Briefing by McCurry and Steinberg

Office of the Press Secretary
(Shanghai, People's Republic of China)

For Immediate Release July 1, 1998


Portman Ritz-Carlton Hotel
Shanghai, People's Republic of China

5:48 P.M. (L)

MR. MCCURRY: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I'll do one or two program notes and some future travel that I need to get on the record so that your news organizations can sign up for future travel. and then I will turn the podium over to someone more learned than I.

First, the President was delighted to have another opportunity to address the people of China through Central China Television. We were able to arrange an interview with the President that was conducted at the Stock Exchange earlier today. The President did an interview that last about 20, minutes. My understanding is that it is going to be promoed tonight on the evening primetime broadcast of Central China Television, CCTV, because they are dealing with a lot of news from Hong Kong and President Jiang Zemin's visit. It then will air, if possible, in its entirety, at least most of it, tomorrow, and on CCTV-4 will be replayed in its entirety tomorrow.

My understanding is that CCTV is making the feed of that interview available to you and they will do what is customary in the States they'll allow you to use up to two minutes of it at your discretion for your own broadcast purposes, and they're also making a transcript of it available.

Q Is it in English?

MR. MCCURRY: The President conducted the interview in English and the translation, the interpretation of the interview, was gone over by U.S. and CCTV interpreters and they agreed on a joint interpretation so there wouldn't be any question about the quality or the veracity of the interpretation.

Q Did he make any news, Mike?

MR. MCCURRY: That's for you to judge, not for me to judge. But the answer is no. (Laughter.) I'll describe it for you. I think -- Bill, you were -- where is Nichols? You were in on it; so Bill, in the pool report, you'll get his assessment of it. But it was another opportunity for the President in a very direct, but I think a very sensitive way to make the argument for freedom and democracy in a way that he thought would most resonate with the Chinese people. And he was very pleased to have the opportunity to do that and pleased to do it in a format that will clearly reach scores of millions of people here in China.

All right, I'm going to run through a bunch of travel dates. I don't have a clue what we're doing on any of these trips, but I'll give you what I'm told I must read here.

The President will travel to Little Rock, Arkansas, July 17th through 19th. He'll spend private time with family and friends. There may be a local political fundraiser down there; no official events planned. He departs from Little Rock for New Orleans. He will be in New Orleans, Louisiana, July 19th through 20th, arriving the evening of the 19th. He will address the American Federation of Teachers Convention on the morning of the 20th and may have some other events as well.

The President of the United States of America will travel to Norfolk, Virginia, July 25th for the dedication of the USS Truman. He will then depart from Norfolk for Aspen, Colorado. The President will go to Aspen, Colorado July 25th and 26th, arriving in the afternoon of the 25th, and will participate in a DNC dinner. He will stay overnight in Aspen, attend a brunch and depart Aspen to Albuquerque, New Mexico -- Albuquerque, New Mexico, nearby Sam Donaldson's God's country --July 26th through 27th. The President will arrive the evening of the 26th.

He will RON in Albuquerque on the 26th, participate in the Social Security Conference. This is the regional fora about long-term entitlement reform that the Concord Coalition and the AARP are doing together. The next session is in Albuquerque on July 27th. He'll do some political chores down there, as well -- wouldn't miss that opportunity.

The President of the United States will go to the Hamptons July 31st to August 2nd, for a DNC dinner and DNC reception and a Saxophone Club reception; returning to D.C. The money people go to the Hamptons during the summer months, so the political people go --

Q -- says it's a long dinner, two days.

MR. MCCURRY: It's a long dinner. (Laughter.) It's a rough crowd.

Q Why is he traveling so much?

MR. MCCURRY: Why is he traveling so much? Because he enjoys getting out of the rather sulphurous atmosphere of Washington during the summertime.

Q Guess who will be testifying then.

MR. MCCURRY: The Deputy National Security Advisor to the President of the United States, Mr. James Steinberg.

Q Is this the end of your briefing or will you be back afterwards?

MR. MCCURRY: I don't know, what do you plan for me? I'll come back after Jim's done. I don't want to hold Jim up any longer.

Jim Steinberg would like to tell you a little bit about the President's trip tomorrow to Guilin. And then he is available for other subjects, too. You can set up Hong Kong if you want to. Whatever. But that and other subjects. It's a delight to have him here.

