Stanley O. Roth
Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs
U.S. Department of State
On-the-Record Briefing on the President's Upcoming Trip to China
Washington, DC, June 19, 1998
Released by the Office of the Spokesman, June 22, 1998
ASSISTANT SECRETARY ROTH: Good afternoon. I gather you have already been briefed on the schedule at the NSC and Sandy Berger has walked you through the trip itself so I wasn't planning on doing that -- in terms of Xian, Beijing, Shanghai and ending up in Hong Kong. If there are any questions, feel free to ask about that.
I thought what I would do instead is provide an overview of what I think -- broadly defined -- what the three major objectives of the [trip] are and then after that open it up for questions. But I think that most people have tended to focus only on one objective, which is what you might call the deliverables, or the specific accomplishments of the summit, but I think there are two other very important pieces that I'd like to begin with because they set the context for the trip.
First, I think that one of the most important things that will transpire during the visit will be the continuation and expansion of the process of strategic dialogue that the President and Jiang Zemin really began during the prior state visit here last fall. What does this mean? I think this means that you're seeing a change in how the United States and China talk to each other. Instead of having discussions that are based primarily about problems in the bilateral relationship and focus almost exclusively on those issues, you're seeing more of a discussion that includes fair amounts of time about world issues, that talks about how we see regions of the world, how they see regions of the world, trying to identify common interests, trying to identify places we can work together, and that this both deals with geopolitical issues -- specific places -- but it also deals with some of the new functional issues that have arisen closer to the top of the agenda in the post-Cold War period, like global warming and environmental issues.
And so what you have now, as I would say, it's a far more normal set of meetings -- more similar to the meetings between President Clinton and heads of other countries because it has a much broader base. The purpose of this is not, of course, merely to avoid tough discussions; there are plenty of tough discussions on the bilateral problems. But the purpose, I think, is to try to set a larger context for the relationship. It's the notion of two great powers that necessarily have to deal with each other. It's based on the premise that many global and regional problems are not going to be solved unless the United States and China can cooperate and, therefore, we have to talk about them.
Without belaboring the point, let me just give you two examples. One, of course, is North Korea. I can say this is -- I choose this issue because as the lead negotiator for the United States in the Four-Party Peace Talks in Geneva, it's rather near and dear to my heart. The interesting thing, I would say, is that I believe that as a result of the conversations that President Clinton and other senior American officials have had with the Government of China on North Korea, that we are extremely close in our policy positions. Indeed, I would suggest that I could practically have written the talking points for the Chinese delegation during the last round of the Four-Party Talks in Geneva; that their position was very similar to our own, meaning that they recognize and said repeatedly to the North Koreans that if there is going to be peace or tension reduction on the Peninsula, that it had to come about as the result of direct discussions between the two parties on the Peninsula itself. This is exactly the American position.
They also do not want to see a nuclear Korean Peninsula -- the position is the same as ours -- and they certainly don't want to see a conventional conflict which would have as great an implication for them, bordering North Korea, as it would have for us with our 37,000 troops there. So here's an area where I believe that we have been able to identify through discussions what our common interests are and start to coordinate policy. And we worked very closely -- I did, personally -- with the Chinese head of delegation in Geneva.
A more recent and higher-level example, I believe, is South Asia. We saw at the special meeting that the Perm Five held in Geneva recently, a few weeks ago, in response to the nuclear testing by India and then Pakistan, again, very close policy coordination between the United States and the PRC. There was an excellent working relationship between Foreign Minister Tang and Secretary Albright at that meeting, but just as importantly, it wasn't only atmospherics, there was very close substantive positions between our two countries that, in fact, you saw the Chinese talking about almost exactly the same agenda as our own. They wanted to see adherence to the Comprehensive Test Ban and the commitment to no more tests; they opposed letting either country into the NPT as agreed nuclear powers; they were for a cutoff of fissile materials; they were for serious discussions between the parties in order to try to reduce tensions on the peninsula.
