Meets with Chinese President Jiang Zemin
The Great Hall of the People
Beijing, People's Republic of China
February 21, 2002
1:15 P.M. (L)
PRESIDENT JIANG: Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to begin
by extending on behalf of the Chinese government and people, a warm welcome
to President Bush.
This is my second meeting with the President. Four months ago, we had a successful
meeting during the APEC Summit in Shanghai. In our talks today, President Bush
and I looked back on the past 30 years of China-U.S. relations, and had an in-depth
discussion on bilateral ties and the current international situation. We have
reached many important common understandings and achieved positive results in
We have agreed that under the current complex and volatile international situation,
China and the United States, both with significant influence in the world, should
step up dialogue and cooperation, properly handled their differences, and work
together to move the constructive and cooperative relations between us further
We have agreed to intensify high-level strategic dialogue, as well as contacts
between various agencies at all levels, with a view to increasing mutual understanding
and trust. I have accepted with pleasure and appreciation President Bush's invitation
to visit the United States in October, this year, prior to the APEC meeting
in Mexico. At the invitation of Vice President Cheney, Vice President Hu Jintao
will visit the United States in the near future.
We have agreed to vigorously carry out bilateral exchanges and cooperation in
such areas as economy and trade, energy, science and technology, environmental
protection, the prevention of HIV/AIDS, and law enforcement, conduct strategic
dialogue on regional economic and financial matters, and hold within the year
meetings of the Joint Economic Commission, Joint Commission on Commerce and
Trade, and Joint Commission on Science and Technology.
President Bush and I have also had an in-depth discussion on the international
fight against terrorism. We have agreed to step up consultation and cooperation
on the basis of reciprocity and mutual benefit, and to beef up the bilateral
mid- and long-term mechanism for counter-terrorism exchanges and cooperation.
The two sides have also exchanged views on a series of major international and
regional issues, and decided to enhance communication and coordination.
To properly handle the Taiwan question is vital to stability and growth of China-U.S.
relations. In my meeting with President Bush, I have elaborated the Chinese
government's basic position of peaceful reunification and one country-two systems
for the solution of the Taiwan question. And President Bush emphasized that
the United States upholds the one China policy, and will abide by the three
Sino-U.S. joint communiques.
Given the differences in the national condition of the two countries, it is
natural for China and the United States to disagree on some issues, which President
Bush and I have discussed with candor. So long as the two sides act in a spirit
of mutual respect, equality and seeking common ground while shelving differences,
we will be able to gradually narrow our differences, enhance our mutual understanding,
and advance our cooperation.
It is my hope and conviction that today's meeting will have a positive impact
on improvement and growth of China-U.S. relations.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, thank you, Mr. President. I appreciate so very much your
hospitality. We have just concluded some very candid and positive talks. It
is true that I invited the President to the United States next fall. It's true
This is the 30th year -- 30th anniversary of President Nixon's first visit to
China, the beginning of 30 years of growth in the U.S.-China relationship. Our
ties are mature, respectful and important to both our nations and to the world.
We discussed a lot of issues, starting with terrorism. We recognize that terrorism
is a threat to both our countries, and I welcome China's cooperation in our
war against terror. I encourage China to continue to be a force for peace among
its neighbors -- on the Korean Peninsula, in Southeast Asia and in South Asia.
China as a full member of the WTO will now be a full partner in the global trading
system, and will have the right and responsibility to fashion and enforce the
rules of open trade. My government hopes that China will strongly oppose the
proliferation of missiles and other deadly technologies. President Jiang and
I agreed that the United States and China could cooperate more closely to defeat
Our talks were candid, and that's very positive. The United States shares interests
with China, but we also have some disagreements. We believe that we can discuss
our differences with mutual understanding and respect.
As the President mentioned, we talked about Taiwan. The position of my government
has not changed over the years. We believe in the peaceful settlement of this
issue. We will urge there be no provocation. The United States will continue
to support the Taiwan Relations Act.
China's future is for the Chinese people to decide. Yet no nation is exempt
from the demands of human dignity. All the world's people, including the people
of China, should be free to choose how they live, how they worship, and how
they work. Dramatic changes have occurred in China in the last 30 years, and
I believe equally dramatic changes lie ahead. These will have a profound impact
not only on China itself, but on the entire family of nations. And the United
States will be a steady partner in China's historic transition toward greater
prosperity and greater freedom.