MR. STEINBERG: It's a pleasure as always. Well, speaking of sulphurous atmospheres, tomorrow the President is going to highlight our efforts in working with China on issues of energy and the environment. I think all of you will have noticed over the course of the last five or six days that even though tomorrow is a focused effort on the environment, that this is an issue which is very much on the President's mind.

I think one of the clearest and most powerful indications of that was his remarks at Beida, where he told the audience that he was going off script because he wanted to talk a little bit more about the environment, about the challenges that China faces, and about the opportunities that it presents for cooperation between the United States and China.

And again, you will have heard this morning the President in talking about economic issues, about the importance of the environment and his conviction, one, that it is a very serious problem for China -- this is a country that has five of the 10 most polluted cities in the world, that has very serious air pollution problems, very serious problems with water, both in terms of water scarcity and water pollution, and these are problems which not only affect the health of the people of China, where respiratory disease is the largest cause of death, but also has implications for the global environment, not least of which is on the issue of climate change and greenhouse gases.

And the President I think is very much aware, as are the Chinese, that the Chinese must be a part of any solution to global environmental problems. While the United States is currently the largest emitter of greenhouse gases, in the next 20 years China will become the largest emitter. And so if we're going to have any kind of solution to issues like global climate change, China needs to be a part of that.

So we will go to Guilin tomorrow, which is at the heart of one of the most beautiful parts of China, the Li River, which I have not yet seen but am looking forward to. And we will have a chance -- the President will have a chance to meet with a number of environmental experts, both Chinese national experts and some local individuals involved in the environment. And I'll say a word in a minute about those individuals who will be there.

He will, as I say, meet with these individual experts to learn more about the issues that China is facing, and then he will give remarks, talking about our own approach and our efforts with the Chinese. As part of that, the President will announce several of the projects that we are engaged in with China, including working with them to provide assistance to their nationwide air quality monitoring network -- which for those of you who have been with us will know, is a quite important issue -- and also the $50 million Ex-Im loan for clean energy projects, a contract to develop coal-bed methane resources, and an oil and gas industry forum to promote cooperation between our two countries.

We'll also launch a series of exchanges between our experts on global climate change working within the framework of the Vice President's energy and environment forum to try to make progress on the climate change issues.

I think that it's fair to say that while the challenges that China is facing are enormous, that there has been a real sea change in attitudes here. I think that if you have heard Mayor Xu over the last couple of days and heard from the Chinese themselves, that there is a growing awareness of the fact that the environmental problems require attention. Just recently Beijing has banned leaded gasoline, for example. Their efforts to upgrade home cooking and home heating issues where there's a lot of soft coal being used. And one of the most prominent features of the nightly news on television stations throughout China are reports on air quality.

One of the things that's important about that is that it is citizens themselves are now becoming empowered and active on environmental issues. And there is a growing number of environmental NGOs in China, many of whom are working with NGOs in the United States to try to develop effective strategies of involving citizens. And so, in many ways, this environment discussion tomorrow will connect up to a lot of other themes that you've heard about civil society and about the growing role of citizens in affecting their lives.

Let me just briefly describe a couple of the individuals. There will be a group of both, as I say, national experts and some local officials. And there may be some additional ones to the ones that I'm going to describe to you, but I have at least some of the individuals here. We'll put out the names tomorrow if you need specifics, but let me just briefly touch on so you get a sense of the kinds of individuals.

Ling Con Jie, who founded Friends of Nature, which is one of the first and best known environmental groups in China. He's a retired university professor and environmental activist. Zhang Hong Jun, who's an environmental lawyer who is now working for the National People's Congress on environmental issues and environmental legislation. Liao Xiaoyi, who is the founder of the Global Village Cultural Center. She's a woman who has focused on a number of the issues involved with women in the environment. She has recently traveled to the United States to film a documentary on environmental issues. Dr. Ding Zongyi, who is an expert of the effect of pollution on Children's health. Dr. Ding is the chairman of the Chinese Medical Society.

Zhou Dadi is an expert on energy efficiency and is a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is the international group of scientists who basically came up with a consensus conclusion that human activities were a factor in global warming.

