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January 30th, 2004

On Friday Janury 30th 2004, the U.S.-China Policy Foundation hosted a luncheon dialogue at the Capital Building between Chinese Ambassador Yang Jiechi and Congressional staff members. Ambassador Yang began the dialogue with some short remarks on the current status of U.S.-China relations. Emphasizing the steady progression and strengthening of the relationship in 2003, such as counter-terror cooperation and multi-lateral diplomacy, the ambassador then proceeded to outline the four immediate goals of China’s diplomacy towards the U.S. in 2004.

The ambassador first expressed a desire to strengthen dialogue between the two governments, specifically mentioning increasing ties between the U.S. Congress and China’s National Peoples Congress. Noting that such dialogue is the catalyst for a cooperative relationship, Ambassador Yang extended an invitation for any Congressman or staffer to go and visit China.

Second, China wants increased international cooperation on global security issues. He noted that China was willing to cooperate with the United States, but that bilateral approaches to problems no longer work in today’s rapidly changing world. Ambassador Yang called for multilateral cooperation on global security, specifically mentioning North Korea and terrorism. Third, China would like increased trade ties with the United States that are mutually beneficial to both sides. He specifically mentioned U.S. concerns over job migration, China’s fixed currency, and the growing trade imbalance as key challenges in the coming months.

Finally, the ambassador outlined China’s views on Taiwan, noting that it is the “most sensitive issue” in the U.S.-China relationship. China is still committed to the policy of peaceful reunification under the “one country, two systems” formula and strongly opposes any attempt to change the status quo. Ambassador Yang pointed out that when President Bush met with Premier Wen Jiabao in December 2003 he affirmed U.S. support for the one China principle and the three joint communiqués, which state that there is one China, Taiwan is a part of China, and the issue must be resolved peacefully.

During the informal dialogue that followed, Congressional staff members discussed the upcoming elections and referendum in Taiwan, the U.S.-China trade relationship, and other factors the members saw as potential challenges to the current U.S.-China partnership.

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