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Remarks by State Councilor Yang Jiechi At the Closing Session and Joint Press Availability of the Eighth Round of China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue
2016/06/07

Beijing, 7 June 2016

Friends from the Media,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good afternoon.

With the personal guidance of President Xi Jinping and President Barack Obama and the joint efforts of the Chinese and American teams, the eighth round of the China-US Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) has delivered positive outcomes and will soon come to a conclusion. I fully concur with the assessment made by Vice Premier Wang Yang about this round of the S&ED. Let me also thank the delegations of both sides for the active efforts they have put into this round of dialogue.

In the Strategic Track, following the spirit of the meeting between our Presidents in Washington last March, Secretary Kerry and I had in-depth discussions on advancing the building of the new model of major-country relations between China and the United States, creating new highlights in bilateral practical cooperation, properly managing disagreements and sensitive issues, appropriately handling China-US interactions in the Asia-Pacific, and strengthening communication and cooperation on major international, regional and global issues. Breakout sessions were held between relevant officials on foreign policy, innovation, Sudan and South Sudan, the United Nations and multilateral affairs, ocean conservation, combating illegal wildlife trade, civil aviation, etc. More than 100 deliverables have been produced in nine major areas covered by the Strategic Track.

The two sides reviewed the important, positive progress made in China-US relations since our Presidents' Sunnylands meeting. The most important thing we have learned from the past three years is that we must stay committed to the principle of non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation and to the building of the new model of major-country relationship. The two sides will follow through on the important understandings reached by our Presidents, step up communication, focus on cooperation, properly handle disagreements and move China-US relations forward in the right direction.

We had in-depth exchange of views on China-US cooperation in the G20. We expressed readiness to intensify cooperation with others for more positive outcomes from the G20 Summit in Hangzhou in September, and ensure the full success of the meeting between our Presidents so as to inject fresh impetus into the world economy as well as our bilateral relations.

We will work for new progress in military-to-military relations by enhancing policy dialogue, increasing exchanges and interactions, and building greater mutual trust. We will implement the agreed exchange programs and carry out more joint exercises and training programs, including in humanitarian relief and disaster reduction, UN peacekeeping and combating piracy.

The two sides also agreed to strengthen exchanges and cooperation in a wide range of areas, including counter-terrorism, cyber, judiciary and law enforcement, fighting corruption, fugitive repatriation and asset recovery, energy, environmental protection, customs, health, aviation and ocean conservation, so as to bring more tangible benefits to people in both countries.

During the dialogue, we had frank and in-depth discussions on how to constructively approach disagreements and sensitive issues. China reiterated its consistent position and concerns on Taiwan and Tibet-related issues. China appreciates the reaffirmation by the United States on several occasions of its commitment to the one-China policy, its adherence to the principles in the three joint communiqu├ęs, and its opposition to "Taiwan independence". We hope the United States will honor its commitment and support peaceful growth of cross-Strait relations with concrete actions.

On maritime issues, I stated China's consistent position and pointed out that South China Sea Islands have been China's territory since ancient times and that China has every right to safeguard its territorial sovereignty and legitimate and lawful maritime rights and interests. Based on international law including UNCLOS, China doe not accept or participate in the arbitration case initiated by the Philippines. This position remains unchanged and will not change. China has all along respected and upheld the freedom of navigation and overflight enjoyed by countries according to international law. China hopes that the United States will keep its promise of not taking any position on territorial disputes and play a constructive role toward peace and stability in the South China Sea. The Chinese side stressed the vital importance of upholding peace and stability in the region and peacefully settling disputes concerning territory and maritime rights and interests in the South China Sea through negotiations and consultations between the countries directly involved. China and the United States support full and effective implementation of the DOC and consultations on a COC at a faster pace. The two sides agreed to maintain communication on relevant issues and manage disagreements in a constructive way.

I shared with Secretary Kerry China's principled position on human rights and said that since the founding of New China, especially after reform and opening-up, notable progress has been made in the cause of human rights. The Chinese people enjoy freedom of religious belief and freedom of speech as provided by the law. Recognizing the different views of the two sides on human rights, China will continue to have dialogue with the United States on the basis of equality and mutual respect to reduce disagreements, expand common ground, learn from each other and make progress together.

The Chinese side pointed out that the enactment of The Law of the People's Republic of China on the Administration of Activities of Overseas Non-governmental Organizations in China is a concrete step toward building a country with rule of law. In the drafting process, we have proceeded from China's conditions, drawn on international experience and solicited views from many quarters. The legislation aims to regulate overseas NGOs' activities in China and better protect their lawful rights and interests. China is committed to reform and opening-up. There won't be barriers to the lawful activities of overseas NGOs in China.

The two sides had in-depth discussions on their interactions in the Asia-Pacific region where China and the United States have extensive shared interests and face common challenges. The two sides underscored the need to respect each other's interests in the region and agreed to step up communication on regional affairs through bilateral exchanges and dialogues at all levels, deepen coordination in regional multilateral mechanisms, foster a "circle of mutual friends" that is inclusive rather than exclusive, cultivate an open regional economic environment and address challenges such as piracy and natural disasters, thus playing a greater role in promoting peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific.

We convened a special joint session on climate change, during which we highly commended China-US cooperation in this area and undertook to enhance communication and coordination in international negotiations, promote the implementation of the Paris Agreement and enhance the full, effective and sustained implementation of the UNFCCC.

The two sides had an in-depth exchange of views on the Korean nuclear issue, Iranian nuclear issue, Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, and agreed to stay in close communication and coordination. On the Korean nuclear issue, the Chinese side reiterated its long-standing commitment to realizing denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, to maintaining peace and stability on the Peninsula and to seeking a peaceful settlement through dialogue and consultation. The two sides reaffirmed the importance of enforcing Resolution 2270 and other relevant UNSC resolutions in their entirety, and called on the parties concerned to work together and create conditions for the early resumption of the Six-Party Talks.

Before this round of strategic dialogue, the competent officials of the two countries held dialogue on development cooperation, where they had productive discussions on food security, global public health, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief and China-US cooperation in multilateral institutions. The two sides also held the Strategic Security Dialogue.

Colleagues and Friends,

Over the past three years, I have had the honor of joining Vice Premier Wang Yang in co-chairing four rounds of S&ED with Secretary Kerry and Secretary Lew. In each round of the S&ED, we covered a wide range of topics, engaged in in-depth discussions and achieved fruitful results. Although we did not and are unlikely to agree on everything, we have been working for the same goal: that is, to dispel misgivings through communication, increase mutual trust through actions and seek win-win results through cooperation. China is ready to work with the US to deliver on the outcomes to bring more benefits to our peoples as early as possible and cement the foundation of a long-term, sound and stable China-US relationship.

Thank you.

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