|Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and
Chinese Foreign Minister Qian Qichen
Press briefing, Sunway Lagoon Hotel
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, July 26, 1997
As released by the Office of the Spokesman in Kuala Lumpur, Malasia, July 27, 1997
U.S. Department of State
FOREIGN MINISTER QIAN: I am very pleased to meet with Secretary Albright again on the margins of the ARF Foreign Ministerial Meeting. This is in fact our fourth meeting this year. Since the beginning of this year, thanks to the joint efforts of the two sides, Sino-U.S. relations have, on the whole, kept the good momentum of improvement and growth. Hong Kong has returned to the motherland smoothly, and the MFN treatment has been renewed for this year. At present, both sides are making vigorous preparations for President Jiang Zemin's state visit to the United States in the coming autumn. I expect to have a frank and in-depth exchange of views with Madam Secretary on China-U.S. relations and issues of common interest.
The question of Taiwan has always been the core issue in the Sino-U.S. relationship. We appreciate that President Clinton, Secretary Albright, and other U.S. leaders have repeatedly reiterated the U.S. commitment to the observance of the one-China policy and the three Sino-U.S. joint communiques. We hope that the U.S. side will honor its commitment and handle the question of Taiwan cautiously and properly in order to prevent the question of Taiwan from interfering again with the improvement and growth of Sino-U.S. relations.
China's accession to the WTO is in China's interest. It is also in the common interest of the international community, including the United States. We have already made tremendous efforts for China to join WTO, and we will continue our efforts. We hope that the U.S. side will also demonstrate pragmatism and flexibility, so as to push forward substantive progress in the talks as soon as possible. An early implementation of the agreement on Peaceful Nuclear Cooperation between our two countries will benefit both. On this matter, the two sides have held positive and productive consultations and made some progress. We hope that both sides will continue their efforts and strive for agreements on its early implementation. China has always adopted a serious and responsible attitude toward non-proliferation issues, and it has strictly fulfilled its due international obligations. China has no intention to carry out proliferation, nor does it have any political or economic need to do so.
On human rights, we stand ready to have dialogue with others in order to better understand each other and seek common ground while shelving differences. However, the prerequisite for such dialogue is let there be no confrontation. The dialogue must take place on the basis of equality and mutual respect. I hope my meeting today with Madam Secretary will turn out to be positive and productive and help create a favorable condition and atmosphere for the success of President Jiang's visit to the United States in the coming autumn.
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: I very much look forward to my meeting with Foreign Minister Qian Qichen today. This is my third trip to the region, and as he has said, it will be the fourth time we have met in the last six months. That is a sign that both our countries attach great importance to our relationship and are pursuing our dialogue with great seriousness. This is a dialogue that is producing tangible, clear and growing benefits.
Our two Presidents look forward to meeting this fall, and today we will discuss our ongoing preparations for the summit. Our goal is to build the basis for a sound and constructive relationship between the United States and China.
Today, and in the months leading up to the summit, we will work to advance our cooperation in those areas where we share the same interests and the same goals -- and to narrow our differences where we continue to disagree.
Today, I expect that we will continue our discussion of strategic issues affecting the world and the region, and of course we will be spending some time discussing the situation in Cambodia.
We share the goal of a peaceful Korean peninsula, and I am confident we will intensify our cooperation in preparation for the four-party talks that begin next month. We are also ready to deepen our cooperation with China on global issues, including energy, the environment, law enforcement, and questions of nuclear non-proliferation, where we will have a candid discussion of the tough issues that remain on non-proliferation, trade and human rights -- an issues that involves the fate of political dissidents.
We certainly do not agree on everything, but I think we do agree that an important test of the relationship we are building will be our ability to produce concrete results in these and other areas.
As we move forward, I know that we can continue to resolve differences, expand cooperation, and build understanding. And I anticipate that the larger and longer process of deepening ties between our nations will produce great benefits for both countries.
