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Chinese Premier, US President Meet on Ties, Int'l Issues

Visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao held talks with US President George W. Bush in the White House on Tuesday, and they exchanged views on China-US relations and some major international issues.  

China is a great civilization, a great country and a great nation, Bush said in his welcome speech for Wen on the White House South Lawn.


"My country looks forward to working with you as China increasingly takes its place among the leading nations of the world," Bush said.


Bush expressed his belief that Premier Wen's visit to the United States will push forward the US-China relationship.


In reply, Wen said, "At present, we are at a crucial juncture of carrying our relationship into the future, where we face both opportunities and challenges." He added that the changing situation has constantly added new content to China-US relations.


"The fundamental interests of our two peoples and the people across the world require that China and the United States step up cooperation, increase mutual trust, and further push forward constructive and cooperative bilateral relations," Wen said.


"We should view and handle China-US relations in an historic perspective and with strategic foresight and courage," the Chinese premier said.


The three Sino-US Joint Communiques set the guiding principles for addressing differences between the two countries and continuing broadening bilateral exchanges and cooperation. So long as the two sides continue abiding by these principles strictly and boosting cooperation, the China-US relationship will keep moving forward steadily, Wen said.


During the talks with Bush, Premier Wen said former Chinese President Jiang Zemin and Bush set the goal of developing the China-US constructive relationship of cooperation in October 2001. Wen said he, with a candid, cooperative and constructive attitude, looks forward to working with the United States to push forward the healthy and steady development of China-US relations.


On his part, Bush said it is vital to strengthen cooperation between the United States and China, and he hoped that the two countries' constructive relationship of cooperation moves forward continuously.


On the Taiwan issue, Wen noted that China's fundamental policy is "peaceful reunification" and "one country, two systems."


"We will do our utmost, with utmost sincerity, to bring about national unity and peaceful reunification through peaceful means," he said.


The Chinese premier also said China respects the desire of people in Taiwan for democracy, but China "can absolutely not accept and tolerate" the attempts of the Taiwan authorities to use democracy as an excuse and attempt to resort to "defensive referendum" to split China.


Maintaining peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait is conducive to the interests of the people on both sides of the strait, Wen said, adding that only when we oppose "Taiwan independence" firmly, can peace and stability be maintained.


The mainland of China will not give up its efforts for peaceful reunification as long as there is a glimmer of hope of resolving the issue peacefully, Wen said.


Bush said the United States understands China's concern over the Taiwan issue, adding that the US government adheres to "one-China" policy, remains committed to the three Sino-US Joint Communiques and opposes Taiwan independence.


The United States does not approve of the recent messages from Taiwan to change its status quo. The United States opposes any unilateral attempt to change the status quo of Taiwan, Bush stressed.


Referring to the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, Bush thanked China for its efforts in starting the six-party talks in Beijing, adding that the United States is willing to cooperate with parties concerned to work out a peaceful solution to the issue.


Wen said China maintains that the Korean Peninsula should be free of nuclear weapons, the nuclear issue be resolved peacefully, peace and stability on the peninsula be maintained and the security concerns of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea be addressed.


China will continue working with the parties involved to push forward the process of the six-party talks, Wen said.


Both leaders agreed that trade and economic cooperation between the United States and China has brought enormous benefits to the two peoples, and problems arising from trade issues are normal and should be handled properly.


Wen proposed five principles to ensure the sustainable and healthy development of China-US trade and economic cooperation:


l         Deepen cooperation, increase mutual benefit and achieve a win-win result;


l         Development should be put at the first priority. The problem of trade deficit should be resolved through expanded trade and economic cooperation. China hopes that the United States remove its restrictions on exports to China;


l         Build and improve trade and economic coordinating mechanisms;


l         Disputes in bilateral trade and economic relations should be settled through equal consultations instead of imposing restrictions or sanctions at every turn;


l         Do not politicize economic and trade issues.


Bush agreed with Wen on the principles. He said robust trade and economic cooperation between the two countries serves the interests of both sides.


The two leaders agreed to raise the profile of the Sino-US Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade, whose meetings will be chaired by Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi, US Secretary of Commerce Donald Evans and US Trade Representative Robert Zoellick.


Wen also briefed Bush about China's currency exchange rate mechanism and the protection of the intellectual property rights.


In a joint press conference held after their meeting, Bush and Wen spoke highly of the achievements made in China-US relations. They said that their meeting was fruitful, and the two sides share common interests in a wide range of fields and will further strengthen bilateral cooperation.


Asked whether the United States thinks Taiwan should scrap the plan to hold a "defensive referendum" in March 2004, Bush said the comments and actions by the Taiwan authorities indicate that they may unilaterally change the status quo of Taiwan, adding that the United States opposes such an intention.


Later Wen attended a luncheon in his honor hosted by Bush in the White House.


(Xinhua News Agency December 10, 2003)

Full Text of Speech by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao at a Dinner
Sino-US Cooperation Conducive to World Peace: Premier
Chinese Premier Says Mutual Interests Serve as Bedrock of Cooperation
Chinese Premier Urges US to Handle Taiwan Issue Properly
Premier Wen Makes Four Proposals to Promote Sino-US Relations
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