Thank you, Mr. President.
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President, for your hospitality.
President Bush, on the question of strategic nuclear policy, you've said you
want to develop a missile defense system in order to defend the United States
and its allies from the threats and dangers of the 21st century. Do you envision
circumstances where that includes Taiwan?
And, President Jiang, if I may, with respect, could you explain to Americans
who may not understand your reasoning why your government restricts the practice
of religious faith, in particular, why your government has imprisoned more than
50 bishops of the Roman Catholic Church?
PRESIDENT BUSH: I did bring up the subject of missile defenses, in the broad
context of protecting ourselves and our friends and allies against a launch
by a threatening nation. I explained to the President that we've just recently
gotten out from underneath the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and are beginning
to explore the full options as to whether or not a system will work. And that's
the extent of our conversation.
QUESTION: Just now, President Bush mentioned that today marks the 30th anniversary
of the first visit to China by President Bush. In few days' time, the 28th of
this month will mark the 30th anniversary of the release of the Shanghai Communique.
So my question to President Jiang, how would you characterize the relationship
over the past 30 years?
PRESIDENT JIANG: We will have in February the 30th anniversary of the first
visit to China by President Nixon, and the release of the Shanghai Communique.
The visit by President Bush coincides with this day, and his visit is highly
meaningful. Thirty years ago, leaders of China and the United States acted together
to put an end to mutual estrangement and open the gate for exchanges and cooperation
between the two countries.
History has proven that it was with great vision that our leaders took this
major move. The growth of bilateral ties over the years has brought tangible
benefits to the two peoples and played an important role in safeguarding peace
in the Asia Pacific region and the world as a whole.
At present, despite profound changes in the international situation, China and
United States have more rather than less shared interests, and more rather than
less common responsibility for world peace. The importance of the relationship
has increased, rather than decreased. So to build a constructive and cooperative
relationship serves the desire of not only the people of the two countries,
but also of the people throughout the world.
The Chinese side is ready to join the U.S. side in reflecting on the past and
looking to the future, increasing exchanges and cooperation, and enhancing understanding
and trust. I'm deeply convinced that so long as the two sides bare in mind the
larger picture, take a long-term perspective, and abide by the principles in
the three Sino-U.S. joint communiques, the relationship will make even bigger
strides forward in the years ahead. Thank you.
QUESTION: Thank you. President Jiang, do you agree with President Bush that
there should be a regime change in Iraq? And if so, would you support the use
of all necessary means to accomplish that? And, with respect, sir, we're eager
to hear the response to the original question about the arrest of Catholic bishops
in your country and attention to religious groups in general.
And, President Bush, you have thanked the Chinese for their cooperation in the
anti-terror campaign. As that campaign evolves, can you say today what would
be the single most important contribution that China could make? And did you
receive any assurance today that that will happen?
PRESIDENT BUSH: Let me start. We discussed the Korean Peninsula, and I told
the President that I was deeply concerned about a regime that is not transparent
and that starves its people. I also -- he reminded me that he had a conversation
with Kim Jong-il last fall, urging Kim Jong-il to take up Kim Dae-jung's offer
That was constructive leadership. I then told him that the offer I made yesterday
in Seoul was a real offer, and that we would be willing to meet with a North
Korean regime. And I asked his help in conveying that message to Kim Jong-il
if he so chooses. If he speaks to the leader of North Korea, he can assure him
that I am sincere in my desire to have our folks meet.
My point is that not every theater in the war against terror need be resolved
with force. Some theaters can be resolved through diplomacy and dialogue. And
the Chinese government can be very helpful.
Furthermore, in the first theater in the war against terror, part of the call
for our coalition is to make sure that Afghanistan becomes a self-supporting,
peaceful nation. And the Chinese government is supportive of the aid efforts,
to make sure that we aid the new post-Taliban Afghani government in its opportunities
to develop its own army, as well as its own economy, its own security. And so
they've been helpful there, as well. Thank you.
