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QUESTION (through translator): Mr. President, yesterday I watched press conference made by you and President Jiang Zemin, but at the conference you didn't clearly answer a question which is concerned by almost everybody, which is whether the TMD (ph) system will cover Taiwan.
And what's more, whenever you talk about the Taiwan issue you always use the phrase just like "peaceful settlement". You never use the phrase "`peaceful reunification." What's the difference and why?
BUSH: Thank you. Very good question. First of all, I want to compliment you on your English. Very good.
The first thing that is important on the Taiwan issue is that my government hopes there is a peaceful, as I said, dialogue; that there is a settlement to this issue. But it must be done in a peaceful way. That's why I keep emphasizing peaceful.
And by the way, peaceful is a word intended for both parties, that neither party should provoke, that go ahead, I'm sorry.
TRANSLATOR: First of all oh, I'm sorry.
BUSH: She's correcting my English.
TRANSLATOR: I'm sorry, Mr. President.
BUSH: We've had many discussions with your leaders, and I've reiterated support for the one-China policy. It's been my government's policy for a long period of time, and I haven't changed it.
I also, in your question about missile defenses, have made it clear that our nation will develop defenses to help our friends, our allies and others around the world protect ourselves from rogue nations that have the _ that are trying to develop weapons of mass destruction. To me, that is essential for peace in the world.
We have yet to develop a system. And therefore that's exactly what I said yesterday, and it's the truth. But we're in the process of seeing if we can't develop a system, and I think it'll bring more stability to the world than less.
And let me just say one general comment that's very important for you to know, and it's also important for the people of my country to know: that my administration is committed to peacefully resolving issues around the world. We want the issues resolved in a peaceful manner.
And we've got a lot of issues that we deal with. We're dealing in the Middle East. And if you follow the news, it's a very dangerous period of time there. We're working hard to bring a peaceful resolution there.
We're working hard to bring a peaceful resolution to Kashmir, which is important for China.
And I recently went to Korea, and I made it very clear that we want to resolve the issues on the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful way.
Another question, please. Yes, ma'am, please?
QUESTION: It's a pity you still haven't given us a clear question about whether you always used "peaceful settlement". But you have never said "peaceful reunification". It's a pity.
BUSH: We're back on Taiwan again. Let me go ahead.
QUESTION: Because this is a question our Chinese people are extremely concerned about.
BUSH: Yes, I know.
QUESTION: Three days ago, during your speech in the Japanese parliament, you said the United States will still remember its commitment to Taiwan.
QUESTION: But my question is, does the U.S. still remember its commitment to 1.3 billion Chinese people abiding by the three joint communique and the three 'no's? Thank you.
BUSH: Yes. Thank you very much. As I said, this seems to be a topic on people's mind, obviously. I can't say it any more clearly that I am anxious that there be a peaceful resolution. And that's going to require both parties to come to a solution.
And that's what I mean by peaceful dialogue. And it is I hope it happens in my lifetime. And I hope it happens in yours. It'll make it'll be an important milestone.
And secondly, when my country makes an agreement, we stick with it. And there is called the Taiwan Relations Act, and I honor that act, which says we will help Taiwan defend herself if provoked. But we've also sent the same message that there should be no provocation by either party for a peaceful dialogue.
Next question? Yes, ma'am.
QUESTION: Mr. President, I am a student coming from the school of economics and management in Tsinghua University. As we can see, China and the United States have a bright future in scientific and cultural exchanges.
Now, just now, you have made warm remarks about our universities, so my question is, if possible, will you be happy to encourage your daughters to study in our university? Thank you.
BUSH: I'm afraid they don't listen to me any more, if you know what I mean.
Let me first of all, I hope they do come here. It is an amazing country.
You know, as I said, I was here in 1975. It is hard for me to describe the difference; it is an amazing transformation. I first saw that in Shanghai earlier this fall or last fall. And they would benefit from coming here, as would a lot of other United States students.
I think our student exchange program is very important. I think our nation must be welcoming to Chinese students who would like to go study in America. I think that would benefit the students, but as importantly it would benefit American students.
It's so important for people to realize in both our countries that we're dealing with human beings that have got desires and loves and frustrations. Even old citizens like me and the vice president.
Even older citizens like me and the vice president can benefit by spending time getting to know each other. Obviously, there are some issues in our relationship that we don't see 100 percent don't have 100 percent agreement on. But it is so much better to discuss these issues after you get to know a person as a person.
We're human beings first and foremost. There are just some important characteristics that are real. And you mentioned you know, I talked about my families in my speech. Family is just such an important, integral part of any society. And China has got a grand history of honoring family. That is an important tradition, an important part of your culture. And you know, I hope my country as well has a is known for a strong tradition of family.
That's a concept that's not owned by a particular country. It is universal. And when students get to know each other they learn the universality of many values. And that's going to be important for peace in the world.
Another question? Yes, ma'am?
QUESTION: Well, Mr. President, I'm a student from Center for International Communication Studies. Well, your younger brother Neil Bush visited our university just before last Christmas, and he mentioned that there are many Americans, especially politicians, have a lot of misunderstandings about China. So just as our vice president, Hu Jintao, and you mentioned, you all want to make efforts to promote the Sino-American relationship to go ahead smoothly.
