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Diplomacy in Action

Interview With Chen Weihong of CCTV


Interview
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
CCTV Studios
Beijing, China
May 25, 2010

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CO-HOST: (Speaks in Chinese.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: I do. I recognize a lot of them. What a great cross-section you have. That is wonderful.

CO-HOST: (Speaks in Chinese.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I appreciate the title of your program, "Dialogue," because actually, that is what we are doing. We are here in Beijing for the second of our strategic and economic dialogues between the governments, between officials from many different departments talking to their counterparts in the other government, and looking for ways that we can cooperate on health, on education, on combating terrorism, on all of the issues that both of our governments deal with.

But there is also the people-to-people part of the dialogue, which I actually think is the most important part. And I just came from the National Performing Arts Center to make a big announcement with State Councilor Liu about increased people-to-people exchanges, particularly more student exchanges. And President Obama had committed to sponsor 100,000 American students coming to China to study. And we think the more we can have our people in dialogue, the more we will understand each other better, learn how to work together. Because I believe that China and America have a lot in common. I think we are practical people, we are problem-solving people -- actually, I think we are fun-loving people. There is a lot that we can do if we enter into a dialogue and then do that over many years together.

CO-HOST: (Speaks in Chinese.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think the dialogue has been very productive. Now, we are not always going to agree on every issue. No two people and certainly no two countries will agree on every issue. But we have found common ground. And, equally importantly, we have pledged to work together in many areas: science and technology, clean energy, climate change. There are so many areas where we are deepening our cooperation.

But at the same time, we recognize that this is the beginning of a process. We had a very positive start last year. We have had a very constructive meeting here, in Beijing. And it is in pursuit of what President Hu Jintao and President Obama pledged to do last year during their very first meeting, and that was to have a positive, cooperative, comprehensive relationship between the United States and China. And that's what we are committed to doing.

CO-HOST: (Speaks in Chinese.)

CO-HOST: (Speaks in Chinese.)

CO-HOST: (Speaks in Chinese.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: That was part of the discussion in the dialogue between Secretary Geithner and Vice-Premier Wang about trade, and how to ensure that we have a level playing field, that we encourage trade between our two countries. Because certainly we believe it is mutually beneficial.

But there have been some worries on both sides. You have addressed some of the concerns on the Chinese side. On the American side, the Chinese Government's adoption of an innovation agenda which appears to highly favor internal, domestic production over imports from a country like the United States causes us concern.

So, now I could have a long list on our side and a long list on your side. But the most important outcome of this strategic and economic dialogue is to sit across the table and sort through these issues. And we recognize that there are certain sovereign concerns, certain economic priorities that each of us have. But we need to eliminate the trade irritants, and we need to have as open a marketplace as possible, and we need to be sure that we keep as level a playing field so that Chinese firms compete in the United States, American firms compete in China, for the ultimate goal of improving the standard of living and the quality of products in both countries.

CO-HOST: (Speaks in Chinese.)

QUESTION: (Via translator) Secretary Clinton, it is a privilege for me to talk to you again since the very first strategic and economic dialogue in Washington, where I had the privilege of talking to you, as well. And, as always, you look absolutely graceful and elegant today. And I speak on behalf of the entire audience.

My question is China, ever since the financial crisis happened, has sent large delegations, buying delegations, to the United States, to Europe. In this way China has demonstrated its commitment as a responsible stakeholder. However, if you look around the world, the question is local politics, domestic politics. So, I was wondering how will America, as a major power of the world, manage its international relations, international negotiations, through the context of domestic politics so that local politics will not interfere good international relations or economics. Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: A very astute question, which I think applies to every country. Every country has politics, every country has their own characteristics. And it is my firm belief that in today's interconnected world, particularly in the global economic marketplace, countries have to be open. They have to recognize that we all will benefit if we have trade moving back and forth across borders with ease, if we have governments helping to facilitate it, not interfere with it.

So, when you talk about how we prevent the local political interference, I think actually the United States is emerging out of the global economic downturn. In fact, probably China and the United States are the two biggest economies that have already kind of worked through. We still have problems. China has problems. We know that. But, compared to the rest of the world, we are in better shape than we were. That's not yet true of other parts of the world.

So, there is still a lot of work to be done. And the challenge is for China and the United States to continue to demonstrate leadership on the economic front through the G20, which is now the mechanism for addressing these issues, and to encourage both ourselves and other countries to continue to try to bring the global economy back. Because that is going to benefit all of us. And local concerns should not stand in the way of that.

