Powell Interview With Anthony Yuen of Phoenix TV
Interview With Anthony Yuen of Phoenix TV
Secretary Colin L. Powell
China World Hotel
October 25, 2004
QUESTION: Mr. Secretary, before you leave for China, you accept media interviews saying you are very proud of the
US-China relationship because it is based on the mutual respect of each other's needs. After you met with President Hu
early this morning, do you still feel this proud sense.
SECRETARY POWELL: Oh, absolutely. I think we have seen such an improvement in the relationship over the last four
years. We have resolved some of the areas of disagreement on trade and economic activities. We are working so closely
together on regional problems. For example, we are working so closely to try to solve the problem of North Korean
nuclear weapons. All of our ministers in the United States meet on such a frequent basis with Chinese ministers. Our two
presidents, President Hu and President Bush, have a very close relationship, and so I think that this is a real
successful, how we have gone from a confrontation in the early April 2001 when our planes collided, to the point now
where we are cooperating in so many areas.
This doesn't mean that they are no disagreements. There are disagreements. We have a disagreement with respect to human
rights behavior. But what we decided to do today, for example, is not to ignore that disagreement, but to once again
begin the process of resuming a dialogue so we can understand each other's positions better. This is what two mature
countries do when they want to be friends and they want to be partners, and that is what we are doing with China.
QUESTION: So this morning when you talked to Mr. Hu, did you talk about the U.S. weapons sales to Taiwan and what was
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, they would prefer that we not sell weapons to Taiwan, and they made that clear to me, as they
have in the past. And our response is that they should not view this any lack of interest on our part on our One China
Policy. In fact, our One China Policy is sound. It has benefited all the parties for so many years. It rests solidly on
the Three Communiqués that undergird the One China Policy. But at the same time, we have an obligation under our law to
make sure that Taiwan has the means to defend itself, self defense, not attacking anybody, but self-defense. And in
order to meet that obligation we have under our law, from time to time arms sales are appropriate to Taiwan.
We encourage the Chinese side to be very careful about the deployments that they make across the Straits, which might
raise the concern in Taiwan, thereby generating a requirement for more weapons sales. So both sides should show
restraint, not take any unilateral actions, look for ways of improving dialogue across the Straits and move forward
toward that day when we will see a peaceful unification.
QUESTION: Recently, one statement from Taiwan make Chinese nervous. [Inaudible] say, if China attack us, attack
Shanghai, the Shanghai and Taiwan you need a medium range missile. And the Chinese think this is a hint that the US is
going to provide the technology to develop medium range missiles. Is that the case?
SECRETARY POWELL: No. The only technology we are providing to Taiwan, if they choose to buy it, is technology that will
allow for their self-defense. We don't want them to have an offensive capability. We also think that this kind of
rhetoric is unfortunate; it just raises tensions. And it all relates to the feelings in some parts, or of some in
Tawain, that they should move toward independence. But we have made it very clear to all parties, to the authorities in
Taiwan and to the authorities in Beijing, that the United States does not support independence for Taiwan. It would be
inconsistent with our One China Policy.
QUESTION: Recently the Chinese a touch bit nervous. Taiwan keep on saying that "we don't need to declare independence
because we are already independent country with sovereignty because there are already some twenty six countries that
recognize us, so many countries." What does this mean to you?
SECRETARY POWELL: Well, they can make these sorts of statements but our policy is clear. There is only one China.
Taiwan is not independent. It does not enjoy sovereignty as a nation, and that remains our policy, our firm policy. And
it is a policy that has allowed Taiwan to develop a very vibrant democratic system, a market economic system and
provided great benefits to the people of Taiwan. And that is why we think it is policy that should be respected and
should remain in force and will remain in force, on the American side, it is our policy that clearly rests on Three
Communiqués. To repeat it one more time: we do not support an independence movement in Taiwan.
