Happy Lunar New Year from the USC US-China Institute!
Secretary Condoleeza Rice and Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, Beijing, Feb. 26, 2008
Joint Press Availability With Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi
MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, good morning. Now Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and the Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice are meeting press together with you. And now I'd like to give the floor to Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi.
FOREIGN MINISTER YANG: Madame Secretary, ladies and gentlemen, we are delighted to meet you here again. And I would like to extend a warm welcome to Madame Secretary. Welcome to China.
Just now Madame Secretary and I had an in depth exchange of views on how to move forward the constructive and cooperative relationship between us and also on how to increase communication and cooperation between the two countries in a wide range of areas, and we have reached new common ground and talks were constructive.
We believe that the international situation is undergoing major changes and (inaudible) and to -- for China and the United States to work together to promote world peace and the development, this is extensive and important common interests of both countries. And I think to ensure that this relationship will continue to grow in a stable and sound manner is the common aspiration of both peoples.
We believe that we need to continue our efforts to implement the important agreement reached between President Hu Jintao and President Bush and continue to make progress in this regard. And we also need to work together to keep to the general direction of growing the constructive and cooperative relationship between the two countries. And we need to maintain the exchanges between high-level leaders and officials and people at various levels between two countries. And we need to increase our communication and dialogue and cooperation in business ties, counter-terrorism and energy, the environment as well as other major international issues. I think we need to work together on the basis of mutual respect, equality, and mutual benefit and non-interference in each other's internal affairs to keep this relationship on an even keel to try to make fresh progress in the growth of this relationship in this new year.
The Taiwan issue concerns China's sovereignty and territorial integrity. It is the biggest concern of China. The U.S. side and Madame Secretary yourself have used various occasions to publicly express your opposition to the holding of a referendum by the Taiwan authorities. On the U.S. side, Madame Secretary, you have expressed your commitment to one-China policy, three Sino-U.S. joint communiques and opposition to so-called Taiwan independence. We appreciate the U.S. position and your position, Madame Secretary.
Madame Secretary and I discussed the DPRK and other parties. Actually, we discussed the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula and other major regional and international issues. And we also believe that important progress has been made thanks to the concerted efforts of the six parties in the denuclearization process.
The Chinese side hopes that the parties will treasure the results that we have already produced, which have not come easily, and bear in mind the bigger picture and further increase the dialogue and consultation among the parties so that we can create favorable conditions to overcome the current difficulties and move forward the Six-Party process as soon as possible.
The Chinese side is consistently committed to the Six-Party Talks and the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, and we are willing and ready to work together with the U.S. side and other parties in staying in close touch and have close cooperation with the parties concerned to continue to play a positive role in moving forward the Six-Party Talks and the denuclearization process.
In addition, I've also discussed with Madame Secretary the principled position of China on the Iranian issue and the Darfur issue of Sudan. It is known to all that China has played a constructive role in all the foregoing issues, and the Chinese side is willing to continue to work together with the international community to try to find a proper solution to those issues.
We have full confidence that as long as China and the United States are able to handle this relationship with a long-term and a strategic approach, as long as those countries follow principles set forth in the three Sino-U.S. joint communiques, we will be able to keep this relationship on an even keel and ensure its sustained and sound growth in the future.
And now I'd like to hand over the microphone to Secretary Rice.
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you. Thank you very much Minister, and thank you for welcoming me here. We have met twice already this year, which is befitting the nature of the U.S.-China relationship.
We've had a good discussion of a number of issues. We have discussed Sudan and Burma. We have had an extensive discussion of the Iranian issue and the work that we are doing in the UN Security Council to work toward a resolution that will demonstrate to Iran that it should not continue to defy the will of the international community.
We've had a good and extensive discussion of the situation on the Korean Peninsula. I'm pleased also that we've made progress toward the goal of denuclearizing the Peninsula. We now expect North Korea to honor its pledges that it's made in the Six-Party Talks. We look forward to a complete declaration of its nuclear programs. And the Minister and I agreed that the United States and China will continue to work together and with other members of the Six-Party Talks so that we can complete this phase and move on to the next phase of denuclearization.
On Taiwan, the United States -- I, on behalf of the United States -- reiterated our commitment to a one-China policy, our opposition to unilateral changes in the Straits, and our expectation that differences across the Straits will be resolved peacefully.
I also reiterated what I said in December, that the United States opposes the proposed referendum because we believe that this referendum would not be constructive and would, in fact, serve no useful purpose.
We, of course, also had a discussion of a number of bilateral issues including the importance of continuing and intensifying the strategic dialogue that Deputy Secretary John Negroponte has been leading for the American side, as well as looking forward to the strategic economic dialogue that Secretary Paulson leads with his Chinese counterpart.
