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9/14/03 - THE U.S. AND CHINA - 2003-09-15

China has a new generation of leadership. The United States welcomes the emergence of a strong, peaceful, and prosperous China that assumes the responsibilities commensurate with such a role. Despite differences in areas such as human rights, where there has been some Chinese government backsliding, China and the U.S. have many common interests on issues ranging from counter-terrorism to the problems posed by North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons.

The U.S. seeks a candid, constructive, and cooperative relationship with China, one in which the two countries frankly discuss differences and cooperate in areas of common interest. “A case in point,” says Secretary of State Colin Powell, “concerns the Korean Peninsula”:

“American and Chinese interests in Korea may not overlap completely, but they do considerably. Neither side wishes to see nuclear weapons developed and deployed by the North Koreans on the peninsula. Neither side enjoys the specter of the chronicled debacle that is the North Korean economy. Neither side has any interest in a worsening refugee crisis on China’s border. Neither side relishes a North Korean regime that runs drugs and weapons, and that counterfeits currencies, or that engages in the periodic extortion of its neighbors through brinkmanship military conduct.”

China recently demonstrated leadership in hosting six-party talks on dismantling North Korea's nuclear weapons program. While much remains to be done, the multilateral talks in Beijing were a first step toward the goal of achieving a verifiable and irreversible end to North Korea's nuclear program.

The U.S. has worked to build on such common interests to generate solid and productive cooperation with China. Indeed, Secretary of State Powell recently characterized U.S. relations with China as “the best they have been since President [Richard] Nixon's first visit” in 1972. The U.S. hopes to achieve progress with China's new generation of leaders.