Ladies and gentlemen, just now I ‘ve held official talks with President Cliton. The two sides have held an extensive and in-depth exchange of views on China-U.S. relations and the major international and regional issues. The talks were positive, constructive, and productive. The successful exchange of visits between the two heads of states of China and the United States marks a new stage of growth of China-U.S. relations. This not only serves the common interests of China and the United States, but also will be of important significance to promoting peace, stability, and prosperity in the Asia Pacific and the world at large.
Peace and development are the main theme of contemporary times. In the new historical conditions, the common interests of China and the United States are increasing, not decreasing. The foundation for cooperation between the two countries is reinforcing, not weakening.
Both sides believe that China and the United States, as the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, should continue to work together to promote peace and security in the world and the Asia Pacific in particular, to ease and eliminate all kinds of tensions and to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, to strengthen the efforts in protecting the environment, combating international crime, drug trafficking, and international terrorism. Our two sides have agreed to further step up cooperation and the dialogue between the two sides in many areas has made important progress. President Clinton and I have decided that China and the United States will not target the strategic nuclear weapons under their respective control at each other. This demonstrates to the entire world that China and the United States are partners, not adversaries. I hereby wish to reiterate that since the very first day when China came into possession of nuclear weapons, China has undertaken not to be the first to use nuclear weapons under any circumstances.
President Clinton and I have reached a broad range of agreements and consensus on further increasing exchanges in cooperation between China and the United States in all areas in our bilateral relations. We have agreed to take positive steps to promote the growth of the mutually beneficial economic cooperation and trade between China and the United States and to expand the exchanges and the cooperation between the two countries in the energy, environment, scientific, educational, cultural, health, legal, and the military fields. We have also agreed to enhance the consultations and the cooperation between China and the United States on the issues of disarmament, arms control, and non-proliferation. And we have issued joint statements on the BWC protocol on the question of the antipersonnel land mines and that of the South Asia.
The Taiwan question is the most important and the most sensitive issue at the core of China-U.S. relations. We hope that the U.S. side will adhere to the principle set forth in the three China-U.S. joint communiqués and the joint China-U.S. statement, as well as the relevant commitments it has made in the interest of a smooth growth of China-U.S. relations.
The improvement and the growth of China-U.S. relations have not come by easily. It is the result of the concerted efforts of the governments and people of our two countries. So we should all the more treasure this good result. As China and the United States have different social systems, ideologies, values, and cultural traditions, we have some difference of views on certain issues. However, they should not become the obstacles in the way of the growth of China-U.S. relations. The world is a colorful one. The development path of the countries in the world should be chosen by the people of the countries concerned.
China and the United States should view and handle the bilateral relations from a long-term and strategic perspective. We should promote the growth of China-U.S. relations in the spirit of mutual respect, equality, mutual benefit, seeking common ground while putting aside difference, and developing cooperation. I believe that through the concerted efforts of both sides, we will make constant progress in the direction of building a constructive, strategic partnership between China and the United States oriented towards the 21st century.