WASHINGTON -- Following are excerpts from a joint news conference Wednesday by President Clinton and President Jiang Zemin of China, as transcribed by the Federal News Service, a private transcription company. Mr. Jiang's remarks are through an interpreter unless otherwise indicated.
MR. CLINTON: Good afternoon. Mr. President, let me again say how pleased we are to welcome the leader of a great people with a remarkable civilization, history and culture, a people now with its focus on the future.
Your visit gives us the opportunity and the responsibility to build a future that is more secure, more peaceful, more prosperous for both our people.
To that end, I am pleased that we have agreed to regular summit meetings. I look forward to visiting China next year. . . .
We also have agreed to high-level dialogues between our Cabinet officials on a full range of security matters.
And we will connect a presidential hot line to make it easier for us to confer at a moment's notice.
China and the United States share a profound interest in a stable, prosperous, open Asia.
We've worked well together in convincing North Korea to end its dangerous nuclear program.
Today President Jiang and I agreed we will urge Pyongyang to take part in four-party peace talks with South Korea.
We also agreed to strengthen contacts between our militaries, including through a maritime agreement, to decrease the chances of miscalculation and increase America's ties to a new generation of China's military leaders.
A key to Asia's stability is a peaceful and prosperous relationship between the People's Republic of China and Taiwan.
I reiterated America's long-standing commitment to a one-China policy. . . .
I told President Jiang that we hoped the People's Republic and Taiwan would resume a constructive cross-strait dialogue and expand cross-strait exchanges.
Ultimately, the relationship between the P.R.C. and Taiwan is for the Chinese themselves to determine, peacefully.
President Jiang and I agreed that the United States and China share a strong interest in stopping the spread of weapons of mass destruction and other sophisticated weaponry in unstable regions and rogue states; notably, Iran.
I welcome the steps China has taken and the clear assurances it has given today to help prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons and related technology.
On the basis of these steps and assurances, I agreed to move ahead with the U.S.-China agreement for cooperation concerning the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.
It will allow our companies to apply for licenses to sell equipment to Chinese nuclear power plants subject to U.S. monitoring. . . .
In both China and the United States, trade has been a critical catalyst for growth.
China is the fastest-growing market in the world for our goods and services.
Tomorrow, Boeing will sign a contract for the largest sale of airplanes to China in history: 50 jets valued at $3 billion. This contract will support tens of thousands of American jobs and provide China with a modern fleet of passenger planes.
Still, access to China's market remains restricted for many American goods and services. Just as China can compete freely and fairly in America, so our goods and services should be able to compete freely and fairly in China.
The United States will do everything possible to bring China into the World Trade Organization as soon as possible, provided China improves access to its market. . . .
This is a broad agenda in which China and the United States share important interests that we can best advance by working together.
But we also have fundamental differences, especially concerning human rights and religious freedom.
I am convinced the best way to address them is directly and personally, as we did yesterday and today, and as we will continue to do until this issue is no longer before us. . . .
MR. JIANG: Ladies and gentlemen, a while ago I had an in-depth exchange of views with President Clinton on China-U.S. relations and of international and regional issues of mutual interest.
The meeting was constructive and fruitful.
President Clinton and I have agreed on identifying the goals for the development of a China-U.S. relationship oriented toward the 21st century. The two sides believe that efforts to realize this goal will promote the fundamental interests of the two peoples and the noble cause of world peace and development.
We both agree that our two countries share extensive common interests in important matters bearing on the survival and development of mankind, such as peace and development, economic cooperation and trade, the prevention of the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and environment protection.
Both sides are of the view that it is imperative to handle China-U.S. relations and properly address our differences in accordance with the principles of mutual respect, noninterference in each other's internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit; and seeking common ground, while putting aside differences.
Q. President Jiang, for the past few years you have reiterated once and again that we need to take a long-term perspective and we should view China-U.S. relations from the perspective of the 21st century. Therefore, Mr. President, what measures will the Chinese Government make, and how can a sound and stable relationship between China and the United States be brought into the 21st century?
MR. JIANG: Your question reminded me of the first meeting that President Clinton and I had in Seattle when we agreed that we need to work to bring a world of prosperity, stability and peace into the 21st century.
The meeting that I had with President Clinton during my current trip to the United States was the fifth one that we had with one another.
However, my visit is the first by a Chinese head of state to the United States in 12 years.
