Interview With Hu Shuli and Huang Shan of Caixin Media Company
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
May 11, 2011
SECRETARY CLINTON: Hello, this is Hillary Clinton.
QUESTION: Hello. Good morning, Secretary Clinton. This is Hu Shuli, Editor-in-Chief of Caixin Media. Thank you so much for giving me the precious time.
SECRETARY CLINTON: You are very welcome. I’m delighted to talk to you.
QUESTION: Great. I’m here with my colleague, Huang Shan, the International Editor of Caixin Media. Should I start now?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes, please.
QUESTION: Okay. First, congratulations on getting bin Ladin.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you.
QUESTION: After his death, what change we should expect in U.S. global strategy?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first let me say that our efforts against terrorism are going to continue, and we discussed these with our Chinese colleagues during the 3rd Strategic and Economic Dialogue here in Washington. This is a problem that everyone must remain committed to eradicating, and the United States is pleased that we have a good partnership with many countries around the world.
We will be working to build the strength of individual nations like Afghanistan to be able to combat terrorism on their own, and we will work to support others of our friends like Pakistan and African countries to be able better to withstand the pressures of extremists.
QUESTION: It seems to us the U.S.-China relations took a positive turn after September 11th, partly due to the common mission in fighting terrorists. Now bin Ladin is dead, will that incur more challenges in bilateral relations?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I don’t think so. I think that having been successful in taking steps to finally bring bin Ladin to justice is a very important milestone, but unfortunately, there are still too many people who feel that they can bring about change through violence, who seek to impose their ideology or their value system on others. So although this was an important accomplishment, it is not the end of our challenges from terrorism, and we’re going to continue to work with partners around the world to combat the violence that terrorists impose.
QUESTION: So you don’t feel that would be – make – incur more challenges in this case, right?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I’m sorry, I couldn’t hear you, Hu Shuli. I couldn’t hear you.
QUESTION: So you don’t think that bin Ladin’s death will incur more challenges in bilateral relations?
SECRETARY CLINTON: With respect to China, I certainly do not.
QUESTION: Okay. But also, there’s a common – some side of that that the ties that bind the U.S. and China are deepened today, but the scope of shared interests is narrower. What do you think on it?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I think that we have broadened and deepened our relationship. Our goal has been to build a positive, cooperative, and comprehensive relationship in which both of our nations have a very open and honest dialogue about areas where we agree and areas where we do not agree, because we think that’s going to produce more understanding and build cooperation.
So I believe that our relationship now is very solid. We are addressing so many issues together. At our just-concluded dialogue, we had many government officials from both nations, plus business leaders, plus women leaders and scientists and academics, and it was a very thorough discussion on everything from energy – clean energy to agricultural productivity to increasing people-to-people connections like more American and Chinese students studying in the other country.
QUESTION: Okay. Based on what you described and what we learned about the recent S&ED, how would this new Strategic Security Dialogue between military leaders function, and how would the consultation in Asia Pacific affairs work?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first with respect to the Strategic Security Dialogue, I was very pleased that we held it for the first time this year. And it was both civilian leaders and military leaders from both of our countries sitting down across the table from each other, talking about difficult, sensitive issues. We will have differences, but what we don’t want are misperceptions, misunderstandings, and miscalculations. That’s dangerous. And therefore, we want to have as much dialogue on strategic security issues as possible, and this year we got off to a very productive start. We anticipate continuing it. I think both sides thought it was useful. And so we’re pleased by this first session.
With respect to the Asia Pacific region, both China and the United States are Pacific powers – China, on the east and the United States on the west. We both have very important interests and relationships throughout the Asia Pacific region, and we want to begin talking about how we can better understand each other, cooperate with each other, solve problems with each other. All of that will be to the benefit of both of our two countries and also to the other nations in the region who want to see China and the United States being productive together. I think it’s fair to say that with the many nations in the Asia Pacific region, they are hopeful that China and the United States will settle any differences peacefully, that we will work together on important goals like preventing or responding to disasters. So I think that it’s going to be a very positive development, and it was an idea that the Chinese side suggested and we’re happy they did.
QUESTION: Okay. Going forward, how can U.S. and China prevent some thorny issues from derailing the relationship, such as human rights?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think we have to recognize that we are two different nations based on history and experience and perspective, so we are not going to see the world the same way, we’re not going to agree on everything. That would make it very boring, I believe. So what we best can do is honestly express our opinions. Nothing is off the table, nothing is hidden; everything is to be presented and discussed. And that’s what we’ve been doing.
And so certainly from our perspective, we believe that human rights is of important interest and it’s a value of the United States. We will continue to raise it and we will listen to our Chinese partners’ responses. We will encourage progress in this area. And we think it’s very valuable to make sure that the relationship is strong and stable so that when we have areas of disagreement, which we certainly will have, that we continue our talking and our working together despite that.
QUESTION: How do you define the path of U.S.-China economic relations?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I think we have made great progress together. I personally believe that had it not been for cooperation between the United States and China, the world could have had a terrible great depression again. I think because Chinese and American leaders acted responsibly and cooperatively, we avoided that, and the world economy is slowly recovering from the very difficult times that existed when President Obama came into office.
So I believe that our economic relationship is deepening and broadening. Yesterday, we had a lunch with leading American and Chinese business leaders, and they were very open in describing to our leadership and the Chinese leadership what they thought was working and what needed to be improved. I like the level of very clear discussion and the ideas of solutions, which I think is always the best way to approach problems.
QUESTION: Okay. Thanks, Secretary Clinton. This is Huang Shan, International Editor of Caixin Media, so I’m honored to ask the last question. So the last question is simple. With respect to North Korea and Iran, did Chinese actions meet your expectations?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, we discussed both of those at length, as you would certainly expect, because they are serious problems. China and the United States have the same goal: We do not want to see the proliferation of nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula or in the Middle East. I appreciate the work that China has done with the United States in the United Nations to impose sanctions on both countries, and we are working to implement those sanctions. There is always more to be done, but we’ve made progress together.
And we are particularly focused on working with China to prevent further provocation and nuclear weapon development in North Korea. That would be extremely dangerous. So we work hard on it and we are committed to the same goal, and we must make progress together.
QUESTION: Okay. Thank you very much, Secretary Clinton, for time spent.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you both very much.
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