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 You are in: Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice > Former Secretaries of State > Former Secretary of State Colin L. Powell > Speeches and Remarks > 2001 > March

Remarks with People's Republic of China Vice Premier Qian Qichen

Secretary Colin L. Powell
Remarks before meeting with People's Republic of China Vice Premier Qian Qichen
Washington, DC
March 21, 2001

SECRETARY POWELL: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. It is my great pleasure to receive the Vice Premier this evening. He is a respected statesman and a welcome guest of the Bush Administration, and it is my honor to host him here this evening for talks, as well as for dinner.

His visit symbolizes the great importance we attach to strong relations in Asia, including with the People's Republic of China. We are impressed by the bold and dynamic economic reform program that the Vice Premier and his colleagues have implemented in China. We hope for the success of these ambitious and critical reforms.

We have a full agenda with China that has direct bearing on the lives of tens of millions of Americans and Chinese. I look forward to discussing with the Vice Premier ways to expand our ties that are constructive and that advance our countries' respective interests.

As a reflection of the importance of the substance of our relations, the Vice Premier will meet President Bush, Vice President Cheney, Dr. Rice, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, and will also meet with Members of Congress during his very brief stay here in the United States in Washington.

I expect that the Vice Premier and I will cover the entire globe in our discussions this evening, and I am sure we will focus on issues affecting regional stability in East Asia, in South Asia, the Persian Gulf and the Middle East.

We both want strengthened economic ties, and we want to see China's accession to the WTO as soon as possible. Accession will be a critical development for Taiwan too, and we hope that the two economies' accessions to the WTO will spur expansion of cross-Strait trade ties.

We recognize that we disagree on important issues, but I believe the best approach to a relationship such as ours is to have candid talks on every aspect of our agreement and disagreement. And so this will be the philosophy that I will take into our discussions, and I know that President Bush will take into the discussions with the Vice Premier tomorrow.

On a personal note, I look forward to my discussions with the Vice Premier to build on what I have learned about China over the 30 years since I first visited as a young lieutenant colonel infantry officer back in 1972. And now, 30 years later, I am the Secretary of State, and I have seen changes that have taken place that one could not have dreamed of 30 years ago. And so I am looking forward to learning from his wealth of experience, and I am looking forward to a very, very productive set of discussions.

And I thank you, Mr. Vice Premier, for being here. I thank you for letting me go first, but I wanted to have the honor of introducing you and welcoming you. And now I invite your comments, sir.

VICE PREMIER QIAN: Let me try to speak in English.

SECRETARY POWELL: Please, sir. We would be honored.

VICE PREMIER QIAN: Mr. Secretary, ladies and gentlemen, I am very pleased to visit the US. I look forward to having a broad and in-depth exchange of views on the China-US relations and the international issues of mutual understanding.

China-US ties are no ordinary bilateral relations, for they not only closely relate to the fundamental interests of the two countries and the well-being of the two peoples, but also bear on peace and prosperity of the Asian Pacific region, and even the world as a whole.

Today, when mankind has entered the 21st century, China and the US share more extensive common interests and important responsibility on such major issues as maintaining and promoting peace and the prosperity in the Asia Pacific region and the world at large.

We have noted with pleasure that President Jiang and President Bush have stayed in close touch through exchanges of letters and have reached important consensus on advancing the bilateral relations. President Bush has decided to attend the APEC informal leadership meeting in Shanghai in October, having the first summit meeting with President Jiang and visit Beijing. This is of very important significance for the growth of our relations in the new century.

It is in the spirit of enhancing and expanding cooperation that I make this visit at the US invitation to implement the consensus reached between the two presidents. Undeniably, we also have disagreement, but as long as both sides can stand on a higher ground and be visionary, proceed from the overall interests, view the problem in the long term perspective, see common ground and properly handle the differences, I am sure China-US relations will enjoy a healthy and steady growth.

Thank you.

SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you very much.


Released on March 21, 2001

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