After meeting with Jiang Zemin on October 25, President George Bush said that he had asked the Chinese President to begin dialogue with Tibetan leaders to resolve the Tibet issue.
Addressing the media following their summit in the Bush Ranch in Crawford, Texas, President Bush said that he “spoke of the importance of respecting human rights in Tibet and encouraged more dialogue with Tibetan leaders.”
President Bush also raised the issue of U.S. concern about China’s attempt to justify suppression of peaceful dissent under the guise of counterterrorism. Bush said he shared with President Jiang his views on “the importance of China freeing prisoners of conscience, giving fair treatment to peoples of faith, and preserving the rights” of its citizens.
In his remarks, President Jiang Zemin did not make any reference to the issue of Tibet. However, President Jiang mentioned the following on human rights and religious freedom: “We have also discussed human rights, religion and other issues. I told President Bush that democracy and human rights are the common pursuits of mankind and that China’s human rights situation is at its best time, characterized by constant improvement. Regarding our differences in these areas, the Chinese side stands ready to continue exchanging views with the U.S. side on basis of mutual respect and seeking common ground while shelving differences, with a view to deepening understanding and enhancing consensus.”
President Bush announced that Vice President Cheney would be visiting China next year.
Talking about the overall U.S.-China relations, President Bush said, “The United States seeks and is building a relationship with China that is candid, constructive and cooperative. We will continue building this relationship through contacts at many levels in months to come, including a new dialogue on security issues.”
President Jiang responded by saying, “I’m confident that, so long as the two sides persist in viewing and handling their relations from a strategic height and with a long-term perspective and keep expanding cooperation and enhancing mutual trust, China-U.S. relations will be able to grow steadily and bring benefits to both peoples.”
This was the third meeting of the two leaders. The two Presidents met last year at the APEC Summit in Shanghai and in February this year during President Bush’s visit to Beijing.