CO-HOST: (Speaks in Chinese.)

QUESTION: (Speaks in Chinese.)

CO-HOST: (Speaks in Chinese.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, first of all, I really respect the responsible way that China has conducted its economic affairs during this economic crisis. And the United States still has the reserve currency. It is still considered a very safe place for investment. And I think China recognizes that, and has even made more investments in the last 15 months.

So I don't worry about the fact that it's China. I worry about the fact that the United States has too big a deficit and too big a debt. That's my concern. And it's something that I feel very strongly about.

Now, when -- I will just say, from a historical perspective -- when my husband, President Clinton, left office, the United States had a balanced budget and a surplus. And I was very proud of that, because I thought it was good for the United States to be so fiscally responsible. When President Obama came into office, we had a very large deficit, and a very large and increasing debt. And then we were faced by the global economic crisis. And that required stimulus. China did a stimulus, the United States did a stimulus. And it has worked for China and the United States. But it has increased our debt and our deficit.

So, at some point, we have to turn our attention to fiscal responsibility. But that has nothing to do with China. That's what we should do to make sure that we are on a sound budgetary basis, going forward, for our children and our grandchildren.

CO-HOST: (Speaks in Chinese.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think that that's a very interesting question for me, because we are, at this point in our history, a debtor nation. China, at this point in its history, is a creditor nation. And in historical terms, countries go back and forth, depending upon internal and external pressures. But I believe that the Chinese Government has made a very wise decision, investing in American debt instruments, and making other kinds of business investments in the United States.

We are the strongest economy in the world, we have a very dynamic economy. We have a very resilient and adaptable economy. The American people are extraordinarily clever and creative and entrepreneurial. So I think that you have made good investments. But it is true that China needs to put more investments internally. You know, China needs to be investing some of that money that you are probably still investing in the United States, or maybe other markets, into the internal development and the increasing of internal demand inside China.

We have discussed this with the Chinese Government because we think it's the right thing to do for the world economy, because it will create more balance in the world economy. But we also think it's the right thing to do for China, because when you look at the extraordinary economic success of China in a relatively short period of time -- you mentioned 1970.

CO-HOST: 1979.

SECRETARY CLINTON: 1979. So, you know, 31 years, right?

CO-HOST: Mm-hmm.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Look at how much China has grown. And yet, I know how committed the Chinese people and the Chinese leadership is to making sure that the benefits of growth are more evenly distributed. Because there is certainly a lot of positive developments in certain parts of China. But, like the United States, other parts of your country have not realized that economic prosperity to the same extent.

So, I think that at some point the Chinese economy will have to turn somewhat more inward in order to invest in your own potential, and make sure the means of production and infrastructure are broadly disbursed across the country.

(Applause.)

CO-HOST: (Speaks in Chinese.)

QUESTION: (Speaks in Chinese.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I consider the Sino-U.S. relationship among the most important in the world. I believe that China and the United States alone cannot solve all of the problems in the world, and together we have a better chance of solving some of the problems in the world, and that we are so connected to each other, not just economically, as we have been discussing, but there are many ties between China and the United States.

I mean, if you go to the USA Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo, we have a display that shows the faces of Chinese Americans and talks about the many contributions that Chinese Americans have made to our country. Currently we have two Chinese-Americans in President Obama's cabinet. So we have lots of connections. And there is a great interest in Chinese culture and Chinese food and Chinese fashion and, you know, there is just a lot of growing awareness between our countries, so that the relationship is not just between our governments.

But I am committed to creating it more between our people, because governments come and go. We have a limit on how long a president can serve. And I want our relationship with China to be one for the very long term. And so, this strategic and economic dialogue is our principal mechanism. We have many other discussions throughout the year. But we brought over 200 American officials to this meeting in Beijing, and not just the people who you might see on a program like this, the Secretary of State. We brought an official from our border and customs agency, because it turns out that our border and customs people are cooperating with the Chinese border and customs people about all kinds of problems, the trafficking of people, of drugs, of weapons, things that come across the border and cause internal problems. So, we make the U.S.-China relationship a key part of our foreign policy.

CO-HOST: (Speaks in Chinese.)

QUESTION: (Speaks in Chinese.)

(Applause.)