And, finally, at least one of the local individuals will be there is a gentleman named Kong Fanjian, who is the founder and president of the Guilan Liquan brewery, which has its own positive environmental implications. (Laughter.) But one of the things he is most noted for is in his own industrial techniques and the equipment the he uses, he pays particular attention to the environmental side effects, for example, in terms of waste water and the like.

So the President will be briefed by these individuals and he'll give remarks and talk about the challenges before us. I think that, as I say, it really is a reflection of the growing sense of citizens being able to be active here, a theme that you've heard through a variety of issues, whether it's consumer issues, whether it's legal issues -- the sense in which there is beginning to be a grass-roots throughout China which can be a very important factor for change.

Just to briefly preview going into Hong Kong -- which I gather you'll all arrive in extremely late tomorrow evening -- we will have a chance both to meet with the government, the executive branch officials, C.H. Tung and Ansin Chan, the senior civil servant, to discuss the efforts there, one year after the reversion; and also, the following day, to meet with the democratically-elected leaders and some of the other elements of civil society in Hong Kong to show the fact that the United States continues to be active and involved and concerned about preserving Hong Kong's autonomy and strengthening democracy there.

So let me stop with that and take your questions.

Q Why is the meeting with the democratically-elected leaders of Hong Kong closed to our cameras?

MR. STEINBERG: Normally when we meet with officials like that, it's kind of standard. For example, we met with Gerhard Schroeder, the opposition candidate in Germany, recently. That's the normal practice; these are private meetings. Most of our private meetings with the officials are closed to your cameras. I don't think that's particularly unusual.

Q Any chance of getting some brief excerpts tonight?

MR. STEINBERG: We're going to work on that. I don't know whether we -- it depends a little on getting things finalized. But I understand the deadline issue and if we can do it -- my guess is tonight is going to be very difficult, but it may be possible for first thing in the morning. I understand the difficulties. And I'm not ruling it out. We will make best efforts; that's all I can say.

Q Are you planning to meet Dai Qing or any of the other environmentalists who are considered sort of dissidents?

MR. STEINBERG: Well, I think you'll see that this is a very active and outspoken group. We are not meeting with Dai Qing on this, although it's interesting, we just heard from Dai Qing just the other day, who made a remarkably warm and positive statement -- I wrote it down, but I can't seem to find it here -- about the President's remarks in Beijing, and how she said her heart was warmed by what she heard and saw. And so I think this is somebody -- again, we have a broad range of people here and we can't get everybody into this, but we're certainly in contact with her.

Q But, Jim, there have been times when the President has met with opposition leaders in which you've allowed a camera to record that event. With Martin Lee and others who were involved in the democratic movement in Hong Kong so sensitive to this --

MR. STEINBERG: There will be a photograph. We almost never do anything more than a photograph. I've been with a number of meetings with Martin Lee with other U.S. officials. This is more or less our standard practice. This is a chance to have the President talk to Martin Lee. We don't usually have these meetings before cameras.

Q Are you going to meet all the 20 members of the democratically elected legislature or are you selecting --

MR. STEINBERG: It's not all the 20, but there are a number of them. And there will also be members of sort of part of the broader civil society, like some legal officials and the like to give sort of a cross-section of those democratic forces in Hong Kong.

Q On the Hong Kong meeting, are you meeting only with people who are elected through the direct elections and excluding any of the 40 legislators who were chosen through --

MR. STEINBERG: We are not meeting with any of the 40 legislators who were chosen either by the special assembly or by the functional groups. But there will be other, non-elected individuals in the second meeting. There is a separate meeting with Martin Lee, followed by a broader meeting with a broader group which has other individuals in society. But none of them are of the 40 that were not directly elected.

Q On the environment, the U.S. has said it won't sign the Kyoto Protocol unless it gets developing countries, like China, to make commitments as well. In the events it seems that the only thing that's emerging are expert level meetings. Is that enough? What's the state of play and movement towards getting China to make commitments for things like the Kyoto protocol.

MR. STEINBERG: Just a minor initial correction. What we said is we will not submit the treaty for ratification. We've not said we wouldn't sign it, but we would not submit the treaty for ratification unless there was meaningful participation by developing countries.

