The President's News Conference With President Jiang Zemin of China in Shanghai, China
President Jiang. Mr. President, ladies and gentlemen, I've just had a very good talk with President Bush. This is our first meeting, and we have had an indepth exchange of views and reached a series of consensus with respect to such major issues as Sino-U.S. relations, counterterrorism, and maintenance of world peace and stability.
China and the United States are two countries with significant influence in the world. As such, we share common responsibility and interest in maintaining peace and security in the Asia-Pacific and the world at large, promoting regional and global economic growth and prosperity, and working together with the rest of the international community to combat terrorism.
China attaches importance to its relations with the United States and stands ready to make joint efforts with the U.S. side to develop a constructive and cooperative relationship.
We live in a world of diversity. Given the differences in national conditions, it is not surprising that there are certain disagreements between China and the United States. I believe that different civilizations and social systems ought to have long-term coexistence and achieve common development in the spirit of seeking common ground while shelving differences.
The Sino-U.S. relations are currently faced with the important opportunities of development. We will conduct high-level strategic dialog, advance exchanges in cooperation in economic, trade, energy, and other fields, and strengthen consultation and coordination on major international and regional issues.
I'm confident that so long as the two sides keep a firm hold of the common interests of the two countries, properly handled, bilateral ties, especially the question of Taiwan, in accordance with the three Sino-U.S. joint communiques, the relations between China and the United States will continuously move forward.
President Bush. Mr. President, thank you very much. I, too, felt like we had a very good meeting. I've come to Shanghai because China and other Asia-Pacific nations are important partners in the global coalition against terror. I've also come because the economic future of my Nation and this region are inseparable. The nations of APEC share the same threat, and we share the same hope for greater trade and prosperity.
Thank you so much for hosting this meeting. You and the city of Shanghai have done an outstanding job. Mr. President, I visited this city 25 years ago—a little over 25 years ago. Then, I could not have imagined the dynamic and impressive Shanghai of 2001. It's an impressive place, and I know you're proud. It's a tribute to the leadership of the current officials of Shanghai, as well as to your leadership as a former mayor, Mr. President.
We have a common understanding of the magnitude of the threat posed by international terrorism. All civilized nations must join together to defeat this threat. And I believe that the United States and China can accomplish a lot when we work together to fight terrorism.
The President and the Government of China responded immediately to the attacks of September 11th. There was no hesitation; there was no doubt that they would stand with the United States and our people during this terrible time. There is a firm commitment by this Government to cooperate in intelligence matters, to help interdict financing of terrorist organizations. It is—President Jiang and the Government stand side by side with the American people as we fight this evil force.
China is a great power, and America wants a constructive relationship with China. We welcome a China that is a full member of world community, that is at peace with its neighbors. We welcome and support China's accession into the World Trade Organization. We believe it's a very important development that will benefit our two peoples and the world.
In the long run, the advance of Chinese prosperity depends on China's full integration into the rules and norms of international institutions. And in the long run, economic freedom and political freedom will go hand in hand.
We've had a very broad discussion, including the fact that the war on terrorism must never be an excuse to persecute minorities. I explained my views on Taiwan and preserving regional stability in East Asia. I stressed the need to combat the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and missile technology.
Today's meetings convinced me that we can build on our common interests. Two great nations will rarely agree on everything; I understand that. But I assured the President that we'll always deal with our differences in a spirit of mutual respect. We seek a relationship that is candid, constructive, and cooperative.
I leave my country at a very difficult time. But this meeting is important because of the campaign against terror, because of the ties between two great nations, because of the opportunity and hope that trade provides for both our people.
I regret, Mr. President, I couldn't accept your invitation to visit Beijing, but it will happen at a different time.
President Jiang. Next time.
President Bush. That's right. Thank you for your hospitality.
Q. I'm a correspondent from China Central Television. Recently, there has been improvement in Sino-U.S. relations. Just now you've had your first meeting with President Bush. How would you envisage the future growth of the bilateral ties?
