Secretary of State Colin Powell
Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan
Washington, D.C.
September 21, 2001
2:00 P.M. EDT

SECRETARY POWELL: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I'm sorry we're running late. We have had an excellent set of discussions, which ran over because they were so comprehensive.

It's a pleasure to once again meet with my colleague from Beijing. This is one of several times we have met in recent months. And we covered the full range of issues that affect the relationship between our two countries. Especially, we talked about, as you might expect, the President's upcoming visit to Shanghai and Beijing. We also discussed counter-terrorism activity in light of the recent events here in Washington and New York.

The Minister told me a very moving story about a Chinese family who had come to visit their children here in this country, and were killed in the plane that crashed into the Pentagon. And he met with those children yesterday. And it just shows how this is an international crisis. And it all has to do with the loss of innocent humanity. And so we agreed to cooperate in this campaign against terrorism.

I won't cover all the different issues. The Minister may wish to talk about one or two more. In the interests of time, I am anxious to get the Minister over to the White House for his meeting with Dr. Rice and with the President.

Mr. Minister, it is a great pleasure again to welcome you here in the United States.

FOREIGN MINISTER TANG: (As translated.) Ladies and gentlemen, today my talks with Secretary Powell were useful, constructive and successful. Our talks covered many issues, many of which the Secretary has already briefly touched upon.

For my part, I would like to emphasize the following two points. Firstly, both sides agree that the upcoming visit by President Bush to China and the important meetings between the two presidents will exert a significant and far-reaching impact on China-US relations. The Chinese side believes that the President's visit and his meeting between top leaders will make contributions to continue the long-term development of our relations in a normal, constructive, and healthy fashion, as well as continued improvement of our relations in the future.

Secondly, both sides have already started our cooperation on the anti-terrorism field, and such cooperation will continue into the future. Our attitude on the question of terrorism has always been clear-cut and consistent. We firmly oppose and strongly condemn all forms of terrorism in all their evil acts, and both sides agree to carry out even better cooperation on this question in the future.

Thank you.

SECRETARY POWELL: The Minister has to leave for the White House. I'll come back for just a moment, if you want me to.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman earlier this week made some statements that seem to indicate that China was looking for a quid pro quo, their support for the anti-terrorist activity in exchange for some sort of agreement on Taiwan where America's support would diminish somewhat.

Did that come up in the talks at all?

SECRETARY POWELL: No, there was no suggestion of a quid pro quo. In fact, both sides recognize that this is a threat to both countries. They have their terrorism problems, and there are terrorism problems here in the United States. So there was absolutely no discussion of a quid pro quo.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, how can China be especially helpful to the United States, given its geography?

SECRETARY POWELL: It has influence in that region. It has knowledge and information. It has intelligence that might be of help to us. And our counter-terrorism experts will be getting together next week to explore every way in which the two sides can cooperate.

QUESTION: Secretary Powell, could I ask you about Iran? As you know, the British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw is going to be in Iran, I believe today. You have had conversations in the last days with your British colleagues. What message have you asked the British to pass on or what message would you like them to pass on --

SECRETARY POWELL: Well, we did talk to the Prime Minister about Foreign Minister Straw's visit to Iran. We have also had other communications from Iran through other channels. And as I said previously, we are anxious to explore whatever opportunities for cooperation there might be in the fight against all forms of terrorism, not just one kind of terrorism.

But I think it's best that I let Foreign Minister Straw deliver whatever message he chooses to deliver after our conversation, rather than discuss it here.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, did Foreign Minister Tang express China's explicit support on US military action in that area, Afghanistan and on bin Laden?

SECRETARY POWELL: I made the point to the Foreign Minister that we would be looking at a complete campaign that would involve going after finances, information, intelligence, law enforcement, and might have a military component. But we did not get into any details of a military component, nor did I ask the Chinese Government what their reaction might be, or nor did they suggest to me any participation. It just didn't come up, military cooperation.

QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, what will it mean specifically for, as the President says, the United States will pursue those countries that "harbor and aid terrorism," and specifically what would that mean for those states that are already designated as sponsors of terrorism by the State Department?

SECRETARY POWELL: We have designated those as sponsors of terrorism, and they are subject to a variety of sanctions. So that is one way of pursuing them. And you notice the President said, "who continue to do this." Perhaps these states will now come to their senses that it is not in their interest -- now that the entire international community is mobilized, it is not in their interest to continue acting in this way, because they will risk further isolation and increasing pressure if they participate in such activities. And hopefully the message will get through and they will start to change past patterns of behavior.

Thank you. I've got to go.

QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. Secretary.

END 2:08 P.M. EDT