Jiang's Remarks At White House

Clinton's Remarks At White House

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Clinton Welcomes Jiang To White House

Two leaders discussed substantive issues in informal Tuesday night get-together

clinton and jiang

WASHINGTON (Oct. 29) -- With jaunty military music and a 21-gun salute, President Bill Clinton welcomed China's Jiang Zemin to the White House this morning for a day of formal talks on some of the sticky issues that divide the two nations: trade, nuclear technology, human rights abuses and religious persecution in Tibet.

Clinton told Jiang his visit "gives us both an opportunity and a responsibility." The summit, Clinton said, is a chance to strengthen the bonds between China and the U.S. and also "address our differences openly and with respect."

"Both our countries can best advance our interests and our values by working together rather than standing apart," Clinton said. "For together we can lay the groundwork for a better, safer world where peace prevails, prosperity grows ... where people are treated with dignity, free to express their believes and observe their faiths."

In his remarks, Jiang said both U.S. and China "carry considerable weight" in the world, and he wants to work to bring U.S.-China relations "into a new stage of development."

Security was unusually tight around the White House, as officials waited for Jiang's motorcade to arrive from nearby Blair House for the 30-minute welcoming ceremoney.

Across the street in Lafayette Park, demonstrators shouted "Stop the genocide in Tibet" and "Boycott Chinese goods" in one of the largest protests ever mounted against an overseas leader.

In a pre-summit get-together Tuesday night, Jiang and Clinton met for 90 minutes, with the talks being described by the White House as direct, personal and substantive.

The leaders reportedly discussed human rights issues, Tibet and Taiwan. But administration officials provided no details of the discussions.

Clinton gave Jiang a 15-minute tour of the second floor residence of the White House before the talks began. When Clinton showed him a copy of the Gettysburg address with some of President Abraham Lincoln's handwriting on it, Jiang recited the first line in English. Clinton also showed Jiang a desk which has been used for every peace agreement signed at the White House.

The two leaders also discussed their countries' histories and agreed on the need to be able to speak to one another directly. In order to do that, the White House will announce today it will set up a direct hotline.

Officials described the session as an opportunity for the two leaders to get to know each other better before their formal policy meetings of the state visit today.

The Tuesday night meeting, which took place in the yellow oval room of the White House residence, included National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and two leading Chinese officials. But the two presidents were the only ones to talk.

CNN's Karla Crosswhite and Kevin Bohn contributed to this report.

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Wednesday Oct. 29, 1997

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Clinton Welcomes Jiang To White House
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