|President Jiang Zemin Meets the New York Times(13/08/2001)|
On August 8, 2001, President Jiang Zemin had an interview with Chairman of the New York Times Company and Publisher of the New York Times(NYT )Arthur Sulzberger Jr.,NYT Executive Editor Joseph Lelyveld and the delegation led by them, during which Jiang elaborated on China's position on China-US relations, anti-ballistic missile issue, China-Russia relations, the Taiwan question and others.
Asked if China fears that China and the US might have a new Cold War, Jiang said that like all other peoples in the world, we, Chinese, would not like to see any recurrence of a hot war, cold war or turmoil anywhere in the world. We long for a lasting world peace and promote common development and prosperity. We have made it our central task to develop the economy and improve our people's life. China does not pursue expansion. China poses no threat to any country and has no intention to seek confrontation with any country. Instead, China wishes to live with all other countries as equals and conduct friendly exchanges and mutually beneficial cooperation with them on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. It is nothing strange for two big countries, China and the United States, to have differences. But they share common responsibilities in safeguarding peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific and the world at large, promoting national and global economic development and prosperity and managing global issues. Hence there is a need for closer cooperation. We hope to develop a constructive, cooperative relationship with the United States. I am optimistic about the prospects of China-US relations. I believe that so long as the two sides abide by the three Sino-US Joint Communiqués and basic norms governing international relations and properly handle the bilateral issues, China-US relations will improve further and grow stronger.
On the anti-missile issue, Jiang said that China's position on the anti-missile issue can be summarized in two main points. Firstly, we are not in favor of the said move. We share the worries of many other countries that this move may cause a series of negative effects and thus impair world strategic stability. Secondly, we stand for working out, through dialogue, solutions that would not harm security interests of any side. China's possession of the very limited nuclear weapons is solely for self-defense and poses no threat to any country. In order to safeguard our national security interests, we need to ensure the effectiveness of our nuclear force.
On Sino-Russian relations and the China-Russia Treaty of Good-neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation just signed by the two countries, Jiang said that not long ago, he and President Putin signed the China-Russia Treaty of Good-neighborliness, Friendship and Cooperation in Moscow. The Treaty has charted a long-term development course for China-Russia relations in the 21st century. It stipulates, among others, that the two signatory parties shall develop a long-term strategic partnership of all-round cooperation, good-neighborliness, friendship, equality and trust in accordance with the universally recognized principles and norms of international law and the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. It is a crystallization of the broad common interests that the two countries share in the bilateral relations and international affairs. Breaking away from the Cold War mentality according to which state-to-state relations would be either aligned or antagonistic, the Treaty stresses a new-type state-to-state relationship. This relationship is not alliance or confrontation, nor is it targeted against any third country. On such a basis, states should enhance their mutual understanding, trust and cooperation. They should seek security through mutual trust and conduct cooperation to their mutual benefit. The signing of the Treaty has lent legal force to the peace concept that China and Russia should be each other's friends from generation to generation and should never turn against each other. The Treaty has been very well received in China and Russia as well as in the world at large. It has been spoken of highly in the international community both for its contents and significance. It is believed that the establishment of a new-type state-to-state relationship between China and Russia is conducive to the promotion of a multi-polar world and of world peace and stability and to the establishment of a new international order.
On the Taiwan question, Jiang said that Taiwan is part of Chinese territory. The Taiwan question bears on the national pride of the entire Chinese people, the sovereignty, territorial integrity and development of China. All the Chinese people are looking forward to an early settlement of the question. This is the very aspiration of the people. Any attempt to split Taiwan from China will never get anywhere. China is bound to achieve complete reunification. People living on both sides of the Taiwan Straits are Chinese. Blood is thicker than water. No one else is more eager than us for a peaceful solution to the Taiwan question. It is precisely for the purpose of safeguarding the interests of our Taiwan compatriots to the fullest extent that we have proposed and stuck to the basic principle of "peaceful reunification and one country, two systems". However, we cannot renounce the use of force. If we did, a peaceful reunification would become impossible. There are three joint communiqués between China and the US, i.e. the 1972 Shanghai Joint Communiqué, the 1979 Joint Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations and the Joint Communiqué issued on August 17th, 1982. They together constitute the political foundation of the China-US relationship. In the three joint communiqués, the US clearly commits itself to the one-China policy. In the August-17th Communiqué, it states that it does not seek to carry out a long-term policy of arms sales to Taiwan and that it intends gradually to reduce its sale of arms to Taiwan, leading, over a period of time, to a final resolution. The treaty, however, is that over all these years, the US has never stopped selling sophisticated arms to China's Taiwan. Furthermore, it has upgraded its arms sales to Taiwan in both quantitative and qualitative terms. This has deeply hurt the Chinese people, interfered in China's internal affairs and made a peaceful solution to the Taiwan question more difficult. Such practice of the US will not only affect the stability in the Taiwan Straits and hinder the improvement of China-US relations, but also harm its own interest in the end.