President Jiang. The developments of international situation has, time and again, shown that despite our disagreements of this type or that, the two countries share extensive common responsibility and interest on major issues that bear on the survival and development of mankind.
I'm pleased to note that, recently, there has been improvement in our bilateral ties. The two sides have maintained close consultation and cooperation on major issue of counterterrorism. We've also made new headway in our economic and trade fields in such exchanges and cooperation.
China and the United States are different in their national conditions, so it's normal that there are certain disagreements between us. So long as both sides respect each other, treat each other with sincerity, enhance trust through frequent exchange of views, then the disagreements can get addressed properly.
Just now, in my meeting with President Bush, we once again had an extensive and indepth exchange of views on bilateral relations. We also reached important consensus. We stand ready to work together with the U.S. side to increase our exchanges and cooperation, enhance understanding and trust, and develop a constructive and cooperative relations between us.
I'm convinced that so long as the three signed U.S. joint communiques and fundamental norms governing international relations are adhered to, and so long as the problems between us, especially the problem of Taiwan—the question of Taiwan is properly addressed, then there will be a bright future of our relationship.
Response to Terrorism/Anthrax
Q. Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you, sir, for having us here. Mr. President, do you know yet whether there is a definite link between the anthrax attacks and any foreign interests, particularly Al Qaida or Iraq? And separately, there's a report that we have special forces in southern Afghanistan now. Can you confirm that the ground war has begun?
And a quick question to our host, sir. Do you support the U.S. military action in Afghanistan, which President Bush says could last 1 or 2 years?
President Bush. First, I spent some time explaining to the President of my determination to bring people to justice that murdered our citizens. And I told the President that our Nation will do what it takes to bring them to justice, no matter how long it takes. And Ron [Ron Fournier, Associated Press], I don't know the time, but I do know the desire.
And secondly, I explained to the President that we will hold people accountable who harbor terrorists. And that's exactly what we're doing.
I will not comment upon military operations. I made it very clear from the outset of this campaign that I will not respond to rumors and information that seeps into the public consciousness, for fear of disrupting the operations that are taking place. But let me reiterate what I've told the American people and the world: We will use whatever means are necessary to achieve our objective.
Thirdly, I do not have a direct—I don't have knowledge of a direct link of the anthrax incidents to the enemy. But I wouldn't put it past them. These are evil people, and the deeds that have been conducted on the American people are evil deeds. And anybody who would mail anthrax letters, trying to affect the lives of innocent people, is evil. And I want to say this as clearly as I can, that anybody in America who will use this opportunity to threaten our citizens, will think it's funny as a hoax to put out some kind of threat, will be held accountable and will be prosecuted.
Now is the time in America—now is the time—for us to stand up against terror and for American citizens to unite against terror. And we're looking; we're on the search to find out who's conducting these evil acts.
I'm also pleased that the Government is responding very quickly, that people who have been exposed to anthrax are getting the necessary treatments. I think it's very important for people of all the world to understand that if anthrax—if people are exposed to anthrax, there is a treatment for it. And it's very important for all our governments to react and respond as quickly as possible to make sure the citizens who get exposed receive the necessary antibiotics. And we're doing that in America.
And the American people also have got to understand that we will make sure that there is ample supplies, as we deal with this evil act, that we'll make sure there's ample supplies available for the American people.
[At this point, President Bush's comments were translated in Chinese.]
President Bush. Couldn't have said it any better. [Laughter]
President Jiang. In my discussion with President Bush this morning, I've made clear that we are opposed to terrorism of all forms. And what we have done in the past has shown this attitude of ours very clearly. We hope that antiterrorism efforts can have clearly defined targets. And efforts should hit accurately and also avoid innocent casualties. And what is more, the role of the United Nations should be brought into full play.
I'd also like to make a comment on anthrax. I've also heard about it. And I think with regard to this problem, all countries should take a unanimous stand, because it's a public hazard. We should all unite and work to prevent it from spreading any further.
That's the end of the press conference. Thank you.
NOTE: The President's news conference began at 11:47 a.m. in the Western Suburb Guest House. 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 Shanghai, China Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/213661