QUESTION: I have a question for Secretary Albright. President Clinton has suggested that our two countries should set up a strategic partnership between themselves that will secure stability and prosperity in the 21st century. What is the specific meaning of that concept? And for this purpose, what will the U.S. side do?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: President Clinton and I have spoken at some length about the great importance that we give our relationship with China, that we see our relationship with China as a profound and major relationship as we move into the 21st century.
We consider, as part of that relationship, that it is important to have a strategic dialogue, in the course of which we would discuss issues all around the world that are of mutual interest. Those are not just in the region, where we will obviously have discussions about Cambodia and Korea, but issues also to do with nuclear non-proliferation and generally valuing each other's opinion as we assess relationships throughout the world.
And I am not just saying that. In the meetings that I have had with Mr. Qian Qichen we have, each time, had more and more subjects to discuss and to exchange views on.
QUESTION: Foreign Minister Qian, you just said that China is ready to have a dialogue on human rights. What exactly do you mean by that, and do you see any progress on this issue, including the possible release of Wei Jingsheng ahead of, or during the time of, the summit?
FOREIGN MINISTER QIAN: On the question of human rights, China and the United States endorse a view that it's better to avoid confrontation -- it's better to have a dialogue -- and we endorse such a view.
We expect to have a form of dialogue on the question of human rights with the United States, for instance in an NGO forum. And the topics that could be covered in such a dialogue could include human rights, the approaches to the question of human rights, the exchange of judicial experience and others. However, all these dialogues and discussions must be based on mutual respect and non-interference in each other's internal affairs.
QUESTION: I have two questions, the first one to Madam Albright. China's President Jiang Zemin makes a visit to America this autumn, and I want to know what preparatorial work has the U.S. government done for this state visit? And my second question is for Vice Premier Qian. What outcome o you envisage will come out of President Jiang's state visit to the United States? As we know, the bilateral relationship has seen a series of fluctuations from time to time, so what does it take in order for the relationship to grow steadily?
SECRETARY ALBRIGHT: Let me say to the first part of the question that we are looking forward very much to the State visit in the fall and a great deal of work has already gone into it at a variety of levels to prepare for these talks. They take place, as I said, at a variety of levels and among the things that the Foreign Minister and I do in our meeting is to talk about subjects that will be discussed during the summit, and we will do so today. From the perspective of the United States we would like this to be more than just a protocol visit. We would like it to be very constructive, with a lot of issues that are dealt with, and a visit that will make sure that our relationship is increasingly profound and useful to both countries.
FOREIGN MINISTER QIAN: Now with regard to the second part of the question, I want to point out that in 1994, when President Jiang met President Clinton in Seattle for the first time, President Jiang Zemin spread the hope that China and the United States could establish a strategic partnership that is oriented towards the 21st century. I think this remains the purpose of his upcoming state visit. China and the United States are both major countries. So if we are to have a discussion on the relations of our two countries, inevitably we would exchange views on the international situation and on global issues, and this makes the relationship strategic.
Secondly, as Secretary Albright pointed out rightly just now, the upcoming visits should be more than of mere protocol significance. They should also have substantive significance. In other words, it should generate concrete results. Of course, China and the United States do not agree on everything. But it is possible for our two countries to reach agreement and achieve results on major issues.
QUESTION: I have a question for Vice Premier Qian. What is China planning to do to help resolve the situation in Cambodia? As you know, Hun Sen has at least in the past been closely identified with Vietnam. Are you satisfied that he no longer is being influenced in that manner, and can you work with Hun Sen?
FOREIGN MINISTER QIAN: I think China is deeply concerned about what recently took place in Cambodia. Cambodia had already achieved national reconciliation and had established a coalition government. So, we do not wish to see the eruption of armed conflict and bloodshed after all that. Although between different parties and between different leaders they might have their contradictions and their disagreements, yet we hope they can resolve these disagreements through peaceful means instead of creating new tensions. Our consistent position is not to interfere in other countries' internal affairs, but we wish to see that they will be able to work out their problems through peaceful means.
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