President Bush Opens China Visit
At a press conference shortly after Mr. Bush’s arrival, the two leaders said they would work together to push for negotiations between the United States and North Korea.
President Bush praised China for its “strong support” of the war on terrorism. He asked Jiang to help him make contact with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il to say the U.S. is serious about an offer to engage in talks.
“We would be willing to meet with the North Korean regime, and I asked his help in conveying that message,” President Bush said. “If [President Jiang] speaks to the leader of North Korea, he can assure him I am sincere in my desire to have our folks meet.”
Jiang also said he hoped contact between Washington and Pyongyang would be resumed.
Mr. Bush urged China to curtail weapons technology proliferation, but failed to secure Jiang’s confirmation that China would discontinue military transfers to the nations President Bush has branded “an axis of evil” — Iran, Iraq, and North Korea.
“My government hopes that China will strongly oppose the proliferation of missiles and other deadly technologies,” President Bush said.
Mr. Bush said he was hopeful the two countries could eventually reach a deal on the proposed agreement, which has been a source of friction for two years.
The United States wants China to renew its commitment to a November 2000 deal not to help any country develop missiles that can carry nuclear weapons. China, however, denies it has violated weapons proliferation commitments, and wants the United States to lift sanctions on Chinese entities accused of violating pacts.
Jiang played down differences on human rights and Taiwan, despite U.S. plans to begin selling arms to Taipei. He also said Washington and Beijing would work more closely together to stamp out terrorism, although he urged patience.
President Jiang and his heir apparent and vice president Hu Jintao both accepted invitations to visit the United States this autumn, shortly before Jiang is due to retire.