Remarks With Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi Before Their Meeting

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Benjamin Franklin Room
Washington, DC
September 19, 2013

The video is also available with closed captioning on YouTube.

SECRETARY KERRY: Good morning, everybody, thank you very much for joining us. And it’s my great privilege to welcome His Excellency, the Foreign Minister of China Wang Yi.

He was here 15 years ago as a visiting scholar at Georgetown, and I know that he remembers well this kind of weather, this kind of a beautiful day along the Potomac. And we’re very happy to have him back in Washington.

I met with Foreign Minister Wang in April in Beijing where he gave us a very generous and warm welcome, and we had excellent conversation, and then in Brunei this summer. And I’m very pleased that he has taken the time to strengthen our relationship by visiting here ahead of our very busy week in New York.

As President Obama has frequently stated, the United States welcomes the continued peaceful rise of China, and we have a vested interest in China’s growing prosperity and partnership, not only in the Asia-Pacific region, but also around the world.

President Obama has also made what I believe is a strategic and appropriate commitment to rebalance our interests and our investments in Asia. A stronger partnership with China is very much a part of that effort. The United States is a Pacific nation, and we take our Pacific partnerships very seriously, and we will continue to build our enduring presence in that area, working with our partners to promote peace and prosperity.

China and the United States have also agreed to a new model of relations, and that was worked on and announced at the Sunnylands summit with our presidents. It is based on practical cooperation and constructive management of differences. We recognized the need to avoid falling into a trap of seeing one another as strategic rivals, and that recognition is now driving our partnership on issues from climate change to wildlife trafficking to military consultations and the promotion of balanced growth around the world.

Importantly, part of our new relationship is a commitment to engage in frank discussions on sensitive issues, particularly where we disagree, where misunderstanding could lead to a miscalculation.

We plan to discuss Syria today, and while we appreciate China’s support for a political solution, the only solution we believe is ultimately available and possible, we do have differences between our nations and have disagreed sharply over how the international community should respond to the Syrian regime’s use of chemical weapons. With negotiations ongoing at the Security Council, we look forward to China playing a positive, constructive, important role.

We will also engage in very important conversation about North Korea today. China plays a very special role in addressing the North Korean nuclear challenge and in achieving our shared goal: the peaceful denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

China and the United States also have a shared interest in preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, and our close cooperation will be critical to that effort, and the Foreign Minister and I will discuss this further today.

From our dialogue on intellectual property to maritime security and human rights, we are committed to working through difficult issues, and, as you can tell, we have a very big agenda. And it’s through the process of working through these difficulties that we can actually forge a stronger friendship, a stronger partnership, and a stronger future for both of our nations.

So, Foreign Minister Wang, thank you again for your visit. I welcome you here. I hope you feel at home during your time in Washington. It’s good to see you again.

FOREIGN MINISTER WANG: (Via interpreter) Secretary Kerry has on several occasions asked me to visit the United States, and I’m very happy that finally I have come to visit this country.

This year is an important year for China-U.S. relationship to build on past achievements and make new progress. Since the change of government in both countries, China-U.S. relationship has had a smooth transition, got off to a good start, and now enjoys strong momentum. President Xi Jinping and President Barack Obama met successfully twice in less than three months. They reached important agreement on our two countries working together to build a new model of major country relationship, charting the future course for China-U.S. ties.

I have come to the United States to work with the U.S. side to push forward the building of this new model of major country relationship between our two countries with concrete actions and enrich its (inaudible) with our specific cooperation. I look forward to having in-depth and candid discussion with Secretary Kerry on all these issues of mutual interest, to which that Mr. Secretary just referred. And the Chinese side is ready to work with the United States to make good preparations for our upcoming high-level engagement, and for pushing forward our mutually beneficial cooperation. At the same time, we are also ready to have in-depth communication with the United States with an open mind on those issues, including Syria, issues on the Korean Peninsula, climate change, and cyber security. We also want to discuss with the United States the relevant issues in the Asia-Pacific region, to work with the U.S. side for sound interaction in the Asia-Pacific between our two countries.

I have come to the United States to implement the agreement reached between our top leaders to strengthen the mutually beneficial cooperation between our two countries and to enhance the China-U.S. friendship. We look forward to working with the United States to ensure that we will be able to translate the defining feature of this new model of major country relationship, namely non-conflict and confrontation, mutual respect, and win-win cooperation into all aspects of China-U.S. relationship to bring benefits to our both countries and beyond. And it is my belief that there is tremendous potential for us working together to further expand and deepen our cooperation.

Just now, Secretary Kerry referred to the two important issues of Syria and the DPRK. Let me make a few brief comments here.

On Syria, China welcomes the framework agreement reached not long ago by the United States and Russia. We believe that there needs to be early agreement on the decision to be taken by the OPCW, and at the same time, the Security Council of the United Nations also needs to recognize and support this decision. Ultimately, the issue of Syria needs to be resolved through political means. The Chinese side will continue to play its positive and constructive role in that direction.

Addressing issues on the Korean Peninsula have been an important area for China-U.S. cooperation. Today marks the 8th anniversary of the issuance of September 19th

Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks. I believe it is an important time for the Six Parties to review the past, summarize the good experience, and open up brighter prospects for the future. To achieve the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and maintain peace and stability in Northeast Asia serves the common interests of China and the United States. I look forward to having a deep discussion with Secretary on how we can work together to re-launch the Six-Party Talks and effectively push forward the denuclearization process. And I am confident that we will be able to reach new, important agreement.

Well, today is also the Chinese traditional festival, a mid-Autumn day for family reunion. And the moon tonight will be the fullest in this whole year, which augurs well, I suppose, for a brighter future. And let me use this opportunity to convey the festive greetings to all of you and through all of you to the American people. Thank you.

(In English) Thank you.



SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you very, very much.

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PRN: 2013/1142