This is clearly a process and we are engaging now with China because, as I said and the President has said a number of times in this trip, given China's role and the impact of emissions from China, there cannot be a solution to the global climate change program without a very active involvement with China.

There are lots of different ways that that meaningful participation can be achieved. We have not said that we expect developing countries to have the same kinds of limits that developed countries have taken on. But, clearly, if there isn't some kind of way in which countries like China take measure that will affect their global greenhouse emissions we cannot solve this problem.

And so one of the things -- for example, these clean energy projects are things that will have an impact on reducing China's emissions. We need to have, clearly, a package of activities from China and other developing countries -- it's not just China -- that will really have an impact. And we're not rigid in terms of the specific mechanism, but it clearly has to be something that we can conclude will really begin to address the program. That's what we're working on. We're clearly not there yet, but we need to do more and this is an important step.

Q -- issue of an eventual commitment with the Chinese government and how did they respond? What's your read of their response?

MR. STEINBERG: Again, I mean, what he said is that we don't seek to have identical commitments or necessarily the same kind of commitments. But we do need to have meaningful steps so that if you look at the global greenhouse gas emissions that there is an effect on global warming. And we're prepared to engage in a dialogue with them in terms of how they would take on those things -- whether it's a collection of different kinds of steps or one overall step, I think it's too soon to judge. But he very much engaged in this discussion with President Jiang and with Premier Zhu Rongje and it's been very much at the top of his mind throughout this trip.

Q The question was asked yesterday, but I think Mike McCurry was confused.

MR. STEINBERG: It's not possible. (Laughter.)

Q All right. The question is about whether the President has any plans to meet with Mr. Wang Dao-han, Jiang Zemin's mentor, and also China's top man for conducting cross- strait talks with Taiwan, in light of the President's interest in encouraging China to resume the dialogue with Taiwan?

MR. STEINBERG: I would not anticipate the President would meet with Mr. Wang. He's clearly an important element of a process which we're very supportive of and that's something that we obviously stay in touch with individuals who are involved in that process. But I would not anticipate the President would meet with him.

Q Another question. In the past, you have been involved in conducting what you call unofficial conversations with Taiwan's NSC director, Mr. Ding Mou-shih.

MR. STEINBERG: I don't know what could possibly have given you that impression.

Q Well, are you going to do it the same after this summit, because of the concern that Taiwan has expressed over the President's statement of the so-called three no policy, one China policy?

MR. STEINBERG: We have a variety of unofficial contacts with the officials in Taiwan and I expect we will continue to do so. We have a very transparent relationship with them and we think it's very important that they are very familiar with what we're doing, what our plans, what our objectives are. and in a variety of ways we will have opportunities to make that clear to them -- including through AIT, which is obviously an important channel for us.

Q If the policy is transparent, why can't you say whether you will be doing it?

MR. STEINBERG: Because I have no particular plans at the moment, but we have a variety of contacts, and we will continue to have them.

Q On the CCTV interview again, could you just tell us a little bit about how that interview came about, who requested it?

MR. STEINBERG: Can I defer that to Mike, because I have sort of a secondhand knowledge of it, but I'll just -- that will sow confusion if I try to answer the question.

Q Jim, do you have any better sense tonight as to what happened in Iraq with the Iraqi surface-to-air battery painting up the British planes?

MR. STEINBERG: David, I heard Secretary Cohen's --I don't know whether it was a press conference or just a statement -- earlier today, and I think he pretty much accurately reflected what we know, which is to say that the Tornados were illuminated; operating under our standing rules of engagement, we responded to that. We do not have any particular reason to believe that this is more than an isolated incident, but why this particular radar illuminated the aircraft at this time I just can't speculate on because we don't have a basis with which to do it.

But we have not seen other instances of it. There are no other -- and just as the Secretary said, we're not seeing SAM sites being moved or other kinds of activities that have been associated in the past when there have been greater periods of tension. So I think it's pure speculation at this point to try to guess what the basis for the decision to illuminate. But the Tornados were painted and we responded.

Q What's the final authoritative and true version of when the President was informed about this --

MR. STEINBERG: I know the President was informed yesterday. I believe it was in the early evening. I don't have the exact time.