So my question is, being the president of the United States, will it take some action to promote the compacts and exchanges between the two countries, between the peoples at all different levels? Thank you.
BUSH: Well, thank you. That's a very good question. Well, first of all, my trip here and my discussion here helps promote...
People in my country are paying attention to my visit here. And it should interest you that I was here in the fall and I'm back here again in the winter: twice in a very brief period of time. That should say something about the importance of our relationships. It's important for our political leaders to come to China. And I know many have and more ought to come.
It's important for the rhetoric and we describe what we have seen to be accurate and real. And when I go back home I describe a great nation, a nation that's not only got a great history, but an unbelievably exciting future.
Many people in my country are very interested in China. And many come, as you know. They come to not only see the beautiful countryside, but they come to learn more about the culture and the people. And we've got to continue to encourage travel between both of our countries.
But you know what's going to really make a significant difference in the world understanding of your great country is the Olympics. It's going to be a fantastic opportunity. It is. It's going to be a chance for people from all over the world, not only to come and visit and to stay in hotels and to see the modernization that's taken place, but everybody in the world is going to watch it on TV too. And it's going to be a great opportunity.
And I think and that's one of the reasons why I think it made sense to give Beijing the Olympics in 2008.
Yes, sir? Go ahead and yell it.
QUESTION: Mr. President, you have been to China in 1975 and you have mentioned just now there are a lot of changes in the Chinese society. And besides the progress in economy, have you noticed any other social progress in the Chinese society? Thank you.
BUSH: Well, I appreciate that. Let me tell you my most notable the thing I've noticed the most and it has to do with the economy, but it also has to do with a different attitude toward the people. In 1975, everybody wore the same clothes. Now people pick their own clothes.
Just look here on the front row: Everybody's dressed differently because you thought this is what you wanted.
You made the decision to wear a beautiful red sweater. And when you made that decision, somebody made it. In other words, the person, the individual, the demand for a product influences the production as opposed to the other way around.
Recognizing the desires of the individual in the marketplace is part of a free society. It is a part of the definition of freedom. And I see that as the most significant change that I can see besides the new buildings and all of the construction. But the most important thing is the human dimension of freeing people to decide for themselves.
And with that freedom comes other freedoms. So you can understand why the transformation from my memory of 1975 to today is significant. I mean it is an amazing change. For the better, I might add.
I'll answer one more question, then I got to go have lunch with your president.
Yes, sir, in the blue?
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. Bush. Thank you, Mr. President, for giving me the last chance to ask you a question. And I read your autobiography and in it you wrote about some social problem in the U.S. today, just like the violence and the juvenile delinquency and such as the children in poverty. And we know as far as we know our former schoolmates of our university, Tsinghua, and he study in USA and was killed last year. And I feel so sad. And I know this kind of crime has become more and more serious in today U.S. As the president, do you have any good plan to improve the human rights today in the U.S.? Thank you.
BUSH: Sure. Well, first of all, I'm proud to report that violent crime is actually going down. But any crime is too much crime. I mean, any time somebody is violent toward their neighbor, it's too much violence.
And there's no question we've got people living in poverty. But as I mentioned, our government is very generous in the amounts of money we spend trying to help people help themselves.
When we all campaign for office, one of the big debates is how best to help people help themselves.
Foreign policy is an important part of our campaigns, of course, at least for president. But the American voter really is more focused on domestic politics, what's happening at home, as you can imagine. If the economy is soft, like ours is now, they want to know what's going to happen ``What are you doing about the economy?''
If the economy's good, then they don't talk much about the economy. But always we talk about two key issues, to address your problem. One is welfare. How do we structure a welfare system that helps people in need and in my judgment should not make them dependent upon their government?
And the other big issue is education. It's always not only an important part of campaigns, but it's important part of being once you're in office. When I was the governor of Texas, I used to always say an educated child is one less likely to commit a crime. As governor, and now as president, I've spent a lot of time working with members of both political parties to develop an education plan that starts making sure children learn before they just get shuffled through the system.
One of the saddest facts about my country is that there are a significant number of fourth-grade students who cannot read at grade level. Imagine a child who can't read in the fourth grade is a child that's not going to be able to read in the eighth grade. And if the child can't read in the eighth grade, it's likely that child's not going to be able to read sufficiently when they get out of high school, and therefore won't be able to go to college. It's a shame in America that that's the case.
So as part of an education bill I managed to get through Congress last year, we got a significant reading initiative where we'll work with the states and the local jurisdictions to focus on an education program that emphasizes reading.
This year I hope to work, with my wife and others, on an early childhood development program, so the youngsters get the building blocks to learn how to read. I'm actually working my way to your question, I promise you.
Because education is the best anti-crime program.
It's important to enforce law. It's important to hold people accountable for their actions.
It is important to have consistent policy that says, ``If you harm somebody, there will be a punishment for that harm.''
But in the best interests for my country, the long-term solution is to make sure the education system works for everybody. And when that happens, there'll be a more hopeful future for people, and there'll be less poverty, less hopelessness and less crime.
Listen, thank you for letting me come. God bless you all.
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