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A Major Step to Push Forward Sino-U.S. Ties—Chinese Ambassador to the United States Yang Jiechi on U.S. President George W. Bush's Visit to China, 2002

On February 22nd, 2002, Chinese Ambassador to the United States Yang Jiechi gave an exclusive interview to People’s Daily. The interview is as follows:
February 28, 2002

Q: Please make an overall comment on this visit.

A: President Bush’s visit is at a crucial time when the Sino- U.S. relation is at a time of ending the past and opening the future. During this visit, President Jiang Zemin and President Bush held talks. The two sides reviewed 30 years’ development of the Sino- U.S. relationship and reached consensus through in- depth discussions on bilateral relations and the current international situation. They both agreed that under current complicated and constantly changing international situation, as two powers of great influence in the world, China and U.S.A. should reinforce dialogue and cooperation, appropriately handle differences and jointly push forward the constructive relations of cooperation. Consensus reached over many issues at the meeting will produce profound positive influence on further improvement and development Sino-U.S. relations.

Q: What consensus have China and U.S.A. reached during this visit of President Bush? And what achievements have been made?

A: This meeting is a continuation of the Shanghai meeting between the two state leaders. In my opinion, what this meeting has achieved is many- faceted. First of all, the two sides agreed to reinforce high- level strategic dialogue and various contacts on different levels and between different sectors to facilitate strengthening mutual understanding and mutual trust. President Bush has invited President Jiang to visit U.S.A within this year which President Jiang accepted with pleasure. At the invitation of U.S. Vice President Cheney, Vice President Hu Jintao will visit U.S.A. within this year. Secondly, the two sides decided to actively carry out the exchanges and cooperation in the fields of economy and trade, energy, science and technology, environmental protection, AID/HIV prevention and treatment and law enforcement, and conduct strategic dialogues on the regional economic and financial issues. Thirdly, the two sides consulted and decided to convene three joint meetings within this year on economy, trade, and science and technology respectively. Fourthly, the two heads of state had an in-depth discussion on the international anti-terror campaign, and agreed to step up consultations and cooperation in this regard on a two-way and mutually beneficial basis, and reinforce medium- and long-term mechanisms for anti-terror exchanges and cooperation between the two countries. They also exchanged views on a series of important international and regional issues, and decided to step up communication and coordination.

The above- mentioned consensus reached between the two heads of state will give new impetus to the improvement and development of the Sino- U.S. relationship.

Q: Appropriately handling the differences is one important aspect of the Sino- U.S. relationship. How do you think the two sides can appropriately handle the differences between the two sides?

A: China and the United States have different conditions, and the existence of some differences is normal. As President Jiang points out that in international relations, we should discard the old concepts that countries are in the state of confrontation if they do not form an alliance; instead we should establish a new view on security that bases security and cooperation on mutual trust and benefit. As long as both countries adhere to the spirit of mutual respect, equality, and seeking common ground while reserving differences, we will be able to continuously reduce differences, have consensus on a broader range of issues and promote cooperation between the two countries.

The Taiwan question is always the most important and sensitive issue in Sino-U.S. relations. During their meeting, President Jiang explained the Chinese government's basic position of "peaceful reunification and one country, two systems" regarding the settlement of the Taiwan question. President Jiang stressed that adhering to the one-China policy and observing the three Sino-U.S. joint communiqués is the basis for the development of Sino-U.S. relations. President Bush stressed that the U.S. side will adhere to the one-China policy and observe the three Sino-U.S. joint communiqués. I think the U.S. side should honor its commitments and support China's cause of peaceful reunification.

Q: President Bush’s visit to China coincides with Nixon’s visit to China 30 years ago. What has been revealed through 30 years’ development of the Sino- U.S. relationship?

A: 30 years ago President Nixon visited China, and leaders of China and the United States worked together to put an end to mutual estrangement and opened the gate for exchanges and cooperation between the two countries. At present, profound changes have taken place in the international situation, China and the United States have broad and important common responsibilities and interests in maintaining peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific and the world, promoting regional and global economic growth, cracking down on terrorism and preventing the environment. The importance of Sino-U.S. relations has increased, rather than decreased. As President Jiang points out that the lessons and experience of the development of the China-U.S. relationship in the past 30 years indicate that the two sides should bear in mind the overall interests, take a long-term perspective and enhance mutual understanding and trust in developing the bilateral ties. Both sides should recognize and respect the differences between them, seek to expand their common ground, and strictly abide by the principles in the three Sino-U.S. joint communiqués. At the starting point of the new century, so long as the two sides take the history as a mirror and look into the future and adhere to the three Sino-U.S. joint communiqués, they will make further progress in their ties in the future.

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