And there are some events in Taiwan which really cause us grave concern. Some
people are openly campaigning for Taiwan independence and, of course, we have
also been concerned by U.S. arms sales to Taiwan and other things. We have
urged the American side to abide by the three joint communiqués between
the two countries and to stop selling weapons to Taiwan. Because people should
understand that now on the island, more and more people, even according to
opinion polls, show their support for peaceful unification and one country, two
And many people have come over to the mainland to settle down. People say in
the Shanghai area there are hundreds of thousands of Taiwanese who, according
to a recent opinion poll, they find life in Shanghai area most comfortable, and
they would like to continue to stay there, and they might like to bring their
relatives over. And I hope people will just crisscross the Taiwan Strait. In
that way, we can enhance people's knowledge of what's really going on at the
mainland, and people would like to see Taiwan do well economically as well. And
we are doing our best, because after all, blood is thicker than water. We want
to see the country reunited.
Taiwanese authorities say openly Taiwan is an independent nation, or a
sovereign nation. In your view, is that a very dangerous statement for
Taiwanese authorities to make?
It is a very dangerous statement, and I don't think that such kind of statement
has the support of the overwhelming majority of the people in Taiwan. And the
overwhelming majority of the people in Taiwan now have come to understand that
precisely because of this kind of a statement and corresponding actions, they
have caused instability across the Taiwan Strait and instability in Taiwan. And
people have lots of complaints about this policy.
Can I ask you, then, why has there been a missile build-up on China's
southern coast pointing towards Taiwan?
The kind of defensive measures that we take on the mainland are really for our
national security and territorial entirety. If people look at the text of the
three joint communiqués, [Editor's Note: see FRONTLINE's
chronology] according to the August 17 communiqué, the United
States has pledged to the Chinese side that it does not seek to carry out
long-term policy of arms sales to Taiwan and its arms sales to Taiwan will not
exceed the level of those in recent years since the establishment of diplomatic
relations between China and the United States... and then the United States
will reduce its arms sales to Taiwan over the period leading to a final
resolution. So you can see that the United States has not really abided by its
We have made very strong representation to the American side for these acts. We
think that these acts should not have happened, and we think that the United
States should stick to three joint communiqués. ... It will be in the
interest of the United States, because ultimately, China is going to be
reunited. It's the wish of the people, both in Taiwan and on the mainland. And
after China's reunification, there will be bountiful new opportunities open for
interaction between the American people and the people in Taiwan in addition to
Americans' contact with the mainland, in terms of business and other exchanges.
So I hope that the American side will really take a long-term point of view in
tackling this issue and abide by its commitment.
There are a large number of people who are committed to closer economic
links, the mini-links being set up. But what guarantees can you give to those
Taiwanese people who feel that they do not want to join with the mainland
again? Or, if they do join with the mainland, that they will not be precluded
some of the freedoms they now enjoy in Taiwan?
... Because of the lack of contact over the years and because of the propaganda
by Taiwan authorities, some people in Taiwan had many misconceptions about the
mainland. But with this increased interaction among people from both sides of
the Taiwan Strait, now I think there is increasingly more knowledge on the
island about what's going on on the mainland.
And they know it's not like what some of the elements in the Taiwan authorities
have described. They have seen the truth. Many people have come to the mainland
over the years. About 20 million people visited the mainland by turnstile
count. And I believe that now, more and more people think that the earlier the
country gets reunited, the better off they will be.
As regards what kind of freedom they will have, I would like to talk a little
about Hong Kong. Before China resumed its exercise of sovereignty over Hong
Kong, people had all kinds of questions. You look what has happened since then,
and really the people of Hong Kong are pleased with the kind of freedom they
have. And we stick by our commitment of one country, two systems. Even many
foreign governments, including Western governments, have said that China really
carries out its commitment. Of course, the situation of Hong Kong and Taiwan
are not entirely the same, so there will be even ... of all the content for one
country, two systems, and they enjoy all kinds of freedom and you won't even
see any troops there. And they will have the court of final adjudication as
[China specialist] Kurt Campbell says that, regarding China's position on
Taiwan, if the status quo remains, that this is not sufficiently acceptable to
the Chinese authorities. Is that an accurate representation?