And again, this is an area where through prolonged discussions with the Chinese on the part of the President, Secretary Albright, NSC Advisor Sandy Berger, I think we have really made major progress in how we can -- how we view this region of the world and how we can work together. So I would expect that during this trip there will be quite a bit of discussion about global issues, about regional issues, and about some of the functional issues in an effort to try to expand the number of areas where we can cooperate like this.
A second objective, and one which I believe has particularly been emphasized by President Clinton, is to give the American people a better understanding of China and what is happening in China. I believe that we in the administration have a sense that China is changing and that, in effect, you might say that to some extent there has been a demonization of China in the United States because of the large number of problems and issue areas that we have with them, and sometimes the big picture of what is going on in China itself is not as obvious. And I think by taking a lengthy trip, going to a number of different cities and locations, highlighting different aspects of Chinese life and society, the President hopes that the American public will have an opportunity to become much better educated about what is happening in China -- to see that there is a great deal of discourse in China now about the rule of law; that there is some excitement about village elections; that they're starting to think about environmental problems. Of course the staggering economic progress that has been made and out of this, I think, better known to the American people, but to make that more visual, what that means as you get a more prosperous, developing China. So I think that one of the purposes is -- I guess you could call it the human side --to try to give the American people just a better sense of what China is all about.
And then the third piece -- to come back to where I started, of course -- is the accomplishments, or to use that horrible Washington word, deliverables. And I think here, we intend to continue with what was begun during the previous summit, which is working in all the different nine baskets that we discussed the last time, to try to come up with specific accomplishments. If you'll recall, our purpose was to try to broaden the number of issues on which we talked to the Chinese government about and to increase the number of interlocutors with whom we talked to the Chinese about these issues. So not just to have the kind of traditional foreign policy set of issues, but to work on a range of issues, and so we have baskets like rule of law, law enforcement, military-to-military relationship and the like, and we are pursuing all of those and I believe we'll have accomplishments -- deliverables -- in a number of areas.
But in terms of priorities, I think Sandy Berger actually laid them out in his press backgrounder the other day, but obviously they include non-proliferation. We believe we have made significant progress at the last summit, particularly with respect to the sale of cruise missiles, anti-ship cruise missiles to Iran where the Chinese agreed not to sell it. We believe we've made significant progress on the nuclear side with China's commitment not to help the Iranian nuclear program and we've made some progress on control of nuclear-related exports, dual-use equipment, which has been codified since the summit. And this time around, we hope to make additional progress on other non-proliferation issues including missiles, chemical weapons, biological weapons.
A second piece, of course, is human rights which remains a very high priority. I think we are all aware of the progress that has taken place since the last summit -- the release of Wei Jingsheng, the release of Wang Dan on medical parole to the United States. We've seen the signing of one of the one of the UN covenants and we've seen the intention on the part of China and its expressed intention to sign the political covenant as well in the near future.
These are major breakthroughs on the process side that I think will make it easier in the future to pursue talks globally, not just between the United States and China, on human rights issues.
In addition to that, I expect the President will talk extensively about religious freedom. As you know, he met yesterday with the American delegation of religious leaders that had traveled earlier in the year to China and this is an issue that is certainly a priority on his mind. That delegation did get, of course, an hour meeting with Jiang Zemin. It was allowed to go to Tibet, including to visit a prison. I think that this is an area of dialogue that we want to continue and try to get some more results from that. And the issue of Tibet will, of course, also be discussed. The President raised it at some length the last time when President Jiang came here, and he will raise it again and the Chinese are aware of that. So human rights is another big priority item.
A third piece, of course, is the economic or commercial piece, and here Charlene Barshefsky is in Beijing as we speak. We are trying our best to get as big a market access agreement as we can. This would be a prelude, of course, or a necessary part or piece of a WTO accession agreement. And I can't prejudge the outcome of her talks, but we obviously attach high priority to getting this agreement because we believe this is the best way of dealing with China's large surplus, trade surplus, with the United States. For us it's a question not of the numbers but of access, the so-called level playing field, and a market access agreement could help us to deal with that problem.
