Lawmakers Stress Need for Peaceful Resolution of Taiwan Issue (Weldon reports to Congress on delegation to China, South Korea)
Lawmakers Stress Need for Peaceful Resolution of Taiwan Issue (Weldon reports to Congress on delegation to China, South Korea)
Title: Excerpt: Lawmakers Stress Need for Peaceful Resolution of Taiwan Issue (Weldon reports to Congress on delegation to China, South Korea)
Source: Congressional Record, June 5, 2002
Representative Curt Weldon (Republican of Pennsylvania) led a 13-member Congressional Delegation to Russia, Uzbekistan, China and the Republic of Korea over the Memorial Day recess of Congress, May 24-June 3.
The lawmakers met counterparts and leaders in the four countries. In China, Weldon restated U.S. policy that the United States recognizes one China and that Taiwan is part of China. However, the lawmaker added, any reunification between Beijing and Taipei had to be peaceful and without coercion.
"We again reaffirmed to President Jiang that we are committed to a one-China policy, and we are committed to the peaceful process of bringing China and Taiwan together," Weldon said.
"We also reiterated the fact that the Congress would not tolerate any armed hostilities in an attempt to bring Taiwan back in, and he assured us that that was not China's intent, that they were certainly totally committed to a peaceful resolution of the independent status of the two nations so they in fact could become one China again," Weldon told the House of Representatives.
Premier Zhu Rongji, Weldon noted, had also stated the importance of the "one China" policy and that Beijing "does not desire to use force against Taiwan to achieve reunification."
The Chinese premier cited Hong Kong as "a successful example of reunification," Weldon told fellow lawmakers. Premier Zhu Rongji, he added, told the lawmakers that reunification with Taiwan "would not require a change in Taiwan's economic system."
While the question of Taiwan remains an outstanding issue in Sino-American relations, from Beijing's perspective, Weldon said, China's leaders are cooperating with the United States on various issues of mutual concern.
He noted Chinese President Jiang Zemin expressed a "commitment to work with America in trying to provide some stability in the current conflict between India and Pakistan."
Weldon had planned to bring his delegation to Pyongyang, but could not get authorization for the visit from North Korea's communist rulers.
Following are excerpts from the Congressional Record of the May 24-June 3 trip report by Representative Curt Weldon (Republican of Pennsylvania):
RECENT BIPARTISAN TRIP TO RUSSIA, CHINA, UZBEKISTAN AND NORTH KOREA
House of Representatives
June 05, 2002
Mr. WELDON of Pennsylvania. Mr. Speaker, I want to take this opportunity to review a recent congressional delegation trip that I led over the Memorial Day recess.
Mr. Speaker, this was a historic trip, and one that has laid the groundwork for, I think, some future historic activities for this Nation in a number of areas. The trip was to basically countries involving Russia, a visit to Moscow and then on to Tashkent, Uzbekistan; on to Beijing, China; Seoul, Korea; visiting military sites along the way. And the only disappointment of our trip was that we had planned to be the first large bipartisan delegation into Pyongyang, North Korea, to begin a dialogue with the leadership of that nation to lower the tension and the rhetoric and to see if we could not find some common ground in comparison to the recent negative feelings between the U.S. and the North Korean leadership.
Unfortunately, despite our best efforts to try throughout the entire trip, we were not successful....
The bipartisan delegation consisted of 13 Members of the House. We had 7 Democrats and 6 Republicans. The delegation represented almost every one of our major committees in the Congress, but had a heavy emphasis of the Committee on Armed Services. The delegation was interested in a number of issues, but in particular cooperative threat reduction, ways that we could decrease the threat posed by nuclear weapons and stockpiles, ways that we could retrain, help retrain those individuals, especially in Russia, that were involved in nuclear and weapons activities, issues involving counter proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and ways that we could work with former Soviet states and other nations to continue our counter proliferation efforts, dealing with the issue of nuclear waste and contamination and other environmental issues, energy production and distribution, cooperative efforts in the war on terrorism, Sino-American relations, and North and South Korean relations....
