute phone call as McCurry pointed out, the Prime Minister was very gracious; there's a clear commitment by the President to go to Japan at the earliest possible date for both sides. Again, that hasn't been worked out yet of course. And, I must say here in Osaka they've been very gracious as well. As soon as the Secretary arrived early this morning, I was attempting to get in touch with Kono. He and Mickey Kantor pulled Kono and Hashimoto aside this morning before the APEC meeting started. They again, like the Prime Minister, were very gracious. The Secretary reiterated what the President had said to the Prime Minister of his deep disappointment of having to miss both the APEC and the State Visit to Japan meeting. And I must say the Japanese not only took it graciously but as Chair of the APEC Conference, they got consensus among all the APEC members within an hour that it was acceptable for the Vice President to come in the President's place. As you know, it's a leaders' meeting so this is not a foregone conclusion. APEC operates by consensus and you had that consensus by the coffee break by 10:15 or so. So they move very quickly and we of course appreciate the consensus of the APEC members accepting the Vice President coming here. It's an indication of the great importance that the President attaches to this and that we attach to it - that we really want to send the Vice President over here.

It is unfortunate, of course, because I think you will see unfolding the next couple of days a very important outcome by APEC which we've moved from a couple years of vision and growth to pragmatic decision making this year, an action agenda. You'll be getting plenty of briefings on that but as you've seen already from press reports and background briefings, the major issues have been resolved. There's still some drafting to be done for the Minister's statement tomorrow. But the key issues that were outstanding have essentially been resolved. So I think we're going to see a very successful APEC meeting.

It's all the more unfortunate that the President can't be here for that but the Vice President will represent us not only effectively but as vigorously as possible. Similarly, I might point out we had a very positive State visit shaping up in which there were some broad declarations underway of reaffirming our partnership for the next century. In particular, a security declaration has been worked out by both sides as a result of the year-long review that Joe Nye and I have been conducting and was culminated in the two-plus-two meeting in New York for the first time that the Defense and Foreign Ministers of both sides getting together and other positive outcomes. But we will carry this forward as best we can with the Vice President meeting the Prime Minister and you'll be getting further briefings on that of course over the next couple of days. I think that should be enough.

QUESTION: Will that security declaration be issued with Gore now?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: Well, we're still working it out - the details of what would have taken place at the summit in Tokyo will take place here in Osaka. I think it's fair to say that it obviously will not be the same and that some of these things will be reserved for a Presidential State visit.

QUESTION: Is that one of them?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: That may well be one of them but again we have to work this exactly with the Japanese. But obviously I think you will see a positive meeting, I think the basic health of the relationship despite recent tragic events will be reaffirmed. Obviously, it can't be in as high profile way as a State visit and that is another reason why the President is disappointed but I think the Vice President's meeting will carry us forward and as I say, the President will go back there as soon as he can but there's no date set yet and I think Mike McCurry did indicate it's going to be very tough to do it this calendar year. It will probably be next calendar year.

QUESTION: Are the Chinese as relaxed about the cancellation of the Jiang-Clinton meeting as Qian seemed?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: I don't know if relaxed is the right word. You noticed Jiang got a question on that at his press statement and he expressly said it should not affect our relationship so I don't want to use the word relaxed, that's your word but I think it's fair to say they are sorry about it but they understood and certainly the tone of the meeting today indicated they want to keep moving forward. So, I don't think it will affect U.S.-Chinese relations.

QUESTION: What percentage of the time of the meeting was spent on Taiwan?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: Well, the Foreign Minister raised that. It remains an important issue but then I do not want to suggest in any way it doesn't remain sensitive for the Chinese but I would say maybe five percent of the meeting was on that. But he expressed continuing strong Chinese sensitivities but, as we saw in New York, this is no longer a predominant issue in our discussions although it remains a very important and sensitive one.

QUESTION: Now, my recollection was that after Brunei when Taiwan was a major feature, that at the UNGA meeting I believe you said Taiwan was almost (inaudible).

ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: Well, there I said ten percent - ten or fifteen percent.

QUESTION: Well, I thought it was even less than that.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: Well, it might have been actually. Yes.

QUESTION: So...

ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: Again, I don't want to make it look like the Chinese have forgotten this issue and it's no longer sensitive. What I am saying is that as a result of our reaffirmation of our policy and also the limits to which we can go in terms of future visits and so on, I think they understand we have reaffirmed as much as we're capable of doing. They keep us reminding us of their sensitivity but they're clearly willing to talk and on a much broader agenda so therefore, it's a very small part of our discussion.

