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Together to Build a China-U.S. Relationship Oriented Towards the New Century

Jiang Zemin

Jiang Zemin

An appropriate handling of the Taiwan question holds the key to the establishment of a China-U.S. relationship oriented towards the new century. Taiwan has always been part of Chinese territory since ancient times, and the Taiwan question has come about as a result of the civil war in China. An earlier settlement of this question and realization of the national reunification are the shared aspirations of each and every Chinese at home and abroad. The Chinese people love peace. The last thing they would like to see is fighting between fellow compatriots and brothers. "Peaceful reunification and one country, two systems" remain the basic principle of the Chinese Government in resolving the Taiwan question. We are most sincere in striving for a peaceful reunification and will do all we can to this end. The root cause of the tension across the Taiwan Straits is that some people are attempting to make Taiwan independent and separate Taiwan from China. This is something we can never allow. I have said on many occasions that as long as the Taiwan authorities recognize the one China principle, we will sit down and hold talks with them, and anything can be discussed. I could go to Taiwan or leader from Taiwan could come to the mainland for such talks. In a word, an earlier accomplishment of the peaceful reunification between the mainland and Taiwan will not damage the interests of the people in Taiwan at all. On the contrary, this will enable the two sides to work together for better development, to the benefit of the entire Chinese people.

As is known to all, the Taiwan question is the most important and sensitive question in China-U.S. relations. Our relations have experienced ups and downs and twists and turns over the decades, most of which can be traced to the Taiwan question. The U.S. governments, both Democratic and Republican, have all made clear-cut commitments on this question. That is, the United States follows a one China policy and observes the three Sino-U.S. joint communiqués. Furthermore, China and the US respect each other a sovereignty and territorial integrity, and refrain from interfering in each other's internal affairs. Once reunified with the mainland, Taiwan can still maintain its economic and cultural ties with the US. An early solution to the Taiwan question will contribute not only to a normal development of China-US relations, but also peace and stability in the Asia-pacific and the world at large.

China's accession to the WTO is necessitated not only by its own economic development but also by the development of the global economy. Last November, China and the United States signed a bilateral market access agreement pertinent to China's membership in the WTO. That was a win-win outcome. Once in the WTO, China will fulfill corresponding obligations. It will earnestly honor its commitments to further opening its domestic market, improving transparency of policy and management, protecting the rights and interests of foreign businesses according to law and improving its environment for investment and business activities. China should also enjoy its due rights as a member of the WTO. Market opening should be a two-way street. The United States should create an environment of fair competition and eliminate all the unreasonable technical barriers for China's access to the U.S. market in accordance with WTO rules. Resolving the PNTR question is an obligation that the U.S. undertakes to fulfill in accordance with the WTO rules and is also the basis and prerequisite for the implementation of the China-U.S. agreement on China's accession to the WTO. An earlier resolution of this question will be conducive to the development of the economic cooperation and trade and of the overall relations between the two countries and serve the interests of both countries.

Given the complementarity between our two economies, there is a vast potential for developing our economic cooperation and trade. We are currently drafting the Tenth Five-Year Plan for the Economic and Social Development. In the coming five to ten years, China will continue to maintain a rapid economic growth. It will make vigorous efforts for a strategic restructuring of its economy, speed up the growth of the national economy6 and social progress on the basis of information technology, facilitate the development of science, technology, education and cultural undertakings, accelerate the development of high-tech, such as the information technology, the bio-technology, the new materials technology and sophisticated manufacturing technologies, and build up the infrastructure, such as water conservancy, transportation and energy. We will also intensify our efforts for environmental and ecological protection. We are implementing the strategy to develop China's western regions in a planned and step-by-step manner, with a view to achieving a coordinated development of different regions. It is estimated that when the time comes, the import of commodities and services alone will have reached US$ 3 trillion. China's development will provide other countries in the world, including the United States, with an even broader market and tremendous opportunities for economic and technical cooperation and trade.

Both China and the United States are nuclear-weapon-states and permanent members of the UN Security Council. As such, we both shoulder important responsibilities on a series of major issues that bear on world peace and security. We both hope to see our children live in a world of security, prosperity and happiness, free from hunger, disease and fear and under the skies that are blue and tranquil. To that end, we stand ready to increase consultations and cooperation with the United States in such areas as security, non-proliferation, environmental protection and fight against international crimes. China and the United States, along with other countries of the world, should work towards the lofty goal of achieving common security for the whole world.