George W. Bush photo

The President's News Conference With President Jiang Zemin of China in Crawford, Texas

October 25, 2002

President Bush. I want to welcome the President of China to our ranch and to Texas.

I want to start off by saying how sad Laura and I are about the sudden and tragic death of United States Senator Paul Wellstone, his wife, and one of his children, as well as the death of others on that private airplane. Our prayers and heartfelt sympathy goes to their sons, their loved ones, their friends, and the people of Minnesota. Paul Wellstone was a man of deep convictions, a plain-spoken fellow who did his best for his State and for his country. May the good Lord bless those who grieve.

This is the third meeting of the President and me, and our personal relations and the relations between our two countries are strong. In our meeting, we discussed the threat posed by the Iraqi regime. China supports Iraq's strict compliance with U.N. Security Council resolutions. And today we discussed and I urged President Jiang to support a new Security Council resolution demanding Iraq fully disarm itself of weapons of mass destruction.

The President and I also discussed and expressed concern about the acknowledgment of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea of a program to enrich uranium. We agreed that peace and stability in northeast Asia must be maintained. Both sides will continue to work towards a nuclear-weapons-free Korean Peninsula and a peaceful resolution of this issue.

The United States and China are also allies in the fight against global terror, and our two countries are deepening our economic relations. It is inevitable that nations the size of the United States and China will have differences, but the President and I agree that we need to resolve our differences through mutual understanding and respect.

On human rights, I emphasized that no nation's efforts to counter terrorism should be used to justify suppressing minorities or silencing peaceful dissent. I shared with the President my views on the importance of China freeing prisoners of conscience, giving fair treatment to peoples of faith, and preserving the rights of Hong Kong citizens. I also spoke of the importance of respecting human rights in Tibet and encouraged more dialog with Tibetan leaders.

On proliferation, I expressed our continuing concerns about transfers of sensitive technologies.

On Taiwan, I emphasized to the President that our "one China" policy, based on the three communiques in the Taiwan Relations Act, remains unchanged. stressed the need for dialog between China and Taiwan that leads to a peaceful resolution of their differences.

The United States seeks and is building a relationship with China that is candid, constructive, and cooperative. We will continue building this relationship through contacts at many levels in months to come, including a new dialog on security issues.

I'm pleased to announce that Vice President Cheney will visit China next spring. The United States and China believe that a strong relationship between our nations will help to build a more peaceful world.

Thank you for coming, President Jiang.

President Jiang. Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, I just learned that one plane crashed. I would like to express my deep condolences for the loss of the Senate. And also I would like to express my condolences to the bereaved family.

I'm very pleased to visit President Bush at his ranch. I would like to thank President Bush and Mrs. Bush for the warm hospitality accorded to us. President Bush and I had a very good conversation. We exchanged views on some important issues of mutual interest. The meeting has been constructive and productive.

We all agree that China and the U.S. are two great nations sharing extensive and important common interests. The two sides should increase exchanges and cooperation in economic, trade, cultural, educational, and other fields. We should stepup dialog and coordination on major international and regional issues, and constantly move our constructive and cooperative relationship forward.

We are satisfied with our counterterrorism cooperation of the past year. We agreed to strengthen such cooperation in a two-way and mutually beneficial manner and work together against terrorism in all forms and manifestations.

We have had a frank exchange of views on the Taiwan question, which is of concern to the Chinese side. I have elaborated my Government's basic policy of peaceful unification and one country, two systems, for the settlements of the Taiwan question. President Bush has reiterated his clear-cut position that the U.S. Government abides by the "one China" policy.

We did, indeed, discuss the nuclear issue concerning DPRK. I point out that China has all along been supporter of a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula and wants peace and stability there. I agreed with President Bush that we will continue to consult on this issue and work together to ensure a peaceful resolution of the problem.

We have also discussed human rights, religion, and other issues. I told President Bush that democracy and human rights are the common pursuits of mankind and that China's human rights situation is at its best time, characterized by constant improvement. Regarding our differences in these areas, the Chinese side stands ready to continue exchanging views with the U.S. side on basis of mutual respect and seeking common ground while shelving differences, with a view to deepening understanding and enhancing consensus.

I'm confident that, so long as the two sides persist in viewing and handling their relations from a strategic height and with a long-term perspective and keep expanding cooperation and enhancing mutual trust, China-U.S. relations will be able to grow steadily and bring benefits to both peoples.

Thank you.

President Bush. Thank you, Mr. President.

I told the President that we would— asked him if we could take some questions. He said, "Sure." There will be two questions from each side. And I promised him I would do my very best to make sure that the questioners would only ask one question, if you know what I mean, Mr. Fournier [Ron Fournier, Associated Press]. [Laughter]

President Jiang said he remembered a couple of the American reporters were quick to break the one-question rule, and he asked if a fellow, Fournier, would be there. And I said, "Well, surely he won't do it this time."

Mr. Fournier. [Laughter]

Q. I understand that means I can ask each President one question? [Laughter]

President Bush. That's exactly the problem. [Laughter]

North Korean Nuclear Program

Q. I'll be glad to—I'll be glad to—your question, President Bush, is, Are you willing to negotiate with North Korea, while North Korea maintains a nuclear weapons program?

And, President Jiang, could you tell us, do you think North Korea's nuclear weapons program is a threat to your country, and, if so, how do you plan to stop it?