Finally, a fourth high-priority piece is one near and dear to the Vice President's heart. In particular, he's taken the lead although, of course, the rest of us as well, and that is energy and the environment. And I find this one of the most interesting baskets because I believe it's an example of one of most dramatic shifts in Chinese policy that I have personally witnessed in my dealings with them over the years. It was not that long ago -- I think you could even say perhaps as little as a year or two -- that any discussion with the Chinese government about the environment was rather unpleasant, that this was a Western trap to try to keep China impoverished, that the United States and the rest of the West had developed by polluting the environment and then they cleaned it up afterwards, and why were we trying to change the way they did business.
Now I believe, partly as a result of the extensive conversations we've had with them on these issues and partly because of the obvious economic and medical costs of the environmental degradation that is occurring in large parts of China, China has really started to engage quite seriously on the question of the environment. And this is an area where we should be able to work together, given the particular advantage we have in terms of clean technology and more sophisticated technology in the environmental area.
On the energy side as well, we've seen a dramatic change. China is now, of course, an energy importer and this is a huge difference in the equation. As a result of its phenomenal economic growth, it has now become an importer and this means that it has much more interest in acquiring sources of energy. As you saw the last time, we approved the peaceful use of nuclear energy agreement and we'd like to move forward on that. Also, there are other opportunities for progress in the energy field and we hope to make some concrete progress there as well.
Why don't I stop at that point and open it up for questions.
QUESTION: On the Pakistan issue, what specifically are you trying to get from the Chinese in terms of Pakistan? I mean, clearly they were part of the statement in Geneva which said, you know, no cooperation with those programs. But my understanding is that there is some effort by the US to try to get a specific statement out of China on this issue. Can you talk about that?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY ROTH: Well, I think that what we want, in a sense, is more of the same. What we're interested in is keeping up the international pressure on both parties to begin serious discussions with each other concerning the subcontinent region and trying to reduce tensions on the subcontinent, and that necessarily involves a discussion of Kashmir, amongst other issues. And we want China's support for that as well.
I think, basically, it is the nuclear piece plus it's the dimension of the no further tests, the fissile materials, Comprehensive Test Ban, but also then the idea of trying to diminish tensions in the subcontinent through dialogue. And there Chinese support can be very influential, particularly given their special relationship, as they see it, with Pakistan.
QUESTION: Will there be a statement on Pakistan though?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY ROTH: Well, we don't envision this time having a joint statement the way we did at the last summit. I think that is more a reflection of the fact that we expect summits to occur with some regularity and you can't have a major joint statement each time you meet. It creates a set of expectations that's not real, so I wouldn't attach a great deal of policy significance. But the question of whether we have something to say singularly or individually or whatever, is still something we're talking about.
QUESTION: You didn't mention Taiwan. Will that come up?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY ROTH: Well, of course, Taiwan will come up. It always comes up in every meeting at any senior level with the Chinese. But the question is, I think from our perspective, simply a reiteration of policy. We do not expect any new initiatives vis-a-vis Taiwan.
QUESTION: Some people in Taiwan are worried that there will be a fourth communique or a fourth joint statement.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY ROTH: I've said it repeatedly publicly -- let me say it again here -- there will not be a fourth communique at the summit.
QUESTION: Mr. Roth, regarding India and India's -- this nationalist government's view, especially Mr. Fernandes' view and statements about China being the potential threat to India, if not at present at least in the future, and specifically with regard to the improvement of air bases in Tibet and allegedly the storage of nuclear weapons in Tibet, the proliferation and help of Pakistan and some other actions that India views as hostile, could you go back into this matter of how our policy parallels the Chinese? And could you specifically answer the issue of India developing its nuclear capacity to deter China?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY ROTH: Well, in many ways you are getting outside my beat, which is not the subcontinent itself. My intersection is more when it intersects with China. I think that the way our policy parallels each other is obvious: China does not want to see a nuclear arms race, certainly does not want to see a nuclear exchange on a region that borders its own. And so I think that is a very obvious similarity of interests and it also is one that is quite a change from where they were, shall we say, 20 years ago. And this is a recognition, I think, that China has come very far along in its own thinking on nonproliferation generically from an avowed proliferator in the early 1980s to, basically, a member of almost all nonproliferation regimes as we get to the end of the 1990s. And that is a huge change.
