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Bush and Asia
Following are a few excerpts from an interview the South China Morning Post conducted with President George W. Bush on relations with the
Q: Mr. President, some would argue that during your presidency the
Bush: Let me start with the second, then you can refresh my 62-year-old memory for the first. There’s plenty of room for countries to work with other countries in the region in a constructive way. In other words, I don’t view the diplomacy as zero sum.
I view the emergence of
In terms of foreign policy in the
Our relations with your country, with
My only point to you is, is that – or the Taiwan-Chinese relationship and that issue. It’s a very sensitive issue for the Chinese government. And people who study this very closely will see that the issue is in a better place. And I made it abundantly clear that there was some red lines for the
Q: How do you evaluate the current [Sino-U.S.] relations, the welcome of the bilateral relations for the last part of 30 years, especially with the eight years under your presidency? And which areas do you think the two countries could broaden and deepen cooperation?
Bush: [This has] been an evolving relationship….The fact that both countries are honoring the 30th anniversary of the relationship shows that – it’s a statement about good relations. If we had bad relations we wouldn’t be honoring the 30th. It would be, okay, here comes the 30th anniversary, who cares?
I mean, we’ll let the historians evaluate the difference between what the relationship was like in the 80s, 90s, but I can tell you…my view. One, I’ve had good relations with Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao. Secondly, we have worked hard during my time to put strategic dialogues in place that broaden and enhance the relationship.
I’ve been committed to broadening our defense cooperation and exchanges. I think it’s going to be very important for – I know it’s important for our generals and admirals to deal with their counterparts. And I believe, more importantly, or as importantly, we ought to be getting younger Chinese officers involved with younger
You ask how has the relationship evolved. The crisis of my administration, the first crisis, was the EP3. And it was like, oh, man, this is unbelievable. And it – I will tell you – and frankly, it took a while to get phone calls returned and we were just trying to get information. And I’m confident that if an incident like that happened now, there would be a much more immediate response because there’s more trust between the two administrations.
Q: A lot of people in
Bush: I think as we look ahead I would view it as a management of a complex relationship, where sometimes our national interests are aligned and sometimes our national interests are not aligned. They could – and let me just talk about the economy, for example. And one reason I call it a complex relationship is that here in
Energy. What’s very interesting is that if you view
It is a very interesting and important relationship made complex by globalization, and their constantly changing internal situation, particularly when it comes to their economy…
I will tell you this: an American president is going to have to pay very close attention to relations with not only
And so never can the foreign policy be viewed as zero sum. It’s always got to be viewed as additive. And my worry for
And so the
Q: The Beijing Olympics is a very important event, not only for
Bush: Yes. Well, our message is that I personally and
Q: What has surprised you about your dealings over the last eight years with Chinese leadership?
Bush: One thing that interests me is to watch
And they are committed to, in many ways, marketplace principles, particularly as they have invited in foreign capital. And it’s been interesting to watch them deal with a combination of the need for raw material versus the – from the foreign policy implications of dealing with a country that has a lot of raw material. The classic case is
And I’ll repeat to you, Hu Jintao has been very open in many ways about his concerns and the pressures he feels, as have I. And I feel comfortable. And by the way, that’s not easy when there is a language barrier. And yet, I can report to you that we do have cordial, relaxed conversations – in spite of the fact that we both have interpreters. It’s much easier when you are dealing with a person that speaks your own language. Since the only one I speak is English, it’s important to have English speakers.
But here is a man who I have had some – I feel comfortable talking about his family, and he asks about mine. And that may sound trite to you, but nevertheless it’s a part of getting comfortable with each other.
It’s just been interesting to watch, and interesting to participate with people. The
Note: As described by Greg Torode of the South China Morning Post, the interview, which also included a reporter from the People’s Daily, ended “unprompted, with a reverie about the rise of South Korean female golfers. While talking about his ninth trip to
“As his audience scratch their heads, he adds: ‘Look at the women’s…[pause]…have you ever looked at the scoreboard? It is unbelievable.’”
Hot Spots returns next week with some thoughts on the passing of Alexander Solzhenitsyn.