And this shows that both sides are working together in taking many specific measures to achieve this goal. . . .
There are a lot of works from ancient Chinese literature and culture describing the view that one should scale a great height in order to have a grander sight.
And the development of modern science and technology also told us that if you have a greater height, you can see farther into the long distance. . . .
Q. We are told that you have asked even last night for the release of some political dissidents and the Chinese have not done so. Is it acceptable for China to refuse even such a modest gesture?
MR. CLINTON: Well, first of all, we had a long discussion about human rights.
We discussed a lot of issues related to human rights, every conceivable aspect of it.
And we have profound disagreements there.
But that does not mean that this visit should not have occurred or that we don't have a big interest in continuing to work together.
After all, this interest that we have in working with China relates to the fact that we have common values and common interests related to preserving peace, to growing the economy, to stopping the spread of dangerous weapons.
We have an agreement to fight narco-trafficking.
We have an agreement to work together on the terrific environmental challenges we face right across the board.
And so I think that you have to see this meeting in the context of that. But you shouldn't in any way minimize the steep differences that still remain between us over that issue.
Q. I'm with the People's Daily.
I have a question for your Excellency, President Jiang Zemin.
Why is the Taiwan issue the core issue in China-U.S. relations?
MR. JIANG: The three Sino-U.S. joint communiques all covered the question of Taiwan because this question is involving the sovereignty of the People's Republic of China. The late Mr. Deng Xiaoping proposed the system of "one country, two systems" for the settlement of the Taiwan question and for the accomplishment of peaceful reunification of China, and this is the only correct policy.
However, we also are saying that we do not commit to renounce the use of force, but this is not directed at the compatriots in Taiwan but rather at the external forces attempting to interfere in China's internal affairs and at those who are attempting to achieve separation of the country or the independence of Taiwan.
I am very happy that I discussed this issue in clear-cut terms with President Clinton during my current trip, as we have done in our previous meetings.
And I believe the joint statement that the two sides are going to release will also carry explicit explanations on the Taiwan issue.
Q. Mr. President -- a question actually for both Presidents.
The shootings in Tiananmen Square were a turning point in U.S.-Chinese relations and caused many Americans to view China as a repressive country that crushes human rights. President Jiang, do you have an you have any regrets about Tiananmen? And, President Clinton, are you prepared to lift any of the Tiananmen sanctions? And if not, why not?
MR. JIANG: The political disturbance that occurred at the turn of spring and summer in 1989 seriously disrupted social stability and jeopardized state security. Therefore, the Chinese Government had to take necessary measures according to law to quickly resolve the matter to insure that our country enjoys stability and that our reform and opening up proceed smoothly.
The Communist Party of China and the Chinese Government have long drawn the correct conclusion on this political disturbance. And facts have also proved that if a country with an over 1.2 billion population does not enjoy social and political stability, it cannot possibly have the situation of reform and opening up that we are having today. . . .
MR. CLINTON: To answer your question, first on the general point, I think it should be obvious to everyone that we have a very different view of the meaning of the events at Tiananmen Square.
I believe that what happened and the aftermath and the continuing reluctance to tolerate political dissent has kept China from politically developing the level of support in the rest of the world that otherwise would have been developed.
I also believe, as I said in my opening statement, that over the long-run, the societies of the 21st century that will do best will be those that are drawing their stability from their differences; that out of this whole harmony of different views there is a coherence of loyalty to the nation. Because everyone has their say, it enables people to accept, for example, the results of the elections that they don't agree with.
And so we have a different view.
The depth of the view in the United States, I think, is nowhere better exemplified than in the so-called Tiananmen sanctions. We are the only nation the world, as far as I know, that still has sanctions on the books as a result of the events of eight years ago.
Now, you ask a specific question. Our agreement on nuclear proliferation issues allows me to lift the sanction on peaceful nuclear cooperation. It is the right thing to do for America. This is a good agreement.
It furthers our national security interests. China is to be complimented for participating in it.
And the decision is the right one.
The other sanctions, which cover a range of issues, from OPIC loans to crime control equipment and many things in between, under our law have to be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
So as a result of our meeting today, the only Tiananmen Square sanction which is being lifted is the one on peaceful nuclear cooperation, and it is a good thing for America, a good thing for China.
And I applaud the Chinese side for the work they have done with us on this specific nuclear issue.