We are talking about the reunification of China. When we are talking about
discussions between the two sides, the resumption of talks, of course we are
talking about several things. Firstly is that the recognition of the one-China
principle is the prerequisite for dialogue between the two sides. And secondly,
that this issue has to be solved, because people across the Taiwan Strait are
all very eager to see the country reunified. This is a historical trend, and I
don't think that anybody who goes against that trend can succeed.
Why was China so upset by the issue of the EP-3 spy plane incident?
I think the Chinese side has made very clear its position and the American
side, of course, also made very clear its position. It is open knowledge, and
of course, we think that China's principles stand. On the other hand, we adopt
a forward-looking attitude. We think that China-American relationship should
move forward in the interests of both sides. But China is a country which
suffered a lot in the past. China country, like the United States, jealously
guards its own sovereignty and territory, integrity and dignity. And if people
understand these principles that they apply not only to the United States, but
to China and to other countries, then they can understand the emotions of the
Chinese people on this issue.
So you do not accept still the issue ... of culpability with regard to who
hit who? Is there still a dispute in your mind between the U.S. and the
Chinese point of view on this -- or maybe not dispute, but a conflict --
between the two points of view?
Yes, I think there is still a conflict of views. And we have pointed out there
is the American spy plane that collided with the Chinese one. But we have also
said that it's an accident. But we think that the United States should respect
China's sovereignty, territory, integrity and dignity. And they should act with
these thoughts in mind; then we can really avoid troubles of this kind.
We've been told that it was almost impossible for the Bush administration to
contact your government in Beijing for a protracted period of time to clarify
exactly what the situation was on the ground. Do you believe that's an accurate
representation of the initial negotiations that went on at the time over the
China did its best, and we stayed in touch with the American side.
How important are economic trade relationships with the United
I think this relationship is important for both sides. We're really in the same
boat, because United States is the largest economy in the world and we do
export a fair amount to the United States. So this market is important for us,
and besides, we believe that the American business community and the American
people are supportive of this relationship, because the China market is also
important for the United States. And they get inexpensive labor there, but good
quality products. So that's why there is continuous American investment in
China. And United States has been exporting more to China. For instance, in the
first half of this year, their export to China has increased by about 17.9
percent, and that's very good.
It is undoubtedly true that economic development in China has been enormous,
rapid. But one of the things that has also occurred is a great disparity
between rich and poor. Is there any sense in which Chinese authorities and the
Chinese government fear instability as a result of the rapid growth in certain
urban areas, as opposed to the quite slow growth or lack of growth in some
rural areas? Could that lead to social instability?
In the last 20 years, China has been able to lift about 230 million people out
of poverty -- almost the total population of the United States -- and China is
still a developing country. So this is something unprecedented in the world.
And if you believe that people vote from their pocketbook, you have to believe
that the overwhelming majority of the Chinese people say that this government
of China is being very effective in leading the country forward.
On the other hand, this is a country of continental size, and the circumstances
surrounding economic development varies from place to place. The country cannot
really move further economically in goosestep, so we have to let some areas
develop first. On the other hand, we will try to make sure that the gap will
not be too wide, so as not to create social instability.
This is a tough issue, because China is going to join the WTO. We face both
opportunities and challenges of how to make our industry, agriculture and other
branches of our economy more capable of coping with these challenges. It's a
big issue. But I think we are on the right track. And I believe that the
government's policy of restructuring our economy in a strategic sense of
revamping the state-owned sector, of launching this develop the western power
of China's strategy, are all to the good. And in the long run, we will be able
to have closed the gap between the eastern and western powers of China, and we
will see more even development in the future.
Can you see why there appears to the American viewer a contradiction
between, on the one hand, engagement in WTO, and yet the continual clamping
down and prevention of freedom of speech and freedom of the media in China?
This is a very interesting question. ... I believe that there is a
misconception here in the West about what is going on in China in this
information age. And that's why many Americans who have come away from China
feeling that what they have seen in China is quite different from their
pre-conceived ideas. So I'm really for more information exchange between the
two sides. I would also hope that more Chinese programs will be shown on
American TV, and so far we haven't seen much. In China, proportionally
speaking, there are more programs from foreign countries.
