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CNN LIVE EVENT/SPECIAL

Presidents Bush And Jiang Hold Joint News Conference

Aired February 21, 2002 - 00:16   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANNOUNCER: .... live event.

ROSEMARY CHURCH, CNN INTERNATIONAL ANCHOR: Well, that joint news conference where the Chinese President, Jiang Zemin and U.S. President, George W. Bush is getting under way right now in Beijing. Let's listen in. President Jiang is speaking first.

(JOINED IN PROGRESS)

JIANG ZEMIN, PRESIDENT OF CHINA (through translator): 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 of 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 in cooperation in such areas in such areas of 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 benefits 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 the 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 China-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 the improvement and growth of China-U.S. relations.

Now, it is your turn Mr. President.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: 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.

Now, 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 the 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 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 agree that the United States and China could cooperate more closely to defeat HIV-AIDS.

Our talks were candid, and that is 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 you 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 a circumstance 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?

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 were -- had just recently gotten out from the underneath 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 (through translator): Just now, President Bush mentioned that today marks the 30th anniversary of the first visit to China by President Bush (sic). In a 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 that, how would you characterize the relationship over the past 30 years?

JIANG (through translator): 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 the 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 serve 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 China-U.S. joint communiques, the relationship will make even bigger strides forward in the years ahead.

Thank you.

QUESTION: 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 your -- 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?

BUSH: Let me start.

We discussed the Korean Peninsula. 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 Jung Il last fall urging Kim Jung Il to take up Kim Dae Jung's offer for discussion. 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 the North Korean regime, and I asked his help in conveying that message to Kim Jung 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 and its opportunities to develop its own army as well as its own economy, its own security. So they've been helpful there as well.

Thank you.

QUESTION (through translator): I've 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 is your comment, President Jiang?

And secondly, in your opening remarks, President Jiang, you mentioned that the key to steady growth of a 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?

JIANG (through translator): We are living in a world of diversity. As two major countries with different national conditions, China and the U.S. have indeed certain disagreements, but they also share broad and important common interests.

So the old mindset which views relationships 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 the reform and (UNINTELLIGIBLE) program, China's national strengths and people's living standards have somewhat improved in recent years, yet compared with the developed countries, our economic and cultural development 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-off life to all our people.

To focus on economic development and the improvement of people's livelihood is our long-term central task. What China wants most is a peaceful and tranquil international environment with long-term stability: Do 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 raise the questions for President Bush.

When it comes to meeting the press, I think President Bush is much more experienced. 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 the 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 includes 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 interest in religion. I have read the Bible. I have 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 to 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 law breakers have been detained because of their violation of law, not because of their religious belief. Although I'm the president of this county, I have no right interfering in the judicial affairs because of judicial independence.

You also ask 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 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 resumed.

All in all, in handling state-to- state relations, it is important to resolve the problems through peaceful means, in the spirit of equality and through consultation.

And that's why I've explained our consistence and clear-cut position on the question of the 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, 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 four 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 will succeed in rebuilding their country and enjoy 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 sometimes 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 and unrelenting (ph) efforts to fight terrorism.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE (through translator): That's the end of the joint meeting with the press. Thank you.

(APPLAUSE)

CHURCH: Increasing understanding and trust in Beijing on the last stop of President George W. Bush's three nation tour of East Asia. He talked of candid and positive talks with his host, President Jiang, as he welcomed China's cooperation in the war on terrorism.

Indeed, a lot more was discussed, and he also issued an invitation to President Jiang, which he duly accepted. Now, among the other issues discussed was nuclear proliferation. Now, it was just mentioned. A lot more is expected from the Bush adminstration on this very issue. In fact, a deal is expected.

President Jiang highlighted Taiwan, and he said that this was a vital question and he looked to gradually narrow the differences between China and the United States and hoped for a positive impact in the growth of U.S.-China relations. Now, there was also much progress on discussions on the Korean peninsula and very much more was discussed too in that half-hour joint news press conference in Beijing on that last leg of President George Bush's trip.

In actual fact, I'm just getting information now that we have John King standing by in Beijing. Now, John, were present at that joint -- that joint press conference. Let's take a look, a more in- depth look at some of those main points that were raised.

