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U.S. Secretary of State Rice and PRC Foreign Minister Yang, “Remarks,” June 29, 2008

June 29, 2008

FOREIGN MINISTER YANG: (Via interpreter.) Madame Secretary, ladies and gentlemen, I’m very happy to meet (inaudible) with Madame Secretary this evening. 

To begin with, I would like to extend a warm welcome to Madame Secretary once again. Shortly after Secretary Rice arrived in China, she went to the quake-hit area in Sichuan and met the affected people in the area. She also had cordial exchanges with the affected people in Sichuan and visited a project using assistance from the United States. I think this has demonstrated, once again, that the U.S. Government and the American people are concerned with the Chinese people in the wake of this natural disaster.

And I would like to use this opportunity to express the thanks on behalf of the Chinese Government to President Bush, to Madame Secretary, to the U.S. Government, and people from all walks of life in the United States for the vigorous support and valuable assistance given to the Chinese people in tackling the aftermath of the disaster. I’m confident that we will prevail in tackling the aftermath of the disaster.

Just now, Secretary Rice and I had constructive talks. In the talks, she and I reviewed the development of our relations over the recent period of time. And we both believe that to further the growth of the constructive and cooperative relationship not only serves the fundamental interests of our two peoples, but also contributes to peace, stability, and the development in the region and to the world at large.

We also believe that both the U.S. side and Chinese side need to further implement the agreement reached between President Hu Jintao and President George W. Bush so as to ensure the continued comprehensive growth of our relationship. And we also, in the talks, talked about the upcoming bilateral meeting between the two heads of state during the G-8 outreach session. We both believe that this upcoming meeting is very important. The two sides need to make full and comprehensive preparations to ensure that this important meeting with produce positive results.

I also talked about the Taiwan question to Secretary Rice. And we said that the U.S. side has, on many occasions, reiterated that it (inaudible) strictly adheres to the one China policy, abides by the (inaudible) U.S. Joint Communiqués and opposes Taiwan independence. We appreciate the U.S. position in this regard, and we hope that the U.S. side will strictly honor its commitment and properly handle the Taiwan question and support the peaceful development of cross-straits relations.

We appreciate the support given by President Bush and the U.S. Government to China to ensure a successful Olympic Games, and we welcome President Bush and his family, as well as Secretary Rice, to come to Beijing to watch the Beijing Olympic Games.

Both Secretary Rice and I agree that important progress has been made in the six-party talks and the denuclearization process. And we also believe that this serves the common interests of all parties. It’s been said still a lot of things needs to be done. We appreciate the important efforts made by the United States, the DPRK, and various other parties over the recent period of time. And we believe that the parties need to work together to seize the opportunity, overcome the difficulties, and implement the remaining second-phase actions in a comprehensive and balanced way, so as we can – so as to bring the six-party talks to a new state. Thank you.

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you very much, Minister, for your hospitality here, and I look forward to the continuation of our broad-ranging discussion over dinner.

I was very moved by the people of the affected earthquake area. They clearly are showing great spirit. There’s been a major effort to relocate them, and the government has worked very hard at that. Yet it was really the spirit of the people that comes through, because they are determined to restart their lives.

We do very much have a large agenda, as is befitting the United States and China. It is a relationship that needs to work well if we are to be able to address the many challenges in international politics. And so, our discussions of the six-party talks and how to move forward on verification and monitoring so that we can get to the abandonment of North Korea’s nuclear weapons and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula has been a – one of our elements of our conversation and I’m sure we will have further discussion.

I thank you also for the extensive discussion that we’ve had about Iran. We together, of course, with our colleagues from Russia, Germany, Britain and France have proposed to Iran a far-reaching set of proposals that would really help Iran to integrate into the international community, if they will only suspend their enrichment and reprocessing in accordance with several Security Council resolutions, and we are hopeful that they will do so.

We talked about many other issues. I want to say that the United States continues to be concerned about the situation in Tibet and we want to encourage the dialogue that has begun there.

The – you were kind enough to receive our Assistant Secretary for Human Rights, Democracy and Labor, and I think that David Kramer had very good discussions here. We want to continue these discussions. They are done so in an atmosphere of mutual respect. But as I’ve said to you many times, Foreign Minister, the American people care greatly and deeply about issues of democracy and human rights. And so the resumption of our human rights dialogue has been an important step.

I know that President Bush looks forward to seeing President Hu Jintao in Japan. And we’ve had a chance to talk some about their agenda, but whenever the two of them get together, they really do have wide-ranging discussions. You and I could never really structure an agenda for them because it’s a very good relationship and one that has, in the years that they have come to know each other, gathered warmth, gathered a sense of respect, and even trust. And so I look forward, and I know the President looks forward, to his meeting with President Hu Jintao.

