Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan
US-China Business Council, National Committee on US-China Relations and US-China Policy Foundation Banquet
Washington, D.C.
September 20, 2001

"Deepen Mutual Understanding, Build Up Mutual Trust and Promote Healthy Development of China-US Relations"

Mr. President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am delighted to have the opportunity of visiting Washington again and meeting with friends, both old and new. I would like to express my hearty thanks to the US-China Business Council and the National Committee on US-China Relations for their gracious invitation.

Over the years, the US-China Business Council, the National Committee on US-China Relations and all of you present here have made unremitting efforts to enhance the mutual understanding and friendship between the Chinese and American peoples and advance the bilateral relations, for which I wish to express my appreciation.

The Chinese Government and people felt deeply shocked and saddened at the violent terrorist attacks on New York and Washington D.C. President Jiang Zemin sent a message of sympathy to President Bush right on the very night of September eleventh. On the second day the two presidents talked with each other over the phone. Just as President Jiang has said that at this moment of sorrow, the Chinese Government and people wish to share the grief of the US Government and people.

These attacks have not only brought disasters to the American people, but also posed a challenge to people the world over. The Chinese people stand by the American people and the entire international community in the fight against terrorism. We care about the progress of rescue efforts and are ready to provide all necessary assistance to the US side.

I am confident that the American people will be able to overcome the current difficulties, properly handle problems in the aftermath and get life back to normal as soon as possible.

This incident shows that international terrorism has become a serious threat to world peace and stability. It has made international cooperation both necessary and pressing. We stand ready to enhance our dialogue and cooperation with the US in cracking down on all violent terrorist activities.

I am here on a return visit to Secretary Powell’s visit to China last July. Since the beginning of this year, our relations have not developed very smoothly. Fortunately, with the concerted efforts of both sides, they have returned to the track of normal development and developed further in some areas.

Now China-US relations face another important opportunity for development.

The meeting between President Jiang Zemin and President Bush in Shanghai next month and President Bush’s visit to Beijing will exert a far-reaching impact on the direction in which our relations will develop. Right now, the two sides are making every preparation for the meeting between the two Presidents and President Bush’s visit to China. My current visit is in fact part of the preparation. I note with pleasure that our two sides have both shown the desire to step up the preparations and strive for success of the meeting and visit.

The development of China-US relations in these years has shown again that there are no insurmountable barriers between us though we may have differences over this or that issue. What is most important is to deepen mutual understanding and build up mutual trust.

To achieve this requires both sides to, first and foremost, discard prejudices and look at each other objectively.

The development and progress in China in recent years are for all to see.

In the more than twenty years since China’s reform and opening-up, the Chinese economy has kept growing at an average annual rate of nine per cent. The socialist market economy has roughly taken shape, so has the all-directional opening-up pattern.

In spite of the global economic slow-down, the Chinese economy has, since the beginning of this year, still maintained a good growth. The growth rate for the first half of the year was seven point nine per cent and import and export grew by ten point six per cent over the same period last year. We are taking measures to promote a sustained and healthy development of the national economy mainly by stimulating domestic demand.

This year, we have begun to carry out the Tenth Five-Year Plan. We will continue to advance reform and opening-up, vigorously promote industrial restructuring and upgrading, speed up the application of information technology to economic development and actively implement the three strategies of developing China’s west, revitalizing China through science and education and seeking a sustainable development. We will launch a number of historical projects, such as transmitting gas and power from China’s west to its east, building the Qinghai-Tibet railway and improving the ecological environment of the west.

Our objective is to double China’s GDP in two thousand by twenty ten to reach two trillion US dollars and generally realize modernization and build China into an average developed country by the middle of this century. It is by no means an easy job for a country like China with a large population, a weak foundation and relatively low levels of production. We have to devote great efforts into these tasks. Still, we have full confidence in our future.

Reform and opening-up have greatly helped ensure people their rights to subsistence and development as well as their political rights.

While maintaining social stability and ethnic harmony, China has successfully lifted over two hundred million rural people out of poverty. The basic needs for food and shelter of the more than one point two billion people in the country have been by and large satisfied. About three hundred million people already enjoy a relatively comfortable life. Never before have the Chinese people enjoyed so many opportunities for education, employment, social security and medical services.

China has made major progress in improving democracy and rule of law. Several hundred million rural people have participated in direct elections at the grass-roots over the past three years. Many foreign friends including Americans have seen such elections with their own eyes. In China, people must abide by law and at the same time they are protected by law. Common people may sue government organs or officials.

The Chinese citizens enjoy the freedom to have religious faith and engage in religious activities in accordance with law. There are over one hundred million religious believers, eighty-five thousand religious sites, three hundred thousand religious and clerical staff, three thousand religious groups, and seventy-four religious schools and colleges.

Minority people in Tibet and other regions have enjoyed full protection of their religions, languages and customs and habits.
China and the US differ in national conditions. It is nothing strange for the two countries to have differences over such issues as human rights. In case of differences, we should try to enhance mutual understanding and expand consensus through dialogue, instead of seeking confrontation. This is our consistent position. So long as the principles of respecting each other, treating each other as equals and seeking common ground while shelving differences are observed, we will be able to handle the differences properly and expand cooperation.

China and the US will resume inter-governmental dialogues on human rights soon, in line with the agreement reached by the two sides. We hope that the dialogue will produce positive results.