CO-HOST: (Speaks in Chinese.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: We do have some electrical vehicles serving as taxis. But what is so important about the taxi driver's point is that this is one of the areas where China and the United States are cooperating most closely. We have agreed to have a joint renewable energy center, where we will do joint research. We are working together on advanced models of electrical vehicles. We are committed to doing more on energy efficiency, on exploring the uses of nuclear energy, shale gas energy, just every part of the renewable energy and potential uses of it, we have a partnership. It's a science and technology partnership. Secretary Steven Chu, who is our Nobel Prize winning Secretary of Energy -- you should have him on this show some time, when he comes to Beijing -- is heading up our efforts.

So, what the taxi driver is doing is so important, because China is the biggest market for everything, and certainly the biggest market for new renewable energy, particularly in transportation. I applaud your commitment to high-speed rail, which I learned about during the dialogue. So this is the practical consequences. I mean, we can have the dialogue up here about all of the theoretical issues that we need to talk about, but bringing it down to earth means more zero-emission taxis on the roads of cities in China and the United States, which is a win-win. That's good for both of us.

(Applause.)

CO-HOST: (Speaks in Chinese.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes, that is right. And, in fact, the power plant I visited was a joint venture between GE and the municipality of Beijing --

CO-HOST: Yes.

SECRETARY CLINTON: -- and a few other Chinese companies. And it was called a combined heat and power generating plant. That's one of the other areas that we are doing more research on together between China and the United States, because it makes so much sense. I mean, you recycle it. You use the heat to produce the power, and then it comes back in, and you keep the cycle going.

So, I think that it is one more example of how, if we take seriously climate change -- which we do, and it is something that we all have to be worried about -- for the United States and China, we are coming at it from different perspectives. The United States is the historically largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions. China is now the largest, and by projections, will be enormously greater in the years to come. China is still developing, so it desperately needs more energy, and you can't do without classical forms of energy, like oil and coal, and -- you've got to figure out how to make them as clean as possible.

So, at the same time, all the research that is being done here in China, some of it, jointly with the United States, will create a parallel energy track so that, eventually, more energy can be generated from renewable sources so that there is no interruption in the economic growth curve for China. Because I have made it very clear to my Chinese counterparts, I would never come to China and say, "You know what? A hundred years ago we didn't know that coal polluted the atmosphere and created all of these climate problems. We just didn't know it. Now we know it, so we're trying to stop it. But, oh, by the way, you should stop it, even though it might interfere with your growth." That would be unthinkable. China deserves to grow.

But China has an opportunity now not to make the mistakes of the past while still growing. There are a lot of jobs in clean energy. And I think that the trick is going to be to keep as much of the fossil fuel energy as you need, but keep it as clean as you possibly can, and accelerate the development of renewable energy to replace as much of the fossil fuel energy. And that includes nuclear energy, as well.

So, this is challenging, but I am very impressed by what I see happening here, in China.

(Applause.)

CO-HOST: (Speaks in Chinese.)

(Applause.)

CO-HOST: (Speaks in Chinese.)

QUESTION: (Speaks in Chinese.)

CO-HOST: (Speaks in Chinese.)

QUESTION: (Speaks in Chinese.)

CO-HOST: (Speaks in Chinese.)

QUESTION: (Speaks in Chinese.)

CO-HOST: (Speaks in Chinese.)

QUESTION: (Speaks in Chinese.)

CO-HOST: (Speaks in Chinese.)

QUESTION: (Speaks in Chinese.) Unfortunately, the State Department (speaks in Chinese) work with OPM (speaks in Chinese) global leadership.

CO-HOST: (Speaks in Chinese.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: I really commend the professor and the university for doing this program. It's another example of increasing mutual understanding and mutual respect between our two countries and our two peoples. And it is particularly important in our government.

And what the professor is pointing out is that the level of officials who come from the United States are career government officials, as well as what we call political appointees, so that they are a combination, I believe. And so that's a good cross-section of the kinds of officials that we have in the United States Government.

I really believe that the more we can do this -- and as you saw at the performing arts center, we are committed to doing even more. And one of the programs we are going to bring back is -- remember ping pong diplomacy? Now, the young people will not remember that. But 40 years ago or so, there was a ping pong team, right, from the United States?

CO-HOST: Yes, that's right.

SECRETARY CLINTON: And so that seems like a small thing now. But it was so big, because we had no relations. We did not understand each other. We looked at each other across a big divide. And that ping pong team and the reception that they received in China began to break the ice.

