Monday, December 9, 1996 - 8 a.m. (EST)
[This media activity follows a Full Honors Arrival Ceremony welcoming the Minister of National Defense, General Chi Haotian, from the People's Republic of China, to the Pentagon]
Secretary Perry: In October 1994, I led a Defense delegation to China that was hosted by General Chi. This week, I have an opportunity to return his hospitality.
We scheduled meetings in Washington both with the legislative and executive branch. After the meetings in Washington, General Chi will go on a tour of military bases in the South and the West, ending up at our Pacific Command in Hawaii.
These visits will serve a very useful function as confidence- building measures -- they allow our two militaries to gain better understanding and respect for each other. This is very important to prevent either side from taking actions based on misunderstanding or miscalculations.
The importance of better understanding was emphasized by the tensions which have existed in the Western Pacific for the last two years. In fact, these tensions caused this return visit to be postponed twice. Now, we are together. We have an obligation to make the most of this opportunity.
Today we will address the serious issues which face our two countries and which face the region. When we find areas of agreement, we will establish programs to build on that agreement in the spirit of cooperation. When we find areas of disagreement -- and we will -- we will seek to resolve those areas of disagreement.
But, some of those disagreements we will not resolve. We will agree to disagree. And, in those areas, we will seek to find ways of living with that disagreement in a spirit of trust. Dealing with disagreements in a spirit of trust is important for the security and stability of the entire Western Pacific Region.
Thank you. I'd now like to introduce my colleague, General Chi.
Minister Chi: Ladies and gentlemen. It is with great pleasure that my wife, my colleagues, and I come to the United States for an official visit at the invitation of Dr. Perry, Secretary of Defense of the United States of America.
I would like to take this opportunity to express -- on behalf of my colleagues and I, myself -- my heartfelt thanks to Secretary Perry for the elaborate arrangements that he has made possible for us.
Friends, as you all know, China and the United States are two great nations that have significant differences. Therefore, to develop friendly relations and cooperation between our two countries not only serves the fundamental interest of the two countries, of the two peoples, but they are also of great importance to the maintenance of peace and stability in the Asian Pacific region and in the world as a whole.
It is precisely with this desire that we have come to the United States. As you all know, President Jiang Zemin of the People's Republic of China has put forward a 16 character guideline to develop the relations with the United States, namely to enhance trust; reduce trouble; develop cooperation; and avoid confrontation. So, it is in this very spirit that we are here to visit your country.
It is my hope that through the extensive discussion with Dr. Perry, and other military and government leaders of the United States, we will be able to enhance mutual understanding and trust and further improve and develop our state-to-state and military- to-military relations. Both sides are aware of our responsibilities, so it is our hope that through this extensive discussion we'll be able to develop friendly relations and cooperation in a wide range of areas.
Minister Chi: Let me answer your question. We have seen with pleasure the good momentum that has emerged in the development of relations between the two armed forces and between the two countries. In particular, I would mention the summit meeting between the two heads of state not long ago in Manila during which both countries reached a lot of consensus. I think that summit meeting has injected new vitality to the effort to promote a long term stable relationship between our two countries.
So, I'm convinced that through the extensive exchange of views, we'll be able to accomplish a lot, and I'm confident about the progress of the relations.
Q: I'd like to ask Minister Chi .... The United States has complained about what it calls the sale of missile and nuclear technology to Iran and Pakistan. Has China sold such technology to Iran and Pakistan? And do you intend to stop?
Minister Chi: I can tell you in a responsible manner that on this question the official position of the Chinese government has been made clear on many occasions. That is, China will do things that are conducive to peace and stability; and China will always refrain from doing things that are detrimental to peace and stability.
I think, on some such issues, the media have blown the issue out of proportion, have exaggerated the issue.
With regard to MTCR, China has voted very strictly; and our exports of equipment, arms and technology are placed under safeguards, and we also made necessary reporting to the relevant organizations.
So, some of these issues have been exaggerated, and some of these issues simply do not exist. Thank you.
Q: I've got a question for Minister Chi .... Are you going to have some agreements and documents signed during this visit and during your talks with Dr. Perry? And, what impact would this visit have on the development of military-to-military ties.
Minister Chi: The official talks between me and Dr. Perry are yet to start, but I'm sure we will have an extensive exchange of views on the issues relating to the Asia Pacific region that are of common interest and will also have exchange of views on issues that involve world peace and stability. But, I'm confident that through the talks between me and Dr. Perry, we'll be able to usher in a new stage in the relations between our two militaries. In particular, we are really discussing some programs to promote the relations between the two militaries.
Q: Dr. Perry, could you tell us how you intend to approach the issue of weapons proliferation and Taiwan, and if you believe the issue of weapons proliferation is one that has been exaggerated or made up by the media.
Secretary Perry: Weapons proliferation -- particularly, nuclear proliferation and proliferation of other weapons of mass destruction -- will be an area of discussion today. This is an area where we have disagreed in the past, and it's an area where I hope we can reach some agreement today for progress.
Nothing is more important to security and stability not only of the region, but of the entire world than two great powers -- China and the United States -- work together in a spirit of cooperation to prevent any weapons of mass destruction or the materials for those weapons from being proliferated to other countries.
Thank you very much.