We in China are vigorously pushing forward the reunification process in accordance with the basic principle of“peaceful reunification and one country, two systems”.

Since the reform and opening-up, economic cooperation and trade between the two sides across the Taiwan Straits have expanded rapidly. At present, their trade has amounted to over two hundred and four point nine billion us dollars. The investment that Taiwan has pledged to the mainland totals over fifty billion US dollars. Over the past ten years and more, there have been twenty million visits from Taiwan to the mainland. We have proposed an early resumption of the talks and dialogues between the two sides of the Straits. We hope that the Taiwan authorities will accept the “one China”, principle at an ear1y date so as to create conditions for the resumption of the talks.

There is but one China in the world. But the mainland and Taiwan belong to one China. China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity brook no division.

We stand for peaceful reunification. That is to say, we will try to settle the Taiwan question by peaceful means. Once reunified peaceful1y with the mainland, Taiwan may retain its own economic system and way of life. It may also manage its own party, political and military systems. It will enjoy judicial independence and the power of final adjudication will not go to Beijing. This serves not only the interests of the Chinese on both sides of the Straits but also all the people in the world, the Americans included. We are more eager than anyone else to see the Taiwan question solved peacefully. However, we alone cannot make it. To achieve a peaceful reunification, we cannot afford to sit by without doing anything in face of any attempt to split Taiwan from China.
A proper settlement of the Taiwan question holds the key to a smooth development of China-US relations. We hope that the US side will honor the clear-cut commitments it has made in the three joint communiqués between China and the United States, implement the one China policy and support the peaceful reunification of China. If the US side does this, a major obstacle in the way of developing China-US relations will be removed and it is good for peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits region.

The fundamental objective of China’s foreign policy is to maintain world peace and promote common development. We pursue an independent foreign policy of peace. We would like to develop friendly exchanges and mutually beneficial cooperation with all countries. We should all treat each other as equals.

Having suffered a lot from wars, turmoil, poverty and hunger, China is deeply aware of the value of peace and stability. The Chinese people love peace and want peace. All the civilizations and socia1systems in the world should be allowed to exist side by side on a long-term basis. They should draw upon each other’s merits and make up for their deficiencies in the course of competition and comparison, and achieve common development on the basis of seeking common ground while shelving differences.

China’s policy of national defense is defensive in nature. Its military spending is only five per cent of that of the US. The Chinese people know full well how to use the limited resources rational1y. China has never taken part in any arms race and will never do so.

The good news of China’s successful bid for the two thousand and eight Olympic Games on July thirteenth this year plunged the whole nation, rural or urban, into jubilation. It has enabled the world to see how an oriental country with an ancient civilization respects and embraces the Olympic spirit, a common heritage of mankind. It has also shown the world how a rejuvenating nation longs for and pursues peace, cooperation and friendship.

We heartily thank all the friends who have supported Beijing’s bid for the Olympic Games.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

To enhance mutual understanding and trust also requires both China and the US to view and develop the common interests of the two countries in a strategic perspective.

China and the US are both permanent members of the UN Security Council and nuclear weapons states. In face of the challenges and opportunities in the new century, we both shoulder important responsibilities for the future and destiny of the human race. We should work together with all other countries to turn the twenty-first century into a century of peace, stability, security and prosperity.

Both China and the US are in favor of necessary reforms to the UN so as to uphold its authority and ensure its efficiency. Both of us have worked hard to properly handle regional hotspots and combat transnational crimes. We are glad that our two countries have lately reached consensus on international cooperation in the fight against HIV AIDS.

Both China and the US are important countries in the Asia-Pacific. Peace and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific are where the fundamental interests of our two countries lie. China welcomes a positive and constructive role by the US in this region, and is ready to increase cooperation with the US in regional affairs.

We both are major countries in energy and environmental protection. We both hope to leave our sons and grandsons fresher air, bluer sky and cleaner water. Closer cooperation in this field will benefit our future generations.

Economic cooperation and trade between our two countries have directly benefited our two peoples. The US export to China has created four hundred thousand high-salary posts for the American people, while China’s export to the US about one million jobs in China. In the face of new challenges in the global economy, closer consultations and collaboration between our two countries in the fiscal and financial areas are particularly important for guarding against regional financial turmoil and promoting regional economic development.

China will become a member of the WTO. From October the first, China will gradually relax its control over the prices of one hundred and twenty categories of commodities, leaving only thirteen categories of goods still under the price control of the Government. In the coming five Years, China’s total import is estimated to reach as high as one point four trillion US dollars. I hope that the US business community will not let slip such business opportunities.

In October the Ninth APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting wi1l be held in Shanghai. As important members of the APEC, both China and the US are duty bound to strengthen coordination and cooperation to make the meeting a great success and advance the cooperation process in the Asia-pacific.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Although China-US relations have experienced many twists and turns since nineteen seventy-two, considerable progress has been made in a wide range of areas. History tells us that cooperation benefits both while confrontation hurts both. The Chinese Government attaches much importance to its relations with the US and the Chinese people have always cherished friendly feelings towards the American people. We hope to work together with you to develop a constructive and cooperative relationship on the basis of the three China-US Joint Communiqués.

Twenty-nine years ago, China and the US opened their door to each other in pursuit of the common goal. Twenty-nine years later today, we have all the more reasons for stronger friendly ties and closer cooperation. Let us enhance mutual understanding and trust and promote a sound growth of China-US relations.

Thank you.