Similarly, I think that we have a parallel interest in terms of what we want to see happen on the subcontinent now in terms of all the things I just laid out: the Comprehensive Test Ban, fissile materials ban, talks to defuse tensions on the subcontinent itself. I think we really are parallel there.
QUESTION: Should we go to the Chinese and say, "The Indians are concerned about you militarily and your actions. Could you back off, perhaps, and perhaps cool this nuclear race down?"
ASSISTANT SECRETARY ROTH: I think, first of all, I wouldn't want you to accept that everything that was said by the official you mentioned is accurate, so that we don't accept all the charges he made about Chinese behavior. Second, I would point out that it is not exactly a new phenomenon that China is a nuclear power. We're talking about something that happened in the 1960s, and that this is not a new element in the strategic equation and India, in fact, started its initial response in the 1970s.
So in that sense, this is not an issue that has just been discovered, and the question is why did this government choose to respond to it differently than all the previous governments since the early '70s. And I think that is the focus that one should have.
QUESTION: Mr. Roth, on the matter of missiles, you said there might be some agreement on that. Is that going to be related to the Missile Technology Control Regime? Will China agree to adhere to something that's called, I guess, the annex that involves technology?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY ROTH: We are still right in the middle of negotiations with the Chinese on a range of issues, including many of the nonproliferation issues, so I'm simply not in a position to tell you yet what they will or won't be. It's one of the issues we're working on.
QUESTION: So the prospects are -- it's possible?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY ROTH: It is possible.
QUESTION: What is?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY ROTH: That there would be some agreement on nonproliferation issues.
QUESTION: Would it be possible there will be some agreement on adherence to the MTCR annex?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY ROTH: It's possible.
QUESTION: You have been emphasizing Chinese as cutting down criticism of the presence of US forces in the Asian region in these days, but I think the Chinese ambassador the other day said the nuclear umbrella over Japan is a kind of a threat to Chinese. How do you see these comments?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY ROTH: I hadn't seen the comment but, clearly, I don't agree with it. I think it's very obvious that the American security relationship with Japan is defensive in nature. I think we have a track record of many decades demonstrating the validity of that proposition, and so I certainly wouldn't give any credence to that statement.
The comments that I have been referring to in my public statements were on the conventional side, that several years back, particularly right after the deployment of the carriers in March of '96, there was an offensive by a lot of Chinese think tanks, diplomats and others against the presence of American forward-deployed troops in the Asia-Pacific region. And that has really been considerably pulled back and died down, and that was what I was trying to emphasize.
QUESTION: To what extent do you think the economic difficulties of the region are going to intrude onto this visit, or do you think that your support for the yen in the last couple of days has put that aside from the table?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY ROTH: Well, I'm not sure I would use the word "intrude." I think I would say that obviously the Asian financial crisis is going to be a topic of discussion, a serious topic of discussion during the visit, because it does affect China. It's both -- well, to be more broad, not only does it affect China, but how China responds affects a lot of others. And so I think it's pretty obvious that we need to talk about, one, the situation itself and how we see it progressing, and we want to talk about the significance of China maintaining its current policy, which is publicly reassuring the region that it will not devalue the RMB, which has been a stabilizing event. You saw the jitters last week when there was a suggestion that this might change and we want to reinforce the notion with Chinese leaders that their original policy is the correct one and the stabilizing one and one for which they've gotten enormous credit in the region.
At the same time, I assume they will have some questions about our intentions. We think that will be a lot easier discussion in light of what transpired over the last few days. There had been some criticism -- unfair, we think -- from Chinese leaders that we were not doing our piece to help maintain the value of the yen or that we were even responsible for its decline, which we totally reject. But now we don't have to fight over that, I think, in light of the intervention that took place, but I think we can talk about next steps in the future and the importance of both of us trying to coordinate policy to help Asia through this difficult period.
