President Clinton and Chinese President Jiang Zemin agreed Saturday that they would no longer target their nuclear weapons at each other's country, a decision Jiang said "demonstrates the United States and China are partners, not adversaries."
After summit talks, Jiang also said in a joint appearance with Clinton that China will not be the first to use nuclear weapons "under any circumstances." Left unsaid was China's push for the United States to make the same promise.The two leaders met in the Maoist-era Great Hall of the People after standing at the edge of Tiananmen Square in an 11-minute welcoming cere-mony. Dozens of human rights groups, as well as a House-passed resolution, had urged Clinton not to step foot in Tiananmen because of the symbolism.
Walking side by side, Clinton and Jiang reviewed an honor guard of the People's Liberation Army and stood at attention for the playing of national anthems. Cannons thundered the welcoming salute. It was a sweltering morning, and the normally busy square was cleared for the ceremony.
The presidents expressed satisfaction with the relationship between China and the United States.
Said Jiang, "We will make constant progress in the direction of building a strategic partnership between China and the United States" as the nations move toward the 21st century.
He said, "As China and the United States have different social systems, ideologies, values and cultural traditions, we have some difference of views on certain issues. However, they should not become the obstacles in the way of the growth of China-U.S. relations. . . . The development paths of the countries of the world should be chosen by the peoples of the countries concerned."
The Chinese leader said the issue of Taiwan is an important and sensitive one and that the United States must stick to its policy of recognizing only one legitimate Chinese government "in the interest of a smooth growth" in U.S.-China relations.
Clinton reaffirmed the U.S. "one China" policy, which opposes independence for Taiwan, and he encouraged more direct talks be-tween Taipei and Beijing. In another important regional issue Clinton said he and Jiang agreed to work to maintain stability on the Korean Peninsula.
Clinton listed broad areas in which the United States and China are working together, including the environment, health, judicial matters, efforts to maintaining stability in global currency markets, and technical cooperation in preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction.
"We agreed to that we need to work together to avoid destabilizing world currencies," he said.
"Clearly a stable, open, prosperous China . . . is good for America," Clinton said.
Clinton said he pressed Jiang to start a dialogue with the Dalai Lama "in return for the recognition that Tibet is a part of China and a recognition of the unique cultural and religious heritage of that region."
The detargeting agreement was forged over weeks of pre-summit negotiations and formalized by Clinton and Jiang in their meeting.
China has 18 long-range missiles - 13 of them currently aimed at U.S. cities - compared to the United States' 6,000 or so nuclear warheads.
The detargeting agreement follows one between the United States and Russia that was concluded in 1997.