In the People's Republic of China, in Beijing, we met with President Jiang Zemin, a very historic opportunity for us to meet with the top leader of the People's Republic. The meeting was extremely interesting because President Jiang spoke to us not just in Chinese but also in English, which showed the level of comfort that he had with our delegation. He was very much interested in hearing our views. He put forth his commitment to work with America in trying to provide some stability in the current conflict between India and Pakistan, and he reiterated his commitment to work with us to provide peace for the world.
We discussed the issue of Taiwan. We heard his strong feelings toward that independent entity, and we again reaffirmed to President Jiang that we are committed to a one-China policy, and we are committed to the peaceful process of bringing China and Taiwan together. We also reiterated the fact that the Congress would not tolerate any armed hostilities in an attempt to bring Taiwan back in, and he assured us that that was not China's intent, that they were certainly totally committed to a peaceful resolution of the independent status of the two nations so they in fact could become one China again....
Mr. Speaker, also in China we met with the Deputy Foreign Minister Zhou. It was a very positive meeting regarding economic reforms in China. He gave us an overview of the economic program that is in place. We talked about how America and China must work together to open new markets for American companies to allow that balance of trade to become more equal. He talked to us specifically about Taiwan, and we discussed again as we did with President Jiang Zemin the need for us to have a peaceful dialogue and a peaceful resolution of the Taiwan-China situation....
Mr. Speaker, leaving China, we had planned to go into North Korea. Unfortunately, all along the way, despite numerous attempts, we were getting nowhere with the DPRK leadership. In fact, I even at one point in time, one morning in Beijing had a call from Kofi Annan at the U.N., whom I had asked to assist us. Kofi Annan from the U.N., the Secretary-General, and five other groups were working aggressively with us to convince the DPRK leadership that it was in their best interest that this delegation be allowed in, not to criticize the North Korean leaders but to begin a dialogue, to talk, to try to break down the barriers and discuss common areas of concern and opportunity. Unfortunately, that was not to be....
Mr. Speaker, as you well know, we have 37,000 troops in South Korea. It is a major location for our troops overseas. This Congress has got to respond by changing the way that we are currently operating so that young people who are serving in Korea can bring their families with them, because today the bulk of them cannot get the pay level they should get when they serve in other parts of the world, and find ways to reduce the level of commitment in terms of the time they have to serve there. The commanding officers in that theater understand what steps they have to take.
And so our delegation came back to America convinced that we are going to work to commit to that military to change those requirements, to change those support mechanisms, so that our military when it is assigned to South Korea does so with pride, wants to go there, and does not feel that being assigned to South Korea is the least possible priority that they would have as a part of their military career and tenure.
Mr. Speaker, we spent time with Ambassador Hubbard. He gave us an overview of Korea. We had an in-team briefing with our leaders, both on South Korea, and they also gave us a briefing on the North.
We talked about the upcoming elections. We were scheduled to meet with the candidates for the presidency, but because they were off campaigning with elections coming up next week, we were not able to have those meetings. We did meet with Foreign Minister Choi. We met him at his home. We talked for over 1 hour about our relations between the South and America, and we talked about our interests in going to the DPRK, or North Korea.
He, along with the Japanese, along with the Chinese, along with the Russians and the Uzbekistanis, all said that our intent to go to North Korea is extremely important. President Jiang Zemin encouraged us to pursue entrance to North Korea, the leadership in Moscow encouraged us to pursue our entry into North Korea, and so did the South Koreans. That was articulated by the foreign minister of South Korea. We talked about programs that we have together between our two nations, and we talked about ways that we could work even closer together, assuming we can break down the barrier by gaining entrance into North Korea.
Mr. Speaker, we met with Members of the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea. We talked about the importance of our forces there. They are unequivocal in saying that they want America to maintain a presence. It is extremely important to deter conflict on the peninsula.