QUESTION: Would you want another public reassurance from China that the renminbi, indeed, won't be devalued?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY ROTH: I think that would be very helpful for the entire region.
QUESTION: Will the President be meeting with Xu Wenli or any other dissidents and, if so, in what context?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY ROTH: At this point, I believe the schedule has already been announced and I don't believe we are going to have dissidents on the schedule.
QUESTION: Why not?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY ROTH: I think that one of the main considerations, of course, is what would happen to people if you met with them and the possibility that what could result is exactly the opposite of what you want, instead of advancing the cause of freedom, democracy and human rights, you end up worsening it.
QUESTION: Could you explain why there won't be a --
ASSISTANT SECRETARY ROTH: Let me just add on this point, I think that one has to draw a very clear distinction between the rather narrow issue of meeting with dissidents and the question of speaking one's mind on human rights, and I think it's absolutely clear that the President will speak his mind, just as he did during the previous visit, about human rights and what our differences are with the government. So this should, by no means, be interpreted as acquiescence into China's human rights policies whatsoever.
QUESTION: Why won't there be a joint press conference between President Clinton and President Jiang, just like last October?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY ROTH: There will be.
QUESTION: The press availability is --
ASSISTANT SECRETARY ROTH: They'll be standing side by side. That's pretty joint.
QUESTION: Will they answer questions?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY ROTH: They'll answer questions.
QUESTION: Can I follow up on the dissident question, because historically American presidents -- I mean, it used to always be Russia that we were talking about -- usually went out of their way to try and meet some dissidents and usually took the view -- and it was usually found true -- that for dissidents to meet with a senior American was good for their safety, not bad for it. I'm just wondering why you think it would be dangerous for dissidents to meet with the President of the United States.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY ROTH: I think we've had some precedents in China and I think there are many countries around the world where it has not been possible to meet with dissidents, so I'm not sure I would accept your characterization.
QUESTION: Mr. Roth, two questions, first a brief one. After the issuance of the '82 August 17 communique, the US gave Taiwan six assurances. So my first question, do those six assurances remain valid?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY ROTH: I think I've been as clear as I could be that there will be no change in US policy towards Taiwan as a result of this visit, and I think we demonstrated that at the previous summit and that will hold for this one as well.
QUESTION: Following on your point that there will be no change in US policy toward Taiwan, I would like to ask you, yesterday when you testified on the Hill, in your testimony you said eventually in the end the security of Taiwan really depends on the two sides coming to terms on a political basis. And your colleague, Susan Shirk, said more or less the same thing three weeks ago when she appeared on the Hill.
So my question to you is, is this US kind of pushing Taiwan to come to the negotiating table with China to resolve the long-standing problem? If that's the case, that will be contrary to one of those six assurances the US gave Taiwan.
ASSISTANT SECRETARY ROTH: I think what it is is a reflection of what is patently obvious; that the security of Taiwan ultimately depends on the state of cross-Straits relations. This is not an issue that is going to be resolved militarily. It is going to have to be resolved, I think, by virtue of the relationship between both sides of the Straits. And I think that United States policy has been very clear. We have urged both sides to resume a cross-Straits dialogue that they themselves had initiated several years ago and which had made some promising -- gotten off to a promising start before it was disrupted in 1995. We have had many indications that that dialogue is going to be resumed this year at the high level, the Wang-Ku level, and we are very encouraged by that. We think that is the path that might lead ultimately to the most progress and most help to Taiwan's security.
QUESTION: That is quite different. Can I --
ASSISTANT SECRETARY ROTH: Two is plenty. Go ahead.
