Remarks by President Bush and Chinese Priemier Wen Jiabao, the White House, Washington, DC, 9 December 2003

(begin transcript)

Office of the Press Secretary
December 9, 2003


The Oval Office

11:05 A.M. EST

PRESIDENT BUSH: Welcome. I will make a statement; the Premier will make a
statement. We'll answer questions, one from the American side, one from the
Chinese side, one from the American side, and one from the Chinese side.

Mr. Premier, welcome. We're going to have extensive discussions today on a
lot of issues. We've just had a very friendly and candid discussion.
There's no question in my mind that when China and the United States works
closely together we can accomplish a lot of very important objectives.

Our relationship is good and strong, and we are determined to keep it that
way, for the good of our respective peoples, and for the sake of peace and
prosperity in the world.

So, welcome, glad you're here.

PREMIER WEN: I'm very grateful towards President Bush and the U.S.
government for the kind invitation and warm hospitality.

Just now, President Bush and I had an in-depth exchange of views on
China-U.S. relationship, and on international and regional issues of mutual
interest. The discussion took place under very friendly, candid,
cooperative and constructive atmosphere, and we reached consensus on many

President Bush and I both believe that the further improvement and growth of
the bilateral ties between China and the U.S. will not only bring benefits
for the people of the two countries, but also in the interest of world peace
and stability.

Thank you.


QUESTION: Mr. President, George Gedda of AP. Given the sensitivity of the
issue, do you believe the referendum planned by the Taiwanese on March 20th
should be cancelled?

PRESIDENT BUSH: Someone needs to interpret that.

Let me tell you what I've just told the Premier on this issue. The United
States government's policy is one China, based upon the three communiqués
and the Taiwan Relations Act. We oppose any unilateral decision by either
China or Taiwan to change the status quo. And the comments and actions made
by the leader of Taiwan indicate that he may be willing to make decisions
unilaterally to change the status quo, which we oppose. Why don't you call
on somebody from your press.

Q: Premier Wen, what is the position of the Chinese government on the
question of Taiwan?

PREMIER WEN: Our fundamental policy on the settlement of the question of
Taiwan is peaceful reunification, and one country-two systems. We would do
our utmost with utmost sincerity to bring about national unity and peaceful
reunification through peaceful means.

The Chinese government respects the desire of people in Taiwan for
democracy, but we must point out that the attempts of Taiwan authorities,
headed by Chen Shui-bian, are only using democracy as an excuse and attempt
to resort to defensive referendum to split Taiwan away from China. Such
separatist activities are what the Chinese side can absolutely not accept
and tolerate.

We also want to say that so long as there is a glimmer of hope, we would not
give up our efforts for peaceful reunification. We have expressed our will
and determination to uphold national unity. This is for the very purpose of
maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits. And such stability
can only be maintained through unswerving opposition and firm opposition to
pro-independence activities.

On many occasions, and just now in the meeting, as well, President Bush has
reiterated the U.S. commitment to the three Sino-U.S. Joint Communiqués, the
one-China principle, and opposition to Taiwan independence. We appreciate
that. In particular, we very much appreciate the position adopted by
President Bush toward the latest moves and developments in Taiwan -- that
is, the attempt to resort to referendum of various kinds as excuse to pursue
Taiwan independence. We appreciate the position of the U.S. government.


Q: Mr. President, thank you. North Korea is saying they will freeze their
nuclear program if the U.S. takes them off the terrorism list and provides
fuel aid. Is this a worthwhile idea? And how are you going to get the
six-party talks going again?

PRESIDENT BUSH: Yes, well, we spent a lot of time talking about North Korea
here. We share a mutual goal, and that is for the Korean Peninsula to be
nuclear weapons-free. I thank the Premier for China starting the six-party
talks, and I will continue those talks. I think they're very important.

The goal of the United States is not for a freeze of the nuclear program;
the goal is to dismantle a nuclear weapons program in a verifiable and
irreversible way. And that is a clear message that we are sending to the
North Koreans. And we will continue to work with China and the other
countries involved to resolve this issue peacefully.

Q: Premier Wen, what's your reading of the status quo and the future
development of China's economic relationship and trade with the United

PREMIER WEN: The expansion of China's economic cooperation and trade with
the United States, as we see today, has not come by easily. Just imagine,
25 years ago, our trade was less than 2.5 billion U.S. dollars. And now the
volume has exceeded 100 billion U.S. dollars. Our economic and trade links
have been conducive to the interest of our two people and two countries.

We have to admit, though, in our economic and trade relationship problems do
exist -- and mainly, the U.S. trade deficit with China. The Chinese
government takes this problem seriously and has taken measures to improve
the situation. Soon, in a few minutes, we will have a large group meeting
with the U.S. side, and in that setting, I would make one proposal, and I
will also share with President Bush five principles we think that should
guide the development of economic cooperation and trade between China and
the U.S.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you, sir. Thank you.

(end transcript)

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