One of the issues that Jiang Zemin addressed in his interview with the
New York Times was his justification for the lack of political
expression and the lack of freedom. He relates to the issue of social
stability. Is that something that you see as a closely knitted relationship,
that it is imperative for China to maintain social stability -- that that must
be the paramount goal during economic development?
I don't think that the president makes a linkage between freedom of speech and
the social stability in China. I believe that it has always been the Chinese
government's position that freedom of speech is important, because through
freedom of speech we can collect the wisdom of the people. On the other hand,
social stability is important. When you look at China, China has been around
for so many years, but it was only in the last 20 years or so that China opened
up to the world. China accomplished a sustained economic development.
There was so much turbulence in the past. China was invaded by other countries.
China was torn apart by the warlords in China in civil wars, and then foreign
aggression again, and so on and so forth. So that's why the Chinese people
treasure stability, because without stability there cannot be national
cohesion; there cannot be fast economic development. There cannot be
improvement of people's living standards and there cannot be peace of mind. And
I think that recent developments in the world have shown people how important
Can you explain to the U.S. audience why is it that the Communist Party is
the only party that can exist within China? And a supplementary question to
that is, is this a Communist Party? Is this a party of the people any
The Chinese Communist Party is the party which has contributed a lot to the
nation's liberation, through the reach of the nation of China. On the other
hand, there are other parties, democratic parties, about eight of them, who all
participate in the administration of state affairs. And we think that this
political consultative system is a very good one. The people need to understand
that China wants to develop itself, and we have a party which serves the
interests of the people as I've told you -- the record shows that. So why
should one change something which is good? Good for the people.
...According to the reports from last week when Foreign Minister Tang came
to Washington, he sought a clarification of "the three no's" that were
discussed between Jiang Zemin and Clinton from last year: no to Taiwan
independence, no to one China/one Taiwan, no to Taiwan joining global bodies.
Were those issues discussed last week when the foreign minister was in
I'm sorry, I cannot go into the details of the discussions. But let me say that
the three no's that you have talked about were actually already in the three
joint communiqués, because the three joint communiqués laid out
the foundation of our relationship, specifically on the Taiwan issue. It's all
On the other hand, I would like to point out what I would like to hope to see
coming out of the struggle against the terrorism, is that there will be a clear
understanding of one's country's national interests, of the need of the
international cooperation in dealing with some of the worst issues, like
terrorism, in the world. So I do believe that a strong, stable and healthy
relationship between China and the United States is in the fundamental
interests of our two peoples, and it contributes to peace, stability and
prosperity in the Asian Pacific region and in the world as a whole.
China and the United States have been cooperating in the Asia and Pacific
region Look at what the two countries have done. We work together, helping to
pull East Asia out of the economic crisis and we are consulting each other
again. And we have had very close exchanges of views about certain regions'
stability. So we think that it is good for us to work together, and we welcome
an even more constructive and positive and important role by the United States
in the Asia Pacific region.
But in Congress, as we know, there are people who see the China threat. That
mindset exists within the Pentagon ... and it exists within certain senators.
How do you deal with that mindset that still exists within certain parts of the
I would like to, in summary, point out some basic facts. First is that the
Chinese economic system is dynamic. According to IMF, China will be able to
maintain this 7 percent to 8 percent growth rate in quite a few years to come.
Second, the Chinese people are living much better, and they support the
government's policy, both the foreign policy and the domestic policy. Third,
you have a very effective leadership in China, dedicated to the people and to
the interests of mankind. Fourth, you look at China's neighbors. Our neighbors
all like to develop their relations with China. And people want to see any
problem between China and United States ... actually when there were problems
in the first half of the year, some of their leaders came to this country to
urge the American leaders to have better relations with China. And fifth,
China's policy is to develop good relations with the United States to cooperate
on issues which touch on peace, prosperity, stability in the world, and in the
Asian Pacific region.
So I think we are in a new era. People should have a new concept, and I believe
that the American people know even better now where the real threats come from.
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