And I have expressed to the Minister our continuing concerns about human rights and religious freedom in China, the importance of resuming a human rights dialogue between the United States and China, that we do this in a spirit of respect but these issues are very near and dear to America that very much cares about these values. And we have had a chance to talk about that as well.
Finally, I've said to Minister that the United States very much welcomes the emergence of a peaceful and prosperous China, and we believe that the last years have demonstrated that when China and the United States work together, we are able to improve the prospects for peace and security in the international system. It's not that we don't have our differences; we do. But this relationship has evolved quite a long way thanks to the efforts of our two Presidents, and we pledge to continue to extend their efforts and continue to move forward.
FOREIGN MINISTER YANG: We will go now to questions.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary, good morning. I'm with China Central Television Station, CCTV, and I have a question for you. You just now said that you are opposed to Taiwan's so-called referendum. And I recall that at the press conference that you held at the end of last year you also said the same thing, that the U.S. side is opposed to Taiwan's so-called referendum. And I would like to know what do you think is the fact and impact of your statements in this regard? And as we know that the election of the leader in the region of Taiwan is just going to take place next month, and now the Taiwan authorities are continuing to push for a so-called referendum. And what's your comment on that?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, Taiwan is democratic. It will have to make its own decisions. But I think we've been very clear that we think that this referendum is not going to help anyone and, in fact, it shouldn't be held. I've said that before and I will say it again.
We do believe that the best way forward is when there is the prospect for peaceful resolution of differences across the Taiwan Straits. We have encouraged dialogue between the parties. We do this all within the context of what has been a very clear commitment to a one-China policy for the United States and also to a strong belief that no one should try and change the status quo unilaterally. So that position stands, and that's the position of the United States.
QUESTION: Secretary Rice, what more would you like China to do to try to influence North Korea to produce the nuclear declaration?
Foreign Minister Yang, from China's contacts with North Korea, do you have any sense that North Korea's getting any closer to producing the declaration that it was committed to produce now nearly two months ago?
SECRETARY RICE: Well, I believe that all of the parties to the Six-Party Talks have both an obligation and interest to make certain that the requirements, the obligations of the states are carried out. We're at the cusp of something very special here. We have had a successful round in terms of the shutdown of the Yongbyon reactor. We have had progress on the disablement of those facilities. And now it's time to move on, because the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is in everyone's interest. And I believe that when we talk with the Chinese, there's very clear view that it is in China's interest that this denuclearization takes place. And so I'm expecting from China what I'm expecting from others, that we will use all influence possible with the North Koreans to convince them that it's time to move forward. I just want to state that the United States is prepared to move forward with its obligations if North Korea moves forward on the ones that it has undertaken.
I might just note as well that, of course, we have been willing to talk to the North Koreans one-on-one bilaterally. Chris Hill has met his counterpart within the context of the Six-Party Talks. And so we're not simply leaving it to others; we also are engaged.
FOREIGN MINISTER YANG: We believe that important progress is already made in implementing the actions of the second phase of the joint statement. Although now it seems that it will take longer than expected time to complete the actions for this phase, the parties are still engaged in close interactions and communications. And this is an indication of the sincerity and resolve of all the parties involved in Six-Party Talks to continue to implement the second phase actions.
The Chinese side is in close touch with the DPRK side, and we are having in-depth and comprehensive exchange of views on how to implement the second phase actions in this process involving various elements. And we certainly hope that second phase actions will be implemented in a comprehensive and balanced and integrated manner. The Chinese side will continue to play a positive role in moving forward the Six-Party Talks.
QUESTION: Madame Secretary and Mr. Foreign Minister, what do you think is the most critical business-related issue between your two countries from each of your sides? And what would you like to see those counterparts do in regard to that issue?
SECRETARY RICE: In terms of economic issues?
QUESTION: In terms of business issues.
FOREIGN MINISTER YANG: We believe that generally speaking our business ties grow quite well. Last year, the two-way trade volume already exceeded 300 billion U.S. dollars. China and the United States are each other's second largest trading partners, and China has become the U.S. third largest export market.
The U.S. side and Chinese side have both expressed wills to further business ties and economic cooperation, and we also place importance and take it seriously, the concerns expressed by the U.S. side, and we are going to take further steps to try to find proper solution and move forward this relationship.
In the field of service trade, the United States is obviously running a surplus, and we certainly hope that the U.S. side will also ease restrictions imposed on high tech exports to China. And we hope the U.S. side will also create a favorable environment for Chinese companies who want to make investment in the United States. And we (inaudible) also increase imports from the United States.
