US - China

Oct — Dec 2002
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Sustaining Cooperation: Security Matters Take Center Stage

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Bonnie S. Glaser
Director, Asia Program, German Marshall Fund of the U.S.

This quarter opened with summitry as Presidents George W. Bush and Jiang Zemin held their third meeting at Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas.  Their discussion and subsequent U.S.-Chinese consultations covered a broad range of issues, but security matters received special attention as North Korea acknowledged a previously unknown uranium-enrichment program and the Bush administration stepped up its efforts to disarm Iraq. Beijing issued new export control regulations for all major categories of weapons of mass destruction (WMD), bringing China into closer adherence with international nonproliferation export control standards.  Bilateral human rights talks took place for the first time in over a year and produced an agreement by China to invite UN investigators into the country to examine allegations that it jails people without due process, restricts freedom of religion, and allows torture in its prisons. High-level military contacts also resumed with the convening of the fifth Defense Consultative Talks and a visit to China by Commander, U.S. Pacific Command Adm. Thomas Fargo.

Texan Barbecue and Strategic Dialogue: the Crawford Summit

On the eve of the Crawford summit, Secretary of State Colin Powell set a positive tone for the third meeting between Presidents Bush and Jiang.  In an interview with Hong Kong Phoenix TV, Powell declared, “Nobody in the administration sees China as an enemy. We see China as a friend now.”  Powell expressed his appreciation to the Chinese leadership and the Chinese people for their support since Sept. 11, 2001. “It is quite possible for our two nations with different political systems and different beliefs to cooperate, to narrow differences, to support one another,” he maintained.

Following the four-hour summit, which included a tour of the ranch and a lunch catered by one of Bush’s favorite barbecue restaurants, President Bush joined in painting a predominantly rosy picture of China-U.S. relations.  At the post-summit press conference, Bush said the U.S. was “building a relationship with China that is candid, constructive, and cooperative.” He characterized his personal relations with Jiang Zemin and the bilateral relationship as “strong.”  Moreover, Bush termed the U.S. and China as “allies in the fight against global terror.”

Jiang added to the chorus of accolades for the increasingly cooperative relationship between Beijing and Washington.  “The prospect for cooperation between us has become broader rather than narrower,” Jiang maintained.  He called on the two countries to expand exchanges in economic, trade, cultural, educational, and other fields.  “We should step up dialogue and coordination on major international and regional issues, and constantly move our constructive and cooperative relationship forward,” the Chinese president asserted.

The summit meeting had initially been planned as a largely ceremonial farewell visit for Jiang, who relinquishes the presidency to Hu Jintao at the National People’s Congress next spring, but turned into a fruitful strategic dialogue on how to disarm President Saddam Hussein of Iraq and manage the nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula.  On Korea, the two leaders pledged to work together to persuade Pyongyang to dismantle its nuclear weapons program. Jiang told Bush that he was “completely in the dark” regarding North Korea’s secret uranium enrichment program and stressed the need for a peaceful resolution of the problem. The Chinese president underscored the importance of preserving a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula, but stopped short of making a commitment to use China’s influence with Pyongyang to bring about a diplomatic solution to the crisis.

The two presidents also had a thorough discussion of the situation in Iraq.  Both expressed support for Iraq’s strict compliance with UN Security Council resolutions.  A senior Bush administration official who provided a briefing on the meeting maintained that the U.S. and China “have common ground to work.”  President Bush urged Jiang to back a new Security Council resolution demanding Iraq completely disarm itself of weapons of mass destruction.  In early November, China joined the other members of the UN Security Council in approving a resolution demanding unfettered access for UN inspectors to search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.  The Chinese, along with the Russians and the French, harbored concerns about a unilateral U.S. military strike against Iraq under the guise of United Nations approval.  Nevertheless, Beijing worked closely with the other UNSC members to craft compromise language.  China’s decision to vote in favor of the resolution, rather than abstain, provided evidence of China’s determination to strengthen its ties with the United States and boost its image as a responsible world player.

