"Assessing the Zhu Rongji Visit"
Testimony of Stanley O. Roth
Assistant Secretary of State for
East Asian and Pacific Affairs
House International Relations Subcommittees on
Asia and the Pacific
International Economic Policy and Trade
Wednesday, April 21, 1999
Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2172
Mr. Chairman, thank you for the invitation to address this joint
hearing of the Asia and the Pacific Subcommittee and the International
Economic Policy and Trade Subcommittee on the subject of Premier Zhu
Rongji's recent visit to the United States.
It is my understanding that USTR's Amb. Barshefsky briefed you
yesterday on the details and status of the WTO accession agreement.
Consequently, I would like to focus my remarks this afternoon on the
broader context of Premier Zhu's visit.
On April 7 the President gave a speech that explained in depth our
approach to dealing with China. With your permission, I want to place
the text of that speech into the record of this hearing.
In addition, last February, within a broader overview of U.S. policy
toward Asia, I had the opportunity to discuss with you the
Administration's policy toward China. I won't repeat myself here
today, but am happy to respond to any questions you might have.
The Zhu Visit
Premier Zhu's visit was an outgrowth of our 1997 agreement to
regularize high level contacts between the United States and China.
Discussions between leaders should be a normal, routine feature of
relations between major countries like the U.S. and China, which serve
to help us understand each other better and lay the groundwork for
As the President's extended 90 minute joint press conference with
Premier Zhu indicates, the Administration's dialogue with Zhu touched
on the full gamut of issues. Not surprisingly, given Zhu's expertise
and interests, economic issues took a very high profile during his
visit, but many other subjects were addressed as well.
Notably, we furthered our strategic dialogue by reviewing our ongoing
cooperative efforts to enhance the security of both our nations
through working together towards a stable peace on the Korean
peninsula and working with India and Pakistan to curb their nuclear
competition and to meet certain non-proliferation benchmarks. We
reviewed our mutual efforts to help stabilize the Asian economic
situation, and China pledged to continue its constructive policies
that have contributed significantly to international efforts to
resolve Asia's financial difficulties.
We also pursued a range of bilateral issues. Although Premier Zhu's
visit did not lead to any immediate improvement in Chinese human
rights practices, discussions with the Premier, consistent with the
U.S. decision to seek action against China at the Geneva UN Human
Rights Commission, left no doubt regarding the United States' strong
resolve to pursue this issue.
With respect to Taiwan, the President reiterated the need for a
peaceful resolution of cross-strait differences, while mentioning our
continued adherence to a "one China" policy.
We also discussed the issue of Tibet, once again urging the Chinese
authorities to establish a substantive dialogue with the Dalai Lama or
his representatives. We reminded them of the commitments President
Jiang had made during his visit.
The President also urged China to pursue the dialogue it has begun
with the Vatican.
In the area of environment and energy, the U.S.-China Policy Forum on
Environment and Development, spear-headed by the Vice President, was
able to make significant progress. The Forum concluded:
-- A Memorandum of Understanding calling for a $100 million Clean
Energy Program through the U.S. Export-Import Bank to provide loans
and loan guarantees for the sale of U.S. clean energy technology to
-- EPA signed ten agreements with China to strengthen cooperation on
environment issues, these included a statement of Intent for a Sulfur
Dioxide Emissions Trading Feasibility Study to test the effectiveness
in China of market-based emissions trading.
Clearly, however, the most progress during Premier Zhu's visit was in
the economic realm. The President and the Premier welcomed significant
progress on a range of market access and protocol issues in our
negotiations on China's accession to the WTO. Chinese and American
negotiators are now meeting in Beijing to resolve remaining issues and
hope to reach agreement on strong commercial terms as soon as
possible. Amb. Barshefsky is working towards a strong deal that would
finally give our businesses access to the Chinese market - their
businesses already have access to ours. It would also reinforce
Premier Zhu's own efforts to change China's economic system and open
China up to the rest of the world.
Other economic issues led to more specific conclusions:
-- We concluded an Agreement on U.S.-China Agricultural Cooperation.
The Agreement lifts long-standing prohibitions on the export of U.S.
citrus, grain, beef and poultry to China.
-- We concluded an aviation agreement which will double the number of
passenger and cargo flights between the U.S. and China, authorize one
new U.S. carrier to begin services in China's market, and remove all
restrictions on U.S. gateway departure cities for U.S. airlines
thereby enabling more U.S. cities to have direct service to China.
-- We entered into a customs agreement which will expand and
facilitate cooperation and information-sharing between U.S. and
Chinese customs authorities. In addition, we signed a letter of intent
for the Shanghai "Model Port Project," enabling Shanghai's customs
services to cooperate with the U.S. Customs Service to modernize that
city's customs infrastructure and procedures in time for the 2001 APEC
During Premier Zhu's visit, difficult issues such as the alleged
Chinese efforts to acquire sensitive U.S. nuclear information, were
raised. The Administration has no illusions about China. With China,
as with other countries, we must deal with differences, difficulties,
or threats at the same time that we cooperate on issues of national
interest. We welcome Premier Zhu's commitment to cooperate in
investigating such issues.
Premier Zhu's visit was a critical opportunity to make progress on our
efforts to open China's markets through its accession to the WTO,
expand our bilateral economic interaction, and continue our strategic
dialogue. We used the occasion of high level meetings to address
squarely our differences, build on common ground between us, and
promote vital U.S. national interests.