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Former U.S. president Carter encourages his successors to honor one-China commitment
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08:08, December 06, 2007

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Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said here Wednesday that he encouraged all his successors to stick to the commitments that the United States made when the two nations forged diplomatic ties, including the one-China policy.

Carter, who was here for a ceremony marking the 28th anniversary of forging diplomatic ties between China and the U.S., said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua that he has been engaged in efforts to advance the development of China-U.S. relations all these years.

"One of the efforts I made is to make sure each president that comes to the White House after me honors the commitments that I made on behalf of the United States to the people of China," Carter told Xinhua.

China and the United States forged diplomatic ties on Jan. 1, 1979, during Carter's term as U.S. president.

"Of course the most sensitive issue between us is Taiwan, but Deng Xiaoping and I worked out an agreement at that time and it was mutually satisfactory," he said.

In a joint communique on the establishment of diplomatic relations signed in December 1978, it made clear that "the United States of America recognizes the Government of the People's republic of China," and "acknowledges the Chinese position that there is but one China and Taiwan is a part of China."

When asked what motivated him in forging diplomatic ties with China, Carter recalled his early years, saying his interest in China began as a little child, and continued during young manhood when he came to China in 1949 as a U.S. navy officer.

He said he was pleased when the Shanghai Communique was issued but was disappointed that no breakthrough was made since Nixon's ice-melting visit to China in 1972.

"Five years later, Taiwan was still recognized as sovereign by my government, and I resolved as a new president to end this official estrangement of three decades," the 83-year-old former president said.

Reading from diaries he wrote at the time but never revealed before, Carter said that negotiations with Deng proceeded slowly at first in the summer of 1977 until late 1978, and were kept secret from some in the U.S. State Department with proposals coming straight from the White House.

Carter said the establishment of relations was also important to China's economic reform, which started about the same time.

"Without normalization of relationships with the United States it would be very difficult for China to concentrate on economic development," Carter told the audience at the Beijing ceremony.

It was a correct and wise decision to forge ties, he said.

Carter said he was very impressed with Deng Xiaoping during his visit to the U.S. in January 1979.

"He's small, tough, intelligent, frank, courageous, personable, self-assured and friendly. It's a pleasure for me to negotiate with him," Carter read from his dairies.

As for the current and future U.S.-China ties, Carter said he was very confident "because the common interest of the two countries are much greater than any small differences that we have, or any competition that might arise."

On the current issue in the U.S. of some Chinese goods being low quality, Carter suggested China should send cabinet members to the U.S. to make explanations in front of Americans.

"There is inadequate explanation to the American people by Chinese officials," he told Xinhua. "I think the ministers or ambassador could come over on air to CNN, or Larry King show or other popular TV programmes, and explain to people that China is taking serious steps to prevent future mistakes. This is a message well-received in our country."

This is Carter's 8th visit to China since he left office in 1981. He met with Xi Jinping, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee Wednesday and State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan Tuesday.

Source: Xinhua

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