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Exchange With Reporters Prior to Discussions With President Jiang Zemin of China in Auckland, New Zealand

September 11, 1999

Situation in East Timor

Q. Mr. President, on East Timor, what's the next step for the U.S. and the international community, now that Indonesia seems to be failing to stop the violence there?

President Clinton. Well, today we suspended all military sales and continue to work to try to persuade the Indonesians to support the United Nations' operation to go in and help to end the violence and secure the safety of the people there. And that's what we have to continue to do.

I think the United Nations will support such an endeavor if the Indonesians will request it. And I think it is imperative that they do so. And I think we're making headway.

Q. Is there any time frame for that? Is there any kind of deadline on that?

President Clinton. Well, I think you'll see a development here in the next couple of days. I think something will happen. I'll be surprised if it doesn't. We're working—not just the United States, people all over the world are working very hard on it. And I think people in Asia are very concerned about it.

China-U.S. Relations

Q. Mr. President, how are U.S.-Chinese relations now?

President Clinton. Well, I don't want to speak for President Jiang, but from my point of view, I'm eager to get on with it and have this meeting. [Laughter]

Q. Will you be able to get a WTO deal, sir?

President Clinton. Certainly hope so.


Q. Mr. President, what's your message when it comes to Taiwan?

President Clinton. My message is that our policy has not and will not change. We favor one China. We favor a peaceful approach to working out the differences. We favor the cross-strait dialog. Our policy has not changed, and it will not change.

Q. President Jiang, are you sticking with your threat to use military force against Taiwan, sir?

President Jiang. Our policy on Taiwan is a consistent one. That is, one, peaceful unification, one country-two systems. However, if there were to be any foreign intervention, or if there were to be Taiwan independence, then we would not undertake to renounce the use of force.

NOTE: The exchange began at 5:18 p.m. in the Drawing Room at the Government House. A tape was not available for verification of the content of this exchange.

William J. Clinton, Exchange With Reporters Prior to Discussions With President Jiang Zemin of China in Auckland, New Zealand Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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