Q Back to Taiwan, in one of the three communiques, I think the U.S. commits itself to reducing arms sales to Taiwan. As a result of this -- and I think Beijing has for some time protested that the U.S. hasn't, in fact, done this -- is there an intention now for the U.S. to begin reducing arms sales to Taiwan?

MR. STEINBERG: I wouldn't put it in those terms. I would say that we will continue to sell arms to Taiwan consistent with our law and with the three communiques. Our arms sales are exclusively defense and for the legitimate defensive needs of Taiwan. And that is something that we will continue to do.

Q Have the Chinese lived up to the second part of that communique, which is that they have to adopt a peaceful perspective on unifying with Taiwan?

MR. STEINBERG: The Chinese say that their goal is peaceful reunification. We have obviously indicated that we would like them to renounce the use of force, which they have not done. So in terms of the positive side of what they claim their policy to be, they would be consistent with the communiques, but again, what we would like to see is a renunciation of force and a commitment to subscribe exclusively to peaceful means.

Q If they renunciate force would we stop ourselves?

MR. STEINBERG: I'm just not going to speculate on that. I think that we continue to sell arms consistent with what we believe are the legitimate defensive needs of Taiwan, consistent with the three communiques and our law.

Q -- China renouncing the use of force -- did the President ever get to talk about that to President Jiang during their meeting?

MR. STEINBERG: The President talked in great detail about these issues and reiterated our longstanding positions. He didn't say anything different.

Q -- reiterate that point?

MR. STEINBERG: Absolutely.

Q To follow up on that, what do you mean then that you will reduce arms sales to Taiwan? On the one hand, you say you're going to continue the sales because they're only defensive; on the other hand, you have this commitment to reduce arms. How do you square the two?

MR. STEINBERG: We look at the overall situation and we look at the communiques in the context of what the situation is and what the legitimate defensive needs of Taiwan are. We're convinced that those are consistent with the communiques. And it's a judgment call that we have to make, but it's our judgment that that is consistent with our obligations.

Q So then do you ever see the United States in fact reducing arms sales to Taiwan?

MR. STEINBERG: I think what we're focused on, which is the first step of this process, is we'd like to see reduced tensions between the two. I think we're obviously encouraged by signs that there is a greater resumption of cross-strait contacts, and I think that that will be the place in which the impact will be felt first.

Q Is there anything more in the CCTV interview about Taiwan tonight? And if so --


Q Jim, one last one on informing the President. Does the President feel he was informed satisfactorily promptly on this matter, eight hours after the fact?

MR. MCCURRY: The President was fully satisfied with the performance of the National Security Advisor and the Deputy National Security Advisor. Given the nature of the incident, the first question the President would want an answer to is what do we know about the reasons for the incident. And they were quite unclear for some time after the incident.

Q Linda Tripp is testifying before the Washington grand jury. Has the President expressed any concern or worry about that?

MR. MCCURRY: The President has been concentrated on one trip, and it's China, not Linda. (Laughter.)

Q Oooh!

Q I'd like a follow-up. Let me just ask a follow-up.

MR. MCCURRY: I'll come back to you, Sam.

Q On Taiwan, did he ever mention -- of this issue of the many Chinese who are smuggled into the U.S. to seek political asylum on the basis of --

MR. MCCURRY: I think that Mr. Steinberg addressed most of those issues. I'm here to kind of clean up on anything else we have.

Q Yes, I had a question about the CCTV interview.

MR. MCCURRY: Yes. Prior to departing for China, you'll recall the President did a roundtable with a number of Chinese journalists. It was our sense that because of editing pressures, that interview didn't get as full coverage as it might have on China television, and we had expressed that to the Chinese side. They initiated a request to us two days ago through our embassy here, indicating that they would like another opportunity to interview the President, and they would like to do it in a format that would allow his conversation to be carried unedited at least on one of the CCTV channels and mostly in its entirety, subject to the restrictions of the program Focal, which is a short primetime news program on CCTV-1.

Consistent with what the President has been doing on this trip, reaching out to the Chinese people and making the case for our view of the synergy that exists between political freedom, freedom of expression, and economic modernization, it was an opportunity to carry that message further, and we were delighted to accept the opportunity.

Q If I could just follow up, considering the translation problems and the transmission problem with the Beida speech --

MR. MCCURRY: That's why we did it in English.