Initial reports of the leaders’ exchange on Taiwan suggested little more than a reiteration of previous policy statements.  In the press conference, Bush noted he had repeated to Jiang that his administration’s “one China” policy, based on the three China-U.S. joint communiqués and the Taiwan Relations Act, remains unchanged.  He urged dialogue between the mainland and Taiwan and stressed the imperative of peacefully resolving their differences.  Answering a question posed by a reporter from an official Chinese TV station, Bush added, “we do not support [Taiwan] independence.”  According to accounts of the private meeting in the Chinese press, Jiang told Bush that Taiwan independence activities constitute the greatest threat to stability in the region and to the development of China-U.S. relations, and demanded that the U.S. side scrupulously abide by the “one China” policy and the joint bilateral communiqués and play a constructive role in China’s pursuit of reunification.

Chinese press reports later revealed that President Bush had told Jiang privately that he “opposed” Taiwan independence, suggesting greater convergence between the Chinese and U.S. positions than had existed previously.  Beijing interpreted the tougher wording as proof of Washington’s assessment that Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian’s “one country on each side” statement last August was provocative and destabilizing.  Additional details on the two leaders’ discussion of Taiwan became known weeks later when Chen Chien-jen, the head of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Washington D.C., told Taiwan lawmakers that Jiang Zemin had offered to withdraw China’s short-range mobile ballistic missiles facing Taiwan in exchange for a reduction in the quality and quantity of U.S. arms sales to the island.

U.S. officials at first denied that Jiang was tabling a serious proposal, but acknowledged it was genuine after Jiang and other Chinese leaders reiterated the offer in informal talks with a delegation led by former Defense Secretary William J. Perry in November. A Chinese official told the Washington Post that the missile offer “created new space for cooperation” between Washington and Beijing, and was part of a series of Chinese moves designed to “further stabilize” China-U.S. relations. But Bush administration officials dismissed the proposal as a “non-starter” and urged China to direct its initiatives to Taiwan rather than to the United States. Some American scholars and former Clinton administration officials viewed the proposal differently, however. They maintained that although China’s offer was unacceptable on its face since mobile missiles constitute only one of several possible threats to Taiwan and can be easily relocated, the U.S. should nevertheless explore the opportunity presented by China’s proposal to engage in a dialogue aimed at reversing the trend toward militarization of cross-Strait relations.

The summit provided an occasion for several pronouncements on future Sino-U.S. exchanges and consultations. Bush announced that Vice President Richard Cheney would visit Beijing in late spring.  A senior U.S. administration official stated that regular high-level visits “add tremendously to the mutual understanding and the ability to work together” and described Cheney’s upcoming visit as “one more important step” aimed not only at “keeping this relationship healthy and strong,” but actually “deepening” ties.  The establishment of a new vice-ministerial forum on security issues with a specific focus on nonproliferation was also announced.  On the U.S. side, the talks will be led by Under Secretary of State for International Security Affairs John Bolton and are planned to be convened on a regular basis, perhaps twice a year.  Chinese and U.S. leaders also agreed to step up military exchanges, which were strictly curtailed after the collision of a Chinese fighter jet and a U.S. surveillance plan in April last year.  Jiang Zemin informed President Bush of China’s decision to join the Container Security Initiative, a worldwide effort to provide greater protection for maritime container shipping.

China Issues New Export Control Regulations

In August and October 2002, China issued comprehensive new export control regulations that cover missile technology, chemical weapons precursors and technology, and biological agents. The Chinese government also amended the regulations controlling exports of military products. The new regulations were issued on the eve of Jiang’s visit to the United States. Bush administration officials had sent clear signals to China that improvement in China’s nonproliferation behavior was a precondition for better bilateral relations.

The release of the new regulations was undoubtedly timed to create a positive atmosphere ahead of the summit. More importantly, however, their formulation and publication demonstrate Beijing’s resolve to cooperate with Washington in the war on terror to bolster bilateral China-U.S. ties. In addition, the judgments underpinning the regulations reflect heightened Chinese awareness of the dangers to China’s security created by the spread of WMD and their delivery systems in the wake of the 2001 terrorist attacks.

