June 11, 1998


China will choose its own destiny. But we can influence its choice by making the right choice ourselves -- working with China where we can and dealing directly with our differences where we must. Bringing China into the community of nations rather than trying to shut it out is the best way to advance our own interests.

President Bill Clinton
June 11, 1998

Today, President Clinton speaks about U.S.-China relations and the goals and objectives of his upcoming trip to China. The President addresses areas of mutual national interest, including stability in Asia, the prevention of weapons proliferation, and environmental protection. The President also discusses areas of disagreement between the two nations, and why continued United States engagement on these issues is crucial.

Building Ties To Strengthen America In The 21st Century.China already the world's most populous nation, is also a growing economic giant and a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. A stable, open, and prosperous China that assumes its duty for building a more peaceful world is profoundly in America's interest. The best way to encourage the emergence of China in this way is to work cooperatively where possible while dealing forthrightly about differences. The United States and China are working together in key areas, including:

Promoting Stability in Asia. China has played an important stabilizing role in Asia:

Working To Stop The Spread Of Weapons Of Mass Destruction. In the past decade, China has joined the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Biological Weapons Convention and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, each of which contains clear reporting requirements and inspection systems. China has also agreed to stop assistance to Iran and Pakistan on their nuclear programs. The President will continue to press China for assistance on non-proliferation, and seek stronger controls on the sale of missiles, missile technology, dual-use products, and chemical and biological weapons.

Partnership In Combating International Drug Trafficking And Organized Crime. Last month, a special liaison group that President Clinton created with President Jiang of China brought together leading American and Chinese law enforcement officials to set up cooperative efforts against organized crime, counterfeiting, and alien smuggling. Next month, the Drug Enforcement Agency will open its first office in China.

Helping China Develop Environmental Strategies. China faces daunting environmental problems that could spread beyond its borders -- all of its major bodies of water are polluted, and respitory illness is the number one health problem for Chinese citizens. One year ago, Vice President Gore launched a dialogue with the China to help them pursue growth and protection of the environment. The President will explore with President Jiang how American technology can help improve air quality and bring electricity to more of China's rural residents.

Encouraging Open Global markets. China is one of the fastest growing markets in the world and the United States exports $13 billion in goods to China. We must continue to press the Chinese governments to open goods, services, and agricultural markets, work toward Chinese inclusion in the World Trade Organization, and renew normal trade treatment for China.

Engagement Of China In Areas Of Disagreement Serves America's Interests. By integrating China into the community of nations and global economy, helping its leadership understand that greater freedom profoundly serves China's interests, and standing up for our principles, we can most effectively serve the cause of democracy and human rights in China. Our message remains strong and constant. Do not arrest people for their political beliefs -- release those who are in jail for that reason; resume your dialogue with the Dalai Lama; allow people to worship when, where and how they choose; recognize that our relationship will not reach its full potential as long as the Chinese people are denied fundamental human rights. Engagement, not isolation, is the best way to make a difference on human rights and religious persecution.

Shaping A More Prosperous And Peaceful Future. The more we share our ideas with the world, the more the world comes to share America's ideals. By continuing to work with China in areas of agreement, and dealing directly with our differences we help ensure Chinese inclusion in the community of nations.

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