[Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents Volume 38, Number 8 (Monday, February 25, 2002)]
[Pages 269-273]
[Online from the Government Publishing Office, www.gpo.gov]

The President's News Conference With President Jiang in Beijing

February 21, 2002

    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 many areas.
    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 dialog and 
cooperation, properly handle their differences, and work together to 
move the constructive and cooperative relations between us further 
    We have agreed to intensify high-level strategic dialog, 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 dialog 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 
counterterrorism 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.

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    It is my hope and conviction that today's meeting will have a 
positive impact on improvement and growth of China-U.S. relations.
    Thank you. It is your turn now, Mr. President. [Laughter]
    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 he accepted.
    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 HIV/AIDS.
    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.

National Missile Defense

    Q. 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 
    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 

China-U.S. Relations

    Q. 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 
is, 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

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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 
    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 bear 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.

North Korea/China's Role in the Coalition

    Q. 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 
    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 Chong-il last fall, urging Kim Chong-il 
to take up Kim Dae-jung's offer for discussion. That was constructive 
    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 Chong-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 
dialog. 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.

China's Economic Development/Catholic Bishops in China/Korean Peninsula/

    Q. 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,

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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 mindsets 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 opening-up 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. [Laughter] I will do my best 
to answer your question.
    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 the 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 lawbreakers 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 dialog. And we also sincerely hope that the 
contacts between the United States and DPRK will be resumed.
    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 
    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 counterterrorism, our position has not changed from 
the position I made clear to President Bush when we last met 4 months 
ago. And that is, China is firmly opposed to international terrorism of 
all forms.
    I'm very pleased to see that Afghanistan has now embarked on a road 
of peaceful reconstruction. I wish them well. I hope they

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will succeed in rebuilding their country and enjoying national unity and 
    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.

Note: The President's news conference began at 1:15 p.m. in the Great 
Hall of the People. In his remarks, he referred to Chairman Kim Chong-il 
of North Korea and President Kim Dae-jung of South Korea. President 
Jiang spoke in Chinese, and his remarks were translated by an