Taken together, the new regulations and their corresponding control lists constitute a nascent domestic export control system that covers all major categories of weapons of mass destruction. The new regulations bring China into closer adherence with international nonproliferation export control standards, although China remains outside key multilateral export control groups such as the Australia Group, the Missile Technology Control Regime, and the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

Having laws and regulations in place doesn’t necessarily mean that there will be no proliferation in the future, but it does mean that the central government is in a better position to control and, if necessary, punish violators.  Whether China’s export controls will ultimately be effective in halting exports of Chinese technology that can be used to produce WMD and associated means of delivery will depend largely on the government’s capacity and resolve to implement and enforce the new regulations.  It therefore remains to be seen if nonproliferation can be moved to the positive side of the ledger in Sino-U.S. relations.

U.S. officials welcomed the promulgation of new export control regulations by China, but maintained that the Chinese leadership had not yet done enough to warrant lifting sanctions such as the ban on the launch of U.S. commercial satellites from Chinese boosters.  Beijing was eager to have President Bush agree to remove those sanctions in response to China’s concerted effort to address U.S. concerns and as a gesture of good will to Jiang, who, following the summit, would imminently step down as general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party and relinquish the presidency next spring. A senior U.S. official indicated that progress in obtaining Chinese cooperation in nonproliferation remained uneven. “We continue to see activities (that) suggest Chinese entities are exporting missile-related technologies to countries like Pakistan or Iran or Libya,” he added, without going into detail.

High-Level Military Exchanges Resume

After a two-year hiatus, China and the U.S. resumed high-level military exchanges in December in accordance with the consensus reached between Presidents Jiang and Bush at Crawford. The fifth round of Defense Consultative Talks (DCT) was convened in Washington D.C. with People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Gen. Xiong Guangkai leading the Chinese delegation and Under Secretary of Defense Douglas Feith heading up the U.S. delegation.  According to Feith, the purpose of the talks was to provide an opportunity to review a broad range of issues and “see where we have strategic matters that we can benefit from discussing together.” Subjects discussed included Taiwan, Iraq, terrorism, nonproliferation, China’s military modernization, and North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. In a press conference following the DCT, Feith described the discussion as “a lively exchange back and forth … not a stilted meeting where people just read talking points.”

Unlike past sessions of the DCT, the U.S. and Chinese sides did not agree on an agenda for military-to-military exchanges for the coming year. In response to a Pentagon request, the Chinese tabled a list of proposals for exchanges between the two militaries, which was welcomed by the U.S. side, although the U.S. maintained that it would take time to review them.  In the meantime and perhaps indefinitely, Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s policy of reviewing proposed exchanges on a case-by-case basis remains in effect. U.S. officials told their Chinese counterparts that the political will exists on the U.S. side to conduct military-to-military exchanges with China on the precondition that they are structured properly and serve common interests.  From the U.S. perspective, according to Pentagon officials, the principal interest is in reducing the risks of mistake, miscalculation, and misunderstanding. During the discussions, U.S. officials also presented their concerns about China’s lack of reciprocity and transparency in past U.S.-Chinese military exchanges.

Despite unconfirmed media reports that the Bush Pentagon did not treat Gen. Xiong and his delegation as warmly as the Clinton Pentagon, the Chinese side played up the positive aspects of the visit and the importance of the resumption of high-level Sino-U.S. military exchanges.  In a press conference restricted to mainland Chinese reporters at the end of two days of meetings, Xiong emphasized that China “has all along adopted a positive attitude toward developing Sino-U.S. bilateral state and military relations and will continue to conduct exchanges with the U.S. military on the principle of mutual respect, mutual benefit, increased understanding, and making external military exchanges subordinate to bilateral relations and serve bilateral relations.”  He indicated that the Chinese side hopes to work jointly with the U.S. side “to remove various kinds of interference and obstacles in the course of developing bilateral military relations, promote improvement and development of bilateral military relations, and contribute toward further deepening the bilateral constructive cooperative relationship.”

