Iran Press Service


From a Special Correspondent in Peking

PEKING 22 June (IPS)
President Mohammad Khatami of Iran and his Chinese counterpart Jiang Zemin, said they would stand for a "multi-polarised" world and stressing on the need to establish an "equitable, just, fair and reasonable new international political and economic order that is free of hegemony and power politics and is based on equality", they reiterated on their readiness to work together for the establishment of such a new order.

In a joint communiqué issued at the end of their first meeting, the Presidents of the religion-based Islamic Republic of Iran and the anti-religious People's Republic of China also opposed interference in the internal affairs of other countries by any country under the pretext of human rights, the politicising of human rights question and adoption of double standards on this issue, a direct criticism of Washington.

Mr. Khatami's arrival in the Chinese Capital coincided with a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, prompting speculation the two might meet secretly to advance a slow thaw in ties between Washington and Teheran.

But the Chinese Foreign Ministry official Spokesman Zhu Bangzao said the timing of the visits was "purely a coincidence."

However, he said Peking hopes the United States and Iran will improve and develop normal relations, but this is a matter for the countries themselves".

Considering the presence of Iranian Defence Minister Admiral Ali Shamkhani in the Iranian delegation, observers said in his talks with the Chinese, Mrs. Albright would make sure that Peking would not reverse its policy of stopping nuclear and missile co-operation with Iran.

Until recently, China, alongside North Korea and Russia was one of Iran's main arms and missiles producing technology supplier.

But Zhu told at his news conference that the visit had "nothing to do with the issue of military co-operation".

Speaking to reporters before his departure for China, Mr. Khatami had rejected the idea of unipolar world as supported by the U.S., saying that there was no more a unipolar system in the world.

During his a meeting with President Jiang Zemin, President Khatami said the modern world is inter-related, but the inter-relation does not mean that a single culture should dominate other cultures.

Upon his arrival to Peking, the Iranian President and his 70-members delegation were warmly welcomed by President Jiang Zemin and top Chinese officials and saluted by a salvo of 21 guns fired at the Tienanmen square where years ago a peaceful demonstration by Chinese students was crushed ruthlessly.

Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Kamal Kharrazi, of Culture and Islamic Guidance, Ata'ollah Mohajerani, of Mines and Metals, Eshaq Jahangiri and of Defence, Rear-Admiral Ali Shamkhani as well as a number of Majlis (parliament) deputies are accompanying the Iranian president in his China visit.

This is Mr. Khatami's first visit to China, where he had been preceded by former presidents Ayatollah Ali Khameneh'i and Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.

In another hint to the United States that maintains a huge military force in the Persian Gulf, the two Asian leaders emphasised that the security and stability of the rfegion should be safeguarded by the countries in the region free from outside interference.

President Khatami told the Chinese that Persian Gulf was "the vital heart of the modern world and peace and stability in the Persian Gulf apply to the entirety of the world", adding: "We believe that the Persian Gulf States are capable of safeguarding peace and stability in the region without presence of the aliens."

In response, the Chinese side highly appreciated the consistent pursuance by the Iranian government of a one-China policy, with the Iranian side reiterating that there is only one China represented by the government of the People's Republic of China as the sole legal government representing the entire Chinese people.

The Iranian and Chinese presidents condemned terrorism in all its forms and stressed the need for the international community to combat and root out terrorism and expressed their readiness to maintain close co-operation and co-ordination with international efforts against terrorism.

Though Tehran claims it is a victim of terrorism, yet the United States accuses the Islamic Republic of Iran to be behind world's main terrorist organisations.

Mr. Khatami said Iran is against any form of terrorism and an advocate of Human Rights, but is opposed to Human Rights and terrorism being used as tools in the hands of certain countries to exploit them for their own interests, a clear condemnation of Washington, accused routinely by both Peking and Tehran as for using randomly these issues against nations opposed to US policies.

The two presidents stressed the importance of respect for human rights and for the history, culture and religions of each country in defending and developing human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Khatami said the modern world should enjoy peace and stability and every culture should have the right to exist.

"We want a world where dialogue replaces hostility," Khatami said.

In this regard, the two sides underscored the importance of establishing an international community for co-operation, participation and dialogue and against use or threat of force and imposition of economic sanctions to settle disputes between countries.

Categorised as a "rogue State", or a "State of concern", according to the State Department's new phraseology, the Islamic Republic is under US economic sanction that touches Iran's vital energy sector.

The two sides emphasised the importance of realising a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East with the belief that a sustainable peace in the region cannot be attained without recognition of the rights of the Palestinian people, including the right of the Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland.

President Khatami reminded his Chinese interlocutors that his country always defends the rights of the Palestinians and hopes that a just and fair peace will be established in Palestine.

The two sides are committed to a world free from nuclear, biological or chemical weapons. They stressed that the International regime for eliminating and prohibiting the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction should be permanently and indiscriminately applicable to all regions and countries with no exception and at the same time both sides took note of the legitimate rights of any country for peaceful uses of nuclear energy, chemical and biological technology in a transparent manner under the supervision of the relevant international organisations.