And finally, the next time I see you, I hope I will be here to attend what I am certain will be an extraordinary Olympic Games.

MODERATOR: Thank you. The floor is now open. The first question - CCTV.

QUESTION: (Via interpreter.) Madame Secretary, I’m with China’s Central Television station CCTV. Since you took office as the American Secretary of State, you have seen a good momentum in the growth of China-U.S. relations, and our common interests are also expanding. So I would like to ask that, in your view, what will be the future course of development for China-U.S. relationship? And how do you think that the two sides can work together to ensure that this sound growth momentum will be sustained?

And we also know that in this coming August, President Bush and you yourself will come to Beijing to watch the Olympic Games. I have a specific question, that -- what kind of sports would you like to watch? And what kind of expectations do you have for that Olympic tour?

SECRETARY RICE: Yes. Well, let me start with the second part of the question. I like any sport that – because I love the competition of sports, and so I will watch almost anything. But I hope that I’ll see perhaps some basketball and some track and field. Unfortunately, my own sport was a winter game sport. I was a figure skater, and I met some of the Chinese figure skaters when I was here several times ago. But I love summer sports too, so I’m looking forward to the Olympics.

The United States and China have developed a constructive relationship. We have our differences. We have differences over issues sometimes of human rights. We have issues and differences sometimes about the pace of tactical decisions that we may take in the Security Council. But those differences have not obscured a very important fact. And that very important fact is that the United States and China simply must work together if we are going to resolve the many challenges that we face in the international community in a constructive and diplomatic manner.

And in some areas, like the Korean Peninsula, we, I believe, stand at the threshold of turning an area that has been a source of conflict into a source of cooperation. And here, I want to thank China for the leading role that it has taken in the six-party talks, for the hard work that has gone into getting as far as we are today, and to know that we will be able to draw on our strong relationship for moving forward to the total denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

MR. MCCORMACK: Janine Zacharia.

QUESTION: Foreign Minister Yang, China is a regular supplier of arms to Zimbabwe, as we saw from the ship that failed to port two months ago in Africa. President Bush said yesterday that he’s going to push for a UN arms embargo perhaps as early as tomorrow at the Security Council. Will China support an arms embargo on Zimbabwe? And, if not, what is China’s objection to it?
And Secretary Rice, if China and Russia and South Africa and others oppose the arms embargo in your discussions, will you push for a vote anyway in order to force countries to stand up and state their position? Thank you.

FOREIGN MINISTER YANG: (Via interpreter.) First, I would like to make this clarification of how long ago, it is true, and that there is a – there was a Chinese transportation vessel carrying -


FOREIGN MINISTER YANG: (Via interpreter.) Some time ago, a Chinese transportation vessel carried a very limited amount of conventional arms to try to port in – and tried to transport the arms to Zimbabwe. But this was to deliver the goods according to a contract signed long - long, long ago between China and Zimbabwe. At the request of the receiving party, the delivery was not completed.

I think now, the international community has focused their attention on the situation in Zimbabwe. The Chinese side is also following closely the developments there. The most pressing task now is to stabilize the situation in Zimbabwe. We hope the parties concerned will engage in serious dialogue to find a proper solution. China hopes the international community, African countries in particular, can play a more and constructive role in this regard. China is a responsible country who also play a constructive role in this process.

SECRETARY RICE: We will, in fact, be in the United Nations this week. We are consulting with the various members of the United Nations. And we believe that the situation has deteriorated to a very grave level, that the sham election there is likely only to bring more misery and perhaps violence. And we believe that it is really now time for the international community to act strongly, but we’re consulting about what measures might be taken.

And we are watching very carefully the outcome of the AU summit. And we hope that the AU summit will reflect the strong voices in Africa that are speaking up against the outrage that is being committed in Zimbabwe, and we hope, at the very least, that there will also be a strong caution to Mugabe not to use violence against his own people any longer. And frankly, it makes sense to deny the Government of Zimbabwe the means to conduct violence against its own people.

MR. MCCORMACK: Lachlan Carmichael.

QUESTION: Yes. Can you tell us, please, what dates you’ve set for the ministerial meeting, and also for the meeting of (inaudible) envoys to discuss the verification regime?

And finally, for Madame Secretary, the first (inaudible) Madame Secretary, how much can you really hope to achieve between now and the end of the Bush Administration in the North Korean final phases (inaudible)?