QUESTION: So you consider this insistence on a kind of ambiguity on the One China Policy or what you want to make more
SECRETARY POWELL: It's often conveyed as ambiguous, but I think it's pretty clear. Everyone has understood what it
meant for the last thirty years. And it has allowed Taiwan to be successful. And it certainly created conditions of
stability and security throughout the Asia-Pacific region. It has allowed China, instead of concerning itself about
whether there's going to be a conflict with Taiwan, but for China to develop itself and to join the international
community, economically and politically. And it has also provided stability for other nations in the Asia-Pacific region
so that they could pursue their development. So our One China Policy is not going to change. The president has
reaffirmed this on many occasions. Independence movements or those who speak out for independence movements in Taiwan
will find no support from the United States.
QUESTION: You mentioned earlier that you told the Chinese leaders be very careful to deploy their missiles or whatever
in the other side of Taiwan. I think the former President Mr. Jiang when he visited George Bush last year, he also
mentioned that if we reduce our missiles aiming at Taiwan, is the United States going to cancel or at least consider
twice selling weapons to Taiwan?
SECRETARY POWELL: All of our weapons sales are in the context of what's needed for self-defense. And that's the
position of the United States government. Now hypothetical offers or ideas that come out are interesting, but we have to
look at the reality on the ground. And what we try to do is to ensure that Taiwan is able to defend itself, and that's
the basis of our arms sales policy to them.
But what we have seen on the Chinese side is that there has been a steady build-up across the Taiwan Straits on the
Mainland. The Chinese leaders who I spoke to today said that that's an internal matter for us to determine, us to
decide, and I appreciate their position, but nevertheless, that build-up creates a degree of tension and instability
across the Straits and puts pressure on the Taiwanese side to seek additional weaponry. And under our law, we have an
obligation to see to their self-defense needs. And that's why we continue to point out to the Chinese side, that their
deployments and military steps they might be taking on the Mainland that are causing an imbalance requires that the
imbalance be adjusted in some way and that leads then to additional arms sales.
QUESTION: Mr. Hu just took over the Chairman of the Military Commission and you are the first U.S. high official to
meet with him. Do you feel comfortable? What kind of person do you feel he is?
SECRETARY POWELL: Very comfortable. We have known him for a while. I met with him on a number of occasions. I have been
very impressed at the smoothness with which the transfer of authority of leadership has taken place in China over the
last several years. It shows a degree of political maturity. And I think it speaks well for the Chinese leadership and
the Chinese people. We look forward to working with President Hu in his new expanded role and capacity.
QUESTION: Before you arrived in Tokyo, you rejected the three point suggestions from North Korea. Now when you talk to
President Hu, what kind of role do you want China to play in the Six-Party peace talks?
SECRETARY POWELL: China has played a very important role in helping to create the Six-Party framework. They have been
the host of the meetings, they have been the convener of the meetings and increasingly they have become an active
participant in the meetings. That's what we want China to continue to do. We want active participants; all of us should
be active participants. China has an important role to play. It is a neighbor of North Korea. It has considerable
influence with North Korea. It provides a great deal of assistance to North Korea. And frankly when you look at North
Korea's nuclear weapons program, who is most immediately threatened by such weapons? Who can those weapons reach? South
Korea, Japan, China, Russia- more easily than they can reach the United States. And so we believe that all of North
Korea's neighbors have a role to play in persuading the North Koreans to return to the Six-Party framework and to find a
solution to the goal that all six parties have, and that is the de-nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. And benefits
will flow to North Korea from the de-nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
QUESTION: One last question I want to ask you is in this year in the presidential election, is the first year that both
parties' candidates did not use the Chinese issue as a major issue. They did not attack each other on the Chinese point
of view. Why?
SECRETARY POWELL: Because both sides - President Bush or Mr. Kerry should prevail, but candidate Kerry, Senator Kerry,
they both understand that we have a good relationship with the Chinese. It is not a matter of contention. Everybody
agrees that we have a good relationship with China. That we are working so well in so many areas. Not to say there are
not disagreements, but when you hear disagreements from the political parties in my country now, it has to do with trade
imbalances. It no longer has to do with matters of war and peace. It has to do with matters of trade. This is good. This
is an improvement. However difficult these trade issues become, these are far better issues to be debating than matters
of war and peace of the kind that we might have been debating twenty years ago. And I think this is all to the good for
the United States and for China.
QUESTION: Thank you very much Mr. Secretary.
SECRETARY POWELL: Thank you.
Released on October 25, 2004