U.S. DEPARTMENT OF STATE
Office of the Spokesman
May 10, 2011
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton
With Anthony Yuen of Phoenix TV
May 10, 2011
QUESTION: Madam, the annual dialogue is over, so what can you tell us what we accomplished this time?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, Mr. Yuen, let me start by expressing deep appreciation for these dialogues. For the last three years, as you know, we have held them – two in Washington, one in Beijing – next year we will be Beijing again. And there are very specific outcomes, agreements that are signed, particularly on promoting scientific research, on improving our cooperation in everything from clean energy to agricultural productivity. On the economic side, similarly, a lot of progress in making sure that Chinese businesses in the United States and American businesses in China have a chance to invest and compete.
But in addition to the specific outcome, what I am particularly pleased about is I believe we have developed greater understanding of one another and more trust. Ever since President Obama came into office, he and I have said that we support China’s successful rise. We think a successful, thriving China is good for the United States. We will have differences and disagreements. We are two very different people, and we have different histories. But overall, I think we have charted a very positive path forward.
QUESTION: You – I watch you at the – on the opening day, your speech. You keep on saying that we have to build up the mutual trust between our two countries. So after this meeting, after the two previous meeting, do you think we already build up those kind of trusts you’re trying to achieve?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I believe we have. And I think from the comments of my Chinese counterpart, State Councilor Dai Bingguo as well as Secretary Geithner and Vice Premier Wang, we all feel that we have delved into these issues quite deeply. And we have been willing to express to one another what we don’t understand – Why do the Chinese people feel this way; why do the American people do that?
And during the course of my extensive meetings in the strategic track, I think we have crossed a bridge so that we are willing to discuss at great length difficult, sensitive matters. In fact, for the first time ever, we had a special meeting that included military and civilian officials talking about strategic security issues. We don’t want misunderstanding and miscalculation. Where we have a difference, we want to be very clear about that difference so that there’s no confusion. And I think that creates a greater level of both understanding and trust.
QUESTION: So this morning I read all the major newspapers in this country. Essential to them, and I think as well as in China – they all focus on this is first time the military ranking – high-ranking military office meet each other. Is this a special meaning for us in the future?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I think it’s a very important development, because we want to be sure that as our governments on the civilian side take the time to really listen to each other, we do the same on the military-to-military side. We know that China has such tremendous potential, not just economically but also militarily. And we want to avoid miscalculation there as well. From the report that State Councilor Dai Bingguo and I received from the two leaders of the strategic security dialogue, it seemed as though they had quite a satisfactory conversation. It’s just a beginning, but one has to start somewhere, because we want to make sure that there are no surprises, there is an understanding of the positions that each of us takes, and where there can be cooperation we pursue it.
For example, one of the issues we’re beginning to discuss is with respect to disasters. We’ve had some terrible natural disasters in East Asia, earthquakes in China, Japan, New Zealand, flooding, terrible storms. And one could perhaps argue that the disasters are more intense because of changes in weather patterns. So how do we jointly plan on that? And I think both of use a combination of civilian and military resources.
SECRETARY CLINTON: So here’s an area where perhaps we can cooperate.
QUESTION: How about the (inaudible) of military exercise? Are we going to have – in the future, we have agenda or schedule to make the joint military exercise together?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I think certainly that could be on a future agenda, that there would be an opportunity to discuss that. But we had to start, and I think that was a good start today.
QUESTION: So for the past few years, I keep on listen – watching your speech. You’re always trying to convince Chinese people and government that United States not going to contain China. From your experience when you talk to those Chinese officials, are they being convinced by this?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I think that there’s a lot more understanding and confidence in our intentions and our action. State Councilor Dai Bingguo and I had a very interesting conversation, because he was explaining to me some of the many reasons why he believes that China should not fear the United States and why the United States should not fear China. I agree with that. But we are both large, complex countries, and we have many voices and many interests. We know that China has done a tremendous job in the last 40 years in lifting people out of poverty. We think that’s good for us, so we want to see that continue. At the same time, we want to see China’s economic system and its market become more open.
So we talk about that, and I know China doesn’t want to do anything that in any way interrupts the peaceful rise and the development of the Chinese people. But we make the case that opening up one’s market will actually benefit people. Well, so we have our point of view; the Chinese express their point of view, but that should not be viewed as any kind of interference from either side. We want to just put out all of our observations, and each country is, of course, always having the right to choose one’s own course.
We talk very, very openly about the problems that we’ve got in our economy and our political system that we have to pay attention to, and why, when we have economic problems, there is naturally going to be some concern on the part of some Americans about China’s economic success. So we try to make sure that everybody understands the different point of view.
QUESTION: In the past few years in that program, I was convince – try to convince the Chinese people, saying that criticize always come from good friends. You don’t think, this president is my good friend; I don’t try to criticize him, I don’t – I just want to – so we’re basically – so did you try, from your part, to convince Chinese people, hey, look, I am – you’re a good friend, so I criticize you?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I think you’re right. I think that if you are indifferent to someone, you don’t even worry about that person. You could care less. You don’t want to have anything to do with them. I am very committed to our relationship, not only our government-to-government relationship but, even more importantly, our people-to-people relationship. And I think it’s gone in a very positive direction in the past years.
But at the same time, we have internal opinions, values, interests, just like China does. So we will say we’re not always going to agree, and we do have some questions and some criticism, which we’re happy to share with you in the hope that you will better understand us and maybe it will give you some ideas.
And I remember my first trip to China as Secretary of State. It was in the midst of the financial crisis. And Chinese friends had many critical things to say about our regulatory system, our economic system. And it was good not to pretend otherwise but to say, how did this happen, why did this happen, what are you going to do to fix it. So we’ve had, I think, a very good and friendly exchange.
