U.S.-China relations have never been more important than they are today, said U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte in an October 24th speech to the National Committee on U.S. China Relations. There are many global challenges that will require U.S.-China cooperation now and in years to come.
None is more important than stopping the spread of nuclear weapons. "Beijing," said Mr. Negroponte, "has already come a long way in its approach to curbing the sale of weapons and associated technologies." One example is China's hosting the six-party talks on the denuclearization of North Korea. Following North Korea's missile launches of July 2006 and its subsequent nuclear weapon test in October 2006, China joined other members of the United Nations Security Council in imposing sanctions. The U.S., said Mr. Negroponte, "is committed to working closely with China to. . . .achieve the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean peninsula."
With regard to Iran, China shares the U.S. position that Iran must not obtain nuclear weapons. China voted with the U.S. in the U.N. Security Council to impose sanctions on Iran. But "there are other steps that China could take," said Mr. Negroponte, "including reconsidering investments in Iran's oil and gas sector. We have made clear to Beijing that these types of investments, along with continued arms sales, send the wrong signal to the Iranian regime and raise serious concerns."
"Given Iran's intransigence on its nuclear program and its active support of terrorism," said Deputy Secretary of State Negroponte, "now is not the time for normal relations and business as usual with Iran. We are reaching a critical juncture with respect to Iran's nuclear development, which will require a new United Nations Security Council resolution."
The U.S. wants to encourage China to act as a responsible and stabilizing influence in international affairs -- not just in East Asia but around the world. "We do not approach United States-China relations as a zero-sum game," said Deputy Secretary of State Negroponte. "To the contrary, we actively invite China to play a larger role on the international stage to ensure stability and prosperity long into the future by confronting global challenges together."