We talked about cooperation in the war on terrorism, political and military stability in the Korean peninsula, the strong desire for unification of the two Koreas, and we talked about e-government and the need to bring our government and their governments into the new digital divide and the way we can in fact bring information technology to all the people in South Korea.
We also met with the Senior Combatant Commander for United Nations Command Forces, General Leon LaPorte, to get a detailed assessment of the current operations of the United Nations' efforts in South Korea.
We had meetings with the American Chamber of Commerce in Seoul. They also told us that they had tried to take a delegation into North Korea. Mr. Speaker, they had had a group of American companies that are prepared to go to Pyongyang and announced they were going to invest significant new dollars in North Korea. Despite being assured by the North Korean leadership that they would be given entrance, as they went to get their visas, they were told they were denied and they should come back later.
It is extremely frustrating, Mr. Speaker, to try to open doors in a positive way with a regime so closeted and isolated from the rest of the world. So I appeal today, Mr. Speaker, that those leaders in the Democratic Republic of Korea, the DPRK, that they understand that we want to go to their country not to cause problems, not to blame, not to cast negative statements against them, but, rather, to simply open a dialogue, because having a dialogue is a way to eventually ease tensions and find ways to deal with common concerns and common opportunities.
While also in South Korea, Mr. Speaker, the delegation was given an opportunity to travel to the DMZ, or Demilitarized Zone. Traveling up to Panmunjom, members were able to meet with our military once again, engage with the various military officials, and the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Chabot) took on a personal crusade to engage our military on the issue of the remains of Corporal Edward Gibson who has been missing in action since November 26, 1950.
The gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Chabot) raised the issue that so many Americans continue to be concerned about, the lack of a full accounting of those who are missing in action from the Korean conflict, the Korean War.
We discussed the issue with the leadership along the DMZ about that very hostile environment, perhaps the most tense environment today in the world, where American and North Korean forces and allied and North Korean forces stare each other down across this boundary line of barbed wire and concrete, that differentiates the North from the South. It really gives one a full perspective of the need, the absolute need, for us to find a way to begin a dialogue with the leadership of North Korea.
Mr. Speaker, the delegation's trip was exciting. It was almost without flaw. Unfortunately, the final part of our mission, the trip into North Korea and Pyongyang, did not occur. But, Mr. Speaker, we are not giving up. We are renewing our efforts.
We have already started work on another visit. This visit will go into Pyongyang, we will meet with their leaders and we will begin a positive dialogue, so we reduce the tensions and find ways that we can find common ground.
Hopefully President Bush's envoy, Ambassador Pritchart, will travel to Pyongyang very shortly to open the door that the administration has in fact offered, and following that visit, I am extremely optimistic that a congressional delegation that I will be a part of will travel to Pyongyang in an historic way so we can begin a process, much like we began 15 years ago in the Soviet Union. Look at where we are today with Russia's leaders. Today, we have just completed a major thrust of new initiatives. We are challenging each other to athletic contests and we are now considered good friends.
Hopefully that same process can occur and grow in China as we saw in our meetings at the National Defense University, and will also begin to grow in North Korea as we reach out to the people, as we reach out to show them that America wishes no harm, America only wants to find ways to understand, to have a dialogue, and to reduce the threats that come from the kind of actions that the North Korean leadership have taken over the past 20 years in building up a vast military complex, while denying many of their citizens the most basic human needs....
I want to thank all of my colleagues who went with me. It was an outstanding trip. We truly have an unbelievable institution. Thirteen members of Congress, seven Democrats and six Republicans, working together with a common agenda, working together to achieve peace and harmony, in those nations that in the past have been our adversaries, or in the future might become our adversaries....
