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MAY 14, 1998
Mr. Chairman, thank you for the opportunity to give the members of the
Senate Foreign Relations Committee an update on the state of US-China
relations. Secretary Albright has received your letter dated April
27th in which you raise specific concerns about US-China policy. The
Secretary deeply regrets that she is unable to appear before you
herself today and hopes that she will have the opportunity to continue
her dialogue on US-China relations with this committee in the near
future. In the meantime, Secretary Albright has asked that I represent
her this morning to address your concerns and outline where we are in
our relationship with the PRC.
Mr. Chairman, since I last testified before this committee in
September of 1997, we have made encouraging progress in many aspects
of our relationship with China. From Jiang Zemin's state visit last
October through Secretary Albright's recent trip to Beijing, we have
worked hard with our Chinese counterparts to identify areas of common
interest and to achieve progress on issues of concern.
Given the priority that you have attached to a number of human rights
issues, Mr. Chairman, let me turn to this set of issues first.
Progress on human rights has been a vital component of our engagement
with China. Just six months ago members of this committee as well as
the international community at large had grave concerns regarding the
health and status of two of China's most prominent political
dissidents, Wei Jingsheng and Wang Dan. Against a backdrop of
intensive dialogue with the United States and continued, public U.S.
criticism of China's human rights record, the Chinese authorities have
released both Mr. Wei and Mr. Wang on medical parole and have
permitted some other dissidents to depart China. China has also signed
the UN Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights and has
pledged to sign the UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
President Jiang Zemin also recently hosted a delegation of U.S.
religious leaders, and the Chinese government has agreed to follow up
this visit with further dialogue and exchanges. These exchanges can
and do produce results, as the release from prison just this week of
Bishop Zeng Jingmu has demonstrated.
None of this is to suggest that human rights abuses in China are a
thing of the past. On the contrary, we have reported to Congress that
China continues to deny or curtail many fundamental freedoms. But the
steps the Chinese have taken within the space of just a few months are
nonetheless significant, and we will continue to push our human rights
dialogue forward in the expectation of greater progress on these
issues in the future.
As with our dialogue on human rights, we similarly pressed the Chinese
for progress on non-proliferation. They have responded by taking
concrete steps towards strengthening their export control regimes, and
in so doing have contributed to regional and global stability. The
Chinese have: committed to phase out nuclear cooperation with Iran and
to refrain from assisting unsafeguarded nuclear facilities anywhere;
implemented strict, nation-wide nuclear export controls; issued a
State Council directive controlling the export of dual-use items with
potential nuclear use; joined the Zangger NPT exporters' committee;
signed and ratified the chemical weapons convention and adopted
chemical export controls. These steps build upon the progress that
this and previous administrations have made in integrating China into
international control regimes and signify the PRC's growing acceptance
that the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction is not in its
own interests.
China's emergence on the world economic stage is of major significance
to the United States, and as our widening trade deficit with the PRC
demonstrates, we have a significant interest in working towards an
open Chinese economy that is integrated into a rules-based trade
regime. WTO accession is intended to do just that, ensuring meaningful
access for U.S. companies in the growing China market. But WTO
accession for any applicant is a complex and lengthy process, and
Chinese accession can only come on a fully commercial basis. We
believe that the reforms and openings that China must undertake to
gain membership are fundamentally in China's interest as well as our
own and thus are committed to working with China to advance this
common goal.
In this context, we are encouraged by recent indications from Premier
Zhu that China remains committed to working towards a WTO agreement
and by the momentum that appears to have been established in USTR
Barshefsky's latest round of negotiations in Beijing. We also welcome
the responsible measures China has taken in the wake of the Asian
financial crisis, particularly its commitment not to devalue in the
face of regional depreciations. In light of your strong feelings
regarding the future of Hong Kong, Mr. Chairman, it is worth noting
that Hong Kong was a primary beneficiary of this policy.
