- The Washington Times - Saturday, October 20, 2001

SHANGHAI Chinese President Jiang Zemin yesterday delivered a lukewarm endorsement of the U.S.-led war against international terrorism, prompting President Bush to declare China stands "side by side with the American people."
In an often gruff, two-question "joint press availability" session, the Chinese president ruffled diplomatic feathers when he defined how the United States should respond to the murder of more than 5,000 civilians on its soil.
"We hope that anti-terrorism efforts can have clearly defined targets. And efforts should hit accurately, and also avoid innocent casualties. And what is more, the role of the United Nations should be brought into full play," Mr. Jiang said.
The 26-minute joint appearance ended abruptly when Mr. Jiang announced, "That's the end of the press conference." At no time during the news conference, which began with each leader making a statement, did Mr. Jiang express sympathy for the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks. Nor did the Chinese president say he supports the United States' multi-prong effort to punish terrorists and Afghanistan or other countries that harbor them.
Instead, he said China "attaches importance" to its relationship with the United States and is "working together with the rest of the international community to combat terrorism."
Mr. Bush, however, spoke for the Chinese president when he said "there is a firm commitment by this government to cooperate in intelligence matters, to help interdict financing of terrorist organizations."
"President Jiang and the government stand side by side with the American people as we fight this evil force," Mr. Bush added.
The U.S. president three times said he had "explained" to the Chinese president how the United States will retaliate against the terrorists. He also told Mr. Jiang how to secure the future of U.S.-China relations.
"In the long run, the advance of Chinese prosperity depends on China's full integration into the rules and norms of international institutions," Mr. Bush said. "And in the long run, economic freedom and political freedom will go hand in hand."
The joint news conference took place after the two leaders met face-to-face for the first time and held an hourlong bilateral meeting in China's most modern city. More than 70,000 police officers and soldiers walked the streets of Shanghai, where leaders from 21 countries have gathered for the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit.
Mr. Bush also reminded Mr. Jiang that the United States opposes human rights abuses by Beijing, raising a traditionally sensitive issue between the two countries. The president warned China that it must not take advantage of the global campaign against terrorism to crack down on its own ethnic minorities.
"The war on terrorism must never be an excuse to persecute minorities," Mr. Bush said.
The president also said he had explained his "views on Taiwan" to Mr. Jiang. Beijing sees Taiwan as a breakaway republic, and has been angered by the Bush administration's decision to sell advanced weapons to the island. Mr. Bush has vowed to defend Taiwan with force if necessary.
However, Mr. Jiang yesterday warned Mr. Bush not to violate agreements and not to meddle in the internal affairs of China.
"I'm convinced that so long as the three signed U.S. joint communiques and fundamental norms governing international relations are adhered to, and so long as the problems between us, especially the problem of Taiwan the question of Taiwan is properly addressed, then there will be a bright future for our relationship," Mr. Jiang said.
Taiwan embarrassed China yesterday by pulling out of the APEC summit, angered over Beijing's refusal to let the island send its envoy of choice.
"We protest the treatment we received here by the host country very strongly, and we will be returning to Taiwan as early as possible," said Yang Wei-li, chief spokesman for the Taiwan delegation.
A senior Bush administration official cast Mr. Jiang's stance in the war on terrorism in a positive light, saying the United States and China are committed to "the building of a constructive and mature relationship."
"I can't speak about the sensitivities of the Chinese government. That's for the Chinese government to do. I can only tell you that we feel that we've gotten full and complete support from China," the official said.
The short U.S.-China news conference was in stark contrast with another one later in the day between Mr. Bush and South Korean President Kim Dae Jung.
"I would like to convey our most sincere condolences and sympathies to the people of America for their tremendous loss and the pain and the suffering that they suffer due to the terrorist attack," Mr. Kim said.
The South Korean president said his country would "render all the necessary cooperation and assistance that [the United States] might need." He added: "The Republic of Korea will continue to take active participation in this war against terrorism."
As he did when he departed for the trip to China, Mr. Bush called on North Korean leader Kim Jong-il to reopen a dialogue with South Korea. "This is a moment in history, where he can prove his worth. He has an opportunity to lead. I would hope he would show the world he's interested in peace and interested in improving the lives of the citizens who live in North Korea."
Although Mr. Bush canceled stops in Seoul, Tokyo and Beijing after the Sept. 11 attacks, he scheduled bilateral meetings with both Korean leaders. The president noted that he left the United States "at a very difficult time," but said the trip is important because of "the campaign against terror."
Mr. Bush was scheduled to meet today with leaders from Malaysia and Brunei. He holds face-to-face talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin tomorrow.

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