Now, sometimes the media paints it as something other than part of the ongoing dialogue. And what I have told Americans is we will, for example, raise questions about human rights, but that doesn’t prevent us from working on critical issues that will determine the quality of life that people lead. How do we keep our economies growing? If the United States and China don’t cooperate, the world will suffer. How do we deal with climate change? How do we deal with energy? How do we deal with all of these issues – food security, clean water – which are critically important to the people that we both represent? So it’s not either/or. It’s a combination. It is, as both President Hu Jintao and President Obama said, we want a positive, cooperative, and comprehensive relationship.
QUESTION: I remember when once I read an article from your New York Times. It says you consider China as a banker, banker of United States. So you always trying to make this banker build up a closer relationship between United States and the banker. So for the past years, do you think we approach closer?
SECRETARY CLINTON: I do. And I remember when I said that. It was back in my campaign for president. And that was a criticism of my own government and my own political system; that when my husband left the presidency, the United States had a balanced budget and a surplus, and we were on a path to financial independence. For many reasons, at this point in time, we are deeply in debt, we run big deficits, and it’s deeply disturbing to many Americans.
So what I was pointing out is that we had, in effect, not just to China – we have Japan, European, we have many countries that have faith in the American economy and have bought American debt, but I prefer that we be more independent. I think it’s a better path for a nation. That’s not a reflection on our respect for China or Japan or Europe or anyone else.
So that was actually a criticism of my own country, but I think you are right to point out that we have worked hard in the Obama Administration to avoid what could have been an awkward relationship, where we were in a very difficult economic position and we did owe a lot of money to China, and we did have to figure out how to get the global economy going. And I really give both President Hu Jintao and President Obama a lot credit, because it could have been easy for Americans to overreact or for Chinese officials to say well, we’re not going to work together. But instead, they rose above the politics in both countries and they provided great leadership. And now, we are on the brink of moving away from the worst of the financial crisis which, if we had not worked together, could’ve become another Great Depression.
QUESTION: Right. One of the obstacle bothers our relationship is Taiwan –
SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes.
QUESTION: -- arm sales to Taiwan. And recently, before I come here, I read an article from the – a Taiwanese newspaper saying that they are going to give up the compulsory military service in – and replace with the enlisting system, so they give money. It’s fund – allocated money into that system now, so they want to delay maybe two or three years to purchasing these weapons or the military equipment from United States. What this shows to you?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I’m not aware of that recent report, but we are committed to a one China policy. And in our dialogue, I expressed respect for the way that China has been creating more positive feelings and more cross-strait economic and other activities so that the relationship between China and Taiwan, it appears, is on a much better basis. And what we have continued to stress is that we want to see an improvement in China-Taiwan relations, and it is important for both sides to work together. But our position has always been based on the three communiqués and the Taiwan Relations Act, and it has not changed and it will not change.
QUESTION: And, for example, the people in Taiwan, including Ma Ying – President Ma Ying-jeou said that according to their constitution, they’ve been already independent. They don’t have to declare independence anymore. So in this case, what’s your position, in the U.S. position?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Our position is still the one China policy, and it will remain that. Now, we don’t take a position on Taiwan elections or Taiwan political statements. That’s for the Taiwanese people. But we do believe that the more there can be cooperative arrangements, like the recent economic agreements that were reached between Taiwan and China, the better that is for everyone.
QUESTION: One last question I want to ask you, otherwise my female audience will complain. (Laughter.) They keep on asking me, said if you have chance to ask Mrs. Clinton – how do you balance your public life, a good politician, and your private life as a wife and first lady or mother of Chelsea?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, it is a difficult question for any woman to answer, I think, Mr. Yuen. I think that the truth is that we all balance in our own way, and it depends upon what stage of life you’re in. I will be very honest with you in saying that it would have been impossible for me to do this job if my daughter were not already an adult and now a very happily married young woman. I could not have been away as much if I had had small children. You just have to try to balance where you are in your life.
And for young women with children, I often tell them that their most important job, once they have children, is the raising of their children. I am a strong supporter of women being able to work in the workplace and being able to make good decisions for themselves. I would like to see both of our countries do more to help more women in the workplace.
But women in my lifetime have certainly seen their opportunities expand. More young women are now in positions that had never been held by women before, so more young women will be working to balance their family responsibilities with their outside requirements, whether it’s in the workplace or in some other academic or athletic or entertainment pursuit.
And I guess the final thing I would say about that is I’m a very lucky person because I have been able to practice law, to be a law professor, to be a fulltime volunteer when my husband was president, to be a senator, to be a secretary of state. And I have a great commitment to helping more women have the opportunity to make the best decisions for themselves. And one of the aspects of the dialogue is this new women leadership program that we have started, so that I will be meeting with a large number of women leaders from China and women leaders from the United States. And when women in positions of responsibility get together, we often talk about what are the tricks for balancing family and work. And I know how lucky I am that I’ve had these opportunities, but I want more women, particularly young women, to have the same choices.
QUESTION: But do President Clinton and Chelsea complain you don’t give them more time?
SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, my husband’s pretty busy too, and my daughter is very busy, so we find as much time together as possible. We have a home in New York where we love to spend time together. We were just together over the past weekend for Mother’s Day. We talk on the phone, we email a lot. And I had the wonderful experience last summer of working on my daughter’s wedding. So I will, when I retire from this position, have much more time. But right now I work for as much time together as I possibly could schedule.
QUESTION: Thank you very much, Madam. Thank you.
SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. It’s wonderful to talk with you. Thank you.