U.S. Congressional Delegation (Codel Weldon) to Russia, Uzbekistan, Peoples Republic of China and Republic of Korea, May 24-June 3, 2002
A bipartisan congressional delegation of 13 Members of the House of Representatives, led by Representative Curt Weldon, ``CODEL WELDON,'' visited Moscow, Russia; Tashkent and Karshi-Khanabad, Uzbekistan; Beijing, China; Seoul, Yongsan (U.S. Army) Base, and the Demilitarized Zone, Republic of Korea, May 24 through June 3, 2002. The delegation also made considerable efforts prior to departure from Washington, D.C., to arrange meetings with the leadership of the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (DPRK). These efforts continued throughout the delegation's travel, to no avail. Given the major issues of mutual concern, the delegation was disappointed that the DPRK leadership did not accept the opportunity to open a dialogue and engage such a large delegation of the Congress.
Delegation members included Representatives Curt Weldon (R-PA), Solomon Ortiz (D-TX), Roscoe Bartlett (R-MD), Jim Turner (D-TX), Silvestre Reyes (D-TX), Joe Wilson (R-SC), Steve Horn (R-CA), Eni Faleomavaega (Del-American Samoa), Corrine Brown (D-FL), Alcee Hastings (D-FL), Carrie Meek (D-FL), Steve Chabot (R-OH), and Brian Kerns (R-IN)....
Premier Zhu Rongji
Premier Zhu stated the importance of the "one China" policy and stated that the PRC does not desire to use force against Taiwan to achieve reunification. He cited Hong Kong as a successful example of reunification and said reunification with Taiwan would not require a change in Taiwan's economic system. Representative Turner expressed his support for the "one China" policy and indicated that his support for permanent normal trade relations and the PRC's admission to the WTO was based on his belief that the ability of the U.S. and the PRC to build a strong bond of friendship and cooperation is critical to world peace and prosperity over the next 25 years.
Assistant Foreign minister Zhou
In a later meeting, Assistant Foreign minister Zhou outlined China's plan to "intensify" its economic reform program. "With 25 million people entering the work force each year, if we are to avoid problems, we need to speed up reform. He stated
Beijing, China (May 29-June 1)
In the Peoples Republic of China (PRC), the delegation met with President Jiang and senior foreign ministry officials; met officials of the Chinese Peoples Institute of Foreign Affairs; engaged the U.S. Country team in discussions; and visited the National Defense University, where Representative Weldon addressed the student body and delegation members met in breakout sessions with the PLA students attending the University. There was also a side-group meeting by Representatives Turner and Bachus with Premier Ju.
In the delegation meeting with President Jiang, Representative Weldon expressed the desire of the majority of the American people for a productive long-term relationship with the PRC.
President Jiang indicated that China and the U.S. have more interests in common than differences and encouraged mutual respect and moderation. He urged that the U.S. should accept that there are other acceptable models than that of the U.S. for political and economic development. President Jiang stated that the most important and sensitive issue in Sino-American relations is Taiwan. He cited the importance of continuing the "one China" policy. "The Chinese relationship boils down to one question: Taiwan ..... The question is a very simple one ..... We have already agreed (citing normalization, the three joint communiqu s, and "three no's") ..... we don't understand why the U.S. is sending weapons to Taiwan ..... We place much hope in you as representatives that we can get much done."
Representative Weldon indicated he supported the "one China" policy. "Arms sales take place when there is a perception, right or wrong, that a threat exists to the people of Taiwan ..... I am the Chairman responsible for authorizing the procurement of all our military systems. But I am a teacher by profession. I would like to spend money on education, not weapons ..... We do not want conflict with China in any form."
