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For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
December 9, 2003

President Bush Welcomes Premier of China to the White House
Remarks by President Bush and Premier Wen Jiabao in Arrival Ceremony
The South Grounds

President's Remarks


10:00 A.M. EST

PRESIDENT BUSH: Mr. Premier, members of the delegation, it is my honor to welcome you to the White House. Your visit reflects the increasing ties of cooperation and commerce between our two nations.

America and China share many common interests. We are working together in the war on terror. We are fighting to defeat a ruthless enemy of order and civilization. We are partners in diplomacy working to meet the dangers of the 21st century. We are full members of a world trading system that rewards enterprise and lifts nations.

Our two nations seek a Korean Peninsula that is stable and at peace. The elimination of North Korea's nuclear programs is essential to this outcome. Realizing this vision will require the strong cooperation of all North Korea's neighbors. I am grateful for China's leadership in hosting the six-party talks which are bringing us closer to a peaceful resolution of this issue. And my government will continue to work with China as it plays a constructive role in Asia and in the world.

The rapid rise of China's economy is one of the great achievements of our time. China's increasing prosperity has brought great benefits to the Chinese people and to China's trading partners around the world. We recognize that if prosperity's power is to reach in every corner of China, the Chinese government must fully integrate into the rules and norms of the international trading and finance system.

China has discovered that economic freedom leads to national wealth. The growth of economic freedom in China provides reason to hope that social, political and religious freedoms will grow there, as well. In the long run, these freedoms are indivisible and essential to national greatness and national dignity.

As our two nations work constructively across areas of common interest, we are candid about our disagreements. The growing strength and maturity of our relationship allows us to discuss our differences, whether over economic issues, Taiwan, Tibet, or human rights and religious freedom, in a spirit of mutual understanding and respect.

China is a great civilization, a great power, and a great nation. Premier Wen, when my country looks forward to -- my country looks forward to working with you as China increasingly takes its place among the leading nations of the world.

The United States and China have made great progress in building a relationship that can address the challenges of our time, encourage global prosperity and advance the cause of peace. It is my hope that your visit will further that progress. Welcome, and thank you for coming. (Applause.)

PREMIER WEN: Mr. President, Mrs. Bush, ladies and gentlemen, friends. I wish to thank you, Mr. President, for your kind invitation. It is with pleasure that I'm paying an official visit to the United States. I have brought with me the sincere greetings and good wishes of the great Chinese people to the great American people.

PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you, sir.

PREMIER WEN: A quarter of a century ago, leaders of our two countries made the strategic decision to establish diplomatic relations, thus opening a new era in China-U.S. relations. In the past 25 years, our relations have stood tests of all kinds, moved forward through twists and turns, and made great progress. Our cooperation in a wide range of areas such as counterterrorism, economy, trade and international and regional issues, has effectively safeguarded our mutual interests and promoted peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia Pacific region and the world at large.

At present, we are at a crucial juncture of carrying our relationship into the future where we face both opportunities and challenges. The changing situation has continued to add new substance to our relations. The fundamental interests of our two peoples and the people across the world require that China and the United States step up cooperation, increase mutual trust, and further push forward the constructive and cooperative bilateral relations. In the final analysis, China-U.S. relations must go on improving. It is with this earnest desire that I've come to visit your country.

We should view and handle China-U.S. relations in an historic perspective, and with strategic foresight and courage. The three Sino-U.S. communiqus drawn up by our two sides sets the guiding principles for appropriately addressing differences between the two countries, and continuing to broaden bilateral exchanges and cooperation. So long as the two sides continue to strictly abide by the principles as set forth in the three Sino-U.S. joint communiqus, and boost cooperation, our relationship will keep moving forward steadily. Let us join hands to create an even better future for two great countries and the wider world.

Mr. President, once again, thank you for your warm welcome. (Applause.)

END 10:12 A.M. EST

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