QUESTION: But I just wondered whether you were surprised in the fourth meeting they keep bringing it up again.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: I'd be surprised if they didn't bring it up. I think it's a matter of principle. In fact, even before Lee Teng-hui visit, almost every meeting with the Chinese in the longer than I hate to admit time I've been dealing with China in every administration, no meeting goes by without a mention of Taiwan. Obviously, the temperature goes up and down. So, I frankly would not be unhappy if we had a meeting without it being mentioned but I certainly would be surprised. The key thing is not whether it's mentioned, but the amount of time it takes and the tone of the discussion.

QUESTION: In the question and answer Qian suggested that they'd been monitoring Congressional opinion and had taken note of some noises about someone may try to get another invitation particularly after the election. Did he raise that issue at all?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: He did raise it in the meeting and the Secretary said that in the first place there's a lot of hypotheticals in there about elections, about Congressional mood. But in any event, he reiterated what we had told the Chinese the last couple of months namely, that any future visits would be considered on a case by case basis, would be rare, private and unofficial and that any hypothetical movement by the Congress would be treated in that context.

QUESTION: Do you think there's any daylight between that stand and what Qian said which is essentially another visit "I don't believe is the position of the U.S. government". It's not quite the same.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: Well, he is going to set forth what he hopes his position would be and his interpretation of it. And as I say the Secretary reiterated our position didn't change and we were aware of Chinese sensitivities and take them into account. But then the four magic words - or they are more than four words - case by case, private, unofficial and rare - were repeated and the hypothetical situation that Qian set up, if it were to come to pass, we would treat it in the context of the policy that he agreed upon today.

QUESTION: Have you mapped out a strategy of how you would deal with this issue if it happens to come up in March or after March?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: Yes, we have. We would view any request on a case by case basis and the visit would be rare, private and unofficial. So, we have a very clear strategy.

QUESTION: Panchen Lama? Were there any discussions of Tibet and human rights?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: It didn't come up. That doesn't mean we don't think it's important, by the way. There's just only so much you can cover in an hour with translations. We remain concerned about Tibet generally and we have already made a statement on this particular issue. QUESTION: Did the Secretary mention it?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: Yes that's a good point. In his discussion of human rights, he mentioned a general desire for dialogue and his illustrations of areas of importance he mentioned, and he made it clear this was not an exhaustive list, but he mentioned prisoners of conscience, he mentioned Tibet, and the discussions with the Dali Lama and he mentioned visits by the ICRC to China, but the Panchen Lama did not come up specifically.

QUESTION: What did the Chinese say. What at this point in time, when the Secretary or you or anyone else said we want to get this human rights dialogue back on track in a specific and concrete way. In all these meetings you raise it and yet there seems to be no movement on that.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: I can't report any concrete agreement on that. The Chinese indicated they wish to discuss this in a non- confrontational way and we said we are happy to discuss it in a non- confrontational way, but it's important that we begin discussing it again. Secretary Christopher pressed very hard on this point and the Chinese listened, but we didn't get a response. By the way we are now talking about a formal dialogue. The fact is that human rights is raised at every meeting. So it's not as if it's not on the agenda, and the Chinese aren't willing to discuss it. And there hasn't been a meeting with the President or the Secretary or at my level that this doesn't come up. So in that sense there is a continuing coverage of human rights and we continue to underline the importance to it and the Congress attaches to it. But what we are talking about here is to revive the more formal dialogue that John Shattuck has conducted. And there we don't have a new date.

QUESTION: Anything further on the Chinese justice minister meeting?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: Yes, there has been an invitation extended by the Attorney General and the Chinese indicated in their response to a whole lot of dialogues and initiatives that this would be favorably received. They've just gotten it formally the last couple of days. There is no date, but we have a clear sense it would be accepted.

QUESTION: In the discussion today, it sounds as if the discussion today was a little bit more forward-leaning than the one with Jiang in New York.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: I would say that each time we meet we seem to -- I don't want to put words in the mouths of the Chinese, you ought to go to the Chinese -- but basically what Jiang said and what our President said in New York was what our basic position has been is one that seems to be in parallel with their own. They still have some questions of sort of a technical nature. And we have had some discussions in New York among the experts on this subject, and we offered to continue those. So, again, we don't have any agreement now, but it's clear that in principle the Chinese are looking toward a comprehensive test ban treaty next year. And they seem to be in favor of a zero yield. But I think they still have some questions on what precisely this means. So I think we are moving forward on that, and we have suggested that we try to reach agreement so that all five nuclear powers have a consensus on this issue.

