Visit to the United States by Premier Zhu Rongji
Premier Zhu Rongji of the State Council of the People's Republic of China paid an official visit to the United States of America from April 6 to 14 of 1999 at the invitation of President Clinton of the United States. This was the first visit to the US by Premier of China in 15 years. It was another major event following the successful state visits exchanged between President Jiang Zemin and President Clinton.
Premier Zhu was hospitably received by the US Government and warmly welcomed by the American people during his visit. Premier Zhu had formal talks and meetings with President Clinton and other US leaders in Washington DC and toured Los Angles, Denver, New York, Chicago and Boston.
On 8 April 1998, Premier Zhu and President Clinton had talks at the White House. During the talks, Premier Zhu said to Clinton that the talks between President Jiang and President Clinton a year earlier was of historic significance and that the two sides decided then to establish a constructive strategic partnership between China and the United States. The bilateral relations had since achieved important progress in many areas. The two sides conducted effective consultation and cooperation in a series of important regional and international issues such as how to ease the Asian financial crisis and check the nuclear proliferation in South Asia. Facts proved that the development of mutually beneficial cooperation between China and the United States would not only benefit the two peoples but also constructively contribute to the stability of the international financial situation, and regional and world security and development. There were ups and downs in the development of Sino-American relations. What was most important was that both sides should strive to remove interfering factors and unswervingly push the bilateral relations forward in the fundamental interests of their peoples and of world peace and development. Zhu went on to say that in spite of the tremendous changes in the international situation, China and the United States still shared important common interests, which remained unchanged. Therefore, the two sides should view and handle their bilateral relations in the historical and long-term perspective, correctly manage their differences on the basis of the principles enshrined in the three Joint Communiques and the Joint Statement between China and the United States, and promote a stable and healthy development of the bilateral relations.
President Clinton made it clear that the US Government attached great importance to developing its relations with China, believing that a good relationship between China and the United States was consistent with the fundamental interests of the two countries. Premier Zhu's visit was very important and it would give a new impetus to the development of the bilateral relations.
Premier Zhu stressed that the Taiwan question was the most important and most sensitive issue at the core of Sino-American relations. The Chinese side requested the US side to strictly abide by the three Joint Communiques between China and the US and the commitments that the US side had made and not to provide Taiwan with the Theatre Missile Defense System or TMD and its technologies and equipment or any other sophisticated weapons in any way. President Clinton reaffirmed that the US Government would stick to the one-China policy and honor the three Joint Communiques and its commitments.
President Clinton spoke highly of the positive role that China played in easing the Asian financial crisis, especially the policy of not to devaluate its Renminbi in spite of the great pressure China had.
The two leaders agreed that the economic cooperation and trade between the two countries maintained a good development momentum, their trade and investment grew fairly rapidly, their cooperation expanded continuously and they had already become each other's important partners. The two sides agreed to expand the mutually beneficially economic cooperation and trade to the benefit of their peoples. They believed that there was a broad prospect for their cooperation in the energy, telecommunications, housing, infrastructure and other fields, given their greater compelementarity in these areas. They expressed their readiness to work together for more fruitful results in their mutually beneficial cooperation in the energy, environmental protection and other areas. They expounded their respective positions on the human rights and Kosovo issues.
On 9 April, Premier Zhu and Vice President Gore co-chaired the Opening Ceremony of the Second Session of Sino-US on Environment and Development Forum. On 10 April, the two countries issued the Joint statement on China's accession to the WTO, in which the United States undertook to support China's admission to the WTO within the year 1999.
Before and during Premier Zhu's visit to the US, a number of letters of intent were signed between the two sides on cooperation in environmental protection and energy. They also signed a series of inter-governmental agreements such as The Agreement on China-US Agricultural Cooperation, MOU Between China and the United States on housing cooperation, the China-US Agreement Regarding Mutual Assistance in Customs Matters, the Protocol to the China-US Agreement Relating to Civil Air Transport, Letter of Intent Between China and the United States on model customs station in Shanghai and MOU on China's Export of Ceramic Products to the United States. In short, the commercial agreements signed between the two sides on energy, environmental protection, civil aviation, telecommunications, chemical industry and medical equipment amounted to 2.4 billion US dollars in value terms.
During his stay in the United States, Premier Zhu officially exchanged views with leaders of the US on the bilateral relations and on major regional and international issues of common concern. Apart from that, he also exchanged views with people from all walks of life, including MPs of Democratic and Republican Parties, state or municipal officials, businessmen and professionals from the scientific and technical, educational, agricultural and media communities, through meetings, public speeches, interviews and face-to-face contacts. All these have helped increase mutual understanding and friendship, and expand the mutually beneficial cooperation. The visit was constructive and fruitful.