Clinton/Jiang News Conference

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Clinton OKs Nuclear Power Sales To China

Clinton, China's Jiang trade blunt talk about Tiananmen Square violence in post-summit news conference

clinton and zemin

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, Oct. 29) -- Putting aside stubborn differences on human rights and democratic reform, President Bill Clinton and Chinese President Jiang Zemin today announced a pact aimed at halting the spread of nuclear weapons and giving China access to U.S. nuclear power plant technology.

After 2 1/2 hours of talks with the Chinese leader, Clinton told a news conference he intends to certify China as not exporting nuclear technology for weapons development by other countries, a move that also clears the way for U.S. companies to sell nuclear power technology to the Chinese.

"This agreement is a win-win-win," Clinton said. "It serves America's national security, environmental and economic interests ... It is the right thing to do for America." (352K wav sound)


The deal, which would allow a 1985 U.S.-China Nuclear Cooperation Agreement to go into effect, had been expected. It was overshadowed by the two leaders' blunt exchange over the 1989 protests at Beijing's Tiananmen Square, still a point of tension in U.S.-China relations.

In his opening statement, Clinton lectured Jiang on human rights abuses in China, saying it's one of the "fundamental differences" that exist between the two countries. (608K wav sound)

Clinton, sometimes criticized for the U.S. policy of engagement with China, said he'll continue to press human rights "until this issue is no longer before us, when there is full room for debate, dissent and freedom to worship as part of the fabric of a truly free Chinese society."

Asked if he had any regrets about the handling of the Tiananmen Square protests, Jiang said the protests seriously disrupted the nation's stability and state security.


Jiang said the Chinese government "had to take necessary measures according to law to quickly resolve the matter to ensure that our country enjoys stability and that our reform and opening up proceeds smoothly."

Clinton, however, bluntly said the Chinese government's policy was "on the wrong side of history" and has kept China from gaining more support from nations around the world. "There is, after all, now a universal declaration of human rights," Clinton said. (352K wav sound)

Jiang said the concepts of democracy and human rights "are relative and specific ones. And they are to be determined by the specific national situation of different countries."

Along with the nuclear pact, the two leaders agreed to a new hotline for instant communication, expanded exchanges between the U.S. and Chinese military and expanded exchanges of legal experts. The U.S. also will begin assigning Drug Enforcement Administration officials to Beijing next year, Clinton said.

Tonight about 230 guests will gather at the White House for a state dinner to honor Jiang. From Washington, D.C., the Chinese leader goes on to Philadelphia, New York City, Boston and Los Angeles.

In Other News:

Wednesday Oct. 29, 1997

Clinton OKs Nuclear Power Sales To China
Clinton Welcomes Jiang To White House
Senators Grill White House Lawyers Over Tapes
Justice Mystery Counsel Clears Unnamed Clinton Aide

E-mail From Washington:
White House Has More Fund-Raising Tapes

Player Profile:
Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin

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