As in other areas, there is still a long road ahead in addressing all
of our bilateral economic concerns. While we are working with the
Chinese on the challenge of WTO accession, we are pressing them to
take steps to adders our growing trade deficit. The key is increasing
U.S. exports to China. We are encouraged by steps, such as the $3
billion dollar Boeing contract signed at the October summit, and hope
that we will be able to make further progress in the months ahead.
Movement forward on the areas I just indicated -- human rights, non
proliferation and economic cooperation -- has been made within the
broader framework of a deepening strategic dialogue between the United
States and China. Over the course of the past year, we have expanded
the breadth and scope of our strategic dialogue with China, and Korea
policy is one area where this expanded dialogue has yielded results.
Peace on the Peninsula is as fundamental a strategic interest for
China as it is for the United States. The heightened risk of
instability in the North due to its prolonged food crisis, moreover,
poses as much a security threat to the PRC as it does to our own
troops and allies, and thus we share a common interest in working
together to defuse tensions and deter aggression.
Still, despite such common cause, many observers speculated that
historical ties to the North might prompt Beijing to play spoiler and
thus complicate our efforts to deal with the DPRK. Thanks to the
strategic dialogue we have been cultivating with the Chinese, however,
the PRC has defied such expectations and emerged as a partner in the
promotion of peace and stability on the Peninsula. China worked
closely with the United States to bring North Korea to the negotiating
table last fall and now sits with us at the four party talks in the
common pursuit of a permanent peace. China chaired the most recent
North-South negotiation, which we wholeheartedly support, and is
proactively addressing the humanitarian crisis in North Korea through
substantial, ongoing food and fuel donations. These efforts have been
complementary to our own and have contributed to the security and
stability of the entire region.
Mr. Chairman, the above are not exhaustive examples of the fruits of
engagement but rather highlights of the progress we have made in just
the past eight months. We are moving forward with China in other areas
as well, on issues as diverse as rule of law, energy and the
environment, and law enforcement. I want to make clear that we are
neither satisfied with nor complacent about this progress; there are
issues on which we have admittedly made less headway as well as
significant areas of contention on each of the fronts in which I noted
On that note, Mr. Chairman, let me turn now to the specific concerns
you raised in your letter to Secretary Albright. First in regards to
suspicion that China violated its promise not to proliferate nuclear
material by arranging to ship chemicals necessary for the conversion
of uranium to Iran, let me assure you that we share your concerns
about such troubling reports. China is a major producer of nuclear,
chemical, and missile related equipment and technology and we must be
vigilant in our monitoring to ensure China's adherence to its
Although I am limited as to what I can say on this in open testimony,
let me explain to the committee in broad terms how this case was
resolved. After receiving reports of the alleged transaction, we
immediately approached the authorities in Beijing. The Chinese
responded by conducting an investigation into the allegations, after
which they assured us that although contacts had been made, no
transfer of such chemicals had taken place or would be permitted to
take place. Should you wish to discuss this issue in greater detail,
Mr. Chairman, I would be happy to arrange a time to do so at your
convenience in closed session.
I would like to make the point, however, that this case is
illustrative of how engagement with China enables us to deal with new
challenges. Regular contacts and dialogue between the United States
and China provide a mechanism for dealing with problems as they arise.
As for your concerns regarding the Administration's attitude toward
Taiwan, let me take this opportunity to categorically deny that
progress at the summit will be achieved at Taiwan's expense. Despite
widespread rumors to the contrary, there will be no 'fourth
communiqu,' regarding Taiwan arms sales. The reason for this is quite
simple, Mr. Chairman: our position regarding Taiwan is clear and
unchanged. We remain committed to our unofficial relationship with
Taiwan in accordance with the three U.S.-PRC joint communiqu,s and the
Taiwan Relations Act, and continue to support the peaceful resolution
of the Taiwan issue. Our efforts to improve relations with the PRC are
intended to strengthen peace and stability in East Asia and in that
sense will benefit the region as a whole, including Taiwan.