Representative Hastings, citing the importance to both China and the U.S. of engaging the DPRK, asked President Jiang if he would consider having his officials contact the DPRK on the delegation's behalf to arrange a visit. He also asked the President what China is doing to ease tensions between India and Pakistan. The President encouraged the delegation visit to the DPRK, but ``whether they allow the visit must be totally up to them ..... We cannot take decisions in their place. North Korea will have to decide. China is China. North Korea is North Korea.'' On India and Pakistan, the President indicated that both countries are ``China's neighbors'' and said he hoped the Kashmir problem can be solved peacefully. ``Although people are of a view that we are closer to Pakistan, we are trying to get each side to work together. Our relationship with India has fluctuated, but more recently we have had a constantly improving relationship with India.'' He also said that because of the U.S. need to fight terrorism, he believed that ``the U.S. attitude toward Pakistan has changed.'' the purpose of their foreign policy is world peace and common development. ``China is not a threat to anyone and should not be perceived as a threat ..... perception is important ..... China is an important force in the region for peace ..... In our relationship, we have accomplished a lot ..... the only problem is Taiwan ..... The issue of Taiwan should be left to the Chinese to work out. The U.S. should not become involved ..... Our policy goal of peaceful reunification remains. If they (Taiwanese) accept one China, we can be very patient. I hope you will not send signals that can be misinterpreted.''
Representatives Bartlett suggested that Taiwan is a ``tiny island'' with relatively small population and that China and the U.S. should focus on the 90 percent of what we have in common. Representative Horn indicated that ``it would be the biggest mistake ever made for China to invade Taiwan.'' Mr. Horn also expressed his concern over a quote attributed to a Chinese admiral citing ``missiles over LA'' as a Chinese option. Minister Zhou indicated that such a quote was incorrect.
In response to Representative Brown, Minister Zhou agreed there are both obligations and benefits to entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO). ``We will honor our words.'' He indicated there would be challenges for China as a WTO member, but also opportunities. In acknowledging the $100 billion annual trade imbalance between the U.S. and China, Minister Zhou said that ``China wishes to buy more, but that there are too many restrictions.'' Also in response to Representative Brown, he cited the need for the Three Gorges Dam project as primarily for flood control, acknowledged the importance of environmental protection, and said that electricity production is secondary.
In response to a question from Representative Hastings on India and Pakistan, Minister Zhou indicated that the Foreign Ministers involved had talked and cited the need ``to be cautious and avoid escalation ..... The President of Pakistan said he would not use force. We have encouraged them to talk together.''
Minister Zhou concluded that "China will not commit to not use force in the case of Taiwan because we don't want to use force ..... If we make such a commitment (Taiwan) separatists will push for a proclamation of independence, which would be a disaster for everyone." Representative Hastings indicated that the issue of Taiwan would likely take care of itself over time because of the large and increasing investment by Taiwan interests in mainland China.
Chinese Peoples Institute for Foreign Affairs (CPIFA)
President Mei indicated that the CPIFA had worked for 50 years doing exchanges, sponsoring research on international affairs, and hosting high level delegations to promote mutual understanding and bilateral relationships. He cited the importance of economic development and discussed the wide variance within China of economic well-being, with per capita GDP in cities like Shanghai being $4,000, while in many regions it is $300/person. He stated that last year began a policy of developing China's west (12 provinces, two-thirds of China's land area) and cited the need for a stable international environment for economic development. He also discussed the Taiwan issue, citing all of the same factors mentioned by President Jiang and Assistant Foreign Minister Zhou.
In response to a question from Representative Horn, President Mei said China had three domestic goals: develop the west economically, achieve sustained growth throughout the country, and advance education in science and technology. ``The quality of human resources is key to China's development.''
National Defense University
Representative Weldon addressed the military students at the National Defense University for the Peoples Liberation Army on Sino-American relations; America's policy toward Taiwan; the need for increased dialogue and cooperative programs between the PLA and U.S. military; the common threat to China and the U.S. posed by the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and drug trafficking; and the role the Congress plays in the U.S. system of government. After Representative Weldon's address, Members of the delegation had the opportunity to participate in small group discussions with the military students. Taiwan was again a topic of discussion. Also of interest to the students, was the Members' views on international terrorism and the Falun Gong.