It's a substantial step forward for us.
MR. JIANG: I would like to speak a few words in addition to this question. Our two countries have different geographical locations, and we are also thousands of miles apart geographically. We also have different historic and cultural traditions, different level of economic development and different values. Therefore, I believe it is just natural for our two countries to hold different views on some issues.
Now people in the world are standing at the turn of the century, when we're going to bring in the 21st century, and science and technology have developed significantly as compared with, for instance, the period when Newton lived. And I also believe that the world we are living in is a rich and diverse one; and therefore, the concepts on democracy, on human rights and on freedoms are relative and specific ones, and they are to be determined by the specific national situation of different countries. And I am also strongly of the view that, on such issues as the human rights issue, discussion can be held on the basis of noninterference in the internal affairs of a country.
And it goes without saying that, as for the general rules universally abided by in the world, China also abides by these rules.
. . .
Naturally, I am also aware that, in the United States, different views can be expressed, and this is a reflection of democracy. And therefore I would like to quote a Chinese saying which goes, "Seeing it once is better than hearing about it 100 times." I have also got my real understanding about this during my current trip. However, I don't believe this will have any negative impact on our efforts to approach each other.
MR. CLINTON: Let me -- I just have to say one other thing.
First of all, the United States recognizes that on so many issues China is on the right side of history.
And we welcome it.
But on this issue we believe the policy of the government is on the wrong side of history.
There is, after all, now a universal declaration of human rights.
The second point I'd like to make is that I can only speak from our experience.
And America has problems of its own which I have frankly acknowledged.
But in our country I think it would amaze many of our Chinese guests to see some of the things that have been written and said about me -- -- my family -- -- our Government, our policies. . . .
And yet after all this time I'm still standing here, and our country is stronger than it was before those words were uttered six years ago. . . .
Q. Mr. President, I have a question for both President Jiang and President Clinton.
President Clinton, you stated your position with regard to Taiwan, that this is a question for the Chinese people to resolve. But we all understand you have brokered peace in Bosnia, in the Middle East.
Do you see any role for the United States to play in the securing of a permanent peaceful environment in the Taiwan Strait? . . .
My question to President Jiang is about the cross-strait dialogue.
President Clinton said that he has urged President Jiang to resume the interrupted dialogue.
I wonder if President Jiang will respond positively and take some measures to resume the dialogue as soon as possible.
MR. CLINTON: Well, first of all, I think the most important thing the United States can do to facilitate a peaceful resolution of the differences is to adhere strictly to the one-China policy we have agreed on; to make it clear that within the context of that one-China policy, as articulated in the communiques and our own laws, we will maintain friendly, open relations with the people of Taiwan and China, but that we understand that this issue has to be resolved and resolved peacefully, and that if it is resolved in a satisfactory way, consistent with statements made in the past, then Asia will be stronger and more stable and more prosperous. That is good for the United States, and our own relations with China will move onto another stage of success.
I think the more we can encourage that, the better off we are. But I think in the end, since so much investment and contact has gone on in the last few years between Taiwan and China, I think the Chinese people know how to resolve this when the time is right.
And we just have to keep saying we hope the time will be right as soon as possible.
Sooner is better than later. . . .
MR. JIANG: To answer your question in rather brief terms, all in all, our policy is one of peaceful reunification and one-country/two-systems. And as for more detailed elaboration on that, a few years ago, I made my eight-point proposal along that line, and at the just-concluded 15th national congress of the Chinese Communist Party, I also delivered a report which gave a rather comprehensive elaboration on this. Therefore, I will not repeat them here. . . .
Q. Mr. President, could you elaborate a little bit more on your decision to approve these reactor -- or to permit reactor sales? It's certainly something that raised concerns by some members of Congress.
And also, could you just describe what kind of commitments you've received from China? Are they actually written?
MR. CLINTON: Well, let me say, first of all, I am completely convinced that the agreements we have reached are sufficiently specific and clear that the requirements of the law will be met and that the national security of the United States will be advanced, and that we will have greater success in our global efforts to keep nuclear technology and other dangerous weapons from falling into the wrong hands, as a result of the agreement we have made with China. . . .
Q. Mr. President, the United States and China are inevitably big powers in the Pacific. Are you comfortable with the size of America's military presence in Asia? I'd also like to ask President Jiang if he would view a reduction of American troops in the region as a step towards improving relations.