QUESTION: In a more sort of philosophical note, do you think that the appointment of an Asian American to be John Shattuck's replacement will help you make your human rights case in China and throughout Asia?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY ROTH: Actually, I don't think it will make any difference. I think John Shattuck has done a superb job in advocating the human rights interests of the United States. He has been active in virtually every region of the world. He has been in Europe and he has been in Africa. He has certainly been in Asia. And I think that to assume that you have to be of a certain ethnic group to have an impact was not a way I'd want to go. I think that I would expect his successor to do an equally good job globally, but I don't think I see any major conceptual change just by virtue of the appointment.
QUESTION: I don't mean to disparage Mr. Shattuck, of course. I was just wondering on the other end it might be received --
ASSISTANT SECRETARY ROTH: It will make no difference whatsoever.
QUESTION: Certainly you've heard those critics who have said specifically the release of Wei Jingsheng and Wang Dan, while promising steps, certainly do not speak to the thousands of people who are still in China's prisons. And your comment there, the fact that an American president is thinking twice and has decided not to meet with any members of the Chinese dissident community because of fears of what might happen to them as a result of that visit, what does that say about the condition of human rights in China today and what does this administration want to see from China for its next step, now that it has released the two most famous of all the dissidents?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY ROTH: Well, I think, first of all, it says that there is a long way to go on human rights in China. That seems to me very obvious. We have been very clear that much as we appreciate the release of these two individuals on medical parole to the United States, that that doesn't check the box and get China off the hook on human rights issues; that there's a whole range of issues left. I tried to highlight at least four of them in my initial statement. We have made it very clear that there are many other dissidents. We have had conversations, including during Secretary Albright's trip, about the desirability of trying to get individuals who were imprisoned on counter-revolutionary charges released on the basis of reconsideration of the cases. We have raised a number of cases relating to religious freedom. I think we have been absolutely clear on that.
So by no means are we saying that we're satisfied just as a result of what's been achieved but, at the same time, find it hard to accept that there's been no progress. The fact that these two individuals are out here in the United States in good health is quite different from where we were six, eight months ago when there was enormous concern about their very lives.
Anyone that hasn't gone yet? Okay, we'll start over.
QUESTION: Can I ask you about the satellite reconsideration that we see reports of, the satellite sale? Is it being reconsidered, the initial preliminary approval for that sale to go ahead, and would you expect a decision on whether or not to approve it prior to the President's arrival there?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY ROTH: I think Acting Under Secretary Holum and Principal Deputy Under Secretary Lodal spoke rather exhaustively yesterday -- seven hours' worth, I think -- on satellite issues. My understanding of this case -- and I'm not the best expert in the government on it -- is that this is not a question of reconsidering the original sale but, rather, a request for an upgrade, and that the upgrade is being considered under normal procedures which involve review by the full interagency process which, of course, includes State Department, Defense, and the rest of the agencies of the US Government. And as Jamie Rubin indicated in his comments earlier, that sometimes takes some time. I can't give you a specific timetable for it.
QUESTION: You don't know whether it will be completed in time for the President's visit?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY ROTH: No idea.
QUESTION: Could we have an update on the President's wish to speak live to the Chinese people? Is there any update on that?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY ROTH: That's the flip side of what I mentioned before, the President's desire to give the American people a better understanding of China. He would obviously like to give the Chinese people a better understanding of the United States, and one of the most effective ways to do that in a country as vast as China -- despite the length of this trip and the number of cities he's going to, is obviously a minute percentage of the Chinese population that he'll be exposed to -- is by being able to communicate directly through mass media. And so it is our hope that the Chinese will permit that. There are mixed precedents from previous presidential visits, but we think that China should have the confidence that its people can withstand any message that President Clinton will make, which of course will be done in a proper spirit, I think. He is a guest in a foreign country but he also wants to reflect the American message.
QUESTION: Any discussion made regarding the recent announcement that North Korea has developed missiles for export to foreign countries?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY ROTH: The issue of North Korean missile exports is not new. The only thing that was new was the very public fashion in which North Korea chose to announce that it wasn't planning to reconsider its policy. So in that sense, this is not something that's coming up for the first time, but I would think that the bigger picture of what happens on the Korean peninsula, how we proceed with the peace process, how we proceed in dealing with the humanitarian crisis, and preserving stability in the peninsula will certainly come up.