So, that was a very long time ago, and we have come a long, long way. But we have to do more and more to keep up the person-to-person connection. And to go into government agencies, to go into universities, to go in to businesses, to go into the media, that will pay big dividends for years to come.

CO-HOST: Do you play ping pong tennis in your spare time?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, you know, I think I am going to take it up again. I think that Madam Liu and I are going to revive the ping pong diplomacy. But I think it is actually getting more popular in the United States again. There are ping pong clubs now in some cities, so we will bring back the ping pong diplomacy.

CO-HOST: Okay.

(Applause.)

CO-HOST: (Speaks in Chinese.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, that's magnificent.

CO-HOST: (Speaks in Chinese.)

QUESTION: (Speaks in Chinese.)

(Applause.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: I do remember. And that was such a memorable visit. My husband, my daughter, and my mother, we all came to China. It was the kind of trip that makes friends, and produces memories on both sides, because we didn't just come here to Beijing and go to meetings and go to banquets. I mean, we started, in Hsien, we went to Shanghai, Guilin, we were all over the country. And we felt like we were meeting people everywhere. And I so remember that memorable visit to see the terra cotta soldiers.

And, yes, she is right. My daughter is getting married this summer. And we are very excited about it. We are looking forward to it. But it is something that every mother dreams of. And so, for me, it is the most important activity going on in my life right now, I have to confess. Don't tell anybody that, but it is such an enjoyable and exciting time for our family.

CO-HOST: (Speaks in Chinese.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I don't know all of the Chinese customs, but there are many rituals associated with, you know, marriage in the United States. Many are what are called showers. It's not where you go in and you have a shower, it is where friends of the bride and the family come together and you give gifts to the bride, and you tell stories, and you show pictures of when she was a little girl. So there will be a lot of that activity.

CO-HOST: (Speaks in Chinese.)

(Applause.)

CO-HOST: (Speaks in Chinese.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Yes.

CO-HOST: (Speaks in Chinese.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I have met her. And the work that she and her group have done on behalf of rural women is so important. I believe strongly that we have to continue to provide opportunities for women, particularly poor women, women who otherwise would be left out because they don't have the education, they don't have the opportunities that we try to provide for our daughters.

And I think that the work you have done on behalf of rural women needs more attention and more support in your country, just as I find, around the world, rural people, and particularly rural women, are often at the very bottom of the list of concerns. And rural women do so much of the hard work in rural communities. You know, most of the farmers in the world are women: more than 60 percent. That's true in China, that's true in Africa. And so, I think we have to pay more attention to rural women, and you have been a pioneer in bringing that to everybody's mind.

(Applause.)

CO-HOST: (Speaks in Chinese.)

QUESTION: (Speaks in Chinese.)

(Applause.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, that is the most common question I am asked all around the world. And I think it is much easier for me than it is for most women. But it is still hard. And I worked all of my life, so I would balance, before my husband was ever a president or I was a Secretary of State, the needs of my family with my work. It takes a lot of planning and organization. And usually it takes help. It is hard to do that without support from your own family.

And I think we can provide more assistance publicly, more help with child care, making sure that schools are available and open and accessible, making sure that health care is affordable. You know, a lot of the aspects of life that mothers worry most about are not the family's total responsibility. So there has to be a sharing of that responsibility with the community.

So, individually, you have to be very clear about what your priorities are, because for me being a mother was the most important thing I have ever done, and my highest priority. And you have to make sure you get help. And you have to have assistance from the larger community. And that, for me, was there. But for a lot of women, even in my own country, it is very difficult. So we have more work to do.

(Applause.)

CO-HOST: (Speaks in Chinese.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I became a Senator and a Secretary of State after my daughter was grown up. So I didn't have the conflict that sometimes people feel with these very high-pressure jobs.

CO-HOST: Yes.

SECRETARY CLINTON: But I was a lawyer, and I was practicing law, and I was a law professor when she was a baby and a little girl. And you just have to work very hard to fulfill your responsibilities at home and your responsibilities at work. And there is no easy answer. There is not a formula that somebody can hand you and you just plug it into a machine and it answers all the questions.