We hope that the U.S. economy will continue to be a prosperous one and maintain a strong growth momentum, because we believe that a prosperous United States not only serves the interests of the United States itself, but also that of the world.
At the same time, I'd like to point out that China's development and China's prosperity also serves the interest of the United States and the whole world.
SECRETARY RICE: Let me begin from that last point, which is that we started the strategic economic dialogue because we believed that the U.S.-China economic relationship was both beneficial to both sides, beneficial to the international economy, and of growing importance to both sides and to the international economy.
And the growth of the Chinese economy, of course, is a positive development in that regard. And so a number of issues, which the Minister referred, will need to be -- we'll need to try to deal with them. For instance, structural reform here in China that permits the opening of Chinese sectors -- sectors of the Chinese economy, for instance the financial services sector. I think we're all very concerned about intellectual property rights, which is extremely important to establishing confidence in economic relations and particularly in commercial relations. And the higher up that you go on the ladder of sophistication of the commercial relationship, the more important IPR will be.
And of course the question of the Chinese currency and the flexible marketplace, the basis for it has also been an issue, and continued progress on that is important.
Finally, I'd just like to note a couple of important discussions that have been going on with China. You probably know that Secretary Leavitt has carried on some discussions about issues of product safety. These obviously important to make certainly that confidence remains. And I might just underscore the energy dialogue that is very important as both China and the United States try to be responsible stewards of the economy. As this economy grows, the ability to find alternative sources of energy that are not so fossil fuel-dependent is both important to the growth of the Chinese economy and the world economy, but also important to managing the challenges of climate change and environmental stewardship.
So it's a broad set of issues, but I think it is a package of issues that if we address them and address them well, you're going to continue to see the flourishing of not just government-to-government relations, but also what is really a booming commercial relationship between the United States and China.
MODERATOR: The last question from China Daily.
QUESTION: This question is for Foreign Minister Yang. We know that this year is the year of election in the United States. And I wanted to ask Foreign Minister Yang whether you are concerned that the growth of China-U.S. relationship may be subject to the adverse impact of the domestic politics of the United States, and what's your expectations of this relationship?
FOREIGN MINISTER YANG: This is a year of election in the United States. Actually, I spend more time watching U.S. television channels and reading U.S. newspapers than what I did in previous years. Actually, my worst fear is that I will be ever asked the question that who will win the election.
This said, I'm quite optimistic about the future of this relationship between China and the United States. I believe that it is the mainstream consensus among both the Democratic and Republican Parties to further grow the relationship with China.
Because we do share a lot of common interests, to better serve the interests of our two peoples and serve the fundamental interests of people all over the world, I think we need to work together to preserve this relationship and facilitate its further growth.
The Chinese side is willing to keep contact with the U.S. side in all areas. For example, just now Madame Secretary made mention of the human rights dialogue, and we are ready to resume the human rights dialogue.
We have used the various occasions to make it clear that the Chinese people enjoys full extent of human rights and freedom of religious belief, and we are willing to have exchanges and interactions with the United States and other countries concerning human rights on the basis of mutual respect, equality, and non-interference in each other's internal affairs.
We also discussed other major international issues with the U.S. side, including the Iranian nuclear issue. We believe that the Iranian nuclear is concerned, we need to continue to pursue a dual-track approach. At the end of the day, this issue can only be resolved peacefully through diplomatic negotiations. And to achieve this goal, I think the various parties concerned need to work creatively.
We are certainly willing to step up our cooperation with the United States on environmental protection and the field of energy. We believe that we do have a broad (inaudible) in our cooperation on this particular field.
I think China's position in environmental protection is known to all. And we believe that international community, China and the United States included, should work together to implement the Bali Roadmap.
The Chinese side takes product safety and food safety seriously, and we're willing to continue our discussions with the United States and other countries on this issue.
We have taken a highly responsible stance towards consumers, whether they're in China or overseas. Chinese food is safe.
And I would also like to make a few comments on the Taiwan issue. As far as this issue is concerned, we have (inaudible) followed a policy of one country, two systems and peaceful reunification to address this issue, and we're willing to do our utmost with all sincerity to work for a peaceful reunification.
Any party in Taiwan, as long as it is ready to recognize that both sides across the Taiwan Straits belong to one and the same China, and as long as they're ready to recognize this fact and reality, we are willing to have exchanges, discussions, consultations and negotiations with them, and whatever topic can be put on the table.
I've known Madame Secretary for seven years, and I would like to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks to you, Madame Secretary, for all the help you have given me. And remember that you haven't told me who will win the election.
SECRETARY RICE: I'm not going to, but are you going to give me Chinese food?
FOREIGN MINISTER YANG: I promise it is not only safe but delicious. Thank you.
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