Seoul, Yongsan U.A. Army Base, and the DMZ, Korea (June 1-3)
In Korea the delegation met with the foreign minister; the U.S. Ambassador, Thomas C. Hubbard; Members of the National Assembly; senior U.S. and Korean military officials; Korean business leaders; and family members of U.S. military personnel.
Ambassador Hubbard provided the delegation an overview of the Republic of Korea (ROK) political and economic situation, indicating that the South Korean economy continues its recovery from the 1997 economic crisis, currently growing at five-to-six percent a year, making its growth second only in the region, to China. He also advised the delegation of the significant and prompt support provided by the ROK to the events of 9/11. The ROK "stepped up quickly to our war against the Taliban and al-Queda in Afghanistan, and provided shipping, aircraft, and a field hospital to support U.S. operations ..... In addition they have provided $40 million in aid to Afghanistan." The Ambassador further highlighted the critical importance of local and provincial elections taking place in June and the national election in December 2002. He indicated that the South Koreans continue to make major strides in political and democratic reforms.
Foreign Minister Choi
In the delegation meeting with Foreign Minister Choi, Representative Weldon expressed his appreciation for all that the ROK had done and continues to do in support of the international war on terrorism. He also reaffirmed our total commitment to the defense of the ROK. Foreign Minister Choi indicated that his country's prompt support for the U.S. led war on terrorism was an expression of the importance of the effort as well as its appreciation for all the U.S. has done on the Korean Peninsula....
Representative Weldon also expressed to the Foreign Minister, the delegation's consternation with the North Korean, DPRK, failure to approve the delegation's visit request. The delegation had hoped to visit the DPRK to open a dialogue with the North, to express the interest of the legislative branch of the U.S. Government in addressing food aid, agriculture, health, education and other humanitarian assistance. The delegation had hoped to deliver a ``totally positive'' message to the North--that as a coequal branch of the U.S. government, Congress could work with the DPRK to further peace and stability on the Peninsula and help the people of North Korea.
Foreign Minister Choi indicated that the ROK continues its efforts to maintain the dialogue with the North, but the pace of discussions is much slower than what had been hoped for. He expressed considerable concern over the state of the DPRK economy and the well-being of its people. "Our interest is to try and engage, help them improve their situation, to try and increase cooperation." The foreign minister indicated the North is in desperate need of food, health care, and electrical power. He also indicated that the next year will be a critical period because of ROK elections, potential instability in the North due to its dysfunctional economic system, the issue of the DPRK nuclear power reactor and related required inspections by the international community....
United Nations/Combined Forces Command
The Members of the delegation also met with the senior combatant commander, General Leon LaPorte, and his staff to get a detailed assessment of the military balance, force readiness, personnel morale, and classified issues....
Demilitarized Zone (DMZ)
Delegation Members were provided the opportunity to visit the DMZ. Representative Chabot was able to engage military officials on behalf of the relatives of Corporal Edward Gibson, who has been missing in action since November 26, 1950. Representative Chabot acquired an American flag which had been flown at the DMZ in honor of Corporal Gibson and will present the flag to the Gibson family. During the course of the CODEL, Representative Chabot also stressed to Foreign Minister Choi, Ambassador Hubbard, and other U.S. Embassy personnel the importance of making every effort to recover the remains of Corporal Gibson and other U.S. servicemen missing in action.
(Distributed by the Office of International Information Programs, U.S. Department of State. Web site: http://usinfo.state.gov) NNNN
Product Name: WASHINGTON FILE
Document Type: Text
Keywords: WELDON, CURT; CHINA-US RELATIONS/Policy; KOREA (SOUTH); RUSSIA; UZBEKISTAN; OFFICIAL VISITS; TAIWAN; CONGRESS, US; REPORTS AND STUDIES; 1C; SR/BG
Thematic Code: 1C
New Thematic Code:
Word Count: 5506
Originating Team: 02060642.GEA