Q Is the embassy aware of whether a full transcript, properly translated, has been made available to the Chinese?

MR. MCCURRY: You may have missed me say that one of the things that CCTV agreed to was to go over the interpretation that will be used of the audio version, and I think on one of the two channels -- I'm not sure which -- they will use Chinese characters. And the interpretation of the President's remarks has been done in a way that's satisfactory to our side and has been reviewed by a U.S. government interpreter.

By the way, I looked into the other issue. The question of whether or not the interpretation of the President's Beijing University remarks was a good and accurate one, that's a source of a great deal of strong counter-arguments on the part of those who heard the translation and listened to it carefully. All up and down our interpretive services and language division folks who have looked at it, they are confident that the interpretation was a good one.

Q Mike, but was it an empathetic interpretation?

MR. MCCURRY: I don't speak Chinese, so I have no way of knowing.

Q What did they say about that?

MR. MCCURRY: They thought it was an excellent translation. There were technical problems involved with it, so you couldn't hear it a some point, but that's not the same as having any problem with the translation itself.

Q Did you insist that it run unedited and in its entirety?

MR. MCCURRY: We wanted -- we indicated that was our desire. Now, the problem is the interview ran -- it was clocked initially to fit a segment that they've got on CCTV-1 during a program called Focal -- or that's what the English edition is. The President ran a little bit over and I understand they're going to try to get the whole thing on, even though it falls -- it will go somewhat longer than what the normal time clock is for that particular program. On one of the other channels, it will run in its entirety.

Q Has the President made the decision of whether to voluntarily answer a request to testify?

MR. MCCURRY: Sam, there's nothing new for me to report on that subject.

Q Can you tell us a little bit about the private activities of the President? For instance, last night, the Mayor hosted a dinner. We didn't know about it. I learned about this reading the local newspaper.

MR. MCCURRY: Well, you should have checked the pool report. The pool that was representing the people in this room who was with the President reported on the dinner to the satisfaction of the pool last night. And we have had some, what we call off-the-record events that those in the room that are familiar with OTRs, know what that's all about and they can help

you if you don't understand that concept. But the President will do an OTR tonight and I think most of you know what it is. I'm not going to talk about it here on the record.

Q Will the President be making any kind of statement about the importance of democracy in Hong Kong, and if so, what can we expect to hear him say?

MR. MCCURRY: He will talk about the transition one year after the fact, the importance we attach to freedom of expression and the ability to express ones political beliefs, and the nature of the transformation that's occurred one year later. He'll do that, I believe, and he's got at least one public setting where he's got a chance to do that.

Q He won't have a chance to hear him use the democracy?

MR. MCCURRY: I'm not going -- I don't know what word he will use, but I wouldn't -- until I look at the speech and take a look at what he's going to say, I don't want to speculate.

Q On the issue of the meeting with Martin Lee, I can understand why there's not going to be any open coverage of the whole meeting, but what about just a photo-op at the top of the meeting?

MR. MCCURRY: I'll look into it, but I think Mr. Steinberg answered that as well as that can be answered at this point.

Q Local people are complaining that the American Consulate General shut down their visa service for a whole week just because the President is here, because of short of hand. Do you care to comment on that or take this question?

MR. MCCURRY: Well, having succeeded Mr. Boucher at the State Department as spokesman, I'm fully aware of the capacity of our Counsel General to address questions from the press, so I'll defer that to him.

Q Mike, can I get at the issue which sort of underlies the photo-op, which is, it seems as if the administration --

MR. MCCURRY: I understand the issue that underlies it and I can't help you and there's no point in us arguing about it here.

Q Mike, I'm not arguing about it. I'm saying -- MR. MCCURRY: Just ask your question.

Q Thank you. Is there an attempt by the United States not to offend the Chinese government by downplaying this visit with Martin Lee?

MR. MCCURRY: That's been asked and answered. Mr. Steinberg said that when we meet with opposition figures, we very rarely do photo opportunities. We reserve photo opportunities by and large for meetings with heads of state/heads of government, as you know. When we meet below that level, we very rarely do photo opportunities. I think everyone here knows that. That's our practice at the White House. That's certainly our practice when we're overseas. He cited a recent experience in Germany, and I don't have anything beyond that to add what Mr. Steinberg has already said.

