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USCPF Co-hosts Dinner for Vice President Hu Jintao


On May 1st 2002, the U.S.-China Policy Foundation, in cooperation with the National Committee on US-China Relations, America-China Forum, Asia Society, Committee of 100, Council of Foreign Relations, US Chamber of Commerce, and US-China Business Council hosted a dinner in honor of Mr. Hu Jintao, Vice President of the People’s Republic of China. The dinner, held at the Capital Hilton hotel, was attended by many distinguished guests. The Honorable Henry Kissinger provided some brief opening remarks before introducing the guest of honor, Vice President Hu. Vice President Hu delivered a speech entitled: “Enhanced Mutual Understanding and Trust: Towards a Constructive and Cooperative Relationship between China and the United States.”

In an effort to enhance America’s understanding of China, Hu opened his speech by discussing the current state of China’s reform and opening-up program. “The past two decades and more have witnessed a sustained, rapid, and sound growth of the national economy of China and a marked improvement of its overall national strength,” he said. The economic welfare of China’s citizens has improved, Hu commented, and the Chinese government has consistently strengthened the practice of democracy, while developing the rights of its citizens. “We in China are working hard to build up a strong, prosperous, democratic, and culturally advanced modern socialist country,” Hu told the audience. In order to do so, he added, China needs an international environment of peace and harmony. China’s independent foreign policy is based on this belief, as is its defensive national defense policy. Thus, Hu concluded, China’s development has been a driving force for peace and development in the Asia-Pacific and the world.

Vice President Hu continued by turning his attention to the subject of US-China relations. Although relations have not always developed smoothly, he said the growing trend is one of moving forward. Hu cited frequent exchanges between political leaders, students, and tourists, and increased bilateral trade as evidence of this trend. He also commented on the necessity of maintaining this trend, saying “A steady, sound, and growing China-US relationship serves the fundamental interests of the two peoples and the people of the world, and is also in line with the historical trend of human progress.”

To promote the development of bilateral relations, Hu offered several suggestions. First, he said, the two sides should increase high-level strategic dialogues and exchanges at various levels. Second, they should intensify exchanges and cooperation in all fields, especially commerce, energy, environment, and technology. Third, the two countries should address differences on a basis of mutual respect, seeking common ground while shelving differences. Specifically, in regards to Taiwan, the US should honor its commitments to the Chinese side and play a positive role in China’s peaceful reunification. And fourth, the two sides should increase dialogue and cooperation on issues concerning world peace and security.

Hu concluded his speech by asserting that although the bilateral relationship may still encounter ups and downs, “I am convinced that the Chinese and American peoples will overcome interruptions and difficulties on the strength of their sincerity and wisdom, thus writing a new chapter in the development of bilateral relations.”

In the question and answer period, Vice President Hu elaborated upon the current economic situation in China and the Chinese government’s strategy for continuing development in the face of reform. In rural areas, China will try to solve its problem of redundant labor forces by encouraging production of new crops, expanding areas of production such as husbandry and sericulture, and encouraging urbanization within the countryside. On the other hand, in the urban areas, the Chinese government will support the development of private enterprises, increase training for those without work, and improve the social security system.

When asked about political reform, Hu commented on progress already achieved. Ever since Deng Xiaoping began political restructuring, Hu said, China has promoted several reforms, including: strengthening the socialist legal system, expanding the village election system, and reforming the personnel system. The Chinese government will continue to push ahead with political restructuring, he added.

Lastly, Hu spoke on the topic of Taiwan’s reunification with the mainland. Reunification, Hu insisted, is in the best interest of the Taiwanese people. It will provide a tranquil regional environment, spur Taiwanese growth, allow the people of Taiwan greater participation in state affairs, and provide more opportunities for international exchanges. Thus, just as the people in Hong Kong and Macao have benefited from reunification, Hu concluded, the 1 country, 2 systems framework will benefit the Taiwanese people.

 
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