QUESTION: My next question relates to both of the issues that you brought up in the very beginning - Clinton's cancellation and the Sino- U.S. relationship. Maybe everyone can get beyond the immediate sense of crisis that this cancellation has created. But in the long-term what is your response to people who say this is just another symptom of how the U.S. administration is distracted by domestic politics and cannot focus on the relationship with Asia in general and certain countries in particular at a time when that really is where a lot of action is in terms of foreign policy.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: Well, I'm not going to be disingenuous anymore than Mike McCurry was disingenuous. This is a serious setback to APEC and to our relations with Japan. And the President understands that. It's why it was such an agonizing decision for him. It is why despite huge pressures he tried very hard to keep the trip even though it was scaled down - you know, the announcement of a couple days ago. Besides because of the importance of APEC and our relations with Japan and Asia generally that he did everything he could to preserve this trip as for the overwhelming reasons he felt he needed to I would say postpone it not cancel it because he indicated right away that he planned to go to Japan as soon as he can. As for those specifically, I'd really have to refer you back to McCurry's press conference. Now, we will work on it.

We have no credibility if we tell you this isn't a serious problem. It is a serious problem. The President has judged his domestic situation as even more serious at this point. And I'm sure first by sending the Vice President here; secondly, by his eagerness to go to Japan in his own right; and thirdly, by the objective progress that has been made in our relationship with Japan and which would have been highlighted from it and obviously we'll try to highlight as much as we can in Osaka with the Vice President. We would hope to surmount this but I'm not going to sit here and tell you it isn't a serious blow. I said this a week or two ago and I stand by what I said and McCurry agreed with my characterization at his own press conference but it doesn't mean it's hopeless. We will work hard at it and our interests are too broad and deep out here not to keep after it and I'm sure the President will demonstrate that in the coming months.

QUESTION: At an official level do you get any hint of what the kind of buzz on the street in Japan is which is that Japanese actually like Gore. You know, if one had to choose someone to take Clinton's place.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: Well, I think they do like Gore.

QUESTION: Why do they like Gore?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: We all like Gore. He's the best Vice President, most engaged Vice President. He's a terrific guy, he's bright, he's intelligent, he's got charisma. This is all on the record by the way. You can send it to the Vice President's office as well.

QUESTION: Specifically, though, some people say Gore is actually more popular here than Clinton. So, why would that...

ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: Well, I'm not going to say that. I think the Japanese like Clinton very much too and I gave you all the reasons for that as well.

QUESTION: Is there some special reason why the Japanese should have bonded with Gore though? Or his image, I mean obviously not individually.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: Well, he's made it very clear that he's very interested in this relationship. He's got a demonstrated record on the environment for example which the Japanese are very interested in. But I really was being serious when I think his general qualities, intelligence and engagement and world view they find compatible. But you'd have to ask them more beyond that.

QUESTION: They say he's handsome.

(Laughter)

ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD. Well, that's a clearly sexist comment. I'm surprised. We personally feel that looks are totally irrelevant, male or female and that kind of sexist comment is shocking.

QUESTION: Following up on the question about the Justice Minister. Is there some reason why the U.S. side is reluctant to encourage the opening of an FBI liaison office in Beijing given that the Chinese seem to be quite eager for it and given that the FBI seems to be quite eager to do that as well? I mean there seems to be a political consideration there.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: Who do you think, if they're eager...

QUESTION: The Chinese, the FBI itself is eager . . . or at least Louis Freeh himself is eager. The Chinese, as I hear, it are quite welcoming. What I heard was the obstacle was who wants Louie Freeh shaking hands with the Minister of Public Security?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: I honestly can't help you there. I don't know the answer to that. I didn't frankly realize there was any resistance to it.

QUESTION: Yeah, I think it was a Justice thing.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: Well, you'd have to go to Justice for that. QUESTION: So it hasn't reached State Department?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: No, at least, I'm not aware of this problem.

QUESTION: In your discussion with WTO, did you break any new ground or still treading on...

ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: No. I talked to Charlene Barshevsky briefly. I hope to have a longer conversation with her. First of all Mickey Kantor will be meeting I don't know when with Wu Yi, the Trade Minister, here as well so there may be progress in that meeting. We would certainly hope so. But I think Ambassador Barshevsky laid out a very precise and detailed explanation in a constructive way of what we believe is required for China to make a commercially acceptable offer for accession to the WTO. I think that has to be absorbed. But we've negotiated without her before but I think what she really did was try to lay it out in a way that the Chinese could see precisely what we felt was required and again, I repeat that we're not the only country, in fact, all the other negotiating partners feel the Chinese offer is not acceptable at this point. So I think it was sufficiently comprehensive. They asked good questions, there was a lot of exchanges, but I think it's fair to say their still absorbing her presentation before getting back with a definitive view but we may see further progress when Mickey Kantor and Wu Yi leave here.

QUESTION: And when are they leaving?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY LORD: I don't know. You'd have to ask them. I've got to meet with the Secretary in just a couple of minutes.

THE PRESS: Thank you.

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