During his visit, Xiong met with Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz (Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld was on an overseas tour) and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice.  Xiong also attended a luncheon with American scholars sponsored by the Brookings Institution and the Carnegie Foundation for International Peace where he summarized China’s new security concept and answered questions on many topics relating to U.S. and Chinese security. He presented U.S. officials and scholars with copies of Beijing’s third defense white paper, which was officially released on the day that Gen. Xiong and his delegation arrived in Washington D.C. Entitled, “China’s National Defense in 2002,” the white paper contains slick color photos and is divided into seven sections that discuss China’s security environment, national defense policy, the structure of the armed forces, national defense building, armed forces building, international security cooperation, arms control, and disarmament. The document contains somewhat more information than previous Chinese defense white papers and marks a small, but important step toward greater transparency.

On the heels of the DCT, Commander, U.S. Pacific Command Adm. Thomas Fargo toured China, making stops in Beijing, Chengdu, Nanjing, Ningbo, and Shanghai. In China’s capital, Fargo met with Liang Guanglie, the newly appointed chief of general staff of the PLA, Vice Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and with Xiong Guangkai. He also met with commanders of the Chengdu Military Region and the Nanjing Military Region, the commander of the East China Sea Fleet, the commander of the PLA Navy, and the commander of the PLA Shanghai Garrison. While visiting Shanghai, Adm. Fargo delivered a speech at Fudan University in which he discussed Iraq, North Korea, U.S.-PRC military cooperation, Taiwan, and other issues.  Fargo expressed his hope that his China visit would further promote China-U.S. military exchanges and considerably reduce misunderstanding.   He cited counterterrorism, Iraq, and North Korea’s WMD programs as opportunities where the two countries can work together to promote peace and stability.

Other lower-level China-U.S. military exchanges that took place during this quarter included an October visit to China by U.S. National Defense University delegation headed by Navy Vice Admiral and NDU President Paul Gaffney, and a November tour of several U.S. military universities and installations by a Capstone delegation from China’s National Defense University.  A meeting of the Sino-U.S. Military Maritime-Air Safety working group, a subgroup of the Military Maritime Consultative Agreement, was held in Qingdao in early December.

Human Rights Talks Restart and Show Promise

A U.S. delegation led by Lorne Craner, assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights, and labor, arrived in Beijing in early December to restart the official dialogue with China on human rights.  Craner was accompanied by Assistant Attorney General Ralph F. Boyd and John Hanford, the U.S. ambassador for international religious freedom.  Their Chinese interlocutors included Li Baodong, head of the Foreign Ministry’s International Department; Nan Ying, a chief judge at the Supreme Court; and Du Zhongxing, a ranking Justice Ministry official. The Bush administration agreed to hold the talks only after Beijing released a handful of political prisoners on a U.S. list and pledged that the discussions would be fruitful.

The most significant result of the two-day session was an agreement by China to unconditionally invite UN investigators into the country to explore allegations that it jails people without due process, restricts freedom of religion, and allows torture in its prisons.  U.S. officials expressed confidence that China would follow through on its promise, although they acknowledged that Beijing had prevented visits by UN observers in the past by insisting on restrictions that were deemed unacceptable. Craner hailed the Chinese government’s decision and suggested that it is one of several signs that Beijing is taking seriously the need to improve its human rights record.  During the talks, Chinese officials acknowledged their human rights practices fall short of international standards and appeared more willing to listen to criticism and suggestions than in previous sessions.

China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman confirmed that Beijing had invited UN human rights experts to report on the state of torture, arbitrary arrests, and religious freedom, but did not corroborate the U.S. assertion that the invitations were unconditional and would be effective immediately.  “We have on various occasions invited the UN rapporteurs on torture, arbitrary detention, and religious freedom,” the Chinese spokesman Liu Jianchao told a regular briefing, adding, “we invite them to visit China again at a time that’s appropriate for both sides.”