And particularly when you have responsibilities for children, it has to be a partnership. It has to be both fathers and mothers. And if you are lucky, you have your parents or your husband's parents to help. So, in today's world it takes a lot of improvisation to put together all of the support that a modern family needs in order to do right by your children. But I believe strongly that, once you have a child, you have to put that child's interests first. And if your lifestyle, your job, anything is interfering in what's best for your child, then that has to be secondary.

And so, I didn't face the really difficult decisions that some women face, because they are poor, because they are single parents, because they have no help, or because they have a job when their child is very young that is so totally consuming. But I have lived it, so I know how important it is that we help parents -- not just mothers, but fathers, too -- we help parents in doing what is the most important job for society. It's not just the most important job for an individual.

(Applause.)

CO-HOST: (Speaks in Chinese.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, the picture with my family --

(Applause.)

CO-HOST: (Speaks in Chinese.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, the first picture is a special occasion. It was a very formal picture. I had on an evening gown all the way to the floor. It's what is called the Red Room in the White House. So it is a special occasion picture. And that is a lot of fun, but that's not everyday life.

And then, the second picture I am making a speech. And I do a lot of that. I made speeches as Senator, I made speeches when I ran for President, I make speeches as Secretary of State. But a speech has a beginning, a middle, and an end. It's not your life. It is something you do as part of your job, or your avocation, your interests.

So, your family is who you are: the family you're born into, the family you create when you marry, the family that goes on into the next generation. So that is really who I see myself as. And it's an important statement for me, because, you know, usually most people would get impressions of someone like me in the public eye from all of the public pictures, the speeches and the formal pictures. And that is a part of who I am. But it is not the most important part of my life, so --

(Applause.)

CO-HOST: (Speaks in Chinese.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, it's been an extraordinary year, because when President Obama became our President a year ago January, there were so many problems. You know, America was in two wars. We faced very serious economic challenges. There were a lot of issues that we had to address around the world. In fact, my first trip as Secretary of State, I came to Asia because many people in Asia felt like the United States had not been paying enough attention to the Asian countries, including China.

So, there was a lot to do, and it was like being thrown into the ocean without a life raft and told, "All right, do your best, just swim as hard as you can." And so we did a lot of swimming in that first year. But I think we have made a real difference, and we have gotten to a much better equilibrium in our relations with the world.

We still have a lot of problems. I mean, we are facing a serious threat from Iran's nuclear program. We are very concerned about the sinking of the South Korean vessel. The 400-page independent report determined that North Korea did it. Don't ask me why. I don't understand why they would do that, but that is the conclusion of the independent investigation. We have a continuing conflict in Afghanistan. I mean we have a lot of very, very difficult issues.

But we have worked hard these past 15, 16 months. And the strategic and economic dialogue is an example of that. We were very determined to develop this positive, cooperative, comprehensive relationship with China. And it takes work. You just don't wake up and say, "Well, let's go have a good relationship." You get to know people. You listen. You may disagree, even. You say, "Well, no. That's not how we see the world," and you know, the other person says, "Well, this is how we see it." But that is healthy. That kind of candid exchange of views brings you closer to understanding. But that takes time.

And one of the most surprising aspects of my job is I can talk to nearly anybody I want to in the world on a video conference or over the Internet or on a telephone. But nothing substitutes for person-to-person meetings, that personal connection, looking at somebody, letting them look at you, gauging what kind of person they are. There is no substitute for that. So, even though we have all these modern communications -- and, of course, China has more Internet users and more cell phone user, by far, than anybody in the world -- that is not enough. There still has to be the personal relationship.

So, we have been working hard and making progress. We have a long way to go.

(Applause.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you.

CO-HOST: (Speaks in Chinese.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, look at that.

CO-HOST: (Speaks in Chinese.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: I do, very much. And I don't know a lot about Chinese opera, but I have always been intrigued by the style and the costuming and the makeup. And that is a wonderful depiction of the aging of a woman. And they are all beautiful. So I like that, women at all ages can be beautiful. So I like this very much.

(Applause.)

CO-HOST: (Speaks in Chinese.) Thank you very much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you. Thank you so much.

(Applause.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: That went by so fast. It was excellent, thank you.

CO-HOST: (Speaks in Chinese.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, I know. I have two more meetings with the president, so --

CO-HOST: Anyway, thank you -- give us such a long time.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you, thank you.

CO-HOST: Thank you very much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, let me just say hello again.

CO-HOST: (Speaks in Chinese.)

(Applause.)
 



PRN: 2010/T29-18



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