Q Mike, I'm not asking about the photo op. I'm saying is there an attempt by the United States not to offend the Chinese government sensibilities when you go to Hong Kong?

MR. MCCURRY: There's an offense -- there's a desire by the United States to conduct our diplomatic work here consistent with what our goals and objectives are diplomatically and consistent with protocol.

Q Just to look ahead a little bit, his domestic travel schedule seems to be sending the message that he doesn't think much is going to get accomplished in Congress this year, and he might as well go and raise a bunch of money and take it to the voters in November.

MR. MCCURRY: Well, I gave you a couple of dates, mostly for convenience purposes and planning purposes and to make things easier for you during the summer when a lot of you want to plan vacation. I did you the courtesy of giving you some travel dates. I don't think I'd read a lot more into that. Obviously, from the schedule I just gave you, he's in Washington many more days than he's out of town.

Q Mike, can you tell us again when you think that this CCTV interview will air and when we'll see a transcript of it?

MR. MCCURRY: We think that we're going to be able to get the feed available to you sometime in the next several hours. It will be available; the transcript we hope will be available in and around that same time. They're negotiating right now any embargo that they'd like to have on it, but I think since they want to promote it on their show tonight and defer the full interview until tomorrow that we sort of said should make it available for broadcast now. And Nichols was there, so if you want to get a better --

Q But it's your understanding that it will air tomorrow?

MR. MCCURRY: It's our understanding that they're airing it tomorrow because they're loaded up with President Jiang Zemin's visit to Hong Kong today. And obviously we'd rather have as much time as possible available for President Clinton's remarks.

Q Mike, the First Lady has done a number of events with the Secretary of State. Is that a deliberate show of women in power doing something here or --

MR. MCCURRY: No, it's a happy coincidence that the First Lady, who's actively involved in so many issues can be joined with the Secretary of State who happens to be of the same gender.

Q You folks have asked the Chinese government to try and take some steps to remedy the Asian financial crisis. They're lowering interest rates today in Beijing -- is this part of a coordinated effort to move in that direction?

MR. MCCURRY: I think just as we would make decisions on monetary policy based on structures that exist to make those decisions with our own economy, decision-making on sensitive financial matters like that by the People's Republic are surely theirs alone to make.

Q -- you aware of --

MR. MCCURRY: I know a little bit about it and I know enough to know that they would be acting based on their own independent decision-making.

Q Does the United States have a position on whether the schedule for increasing the directly-elected proportion -- is correct -- because Lee says it should be moved ahead -- and also election of the administrative chief should be

MR. MCCURRY: If I recall correctly, I'd have to --I want to go back and check and see precisely what we've said about that in the past. My recollection is that we said it's important for them to adhere to the schedule that they have articulated if, in fact, not moving on an accelerated basis to increase the role that individuals play in making decisions about their own elected leadership.

Q Can you just put out the guidance on that?

MR. MCCURRY: Yes, I can go -- we can get whatever I've said about that.

Q Has there been any contact between Jiang Zemin and the President, for instance, over Hong Kong in the last day or so or in any other matters since you guys left Beijing?

MR. MCCURRY: I'm not aware that they've had any direct contacts since they had dinner Sunday night. We've been, obviously, numerous contacts and follow-ups on all the wealth of things that we've done here. We've got as part of this summit beyond just the meetings between the two, we've had extensive working sessions for U.S. officials at a variety of levels from cabinet level on down. And a lot of that is work that follows up what the two presidents worked on and expands and amplifies on things said in motion at the highest level.

Q The President didn't call to congratulate him on the Hong Kong --

MR. MCCURRY: I'm not aware of that, although I think they did spend some time on Hong Kong in their sessions.

Q Mike, you said that part of what the President would do in Hong Kong is to speak about the assessment and how well things have gone. In light of the U.S.-Hong Kong Relations Act --

MR. MCCURRY: We'll be talking about that in Hong Kong.

Q Has the Chinese government asked Mr. Clinton not to meet Martin Lee?

MR. MCCURRY: I'm not aware of any such requests, and obviously we are meeting him.

China Briefings - July 1, 1998

Briefing by McCurry and Steinberg

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