As part of the Bush administration results-oriented approach to the human rights dialogue with China, Craner presented the Chinese side with a new list of 230 prisoners whom Washington believes are being unjustly incarcerated.  He highlighted several priority cases, including Rebiya Kadeer, an ethnic Uighur businesswoman from the northwest region of Xinjiang who was sentenced to eight years in prison for having sent newspaper articles to friends living abroad, and Xu Wenli, co-founder of the banned China Democracy Party who spent more than 16 of the last 21 years in prison.  One week after Craner’s return from China, Beijing China released Xu Wenli, sending him to exile and medical treatment in the United States. The release was a clear signal of China’s strong desire to sustain the forward momentum in relations with the U.S.

After meetings in Beijing, the delegation led by Craner traveled to Xinjiang for talks with officials from the Bureau of Religious Affairs.  In addition to urging Kadeer’s release, Craner passed on a message from President Bush that “no nation can use the war on terror as an excuse to repress its minorities.” In a speech to students at Xinjiang University, Craner stressed that “security and respect for human rights are not mutually exclusive.”

The Sixteenth Party Congress

The Sixteenth Party Congress, held Nov. 8-14 in Beijing and followed immediately by the First Plenary Session of the new Sixteenth Central Committee on Nov. 15, provided a peaceful transition to a new leadership, headed by Hu Jintao. The outcome of the congress was an overwhelming victory for Jiang Zemin, as he witnessed his doctrine of the “Three Represents” (that the CCP represents the advanced forces of production, advanced culture, and the interests of the majority of the Chinese people) enshrined in the party charter, the Politburo Standing Committee packed with his close supporters, and the powerful Central Military Commission retained in his own hands.

In the realm of foreign policy, it remains uncertain whether the new party General Secretary Hu will defer important decisions to his predecessor or seek to exert his own influence.  It is as yet unknown who will head the leadership small groups responsible for forging a policy consensus on finance and economics, Taiwan, foreign affairs, and national security.  It is unlikely, however, that Hu or other members of the new leadership will seek to fundamentally alter the course of Chinese policy toward the outside world.  All the senior leaders agree that foreign policy is intended primarily to create a favorable international environment for continued economic growth. In practice, this means seeking good relations with the United States while enhancing China’s global clout and maintaining pressure on Taiwan to renounce independence and reunite with the mainland.

Security Issues Assume Center Stage

A palpable feature of China-U.S. relations this quarter was increased coordination and cooperation on security matters.  U.S. officials made a flurry of visits and phone calls to Beijing to consult with their Chinese counterparts about disarming Iraq of its weapons of mass destruction, shutting down North Korea’s nuclear programs, and combating international terrorism.

While Jiang Zemin was visiting the United States, Attorney General John Ashcroft was in China announcing the opening of an FBI liaison office in Beijing to advance China-U.S. cooperation in the war on terror as well as against money laundering and people smuggling.  Washington had long sought a base for the FBI in Beijing, but the Chinese did not grant approval until the second Bush-Jiang summit last February. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia James Kelly traveled to China twice during the quarter to obtain Beijing’s support for a coordinated response to North Korea’s admission that it was engaged in a covert uranium enrichment program. In mid-December, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage stopped in China for two days, his last destination on a whirlwind Asia tour aimed at drumming up support for a possible U.S.-led attack on Iraq.  Armitage also conferred with Chinese officials on the best means to denuclearize North Korea.  Secretary of State Powell made several phone calls to Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan to brief him on developments regarding Iraq and North Korea and to elicit Chinese views and support for U.S. positions.

Just a few months shy of two years after the collision between a Chinese fighter jet and a U.S. surveillance plane, China-U.S. relations have become remarkably stable.  Beijing is making a good faith effort to satisfy U.S. concerns and is determined to avert a confrontation with Washington.  The Bush administration is crediting China with making progress in a number of areas and is pleased with Chinese cooperation on a range of important security issues.  The two countries are coordinating effectively on an ever-growing list of common concerns, including terrorism, regional security, international crime, narcotics control, weapons proliferation, and trade.

