of State Colin Powell
Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan
September 21, 2001
2:00 P.M. EDT
SECRETARY POWELL: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I'm sorry we're running
late. We have had an excellent set of discussions, which ran over because they
were so comprehensive.
It's a pleasure to once again meet with my colleague from Beijing. This is one
of several times we have met in recent months. And we covered the full range
of issues that affect the relationship between our two countries. Especially,
we talked about, as you might expect, the President's upcoming visit to Shanghai
and Beijing. We also discussed counter-terrorism activity in light of the recent
events here in Washington and New York.
The Minister told me a very moving story about a Chinese family who had come
to visit their children here in this country, and were killed in the plane that
crashed into the Pentagon. And he met with those children yesterday. And it
just shows how this is an international crisis. And it all has to do with the
loss of innocent humanity. And so we agreed to cooperate in this campaign against
I won't cover all the different issues. The Minister may wish to talk about
one or two more. In the interests of time, I am anxious to get the Minister
over to the White House for his meeting with Dr. Rice and with the President.
Mr. Minister, it is a great pleasure again to welcome you here in the United
FOREIGN MINISTER TANG: (As translated.) Ladies and gentlemen, today my talks
with Secretary Powell were useful, constructive and successful. Our talks covered
many issues, many of which the Secretary has already briefly touched upon.
For my part, I would like to emphasize the following two points. Firstly, both
sides agree that the upcoming visit by President Bush to China and the important
meetings between the two presidents will exert a significant and far-reaching
impact on China-US relations. The Chinese side believes that the President's
visit and his meeting between top leaders will make contributions to continue
the long-term development of our relations in a normal, constructive, and healthy
fashion, as well as continued improvement of our relations in the future.
Secondly, both sides have already started our cooperation on the anti-terrorism
field, and such cooperation will continue into the future. Our attitude on the
question of terrorism has always been clear-cut and consistent. We firmly oppose
and strongly condemn all forms of terrorism in all their evil acts, and both
sides agree to carry out even better cooperation on this question in the future.
SECRETARY POWELL: The Minister has to leave for the White House. I'll come back
for just a moment, if you want me to.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman earlier this
week made some statements that seem to indicate that China was looking for a
quid pro quo, their support for the anti-terrorist activity in exchange for
some sort of agreement on Taiwan where America's support would diminish somewhat.
Did that come up in the talks at all?
SECRETARY POWELL: No, there was no suggestion of a quid pro quo. In fact, both
sides recognize that this is a threat to both countries. They have their terrorism
problems, and there are terrorism problems here in the United States. So there
was absolutely no discussion of a quid pro quo.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, how can China be especially helpful to the United States,
given its geography?
SECRETARY POWELL: It has influence in that region. It has knowledge and information.
It has intelligence that might be of help to us. And our counter-terrorism experts
will be getting together next week to explore every way in which the two sides
QUESTION: Secretary Powell, could I ask you about Iran? As you know, the British
Foreign Secretary Jack Straw is going to be in Iran, I believe today. You have
had conversations in the last days with your British colleagues. What message
have you asked the British to pass on or what message would you like them to
pass on --
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, we did talk to the Prime Minister about Foreign Minister
Straw's visit to Iran. We have also had other communications from Iran through
other channels. And as I said previously, we are anxious to explore whatever
opportunities for cooperation there might be in the fight against all forms
of terrorism, not just one kind of terrorism.
But I think it's best that I let Foreign Minister Straw deliver whatever message
he chooses to deliver after our conversation, rather than discuss it here.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, did Foreign Minister Tang express China's explicit
support on US military action in that area, Afghanistan and on bin Laden?
SECRETARY POWELL: I made the point to the Foreign Minister that we would be
looking at a complete campaign that would involve going after finances, information,
intelligence, law enforcement, and might have a military component. But we did
not get into any details of a military component, nor did I ask the Chinese
Government what their reaction might be, or nor did they suggest to me any participation.
It just didn't come up, military cooperation.
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, what will it mean specifically for, as the President
says, the United States will pursue those countries that "harbor and aid
terrorism," and specifically what would that mean for those states that
are already designated as sponsors of terrorism by the State Department?
SECRETARY POWELL: We have designated those as sponsors of terrorism, and they
are subject to a variety of sanctions. So that is one way of pursuing them.
And you notice the President said, "who continue to do this." Perhaps
these states will now come to their senses that it is not in their interest
-- now that the entire international community is mobilized, it is not in their
interest to continue acting in this way, because they will risk further isolation
and increasing pressure if they participate in such activities. And hopefully
the message will get through and they will start to change past patterns of