QUESTION: Just a couple of points of clarification. So you haven't gotten the final word from the Chinese on the live broadcast, right?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY ROTH: Right.
QUESTION: Okay. The other day, my recollection was that Berger had said that Clinton would meet dissidents, so this is a change?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY ROTH: Not that I'm aware of.
QUESTION: Not that you're aware of. All right. And on the MTCR --
ASSISTANT SECRETARY ROTH: If it was, I misspoke. Berger would be the more authoritative.
QUESTION: Okay. On the MTCR, the possibility of an MTCR agreement, now, the United States had offered to allow more satellite launches as part of that discussion. Presumably, that's still in the mix, right?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY ROTH: I'm sorry, I'm still thinking about the previous one. Let me give you -- my understanding, what I recall Sandy saying, is that the President will have a range of meetings on his trip and during that trip he'll have opportunities to try to meet with people who reflect many aspects of Chinese society and the changes that are going on in Chinese society and, of course, it will not only be with government officials. And that is quite correct. But if you ask me in terms of people that you and I would talk of as dissidents, like Wang Dan or Wei Jingsheng, my impression is not. I will get you a clarification if one is needed, okay?
QUESTION: And MTCR. The US offered that if China agrees to sign up to the annex that the United States would allow more satellite launches. This is still the offer that's out there, right? That's what's under discussion?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY ROTH: We've had pretty extensive negotiations beyond the original offer, but I can't characterize them at this point because they're ongoing.
QUESTION: But that's still a component of it?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY ROTH: It's moot. I mean, there has been additional wrinkles in the discussion, but it's just under consideration. I can't tell you what the final package might look like.
QUESTION: Regarding confidence-building measures such as de-targeting of missiles, General Halliger of STRATCOM has been to six or seven different missile bases in Russia. The Russians have been to this country and it seems to be improving relations. Will you take that good news of opening the strategic forces on both sides to the Chinese and try to convince them to do the same, to de-target the US?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY ROTH: Sure. This has been an area we have been interested going back to the previous summit and before, and one where we hope eventually to reach agreement with them.
QUESTION: There was some kind of suggestion about the lifting of the economic sanction against China, including the lifting of the ban of the OPIC, Overseas Private Insurance Corp. What is going on on that packet?
ASSISTANT SECRETARY ROTH: I think the question of sanctions relief largely relates to the overall results of the summit and the question of whether progress is made on a whole range of issues, including some of the issues for which the sanctions were imposed in the first place. So it's not an issue that can be considered in the abstract but, rather, it's a piece of the entire picture and will have to be decided as a result of the entire summit outcome.
Why don't we just take the last question.
QUESTION: Could you address the comment you made about the demonization of China? Isn't a lot of that happening in Congress? And related to that, is the President planning to take any Congressional critics on his trip? I mean, maybe, I don't know, try to get some --
ASSISTANT SECRETARY ROTH: Sure. Let me start with the latter point. The President had invited the Congress to appoint a bilateral delegation to accompany him, and so far only Democrats have accepted. But that's not something that was tried to be imposed from the administration side, and so that's really up to the Congress itself and that question should be addressed to the leadership, really, in the Congress.
I would not want to place the unfair burden on the Congress of saying that the majority of criticism of Chinese behavior in the US is limited to the Congress or even that that's the sole source. I think there has been no shortage of critics in the literature -- in some of the books that were published last year, some of the articles, many of the public statements -- and that is the nature of our process here, that there has been a lot of criticism. And what I am trying to suggest is that one hopes that we can show a different face of China that gives a broader picture. It doesn't mean that the problems don't exist, but one that shows that there are other facets of the relationship as well. And that is one of the purposes of the trip.
(The briefing concluded at 3:15 P.M.)
Link to June 17 White House briefing on the trip.
[end of document]
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