President Bush. See, I told you he wouldn't abide by the one-question rule. [Laughter]

Our first step, to make sure we resolve this peacefully, is to work with our friends, is to remind our friends of the dangers of a nuclear regime on the Korean Peninsula. President Jiang made it clear that China, like the United States, believes in a Korean Peninsula without nuclear weapons.

This is a chance for the United States and China to work very closely together to achieve that vision of a nuclear free— nuclear-weapons-free peninsula. And so I've instructed Secretary Powell to work very closely with his counterpart, as well as with their counterparts in South Korea and Japan and Russia, to come up with a common strategy to convince Kim Chong-il to disarm. And we look forward to working to that end.

And so to complete our—the important dialog of developing a strategy that will hold North Korea to account in terms of disarming, I'm going to be visiting with the Prime Minister of Japan and the leader of South Korea tomorrow in Mexico.

President Jiang. I can answer your question in the most clear-cut terms and most definitely that we Chinese always hold the position that the Korean Peninsula should be nuclear-weapon-free. We are completely in the dark as for the recent development. But today President Bush and I agreed that the problem should be resolved peacefully.

Thank you.

China-U.S. Relations/"One China" Policy

Q. I'm from CCTV. My first question is for President Jiang. This is your third meeting with President Bush. How do you evaluate China-U.S. relations in the past year, and how do you envisage the future of the relationship?

And also a question for President Bush. Just now you——

President Bush. It's an international problem. [Laughter]

Q. ——said that the United States supports a "one China" policy. What concrete step would you take to translate this commitment into reality?

President Jiang. In the past year, China and the United States have expanded their cooperation and enhanced mutual understanding and trust. On the whole, the relationship has enjoyed a good momentum of growth. Facts have proven once again that, despite the profound changes in the international situation and despite the differences of one type or another between China and the U.S., our two countries have more, rather than less, common interest. And the prospect of cooperation between us has become broader, rather than narrower.

President Bush. In terms of your question about the "one China" policy—"one China" policy means that the issue ought to be resolved peacefully. We've got influence with some in the region. We intend to make sure that the issue is resolved peacefully, and that includes making it clear that we do not support independence.

Holland [Steve Holland, Reuters].

U.N. Resolution on Iraq

Q. Sir, do you feel like you've got China's support for a new resolution on Iraq? And are you willing to make any more concessions in the language of a U.N. resolution, now that Russia and France have offered a watered-down resolution?

President Bush. Thank you for asking one question. [Laughter] Now I'll try to answer it.

I made it clear to the President of China that I am interested in seeing to it that the United Nations is effective—effective in disarming Saddam Hussein. That's what the United Nations has said for 11 years, that Saddam ought to disarm. And therefore, any resolution that evolves must be one which does the job of holding Saddam Hussein to account. That includes a rigorous, new, and vibrant inspections regime, the purpose of which is disarmament, not inspections for the sake of inspections.

And any resolution which will be effective must have—there must be consequences. Let me put it bluntly: There must be consequences in order to be effective. And therefore, in order for there to be consequences, we won't accept a resolution which prevents us from doing exactly what I have told the American people is going to happen. That is, if the U.N. won't act and if Saddam won't disarm, we will lead a coalition to disarm him. And we're working with all countries, particularly those on the Perm 5, to do just that.

And that's what we'll accept, something that will enable us to do precisely what I have just described and what I describe almost every day that I'm out there talking to the American people.

You tried to violate the rule, but I'm not going to let you.

China-U.S. Relations

Q. I'm from Xinhua news agency. For some time, certain people inside the United States call for containment against China. These people believe that a rising China poses a growing threat to the United States. What is your comment?

President Jiang. Given their different national conditions, it is only natural for China and the United States to disagree from time to time. Such a disagreement should be viewed and handled with a broad perspective. China has chosen a development path suited to its national conditions. It has enjoyed a rapid progress in economic growth, cultural development, and the building of democracy and rule of law, bringing tangible benefits to the Chinese people. Their quality of life and standard of living are improving.

As the biggest developing country in the world, this road is still very long before China achieves full modernization. Our central task and long-term goal remain one of economic development and improvement of people's living standards.

The Chinese people have a tradition of peace loving. China has never engaged in expansion nor sought hegemony. We sincerely desire peace all over the world. Even when China becomes more developed in the future, it will not pose a threat to others. Threats have and will continue to prove that China is a staunch force for the maintenance of world and regional peace.

Thank you.

President Bush. Thank you all very much.

NOTE: The President's news conference began at 1:41 p.m. outside the Governor's House at the Bush Ranch. In his remarks, he referred to General Secretary Kim Chong-il of North Korea; Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi of Japan; President Kim Dae-jung of South Korea; and President Saddam Hussein of Iraq. President Bush also referred to the October 25 crash of a twin engine King Air aircraft in Eveleth, MN, which took the lives of Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota; his wife, Sheila Ison; his daughter, Marcia Wellstone; campaign aides Will McLaughlin, Tom Lapic, and Mary McEvoy; pilot Richard Conroy; and co-pilot Michael Guess. President Jiang referred to the DPRK, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. President Jiang spoke in Chinese, and his remarks were translated by an interpreter.

George W. Bush, The President's News Conference With President Jiang Zemin of China in Crawford, Texas Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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