They believed it is positive and constructive to rid the Middle East of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, and support the efforts to make the Middle East a nuclear, biological and chemical weapons free zone.

The tow leaders stressed the necessity to implement all the UN resolutions on Iraq to the full, and expressed their deep sympathy with the Iraqi people over their sufferings.

The two presidents appealed to the international community to offer the Iraqi people necessary humanitarian help and expressed support for Iraq's independence and its territorial integrity and stressed the importance of letting Iraqi people decide on the fate of their country on their own.

The two presidents held that an early solution to the Afghanistan issue would be in the interest of regional security and stability and stressed the need to seek a political settlement through negotiation between the parties concerned and establish a broad-based government representing all factions and ethnic groups.

The two sides support the important role played by the UN in safeguarding world peace and security and helping the developing countries raise their development level and stressed on the importance of adhering to the principles and purposes of the UN Charter.

Zemin appreciated the Iranian peace efforts in Afghanistan and said the Afghan crisis would be settled through peaceful negotiations without interference of foreign countries.

The Chinese President said Afghanistan has no military solution.

The Chinese side welcomed the initiative of President Khatami for dialogue of Civilisations and the designation by the UN of the year 2001 as the year of dialogue of civilisations.

The two sides agreed that Iran and China, two great ancient civilisations in Asia should enhance exchanges and co-operation in the cultural, educational and social areas to develop and substantiate the dialogue of civilisations.

He said the Chinese government is interested in reinforcing co-operation with Iran in all areas.

According to Zemin, the Chinese government observes five principles in its diplomacy with Iran that are coexistence, boost in exchange of delegations, bolstering economic, and technological co-operation, upgrading capacity for bilateral co-operation and drawing up a modern trade relations between Iran and China for the 21st century, co-operation on international scene, holding south-south talks and help in establishing a fair new world order.

He said Iran is China's important trading partner in the Persian Gulf, adding that economic co-operation between Iran and China would serve the interests of the two nations.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao said Mr. Khatami's visit would "enhance friendship between the Chinese and Iranian people, and accelerate friendly co-operation."

Prior to his departure, President Khatami told reporters at Tehran Mehrabad airport that expansion of Tehran-Peking relations is an effective and important element in strengthening peace and stability in the Asian continent and throughout the globe.

"Independent countries are interested in a world full of justice and equality", he added.

Both presidents expressed satisfaction with the existing relations in all fields and hoped that mutual co-operation will bolster in the near future.

The Chinese leader said he believes that the visit of his Iranian counterpart would increase mutual understanding, promote friendship between the two people and push forward development of friendly ties in every respect.

Leaders of the two nations will strive for the establishment of long term Sino-Iranian friendship and extensive co-operation, Mr. Zemin told his Iranian guest who had assured that Iran would work with China to further promote bilateral relations.

Commenting on Mr. Khatami's visit to China, the English-language "Iran-Daily" said Iran should learn from the Chinese successes and mistakes."

"Everybody knows that China is still a communist country but its economy is far more people-participatory than our own. It can be said that Communist China has a populist economy while ours is not, as (such a controlled liberalised economy) runs contrary to our values and Constitution", the paper said.

Observing that the problem with state-run economies is that bureaucrats ride the elephant and want the pachyderm to become bigger, exercise even more control and ensure less popular participation, "Iran Daily" that is published by Iran's official news agency IRNA added that "consequently, today we are in such a mess that if a private person wants to do anything, the army of government offices will discourage the effort."

Giving China as a "good example" to build up a "populist" economy which is "a prosperous one", the paper says "This is where we have to learn from the Chinese".

"They are not perfect but their accomplishments are astonishing. Consider their continuous annual two-digit rate of growth over the past 15 years; a yearly increase in industrial growth of over 20 percent; a per annum capital formation figure in excess of 35 percent; a rate of foreign capital attraction ranking at the top of the world's list, in hard currency reserves, it is one of the world's leaders".

Observing that rampant growth of the population is the source of many social problems including unemployment and number one threat to national security, "as this is the case with Iran", the daily points to the successful population control programs developed by China, well ahead of Iran that came late to population control and where wrong policies made us suffer a population explosion, making us suffering from an acute inability to create jobs.

"In the medium and long- terms, all our adversaries with higher rates of growth will ultimately harbour second thoughts about our defensive strength, based on Iran's economic weakness, especially referring to the Ataturkist and Zionist regimes."

"Historically, whenever we have been afflicted with a sharply and negatively imbalance economy, national security difficulties have followed", Iran Daily noted.

Comparing China's "skill" to solve its political problems with their foes with Iran's strategists that "resemble those of illiterates" in relation to the global arena in which we are dealing, the daily notes that the Chinese have fought successfully and bravely to enter the World Trade Organisation while Iran is still debating the question.

"At every stage of their international negotiations, in whatever field, the Chinese epitomise highly literate professionalism while our strategists look dwarf. A good example is the fiasco we created in dealing with the Americans, where after we agreed to hand over the hostages, we also handed over a heavy percentage of our treasury. ENDS KHATAMI CHINA 22600


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