Furthermore, the record shows that tensions across the Taiwan Strait
are lowest when US-China relations are strong. In that regard, we are
encouraged by signs of a renewed willingness on both sides of the
Strait to resume their dialogue. Last month representatives from the
PRC's ARATS and Taiwan's SEF, the two "unofficial" organizations which
carry out direct contacts between Beijing and Taipei, met in Beijing
for two days of talks, marking the first real step towards the
resumption of formal cross-Strait dialogue since Beijing suspended the
talks in June 1995. We welcome this new development and firmly believe
that improvement in cross-Strait relations is in both parties' best
interests as well as that of the entire region.
The third issue you raised in your letter, Mr. Chairman, is that of
the state of democratic freedoms in Hong Kong. As we noted in our
April 1, 1998 update of the Hong Kong Policy Act report, many aspects
of the transfer of autonomy to the people of Hong Kong have gone well.
Still, while the overall transition from a colony under the British
crown to a special autonomous region under Chinese sovereignty has
been smooth, we recognize as you have in your letter, Mr. Chairman,
that serious areas of contention remain. A new election law has been
passed that will lead to a legislature that is less representative
than the 1995-97 Legislative Council, and other colonial era laws have
been adapted to grant immunities to certain Chinese government
We are troubled by these developments and have not hesitated to share
our concerns with officials at the highest levels in Hong Kong.
President Clinton himself candidly conveyed to Tung Chee Hwa his
disappointment with changes in the election laws late last year, and
Secretary Albright and other senior U.S. officials have repeatedly
advocated free, fair, and fully representative elections as well as
the maintenance of Hong Kong's judicial and legal autonomy.
The last issue raised in your letter, Mr. Chairman, is the lack of
tangible progress towards resolution of the Tibet issue. Tibet
continues to be a priority for Secretary Albright. She discussed a
number of Tibet-related issues in Beijing last month and pushed hard
for the resumption of dialogue with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. It is
worth noting that the Dalai Lama himself has publicly stated support
for U.S. engagement with China, expressing his firm belief that such
engagement keeps the pressure on while keeping channels of
communication open.
We share your concerns about the degradation of Tibet's unique
cultural, linguistic and religious heritage and will continue to press
the PRC for progress on the ground. Secretary Albright made it very
clear during her recent trip to Beijing that President Clinton intends
to discuss Tibet during his upcoming visit.
As a final note, Mr. Chairman, I'd like to address the problem of
organ trafficking. We have shared a personal dialogue on this issue
before, and as I stated in recent correspondence with you on this
issue, we are working to ensure that the Chinese government
understands in no uncertain terms that the allegations of organ
trafficking are a key human rights issue for us. At the same time, we
are continuing to press authorities in Beijing in an effort to ensure
compliance with their own regulations. These regulations, as you know,
require prior consent for the use of an executed prisoner's organs and
prohibit the sale of organs for profit. We will continue to push for
greater transparency in these areas and for improvements in China's
legal system that would better safeguard individual rights and due
process. Per your request, Mr. Chairman, I met with Harry Wu to
discuss this issue, at which time I made a standing offer to meet with
him again at any time. In the meantime, should any additional
information regarding organ trafficking come to your attention, Mr.
Chairman, I hope that you will share it with me so that I may continue
to pursue this matter.
As the Secretary indicated in her remarks in Beijing, and as I have
tried to give the members of this committee a sense of in my
testimony, engagement with China is producing results. Our broad goal
has been to work toward the emergence of a China that is stable and
non-aggressive; that tolerates differing views and adheres to
international rules of conduct; and that cooperates with us to build a
secure regional and international order. We have made significant, if
uneven, progress with the Chinese on all of these fronts, and in so
doing have contributed to an ongoing process of change within China.
Our candid dialogue on every aspect of the relationship will continue
as we prepare for the June summit in Beijing, and I expect that we
will continue to make progress, however modest, on various fronts.
More importantly, we will continue to engage the Chinese long after
the summit, expanding areas of cooperation, dealing forthrightly with
our differences, and advancing American interests and values.
(end text)

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