China Reaffirms Support for Anti-Terrorism

Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan reaffirmed on Thursday that the Chinese people stand by the American people and the entire international community in the fight against terrorism.

Speaking at a dinner party sponsored by the US-China Business Council and the National Committee on US-China Relations, Tang said the attacks in New York and Washington have "not only brought disasters to the American people, but also posed a challenge to people everywhere."

"On September 11 while accompanying Premier Zhu Rongji on a visit to Russia, I saw on TV that unbelievable scene...I felt such pain in my heart when I saw the familiar World Trade towers collapse and claim so many lives, and (had) great indignation at these terrorist crimes," he said.

"We care about the progress of rescue efforts and are ready to provide all necessary assistance," he added.

Tang pointed out that the tragic event shows that international terrorism has become a serious threat to world peace and stability. "International cooperation is both necessary and pressing" and " China stands ready to enhance dialogue and cooperation."

Immediately after New York and Washington fell victims to the violent terrorist attacks on September 11, Chinese President Jiang Zemin sent a message of sympathy to US President George W. Bush offering his sympathy and condolences. The two leaders held a telephone talk on the issue the following day.

Tang arrived in Washington DC on Wednesday for a two-day visit to pave the way for President Bush's visit to Beijing following the Asia- Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Shanghai next month.

The meetings between the two presidents and Bush's trip to China "will have a far-reaching impact on the course of our future relations," Tang said.

"The development of China-US relations over the years has shown that there are no insurmountable barriers between us. Though we may differ on a given issue, our common interests far outweigh our differences. The key to a sound relationship is to deepen mutual understanding and build up mutual trust," he said.

Tang revealed that China and the United States will soon resume dialogues on human rights, one of the major controversial issues that divide the two nations.

He said that China has always been committed to safeguarding and improving human rights and also greatly improved democracy and rule of law.

"Several hundred million people in rural areas have participated in direct elections at the grassroots over the past three years. Many foreign friends, including Americans, have seen such elections with their own eyes.

In China, the basic rights of the citizens are fully protected by law. Naturally, they must also abide by law," Tang said.

Referring to the Taiwan issue, Tang stressed that China stands for peaceful reunification, but cannot sit by idly in face of any attempts to split the island from China.

"As long as the Taiwan authorities agree to resolving the Taiwan question on the basis of one China, we can wait patiently," he said.

Tang said that once reunified with the mainland, Taiwan may retain its own economic system and way of life, manage its own party, political and military systems, and enjoy judicial independence without turning the power of final adjudication to Beijing.

(Xinhua News Agency 09/21/2001)

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