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April 7, 1999: World Leader for Peace and Security

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Only national governments, working together, can reap the full promise and reduce the problems of the 21st century.

President Bill Clinton
April 7, 1999

Today, in Washington, President Clinton addressed the U.S. Institute for Peace about the challenges the United States faces in the 21st Century as an economic and military leader in an increasingly interdependent world.

Building a More Peaceful World. The first challenge of the United States is preventing conflicts like the crisis in Kosovo. We are working with our NATO allies to try to end the conflict, stop Milosevics brutal campaign of violence against the Kosovar Albanians, and aid the struggling democracies of southeastern Europe. It is not enough for Milosevic to say that his forces will cease fire in Kosovo--he must withdraw his forces, let the refugees return safely to Kosovo, restore self-government for the Kosovars, and permit the deployment of an international security force.

Engaging China. Our second challenge is to bring our former adversary into the international system as an open, prosperous and stable nation. The Clinton Administrations policy of engagement with China has achieved concrete progress towards:

  • Non-Proliferation. Our policy of engagement has prevented the spread of weapons of mass destruction. China has joined major arms control regimes; agreed to stop assistance to Irans nuclear program and to unsafeguarded nuclear facilities like those in Pakistan; agreed to discontinue the sale of anti-ship cruise missiles to Iran; and tightened its export control system. Additionally, the United States and China have agreed to not target nuclear weapons at each other, reducing the risk of accidental nuclear attack.

  • Stability in Asia. China has played a constructive role in promoting security and financial stability throughout Asia. China condemned India and Pakistan for nuclear tests and urged them to discontinue more tests, and it supports efforts to freeze North Koreas nuclear program. Also, China is working constructively to address the regions financial difficulties by supporting efforts to stabilize Asias economies.

  • Human Rights. The Clinton Administration is concerned about the detentions, trials and harsh sentencing of political activists by China, which are in violation of international human rights norms. However, engagement has produced results such as the release of prominent political prisoners; the signing of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights by China; open dialogues on religious freedom, including a visit to China by distinguished U.S. religious leaders; a resumption of bilateral human rights dialogues, allowing senior U.S. officials to raise human rights concerns with our Chinese counterparts; and, in June 1998, the opportunity for the Chinese people to hear a U.S. President live and uncensored promote democracy and freedom for the first time.

  • Creating U.S. Export-based Jobs. U.S. engagement with China has directly benefited American businesses and workers. Our exports have more than tripled over the past decade, and China is now our fourth largest trading partner. An estimated 400,000 U.S. jobs depend on exports to China.

  • Combating International Crime and Drug Trafficking. In cooperation with the United States, China has enhanced its efforts to curb international crime. The establishment of a joint liaison group of senior law enforcement officials is increasing cooperation against organized crime, alien smuggling and counterfeiting. The opening of a DEA office at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and a counterpart office at the PRC Embassy in Washington, D.C., is enhancing our ability to combat drug smuggling.

  • Preserving the Global Environment. Both the United States and China share an interest in preserving the environment and controlling climate change. The Vice Presidents Environment and Development Forum is strengthening cooperation by producing senior-level dialogues on climate change, energy development and water resources. Cooperation between the United States and China also produces benefits for our companies, which lead the world in environmental technologies.

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