Presenter: Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen
July 12, 2000 10:00 AM EDT
July 12, 2000, 10:00 a.m.
(Remarks at the Ministry of National Defense, Beijing, China)
Secretary Cohen: Let me indicate to you how pleased I am to return to China. This, I think, marks my ninth visit that began back in 1978. There is an ancient philosopher who said that one cannot step into the same river twice. And I might say that one cannot visit the same China twice. There are so many vast changes that have taken place since I first came here some 22 years ago. And it is perhaps symbolic that as we have now entered into the new century, that we are also holding this meeting in a new building which I think symbolizes the kind of transition certainly that China has made during the past generation.
While there is a tendency to focus on issues that are in contention, I think that you and I and all of our delegations agree that there are many, many issues in which we have mutual interest in working together on a cooperative basis. And for that reason, we look forward to the extended discussions that will follow in a moment.
The important thing is that throughout good times and bad that we always maintain the ability to have constructive dialogue and to be able to sit across from one another to discuss issues openly, frankly, honestly and in a very positive and constructive dialogue.