Both sides know that real strains and suspicions persist, but they have opted to play down their disagreements, especially in public. China still feels deeply uncomfortable with Washington’s unilateral approach to foreign affairs. It is nervous about the Bush administration’s intimate relationship with Taiwan and worried about possible U.S. actions to destabilize and topple Kim Jong-il’s regime in North Korea. China is also concerned about the ramifications of U.S. missile defense deployments scheduled to begin next year.  The United States remains troubled by China’s military buildup against Taiwan and wary of its intentions.  Many in the Bush administration anticipate renewed Chinese efforts to weaken American alliances, especially in Asia, as Beijing’s economic and political clout increases.  And President Bush no doubt continues to find China’s repression of dissent and intolerance of religious freedom distasteful.  Nevertheless, both the U.S. and China recognize that they need each other, at least for the time being, and the shared desire to stabilize and improve relations is unmistakable.

Chronology of US - China Relations

October — December 2002

Oct. 2, 2002: The Congressional Executive Commission on China releases its annual report on human rights and the rule of law in China.

Oct. 7, 2002: The Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor releases the 2002 Report on International Religious Freedom.  The Chinese government is criticized for harassing and repressing unregistered religious groups and mistreating Falungong adherents.

Oct. 10, 2002: U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Paul Gaffney, president of the U.S. National Defense University, heading a delegation of seven officers and academics from NDU, meets Chinese Defense Minister Chi Haotian during a tour of Beijing, Xian, Hangzhou, and Shanghai.

Oct. 14, 2002: The China-U.S. Symposium on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Law Enforcement opens in Wuhan.  The symposium is sponsored by the State IPR Bureau in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Commerce and the U.S. Commission of Patents and Trademarks.

Oct. 17, 2002: China issues new export control regulations governing the export of Dual-Use Biological Agents and Related Equipment and Technologies.

Oct. 18, 2002: U.S. Under Secretary of State John Bolton and Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly hold consultations with counterparts in Beijing on North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.

Oct. 18, 2002: U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell is interviewed by Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV on the eve of President Jiang Zemin’s arrival in the United States.

Oct. 18, 2002: A symposium of Chinese and American World War II veterans is held in Washington, D.C.

Oct. 19, 2002:  Beijing issues new regulations entitled “Administrative Rules on the Export Control of Relevant Chemicals and Related Equipment and Technologies.”

Oct. 20, 2002: China issues new regulations governing the export of military equipment, special production facilities, and materials, technologies, and services for military purposes.

Oct. 21, 2002: U.S. Commerce Secretary Don Evans and Chinese State Development Planning Commission Minister Zeng Peiyan witness the signing of Sino-U.S. commercial cooperative agreements in New York City on projects in petrochemicals, telecommunications, energy, and other sectors.

Oct. 22, 2002: President Jiang arrives in the United States for a four-day visit to Chicago, Houston, San Francisco, and Texas.

Oct. 22-24, 2002: U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft visits China for talks with PRC officials on law enforcement in the war on terror and announces the opening of an FBI liaison office in Beijing.

Oct. 24, 2002: A State Department spokesman announces that the next round of the China Human Rights Dialogue will be held the week of Dec. 16.

Oct. 25, 2002: President Jiang Zemin visits President Bush’s ranch in Crawford, Texas, marking the third summit between the two leaders.  They hold a joint press conference following their talks.

Oct. 29-30, 2002:  The First Sino-U.S. Narcotics Control Strategic Intelligence Sharing Conference is held in accordance with agreements China and the United States reached at a meeting on law enforcement cooperation in Washington, D.C. during March 2002.
Nov. 8, 2002:  China votes in favor of U.S.-backed resolution demanding unfettered access for UN inspectors in Iraq.