MR. CLINTON: The question you ask of me, the answer is simple.
I believe that our presence in the Pacific, where everyone knows we have no territorial or other destructive ambitions, is a stabilizing factor. And it will lead us to greater partnerships in meeting common security threats in the years ahead. . . .
Q. . . .
Yesterday Beijing has announced its invitation for Russian President Boris Yeltsin to visit Beijing. And today the heads of state of China and the United States have announced here in the United States to establish a constructive and strategic partnership between China and the United States. Therefore, I would like to have your comment -- the two Presidents -- your perception concerning the triangular relationship between China, the United States and Russia.
MR. JIANG: I don't see much contradiction in this aspect, for I am coming here to the United States this time at the invitation of President Clinton for what is our fifth meeting with one another, and therefore, we are already old friends.
And so am I with President Yeltsin with Russia. And I still remember that in the spring of 1995, the three of us met in Moscow. Therefore, I don't see much contradiction in this regard.
And we should all commit ourselves to building a peaceful and beautiful new century.
MR. CLINTON: During the cold war, we were all three suspicious of each other and we tried to play each other off against the other.
So when Russia fought with China -- argued with China, we were very happy.
Today we must look to the future. Russia has a strong democracy. Its economy is coming back.
We are working with Russia in Bosnia and in other places around the world.
In land mass, it is the largest country in the world; it is a rich country.
It is a European country and an Asian country. And both China and the United States should have good relations with Russia, and then the three of us should work together on matters of common concern. This is not the cold war.
We need to be looking to the future and a different set of relations.
Q. Mr. President, and Mr. President, I wonder if you specifically had a chance to raise the cases of the two leading political dissidents in China -- Wang Dan and Wei Jingsheng -- with President Jiang and ask for their release?
And to President Jiang, why not simply release these political prisoners? And also, why not allow greater religious freedom in Tibet, which has become such an emotional issue here in the United States as well?
MR. CLINTON: First, as Mr. Berger I think has already told you, my answer to that question is, I discussed every aspect of this issue in great detail.
MR. JIANG: To be frank with you, President Clinton discussed all these relevant issues with me.
And I just want to state here that I am the President of the People's Republic of China, not the chief judge of the Supreme Court of China. And as for the issues such as the one concerning Wei Jingsheng, this involves China's criminal law and will be resolved gradually according to the legal procedure by the court of China.
As for the issue concerning religion in Tibet, in China people have the freedom to exercise their different religious beliefs. However, on this question I believe religious freedom in Tibet and the evaluation of criminal law are issues within different framework. . . .
Q. My question is for President Clinton.
In China, sometimes we are confused by American policy to China.
We know there are sections in Congress which are friendly to China.
So, as President, how do you coordinate the unbalance to have a unified policy to China? Is there any elements to damage effective Sino-U.S. relationship?
MR. CLINTON: Well, let me say -- make a general point first.
It is very important that we understand each other so that if we have a difference, it's a real difference and not a misunderstanding.
Therefore, in dealing with the United States, unless there is some clear signal to the contrary, you should assume that a statement by the president, the vice president, the secretary of State, the secretary of Defense, the secretary of the Treasury, the National Security Adviser, the Trade Ambassador -- the people in our direct line of authority, they represent our policy.
We need the support of important people in Congress, and much of the leadership does support this administration's China policy.
But I think it would be a mistake to think that the United States has no unified China policy because individuals or groups in the Congress disagree with it.
We do have a lot of disagreement; we have had for eight years now -- ever since 1989.
Until we resolve all these issues, in that sense our relations will never be fully normal, but we have to keep pushing forward. . . .
Q. My question is for President Jiang. . . .
Officials in the delegation have suggested that the protesters who have protested Chinese policies in Tibet, are in many cases, young people, students who have been misguided and misinformed by a Hollywood-led campaign. Sir, if that is so, and if we take to heart your old Chinese saying that "seeing once is worth hearing a hundred times," would you be willing to invite either a senior delegation from the United States Congress or a group of international journalists to travel to Tibet and to see for themselves?
(Interpreter, in Chinese, says "travel to China" instead of "travel to Tibet," and members of audience say "to Tibet.")
MR. JIANG: I do indeed -- would like to welcome more people to go to Tibet and see with their own eyes.
Compliments of Proposition One Committee