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12/13/03 - CHINESE PREMIER VISITS U.S. - 2003-12-16

President Bush George W. Bush hosted Premier Wen Jiabao of China December 9th in Washington in a visit that reflected increasing ties of cooperation and commerce between the United States and China.

During the visit, the leaders discussed many issues, including, as President Bush said, seeking “a Korean peninsula that is stable and at peace”:

“The elimination of North Korea’s nuclear program is essential to this outcome. Realizing this vision will require the strong cooperation of all North Korea’s neighbors. I am grateful for China’s leadership in hosting the six-party talks which are bring us closer to a peaceful resolution of this issue."

Discussing our important economic ties, President Bush noted, “The rapid rise of China’s economy is one of the great achievements of our time”:

“China has discovered that economic freedom leads to national wealth. The growth of economic freedom in China provides reason to hope that social, political and religious freedoms will grow there, as well, in the long run. These freedoms are indivisible and essential to national greatness and national dignity.”

Reflecting a relationship that is "good and strong," Mr. Bush also pointed out that we can be honest about our differences.

“As our two nations work constructively across areas of common interest, we are candid about our disagreements. The growing strength and maturity of our relationship allows us to discuss our differences, whether over economic issues, Taiwan, Tibet, or human rights and religious freedom, in a spirit of mutual understanding and respect.”

“China is a great civilization, a great power, and a great nation,” said President Bush. And the U.S. looks forward to working with China and building a relationship that is candid, constructive and cooperative as it “increasingly takes its place among the leading nations of the world.”