restricted access 90. About Our Visit to the United States
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524 90 About Our Visit to the United States1 August 25, 1990 This visit to the United States was approved by the central government. At the invitation of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, the Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs organized a delegation of Chinese mayors to visit the United States from July 7 to July 26. After July 26, Wang Daohan2 and I stayed on for a few more days at the invitation of American business circles. The delegation visited 11 American cities; Daohan and I visited 13. These were mainly large cities, but there were also small and medium cities. According to a quick calculation, including those who came to hear our presentations, we met a total of several thousand people. We went everywhere, from east to west and from north to south. This visit was already under consideration by the central government in April and May, and Jiang Zemin personally inquired about it. At that time, we were considering that the United States might revoke our Most Favored Nation (MFN) status—which has to be reviewed annually. If China’s MFN status were to be revoked, we would institute “countersanctions,” which would inevitably lead to a major reversal in bilateral diplomatic relations. This would affect our US$12 billion in exports to the United States and their US$8 billion in exports to us, and in total US$20 billion of business would be lost. This would have a considerable impact. That’s why we wanted to go to the United States at that time to work on this issue, to explain the stakes involved. The work primarily involved members of Congress, because the main problem lay in Congress. Jiang Zemin was personally in charge of this issue all along, and he had been discussing how to approach it with the State Council and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Around April or May, Jiang Zemin telephoned me to say he was preparing to have me go. The United States was inviting the mayor of Shanghai and other mayors to visit. This opportunity came just at the right time and it also met our needs, so we accepted the invitation. 1. This is part of a speech by Zhu Rongji at a meeting of Party member cadres in Shanghai. 2. See chapter 11, note 2. Zhu_Shanghai Years_1987-1991_hc_9780815731399_i-xii_1-620.indd 524 12/26/17 12:01 PM About Our Visit to the United States 525 Altogether six mayors went—those from Shanghai, Wuhan, Chongqing, Hefei, Ningbo, and Taiyuan. We accepted the invitation at just the right time because before we left, President [George H. W.] Bush had already asked Congress to extend China’s MFN status, so our trip had gotten off to a good start in view of our main goal. Of course the problem wasn’t solved yet—Congress still had to approve, and there would first be a long period of debate. But we had a good start, which was helpful to our work. The goal of the trip was to solidify our MFN status so that it would ultimately be approved by Congress. Another goal was to state our position on lifting the economic “sanctions” imposed on China. After we received our invitation, the American government expressed its warm welcome through its ambassador to China. At the present time, the United States does not allow visits by high-level Chinese, in compliance with a suspension issued by the Bush administration. By “high-level,” they mean officials of ministerial rank or higher. However, the American government expressed a special warm welcome to our delegation, which was the largest and highest-level one from China since last year’s political turmoil. We were very warmly received in all 13 of the cities we visited. Answering journalists’ questions as leader of the Chinese Mayors Delegation upon arrival at Kennedy Airport, New York City, July 7, 1990. On the left, David M. Lampton, president of the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations; on the right, municipal government adviser Wang Daohan, adviser to the delegation. Zhu_Shanghai Years_1987-1991_hc_9780815731399_i-xii_1-620.indd 525 12/26/17 12:01 PM 526 About Our Visit to the United States We gave presentations and had working meals in several large cities, each attended by over 100 people, with 300 coming to the largest event. Only wellknown people were invited to these events, and they had to pay for their own meals. In Los Angeles, for example, each...


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Subject Headings

  • Shanghai (China) -- Social policy.
  • Shanghai (China) -- Economic conditions -- 20th century.
  • Shanghai (China) -- Economic policy.
  • Zhu, Rongji, 1928-.
  • City planning -- China -- Shanghai.
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