QUESTION: I have got a two-part question. First, in recent years, China has
enjoyed rapid economic growth and its national strength has increased. Some
people in the United States have concluded that because of this, China has posed
a potential threat to the United States and they call for a policy of containment
against China. What's your comment, President Jiang?
And, secondly, in your opening remarks, President Jiang, you mentioned that
the key to steady growth of Sino-U.S. relationship is the proper handling of
the question of Taiwan. President Bush, in his opening remarks, also elaborated
on the U.S. position on Taiwan. President Jiang, could you comment on what President
Bush has said on the question of Taiwan?
PRESIDENT JIANG: We're living in a world of diversity. As two major countries
with different national conditions, China and the U.S. have, indeed, had certain
disagreements. But they also share broad and important common interests. So
the old mind-sets which views the relationship between countries as either of
alliance or confrontation, ought to be abandoned, and a new security concept
which features security through mutual trust and cooperation through mutual
benefit should be established.
It's true that since the inception of reform and open -- program, China's national
strength and people's living standards have somewhat improved in recent years.
Yet, compared with the developed countries, our economic and cultural developments
remains quite backwards. With a population of over 1.2 billion, the road ahead
is still very long before we can basically complete modernization and deliver
a better life to all our people.
To focus on economic development and improvements of people's livelihoods is
our long-term central task. What China wants most is a peaceful and tranquil
international environment with long-term stability, to not do unto others what
you would not like others to do unto you. Even if China becomes more developed
in the future, it will not go for bullying or threatening other countries. Facts
have proven already, and will continue to prove that China is a staunch force
dedicated to the maintenance of peace in the region and the world, at large.
Now, let me comment on the questions posed to me by the American correspondents
as they raised questions for President Bush. -- President Bush, he has much
more experience than I. (When it comes to meeting the press, I think President
Bush is much more experienced.) (Laughter.) I will do my best to answer your
In the first question, the correspondent mentioned that some of the Catholic
Church people have been detained. I want to explain that since the founding
of People's Republic of China, all our constitutions, various versions, have
provided for the freedom of religious belief. In China there are many religions
which include Buddhism, Catholicism, Protestantism, Islam and a typical Chinese
religion, Taoism. And their religious faiths are protected by our Constitution.
I don't have religious faith. Yet this does not prevent me from having an interest
in religion. I've read the Bible, I've also read the Koran, as well as the Scriptures
of Buddhism. I often have meetings with the religious leaders in this country.
For instance, when we are about the celebrate the new year or during holiday
season, I would have meetings with them and exchange views.
Whatever religion people believe in, they have to abide by the law. So some
of the law-breakers have been detained because of their violation of law, not
because of their religious belief. Although I'm the President of this country,
I have no right interfering in the judicial affairs, because of judicial independence.
You also asked about the Korean Peninsula issue. President Bush has also commented
on this. In our talks just now, the two of us exchanged views on the Korean
Peninsula. I want to make clear that we have all along pursued such a position.
That is, we want the Korean Peninsula to have peace and stability. We hope that
the problems between DPRK and ROK can be resolved through dialogue. And we also
sincerely hope that the contacts between the United States and DPRK will be
All in all, in handling state-to-state relations, it is important to resolve
the problems through peaceful means, in a spirit of equality and through consultation.
And that's why I've explained our consistent and clear-cut position on the question
of Korean Peninsula. It's quite near.
You asked about Iraq. Iraq is not as near. But I think, as I made clear in my
discussion with President Bush just now, the important thing is that peace is
to be valued most. With regard to counter-terrorism, our position has not changed
from the position I made clear to President Bush when we last met four months
ago. And that is, China is firmly opposed to international terrorism of all
I'm very pleased to see that Afghanistan has now embarked on a road of peaceful
reconstruction. I wish them well. I hope they will succeed in rebuilding their
country and enjoying national unity and peace.
Let me conclude by quoting a Chinese proverb: "More haste, less speed."
Despite the fact that sometimes you will have problems that cry out for immediate
solution, yet patience is sometime also necessary. Or perhaps I could quote
another Chinese old saying to describe the situation: "One cannot expect
to dig a well with one spade." So we need to make continuous our unlimiting
efforts to fight terrorism. Thank you.