FOREIGN MINISTER YANG: (Via interpreter.) We believe that thanks to the efforts made by various parties, important progress has been made in the six-party talks. We think that it is appropriate to hold a heads of delegations meeting pretty soon. And we believe that this will be conducive to facilitating the implementation of the remaining second-place actions in a comprehensive and balanced manner, and this will also be conducive to launching the actions for the next phase.

And we believe that to hold the foreign ministers meeting of the six-party talks at an appropriate time will be conducive to preserving and strengthening the momentum we have witnessed in the six-party talks. And this will also serve to expedite the process to resolve this issue. Of course, to hold a foreign ministers meeting among the six parties, as the host, the Chinese side needs to engage in consultations with the other parties. For example, we need to consult the other parties about the goals, the agendas, et cetera.

SECRETARY RICE: Thank you. And we will see how far we get. I’ve seen momentous international events take place suddenly, I’ve seen them take a very, very long time. I don’t think there’s any way to predict, at this point.
MODERATOR: Last question. China news service.

QUESTION: (Via interpreter.) I’m with the China news service. Foreign Minister Yang, we know that this year marks the 30th anniversary of diplomatic ties between China and the United States. And this year also marks the last year of President Bush’s current term. So President Bush has been in office for more than seven years. I would like to know from you, Mr. Foreign Minister of China, how would you characterize the China-U.S. relationship over this period of time? And what is your expectation of this relationship in the future?

A second question; we know that new changes have taken place in the situation in Taiwan Strait. Under these new circumstances, what expectations does the Chinese side have of the United States in the future of this relationship between the two sides across the strait?

FOREIGN MINISTER YANG: (Via interpreter.) China’s reform and opening up started – towards the end of the year, 1978. And at the same time, Mr. Deng Xiaoping paid an important and historic visit to the United States in early 1979. Over the past 30 years, despite the (inaudible) in China-U.S. relationship, this relationship has moved forward, on the whole.

Over the past seven years, China-U.S. relationship has been on a steady course of growth. Progress has been made in our relationship across a wide range of areas. I think this is attributable to the efforts made by the leaders of our two countries, and the efforts made by the competent departments of the two governments, and our two peoples.

China and the United States have had important exchanges and cooperation in the economic, trade, scientific, technological, educational, cultural, health, law enforcement, counterterrorism, and many other areas. China and United States have also stayed in touch and conducted coordination and communication on major regional and international issues, as well as our major hot spot issues.

The course of development of our relationship over the past seven years has demonstrated that as long as the leaders of our two countries approach and build this relationship properly from a strategic and long term perspective, our relationship, with the strong support of our peoples, will continue to make progress. And this will deliver benefits, intangible benefits not only to our two peoples, but also peoples throughout the world.

Our two countries have common interests, and on quite a number of issues, we have similar views. It is also true that on some issues, we may not see eye to eye with each other and we may have different views. But these differences do not stand in the way of our exchanges and cooperation on an equal footing and on the basis of mutual respect. For example, we cooperate also on human rights issues.

China has made tremendous progress in preserving human rights, and this is witnessed by people throughout the world. But recently, we believe that the human rights dialogue between the two countries has produced positive results. And we are willing to continue the start of – of course, there is also a need for both China and the United States to introduce to one another our respective domestic situations. For example, I very much hope that my good friend from the United States will share with me, her insight into the result of the general election in the United States. Of course, she may not necessarily tell me who will win the election. (Laughter.)

FOREIGN MINISTER YANG: In clear cut terms.

FOREIGN MINISTER YANG: (Via interpreter.) And on our part, of course, we are also willing and ready to continue to introduce to our American friends about the development in Tibet so that the general public in the United States can get the true picture of what is happening. On many occasions, we have made it clear that our issue with Dalai is neither a ethnic nor a religious – still less a human rights issue. It is a issue whether national unity should be upheld and whether separatism should be allowed. And this being said, the compentent department of China’s central government is very sincere in engaging in contact and consultations with the private representatives of the Dalai side.

As a matter of fact, such contact and consultations were held not long ago between the competent authority and the Dalai’s side. And we’re willing to continue such contact and consultations. But the Dalai’s side should stop his activities designed at splitting China, and the Dalai side should stop masterminding and plotting violence and should stop disruptive activities against the Beijing Olympic Games.

As for the Taiwan question, I would like to stress that there is now a positive and good momentum in the growth of cross-straits relations. To preserve and reinforce the strong momentum of peaceful development of cross-straits relations, it is not only in the interest of compatriots on both sides of the Taiwan Strait, but also serve the interests of the United States and other countries. We hope that the U.S. side will honor its relevant commitments and do more things that will contribute to the peaceful development of cross-straits relations.

Thank you.