Visit by President Jiang Zemin to Six Countries in Europe, Africa and Asia
President Jiang Zemin paid a state visit to the United Kingdom, France, Portugal, Morocco, Algeria and Saudi Arabia from October 18 to Nov. 3 of 1999, at the invitation of the heads of state of the six countries. It was the first state visit ever made by head of state of China to the United Kingdom, Algeria and Saudi Arabia. The Governments of the six countries attached great importance to his visit and accorded him the warmest reception and the highest protocol. The people of the six countries expressed their friendly sentiments towards the Chinese people through their reception. Jiang's trip was a major diplomatic endeavor at the turn of the century for China. During the visit, President Jiang had an in-depth exchange of views with heads of state or government and Parliamentarian leaders of the countries on the bilateral relations and major international issues in a sincere, friendly and candid atmosphere. Jiang had extensive contacts with people from the business, scientific and technological and cultural communities in the six countries. He visited factories, rural communities and some of the special cultural facilities. During the visit, China and the UK reached agreement on economic and trade cooperation projects. China and Morocco, Algeria and Saudi Arabia issued a Press Communique for President Jiang's visit to these countries respectively. China and Saudi Arabia signed an agreement on enhanced cooperation between them in education, broadcasting, news, petroleum and other fields. In a word, his visit achieved the expected goal of enhancing mutual understanding, expanding common ground, deepening friendship and promoting cooperation. His visit was a complete success with important results in many areas.
During his visit to the three European countries, President Jiang stressed the importance of a long-term stable relationship between China and Europe. With regard to China-UK relations, President Jiang proposed three principles for their development. They were to always proceed from the overall interests of the bilateral relations; to promote a mutually beneficial and mutually complementary economic ties and trade between the two countries; and to enhance mutual understanding and exchanges in all fields. The British side responded to the proposal positively and expressed its readiness to increase consultation and cooperation with China at all levels and in all fields. The Heads of State of China and France had a lengthy, informal but in-depth conversation with each other, during which the two sides expressed their desire to establish, substantiate and develop their all-round partnership and deepen their cooperation. In this regard, the two sides decided to establish a hot line between their heads of state and strengthen the consultation mechanism between their permanent missions to the United Nations. Jiang's visit to Portugal played an important role in ensuring a smooth transition and transfer of government in Macao. The Portuguese side expressed its belief that the Macao Special Administrative Region, once set up, would serve as a bridge and a bond between China and Portugal and between China and Europe.
President Jiang paid a state visit to the three countries in Asia and Arica in the new situation. This shows fully that China attaches great importance to greater solidarity and closer cooperation with developing countries. During his visit to Algeria, President Jiang proposed four principles for the development of the 21st century-oriented China-Algeria relations. They included:
to expand common ground and promote an all-round stable development of the bilateral relations in a strategic and long-term perspective;
to upgrade economic ties, trade and scientific and technical cooperation to the benefit of common development by tapping the potentials and carrying forward an innovative spirit;
to enhance consultation and coordination in order to defend the rights and interests of developing countries and maintain world peace; and
to lay a solid foundation for the development of the bilateral relations in the new century through increased exchanges at various levels and enhanced mutual understanding.
President Jiang also expounded China's views on Sino-African relations in the new period and its African policy.
During his visit to the above-said six countries, President Jiang elaborated a whole range of Chinese policies and the achievements it had scored in its reform, opening-up and modernization drive. He informed them that China would, by and large, obtain modernization by the middle of the next century and become a prosperous and strong socialist country with a high degree of democracy and civilization. Leaders of the six countries expressed their admiration for what China had achieved. They saw the huge potential and bright prospect for China's development and give high regard to China's position and role in the world politically and economically. Jiang also reiterated China's principled position on Taiwan and profoundly exposed the separatist nature of Lee Teng-hui's "two-state theory". He reassured them that China would stick to its consistent principle of "peaceful reunification and one country, two systems"in its efforts to settle the Taiwan question, but would never undertake to renounce force. Leaders of the six countries all made it clear that they would resolutely pursue the one China policy.
In addition, Jiang had an in-depth exchange of views with these leaders on a series of major regional and international issues. Jiang pointed out that multi-polarization was an inevitable trend in the progress of the times, which no force on earth could stop. Jiang gave a comprehensive elaboration of the Chinese propositions on the establishment of a fair and reasonable new international political and economic order. He pointed out that the Kosovo war gave us a very profound lesson. All countries should comply with the universally recognized norms governing international relations, norms that were established after the end of the Second World War, and should do everything to maintain and enhance the authority of the United Nations. World affairs should be decided by all countries through consultation on an equal footing. Monopolization of world affairs by a few countries should not be allowed. The six countries had identical or similar views with China on this issue. Jiang also expressed the Chinese Government's concern about and attention to the peace process in the Middle East and comprehensively explained its position and principles on how to solve the issue.
Furthermore, President Jiang explained in some details the basic values of the Chinese people and unequivocally expounded China's basic views and propositions on human rights. He stressed that the world in which we lived was a diverse one and that a country would inevitably choose a social system and development road suited to its own conditions. For developing countries, the most important human rights they longed for were those to subsistence and development. He profoundly pointed out that sovereignty underpinned human rights and that colonial people were denied of sovereignty, and hence human rights. The assertion that "human rights overriding sovereignty" was not only absurd, but also detrimental to the lofty cause of world peace and development. Leaders of developing countries associated themselves with these views. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika of the Democratic People's Republic of Algeria believed that sovereignty was a right established by the UN Charter and the last shield for the self-protection of the developing countries. He went on to say that the correct propositions of China on human rights would be subscribed to and supported by more and more people in the world.
This was an important visit made by President Jiang at this crucial historical juncture of the turn of the century. It would play a major positive role in advancing the relations between China and the six countries in the next century and in ensuring a peaceful international environment for China's reform, opening-up and modernization drive. Furthermore it would also produce a profound and important impact on the establishment of a new international political and economic order.