JOHN KING, CNN SR. WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Well, Rosemary, a remarkable example in that room of two points. One, these leaders want this summit to go well, so there is an emphasis on being polite. You just noted yourself, both had a chance to discuss Taiwan, both could have raised a very difficult issue. U.S. plans to sell more sophosticated weapons to Taiwan. Mr. Bush didn't raise it, nor did President Jiang. Simply saying he hoped, over time, to slowly resolve the differences.

Twice President Jiang ignored questions from U.S. reporters about religious freedoms in this country and the imprisonment of some Roman Catholic bishops, yet, at the very end of the news conference, he came back to that issue himself, and he said that he has no personal religious faith, himself, but he has studied the Bible and the Koran and other scriptures. But he also tried to distance himself, if you will, by saying, anybody under detention is in the hands of the judicial system and that as president, Mr. Jiang said, he had no role in that.

A great deal of symbolism around this summit because of the timing. It was 30 years ago, to the day, Richard Nixon made the landmark trip here by a U.S. president. Both leaders trying to put an emphasis on stability, looking far ahead. That is why they emphasised broad agreement, if you will. You see the reception here in the Great Hall, the two presidents walking by a review of the troops.

As you noted, they talked very cooperatively about the Korean peninsula. Mr. Bush saluting President Jiang for reaching out to Kim Jung Il and urging him to resume a dialogue with the North. Both leaders have differences in the war on terrorism as well. But U.S. officials believe, most of all, what the Chinese want right now, is a period of stability. They are going through massive economic upheaval, joining the World Trade Organization. There will be a succession here at the end of the year. President Jiang stepping aside. So they believe President Jiang does not want any trouble, if you will, in his relations with the United States right now, and President Jiang said so, himself. He said, "What China wants most of all is peaceful stability in its international affairs." Rosemary?

CHURCH: John, let's look at expectations on this particular trip. Not only to China but indeed, wider than that, but more specifically, to China, the White House had actually said that it was expecting a deal on nuclear proliferation. That's not going to come out of this, is it?

KING: No, we do believe by tomorrow we should get a statement, a communique out of this summit meeting. U.S. officials telling us they are very hopeful that China will agree to fully enforce an agreement that was struck back in November 2000, setting export controls on certain missile technology. The United States has, twice in the last six months, sanctioned Chinese companies that it says are violating that agreement by exporting missile technology, especially to Iran and to Pakistan.

U.S. officials say President Bush has, as a major goal here, to get a Chinese committment to fully enforce that. What the Chinese have said is that these are independent businesses, Chinese enterprises, making these sales. What the Bush administration is saying is that the central government of China has the power and the authority to set up a more detailed, more enforcable export control system. And we are told, there is great anticipation that there will be such an agreement over the next 24 hours.

Mr. Bush, we are told, also has one other goal. There has been some indication from U.S. officials that the Chinese view the U.S. crackdown on terrorism as analogous to some of their own crackdown internally against groups like the Falon Gong, against Muslims living in rural sections of China. Mr. Bush wants to make clear, in the U.S. view, there is a very big difference between a war on international terrorism and cracking down on internal political dissent. Rosemary? CHURCH: Well, John, let's quickly turn to the question of Taiwan. Now, President Jiang referred to that as a "vital question." And, of course, it has great potential difficulties for both the United States and China. Let's look at how far they got with that particular issue.

KING: Well, we will see what the final communique says. President Bush very muted in his language. That will be welcomed by the Chinese leader. Remember, the One China Policy of the United States was struck when Richard Nixon came here 30 years ago, to the day. Under that policy, the United States recognizes China, the mainland, as the country of China, but it also has responsibilities under what, in the United States, is called the Taiwan Defense Act. Responsibilities to defend Taiwan and to sell it missiles or any other technology it believes necessary for Taiwan to defend itself.

The next big question for the United States will be, should it sell Aegis style cruisers to Taiwan. Those cruisers have a missile defense technology. China believes taht would be a provacative sale. But Mr. Bush is saying, in private, at this summit, we are told, is the United States would not have to go ahead with such a sale, if China would reduce the levels of missiles on the other side of the Taiwan Strait, pointed toward Taiwan, and develope more conciliatory language.

U.S. officials say they are very encouraged, of late, by the language of the Chinese government. But the details to be discussed by the two presidents, that is the biggest issue when it comes to Taiwan. Just what systems, weapons systems, will the United States sell next? Rosemary.

CHURCH: All right. White House Correspondent John King, thanks for that. He's travelling with President George W. Bush.

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