|Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and
His Excellency Qian Qichen, Vice Premier and Minister of Foreign Affairs, People's Republic of China
Press Remarks Prior to Their Meeting
Washington, D.C., April 28, 1997
As released by the Office of the Spokesman
U.S. Department of State
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Good afternoon. I am very pleased to welcome Vice Premier Qian Qichen to the State Department. We are meeting again, so soon after my February trip to Beijing, and I think that that indicates the high importance that the United States and China attach to our bilateral relationship.
I look forward to today's meeting and to our maintaining regular contact over the coming months.
This is a pivotal year for U.S.-China relations. We will begin an exchange of State visits with President Jiang coming to Washington this fall and Vice Premier Qian Qichen and I will work closely to ensure a successful visit.
In this regard we have a very full agenda today. We will review recent developments on the Korean Peninsula. We will continue our dialogue on halting the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and the spread of conventional weapons to unstable regions.
We will discuss our bilateral economic ties, including China's possible accession to the WTO and its progress in opening its markets, and we will seek to advance our cooperation in combating terrorism, crime, narcotics and environmental damage.
I will stress U.S. concerns about human rights in China as well the U.S. interest in the preservation of Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy and its basic freedoms. I will also reaffirm America's commitment to our "one-China" policy and to the three joint communiques.
The United States expects the differences between the PRC and Taiwan to be resolved peacefully. For both America and China, the benefits of our dialogue are tangible and growing. We are not yet where we want to be, but the direction in which we must go is clear. We have come a long way since our first formal meeting a quarter century ago. Today it is a strategic imperative that we work together to shape the future in a manner that serves the interests of our two countries, the Asia-Pacific region, and the world.
I'm now delighted to ask the Vice Premier to speak.
VICE PREMIER QIAN: It gives me great pleasure to visit the United States at the invitation of Secretary Albright. This is our second meeting this year and I look forward to extensive and in-depth discussions with Secretary Albright on Sino-U.S. relations and other issues of mutual interest.
Thanks to the concerted efforts of both sides, Sino-U.S. relations have maintained the positive momentum of improvement and development which occurred in the latter half of last year.
Since the beginning of this year, Secretary Albright, Vice President Gore, Speaker Gingrich and many members of the U.S Congress have visited China. The two sides have made progress in many fields including political consultations, economic cooperation and trade, environmental protection, exchanges between the two militaries and so on. The two sides are now making active preparations for the two State visits by President Yeltsin and President Clinton this fall and next year.
Sino-U.S. relations now enjoy a favorable opportunity for improvement and further development.
In my talks with Madam Secretary, we will review the development of Sino-U.S. relations and discuss ways to resolve questions. President Jiang Zemin's visit to the U.S. this fall will be the major topic of our discussion. The purpose of my trip to Washington is to make preparations for this high level visit.
I believe that although there are some differences between China and the U.S., they are far outnumbered by our common views. To establish with the U.S. a long-term and stable, friendly relationship and to improve and develop Sino-U.S. relations conform to the fundamental interests of the Chinese and American peoples and serve the needs of safeguarding world peace and promoting global development.
QUESTION: Madam Secretary, is China (inaudible) on your criteria for MFN extension? Are there areas where you would like to see improvement or are your fairly well satisfied with their performance ?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: We believe it is very important for the MFN to go forward and we will be suggesting that. It is a strategic imperative, as I mentioned in my opening comments, for this relationship to go forward and the trade relationship is very important in that regard. Frankly, I think that the whole "Most Favored Nation" term is a little bit of a misnomer since we basically have that kind of a relationship with most countries in the world and it is useful for both sides.
QUESTION: Recently there have occurred some complicated factors concerning Sino-U.S. relations, for instance, the so called political contributions and the question of Hong Kong. Do you think this will affect the momentum of positive development of Sino-U.S. relations?
VICE PREMIER QIAN: In order to achieve a good end, people always meet with some obstacles and difficulties on the way ahead. As the Chinese saying goes "The way towards a good end will always encounter certain difficulties." However, I believe the concept of the development of Sino-U.S. relations is promising and that also, of course, will be a trend of history.
QUESTION: Is it probable in your view, or likely in your view, that the negotiations thus far on WTO - which have been going fairly well - could be completed in time before the fall summit here in Washington?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: This is just one of the subjects that we are going to be discussing this afternoon and we are very hopeful that the progress on this discussion will, in fact, be fruitful. We would like to see the Chinese join WTO on commercially acceptable terms and we will be discussing that subject. It's very much a part of our discussions this afternoon.
VICE PREMEIR QIAN: At present, negotiations on China's accession into the World Trade Organization are going on, and such negotiations are positive ones. Both China and the United States share a common aspiration to resolve the question as soon as possible. Naturally, these negotiations are commercial negotiations which involve complicated factors and issues that need to be addressed. However, I believe that as time goes by these questions will be resolved.
QUESTION: Foreign Minister Qian, are the Chinese authorities examining reports of contributions to the United States political system in the last electoral campaign and if those investigations have shown whether the Chinese did, in fact, send any money to that end?
VICE PREMIER QIAN: I believe its very usual for people to see political contributions and money politics in the United States, however; they have nothing to do with China.
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Let me also address that. I raised the issue with the Vice Premier when I was in China in February, and I expressed to him how seriously we view these allegations. I will do so again and also make clear our view that they are currently under judicial investigation.
NOTE: See special briefing
by Spokesman Nicholas Burns on bilateral meeting between Secretary
Albright and His Excellency Qian Qichen.
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