Asked how the Communist Party of China will develop in the new century, Jiang said that the Communist Party of China is a major party with 80 years of history and 64 million members. It has rich experience in struggle and governance. We have always persisted in combining the fundamental tenets of Marxism with the reality of China. We form our own opinions independently and have embarked on the road of building socialism with Chinese characteristics unswervingly. The theory, guideline and policy of our Party are in keeping with real conditions and have brought about enormous changes to China. As a ruling party in a country with over 1.2 billion people, the CPC must keep abreast of the times. China is a country with more than 5,000 years of ancient civilization. However, it is only after the founding of New China that its people have truly become masters of their country, their society and their own destiny. This represents a fundamental change in the political status of the Chinese people. This is the most fundamental for one to recognize in observing the present-day politics in China. Otherwise it would be impossible to have a fundamentally correct understanding of the essence of China's political system, that is, people's democracy. It has always been our objective to develop socialist democracy. We suggested a long time ago that without democracy, there would be no socialism, let alone socialist modernization. The essence of socialist democracy is that people are masters of the country. The very objective of the political reform is to carry forward socialist democracy and legal system, improve the specific mechanisms of socialist democracy, ensure the people their full rights to democratic election, democratic decision-making, democratic administration and democratic supervision, increase the vitality of the Party and the country, fully mobilize the enthusiasm of the grassroots units and the general public, make the decision-making process more scientific and democratic and give greater scope to the advantages and features of the socialist system. Our world is a diverse and colorful one. All civilizations and social systems should try to find common ground and shelve differences and draw upon each other's strong points to make up for one's own deficiencies. We should not copy the political system of other countries. When conducting political reform, we should give full consideration to the historical background and the level of economic development, culture and education of our country. The political reform should be conducted in such a manner as to promote national reunification, unity and social stability.
On the question of anti-corruption, Jiang said that corruption, as a social and historical phenomenon, has existed in all countries, both in the past and at present. None of the countries in the world today can claim that it has completely eliminated corruption. The only difference it this regard is that corruption is more serious in some countries than others. As China is in a transition from the planned economy to a socialist market economy, its various systems need to be improved. In addition, there are vestiges of feudal ideas that have existed for thousands of years. all this has given corruption the hotbed to breed and spread and has added difficulties to our campaign against corruption. We have always believed that to combat corruption and build a clean government is an important guarantee for a smooth reform, opening-up and modernization drive. Our attitude towards corruption is that we will fight corruption unswervingly, unremittingly and without showing any tolerance or mercy. I believe that to combat corruption and build a clean government calls for efforts not just to address the symptoms, but more importantly to tackle the rootcauses. In this regard, education lays the groundwork, law serves as a guarantee and supervision holds the key. We should get rid of the soil that breeds corruption through deepening reform. Democratic elections and media supervision will help check corruption. We have made many efforts in all these areas and achieved positive results. The leading cadres of the Communist Party of China, leading officials of governments at all levels and deputies to the people's congresses at all levels are all elected. Democratic elections encourage officials to be honest and just and stay away from corruption. But the conditions in China have decided that our election system will not be exactly the same as that in Western countries. And it is not necessary to have exactly the same election system. The media supervision is an important part of people's supervision. Chinese media have played an important role in supervising governmental officials. Many newspapers, TV stations, radio and other media have columns or programs devoted specifically to this issue and have in fact exposed quite a lot of problems.
On China's political party system, Jiang said that today, still many people have very scanty knowledge about the political party system in China. China adopts a system of multi-party cooperation and political consultation led by the Communist Party of China. It is the basic political system of China. The CPC is a party in power. There are eight other political parties. They cooperate with the CPC and participate in the ruling of the country. The CPC and these parties co-exist with each other on a long-term basis, supervise each other, treat each other with all sincerity and share weal and woe. The CPC consults these parties on state policies and guidelines and gives full play to democracy in the process. This practice has already been institutionalized and legalized. Very often, I discuss with leaders of these parties on some major issues, which, I believe, will do good for China. We can hardly find a pair of countries that have adopted exactly the same political party system and political system. Countries do have different national conditions and should establish and improve their respective political party systems in light of their realities. What is essential is that the kind of party system they institute should serve their economic development, political stability and maintenance and realization of the fundamental interests of their people. It is imperative for China, a multi-ethnic developing country, to have a strong political leadership in order to rally more than 1.2 billion people behind the cause of modernization. Otherwise, the country would fall apart like a heap of loose sand. This is the conclusion that we have drawn from China's modern history of development and also by analyzing the experience and lessons many other countries have got in their development.