USCPF Hosts Luncheon for President Jiang Zemin

The United States-China Policy Foundation (USCPF) cohosted a luncheon for President Jiang Zemin on October 30, 1997, at the ANA Hotel in Washington, D.C. President Jiang used the opportunity to deliver his major foreign policy address while in America, saying that further progress in China-U.S. relations hinges on correctly understanding our common interests and properly handling our differences.” President Jiang was introduced to the luncheon audience--composed of 450 prominent guests from government, academia, and business--by Dr. Henry Kissinger, who also sat next to him during lunch. The following day, November 1, the front page of The Washington Post featured a photograph of President Jiang and Dr. Kissinger laughing together.

Also seated on the dais were former Secretary of State Alexander M. Haig, Jr., and Senator Dianne Feinstein (both Honorary USCPF Advisors) as well as dignitaries from the Chinese traveling party, Congress, and the State Department.

Jiang Zemin’s foreign policy address focused first on China’s domestic situation. In the part of his speech delivered through an interpreter, he reassured Americans that China's economic growth would continue to welcome foreign investment and promote wider definitions of public ownership. Second, he discussed specific Chinese domestic issues and devoted extra time to explaining China's stand on such contentious issues as human rights and Tibet. In his concluding remarks, President Jiang spoke in English about China-U.S. relations.

Jiang began by noting five areas of common interest. Both sides “desire to maintain peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region and the world at large. . .want to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. . . endeavor to promote the establishment of an open and sound international trade regime. . .all feel the need to deal with a multitude of transnational issues of common concern. . .[and] are all interested in increased exchanges and cooperation in wide-ranging areas.” Then he outlined five guidelines for bilateral relations:

President Jiang concluded by emphasizing the Taiwan issue and praised America's decision to sever diplomatic ties to the island. He reminded America that, unlike Hong Kong and Macau, Taiwan is an issue left over from the struggle between the Chinese Communist Party and the Kuomintang. He said that the Chinese government's basic policy was "peaceful unification based on one country, two systems." In a succinct conclusion of his stance on Taiwan, Jiang commented: "So long as the Taiwan authorities return to the one China principle and refrain from separatist activities aimed at the ‘independence of Taiwan,’ and so long as foreign forces do not interfere with China's reunification, the situation in the Taiwan Straits will remain stable and cross-straits relations will move forward smoothly."

In addition to USCPF, the America-China Society, the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, the Asia Society, and Council on Foreign Relations cohosted the event.

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