Remarks With Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi at the Top of Their Meeting

By:  John Kerry
Date: April 13, 2013
Location: Beijing, China

STATE COUNCILOR YANG: (In progress) (Via interpreter) China-U.S. relations enter a new stage.

Both China and the United States are now confronted with a complex and volatile international situation, and both have important development tasks at home. It is thus all the more necessary for our two sides to enhance dialogue, increase trust, expand cooperation, manage differences, and ensure that our bilateral relations will stay on the track of strong and stable growth.

The Chinese side attaches high importance to your visit. President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang had separate meetings with you and Foreign Minister Wang Yi held talks with you. It is fair to say that your visit, though not concluded yet, has already achieved important results.

The two sides reaffirmed the agreement on building a cooperative partnership and exploring a new type of major country relations between China and the United States and made plans for high-level exchanges and dialogue mechanisms in the time to come. We agreed to strengthen practical cooperation in such fields as economy, energy, and environmental protection, and deepened cultural and people-to-people exchanges.

We also had an in-depth exchange of views on a broad range of international and regional issues of mutual interest. The two sides issued a joint statement on climate change. Just a few minutes ago, you and I attended the clean energy event jointly hosted by our two countries. It was indeed encouraging to see the Chinese and American business communities and people from various sectors being so enthusiastic about cooperation in this area.

All in all, our two sides need to work together to translate the agreement between our presidents and the outcomes of your visit into concrete actions to the benefit of the people of our two countries, and peace, stability, and development of the region and the whole world. Thank you.

SECRETARY KERRY: Well, thank you very much, Mr. State Councilor. I really appreciate the welcome, and I appreciate the opportunity to be here and to see you again. It's also particularly a pleasure for me as a student of history to be in this location where President Nixon was with Mao Zedong and where President Obama recently visited and had dinner. And I'm very honored and grateful for the breadth of the discussions and reception that I've had here today. I think it shows the seriousness with which China has taken each of the issues that we have raised. And I agree with you; I think we've had some significant concrete results.

By agreeing to raise the issue of climate change and energy policy to the ministerial level and put it into the Strategic and Economic Dialogue which we will be sharing in July, we have put on an accelerated basis, at a higher level, our joint efforts with respect to energy and climate. And I think that globally, that will be a very significant step and significant message. And I thank you, the President, and the Premier, and all of your members of the government who have been part of moving rapidly to accommodate that idea.

Both President Xi Jinping and your Premier, Li Keqiang, articulated a vision of a stronger relationship with the United States, and a better partnership U.S.-China. And they both talked of a new model relationship. And in an effort to try to do that, we were able to agree today to try to accelerate the discussion with respect to some of the economic issues, particularly problems that businesses -- your businesses and our businesses -- have sometimes with respect to their initiatives. And I think that will be greatly productive and very well received by the United States economy -- economic community.

And perhaps, Mr. Councilor, most significantly with respect to the challenges that we face on the Korean peninsula at this particular moment, we shared with everybody a very in-depth discussion regarding North Korea, the South, Japan, even Iran and Syria, the Middle East, and the connections of nuclear proliferation to all of our efforts with respect to the Korean peninsula. And as a result of that discussion, we were able -- the United States and China -- to underscore our joint commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula in a peaceful manner.

We agreed that this is critically important for the stability of the region, and indeed, for the world, and for all of our nonproliferation efforts. This is the goal of the United States, of China -- indeed, of the Six-Party Talk members, as declared in the 2005 September joint statement, and it is the central focus of our joint efforts from this moment forward. We are committed to taking actions in order to make good on that goal, and we are determined to make that goal -- excuse me -- a reality. China and the United States must together take steps in order to achieve the goal of a denuclearized Korean peninsula, and today we agreed to have further discussions, to bear down very quickly with great specificity on exactly how we will accomplish this goal.

So Councilor Yang Jiechi, I thank you very much on behalf of President Obama and the people of the United States for the serious purpose of today's discussions and for your commitment of trying to pursue this goal together. Thank you.

STATE COUNCILOR YANG: (Via interpreter) China's position on the issue of the Korean peninsula is consistent and clear-cut. China is firmly committed to upholding peace and stability and advancing the denuclearization process on the peninsula. We maintain that the issue should be handled and resolved peacefully through dialogue and consultation. To properly address the Korean nuclear issue serves the common interests of all parties. It is also the shared responsibility of all parties. China will work with other relevant parties, including the United States, to play a constructive role in promoting the Six-Party Talks and balanced implementation of the goals set out in the September 19th joint statement of 2005.

SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you very much.

STATE COUNCILOR YANG: Thank you.