Nov. 12, 2002: Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly makes his second trip to China in a month for consultations on matters related to the Korean Peninsula as well as other regional and bilateral issues.

Nov. 14, 2002: Liu Jieyi, director general of the Department of Arms Control and Disarmament, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, delivers the luncheon keynote address at the Carnegie International Non-Proliferation Conference in Washington, D.C.

Nov. 15, 2002: The U.S. congratulates Hu Jintao on becoming Chinese Communist Party general secretary and declares that it looks forward to working with the new leadership in Beijing.

Nov. 16, 2002: China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman “resolutely objects” to the Taiwan-related provisions in the U.S. defense authorization bill for fiscal year 2003, claiming that they “wantonly interfere in the PRC’s internal affairs.”

Nov. 21, 2002: U.S. Secretary of State Powell briefs Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan by phone on the situation in Iraq.

Nov. 22, 2002: The USS Constellation aircraft carrier and six other warships in its battle group arrive in Hong Kong for a routine port call.

Nov. 24, 2002: The USS Paul F. Foster makes a port call at China’s northern port city of Qingdao, the first visit by a U.S. ship to a mainland China port since the collision between a U.S. Navy EP-3 surveillance plane and a Chinese fighter on April 1, 2001.

Nov. 25, 2002: China declines to join the International Code of Conduct Against Ballistic Missile Proliferation (ICOC), an international pact to prevent proliferation of ballistic missiles adopted by 85 nations at an international conference in The Hague.

Nov. 29, 2002: A Capstone Delegation of the People’s Liberation Army National Defense University leaves to visit U.S. forces and military universities.
Nov. 29, 2002: The U.S. aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk and its two support ships arrive in Hong Kong for a routine port call.

Dec. 4-6, 2002: The second meeting of the China-U.S. Military Maritime-Air Safety working group is held in Qingdao within the framework of the Military Maritime Consultation Agreement.

Dec. 7, 2002: Long Yongtu, Chinese vice minister of foreign trade and economic cooperation, visits Washington, D.C.

Dec. 9-10, 2002: Senior level U.S.-China defense talks resume with the convening of the fifth Defense Consultative Talks in Washington, D.C.  Deputy Chief of the PLA General Staff Gen. Xiong Guangkai conducts the DCT with Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith.

Dec. 10, 2002: U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Ann M. Veneman and Minister of Science and Technology Xu Guanhua sign a Protocol on Cooperation in Agricultural Science and Technology.  The protocol expands current areas of cooperation between the United States and China and encourages further cooperation in the areas of agricultural biology and the agricultural environment.

Dec. 11, 2002: Office of the U.S. Trade Representative releases the 2002 Report to Congress on China’s WTO Compliance.

Dec. 11, 2002: U.S. Commerce Secretary Don Evans and Chinese Minister of Science and Technology Xu Guanhua sign a Protocol Agreement on Cooperation in Civilian Industrial Technology and Scientific and Technical Information Policy. The agreement will create new opportunities for technology-based entities by facilitating technology partnerships between the United States and China.

Dec. 11, 2002: Deputy Under Secretary of State Richard Armitage arrives in Beijing for talks with Chinese officials on Iraq as part of a four-nation Asia tour.

Dec. 12-17, 2002: Commander, U.S. Pacific Command Adm. Fargo visits Beijing, Chengdu, Nanjing, Shanghai, and Ningbo.

Dec. 16-17, 2002:  China and the United States hold the 13th Sino-U.S. dialogue on human rights in Beijing.  The last round took place in Washington, D.C. in Oct. 2001.  The delegation also visits the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region.

Dec. 21, 2002: Secretary of State Powell calls Chinese Foreign Minister Tang as well as his counterparts in South Korea, Russia, Japan, France, the United Kingdom, and IAEA, to discuss the pending crisis on the Korean Peninsula as North Korea moves to dismantle surveillance gear and restart its nuclear reactors.

Dec. 24, 2002: China releases Xu Wenli, its most prominent pro-democracy prisoner, sending him to exile and medical treatment in the United States.