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Exchange With Reporters Prior to a Meeting With Foreign Minister Qian Qichen of China

November 30, 1990

Q. Mr. President, has China atoned for Tiananmen Square?

The President. Have they what?

Q. Have they atoned for Tiananmen Square?

The President. Well, I think the Chinese Government knows that we have some differences on this whole broad question of human rights, but we have many things in common. And one good thing is, we have a very frank relationship with this Foreign Minister and an ability to discuss things openly. He's got some problems with some things, perhaps, we've done, and in this area there are some differences. But that's one of the purposes of this kind of meeting -- is to reduce these differences and to go forward.

We've worked closely on the broad concept of stopping aggression. And of course, that is something that we have in common with this very important country, China. So, I'm looking forward to full discussions with this Foreign Minister.

Q. Are you thinking of eliminating sanctions?

The President. We're going to discuss a wide array of questions, and I think it will go very well. And, as I say, both sides are trying to strengthen and build on this relationship that both recognize as important. And I will have every opportunity to express to the Foreign Minister, and I expect he will report that back very accurately to the leaders in Beijing, how strongly I feel on some of these questions. And he'll have every opportunity today to present China's views on these important questions.

I'm always inclined to emphasize the positive. And there are many positive and very important aspects to this relationship -- very important. And not the least of which is that China and the United States have made common ground in terms of standing up against aggression. And that is important to every American; it is important, I think, to the Chinese side as well.

Mr. Fitzwater. Lights. Thank you.

The President. Thank you, guys. It's been a great pleasure. [Laughter]

How many brave souls are going to South America? All right. Rest up.

Note: The exchange began at 1:30 p.m. in the Oval Office at the White House. Marlin Fitzwater was Press Secretary to the President.

George Bush, Exchange With Reporters Prior to a Meeting With Foreign Minister Qian Qichen of China Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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