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Jiang, Clinton Have Frank Exchange of Views at Press Conference

Chinese President Jiang Zeming and U.S. President Bill Clinton had a frank exchange of views over human rights and Tibetan issues at a joint press conference in Beijing on June 27 following their official talks.

In response to a Xinhua reporter's question on China's stance on human rights, Jiang said "China and the United States have different views and also have common ground" on this issue, Jiang said.

The Chinese nation always respects and maintains the dignity of the human beings, he said, and today, the Chinese government solemnly announces its commitment to the promotion and the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

"I listened very carefully to what President Clinton said just now, and I noticed that he mentioned the political disturbances that occurred in Tiananmen Square in 1989 and in addressing the issue, he also gave an account of the history of Tiananmen," Jiang said.

For the people of China, he said that "we have long drawn a historical conclusion." He also said he had stated during his visits to the United States and at various international occasions that during the turmoil of 1989, had not China taken the resolute measures, it would be impossible to have a stable situation as it is today."

"No country's human rights situation is perfect," he said, adding that "fundamental changes and the tremendous achievements that have been scored in human rights in China are for all to see" since the founding of the New China.

President Clinton in his opening remark mentioned that the two countries have different views on the human right issue, while acknowledging the progress China has made in this respect.

Clinton said "this debate and discussion today have been a healthy and a good thing."

"I'm trying to have a dialogue here that will enable both of us to move forward so that the Chinese people will get the best possible result," President Clinton said.

Moreover, he acknowledged that the two countries "are working together in many areas of cooperation."

"We have developed a relationship of openness and candor," he said, noting that "when we differ, as we do from time to time, we speak openly and honestly in an effort to understand our differences and, if possible, to work toward a common approach to resolve them."

On the question of Tibet, Jiang went into details to enumerate great changes that have happened to Tibet after 1 million serfs were emancipated after the Dalai Lama left China in 1959. He also pledged guarantee to the religious freedom even though he is an atheist, communist and state president.

"Just now President Clinton also mentioned the Tibetan issue and urged dialogue with the Dalai Lama," Jiang noted.

"As long as the Dalai Lama can make public the statement and commitment that Tibet is an inalienable part of China and recognize Taiwan as a province of China, then the door to our negotiation is open," he said.

"Actually, we are having several channels of communication with the Dalai Lama. And I hope the Dalai Lama will make a positive response in this regard," Jiang stressed.

"I agree that Tibet is part of China," Clinton said. "And I can understand why the acknowledgement of that would be a precondition of dialogue with the Dalai Lama," he added.

Moreover, Jiang said he felt that President Clinton is a strong defender of the American interests and that he himself is a strong defender of the Chinese interests. But despite that, he added, they can still converse and consult each other in a very friendly manner and "this is democracy!" he said in English.

Meanwhile, "I want to explain that, actually, there are a lot of areas in which we can learn from each other," Jiang said.

During the press conference, President Bill Clinton answered questions on the Asian Financial Crisis and the Sino-U.S. agreement not to target nuclear weapons at each other's territories.

In reply to the former question, President Clinton said China has "shown great statesmanship and strength" in making a strong contribution to the stability of the entire region by maintaining the value of its currency.

The joint press conference held earlier today lasted for over 70 minutes, with more than 300 journalists both at home and from overseas attending.

Tel: (202) 328-2500 Fax: (202) 588-0032
Email: chinaembassy_us@fmprc.gov.cn


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