Remarks With Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi Before Their Meeting

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Ben Franklin Room
Washington, DC
October 1, 2014

 SECRETARY KERRY:  Good afternoon, everybody.  It’s my distinct pleasure to welcome His Excellency, the foreign minister of China, Foreign Minister Wang Yi.  I met with the foreign minister in July in Beijing for a very productive Strategic & Economic Dialogue.  We spent two days together and President Xi opened up that meeting and closed the meeting.  And we are very grateful for China’s significant commitment to that dialogue.  And in addition, we had useful conversations in August during my trip to Burma for the ASEAN Regional Forum, and we had a chance to briefly talk in New York.  Knowing that we were going to be meeting here, we held back on the length and breadth of that conversation. 


But I’m very pleased that he has taken time to visit us here in Washington on the occasion of China’s National Day, and we congratulate you on that and welcome you here.  And I’m pleased he’s taken time to come here and strengthen our relationship as part of the ongoing dialogue between us.


I want to emphasize that the United States welcomes the rise of a peaceful, prosperous, and stable China, and one that plays a responsible role in Asia and the world, and contributes to upholding the existing rules and the norms on economic and security issues.  I take note that China is stepping up and contributing to this challenge of Ebola, and we are appreciative for China’s willingness to put both equipment and personnel on the line in order to help deal with this.  We view that in very positive terms with respect to China’s important role in global leadership. 


And that is why we are committed – that role and our interests together – in trying to find ways to cooperate on those issues of greatest consequence on a global basis while we manage some of the differences between us effectively.  We want to show a new model of relations in which we broaden our cooperation on the common interests and constructively manage those differences so that we can be as effective as possible. 


The foreign minister and I are both coming off of a very busy and very productive week in New York for the climate summit and the UN General Assembly.  There I took pleasure in participating in President Obama’s meeting with Chinese Vice Premier Zhang Gaoli and I left those meetings encouraged, significantly encouraged, by his commitment on behalf of China to the dialogue with respect to climate change.  And particularly, we talked about dealing with the mitigating of threats from global climate change and also to trying to work together as we develop the targets for next year’s conference in Paris.  We also talked about containing Ebola as well as countering the challenge of radical extremism and terrorism, and particularly ISIL.


One of the issues that we’re going to discuss today, no doubt, is the situation in Hong Kong.  And as China knows, we support universal suffrage in Hong Kong accordant with the Basic Law, and we believe in open society with the highest possible degree of autonomy and governed by rule of law is essential for Hong Kong’s stability and prosperity.  And we have high hopes that the Hong Kong authorities will exercise restraint and respect for the protestors’ right to express their views peacefully.


China, importantly, is hosting APEC this year, and their hosting of that meeting could not be more timely or more important to all of us.  I know President Obama is personally looking forward to attending the APEC summit in November.  We’re grateful to the Chinese for helping to arrange the dates in a way that worked for everybody’s schedule.  And I think that the foreign minister and I in a few moments will discuss how we can make certain that that visit is a success, that it is as productive as possible, but also so that the APEC summit is the success that we all want it to be.


So Mr. Foreign Minister, I’m delighted you’re here, and I very much look forward to our conversation.  Thank you.


FOREIGN MINISTER WANG:  (Via interpreter) Secretary Kerry, friends from the press, today marks the 65th anniversary of the founding of new China.  It’s our National Day.  I want to share the joy of the Chinese people with you.  I also want to thank Secretary Kerry for his best wishes.  This is a regular visit to the United States by me; it is also a return visit for Secretary Kerry’s visit to China earlier this year. 


More importantly, I’ve come to the United States to hold discussion with the U.S. side, to have strategic communication with the U.S. colleagues for President Obama’s trip to China for the APEC meeting and visit to China, particularly for the important consultations, talks between the two presidents.  I want to say that the common interests between us are far greater than our differences.  I agree with what Secretary Kerry said about the areas of cooperation.  Indeed, we need cooperation.  We can cooperate with each other.  And there is an increasing list of areas of cooperation between us, and I believe the list can go on.


There is a very important common mission for the two countries; that is, as the largest developing country and largest developed country in the world, China and the United States need to work together to build a new model of major country relations featuring non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect, and win-win cooperation.  This meets our common interests, meets the expectation of the international community.  It is also in keeping with the trend of human progress.


We don’t think the process will be all smooth sailing.  There will be various risks and challenges on the way.  The China-U.S. relationship is just like a giant ship sailing on the sea.  It requires that both sides work jointly to keep the ship on the right course, keep injecting the impetus for it to forge ahead; and at the same time, we also work jointly to properly handle hidden rocks and shoals.  I believe we need to enhance mutual trust, strategic trust; reduce mutual strategic misgivings; and reduce our misjudgment.  As long as we work jointly in that direction, we will be able to meet our goal.  This is our common mission.  It is also the responsibility that we need to jointly fulfill for the international community.


The endeavor for building this new model of major country relationship is an ongoing process that we are undertaking right at this moment.  We are ready to work with the United States to enhance cooperation, properly manage our differences, and make unremitting efforts towards our common goal. 


Secretary Kerry mentioned Hong Kong.  The Chinese Government has very firmly and clearly stated its position.  Hong Kong affairs are China’s internal affairs.  All countries should respect China’s sovereignty.  And this is also a basic principle governing international relations.  I believe for any country, for any society, no one will allow those illegal acts that violate public order.  That’s the situation in the United States, and that’s the same situation in Hong Kong.  We believe that the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’s government has the capability to properly handle the current situation in accordance with the law. 


And I am ready to have a full discussion with Secretary Kerry about those regional and international issues of mutual interest and also our strategic bilateral cooperation.  I hope that more consensus can be reached through such dialogue.  Thank you all.