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25 March 1996

Press Release



BEIJING, 25 March -- Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali met the Vice-Premier and Foreign Minister of China, Qian Qichen, on Monday, 25 March, and sought China's views on global issues ranging from the conflict in Afghanistan to the looming financial crisis threatening the very existence of the United Nations. During the two-hour meeting on the second day of the Secretary-General's five-day mission in China, the two leaders also discussed Taiwan.

The Chinese Vice-Premier said China was committed to the reunification of China through peaceful means and to the "one country, two systems" formula. He said China's resumption of sovereignty over Hong Kong and Macao should serve as a model. Mr. Qian said rather than opposing the development of democracy in Taiwan, China objected to external interference and to those who advocated independence and separation.

The Secretary-General reiterated that the United Nations position was clearly spelled out in General Assembly resolution 2758.

The Secretary-General briefed the Vice-Premier on the state of negotiations between the United Nations and Iraq on the implementation of the "oil-for-food" formula", spelled out in Security Council resolution 986 (1995). Mr. Qian expressed his support for the implementation of the resolution, so that the suffering of the Iraqi people could be alleviated. He encouraged the Secretary-General to find a solution to any remaining sticking points in the discussions.

The Secretary-General and the Vice-Premier also discussed the status of the comprehensive nuclear test-ban negotiations. The Secretary-General said he hoped the treaty could be signed before the end of September 1996. Mr. Qian said China had made a commitment not to be the first to use nuclear weapons.

The Secretary-General underlined the need to generate more global awareness of the immensity of the United Nations financial crisis. He told Mr. Qian that Member States owed the United Nations $3.3 billion, and the United Nations itself owed troop-contributing nations $1 billion for peace-

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keeping. The Secretary-General said many countries did not believe there was a real risk the United Nations would have to close its doors and seemed to be counting on the discovery of an eleventh-hour solution. Mr. Qian, sharing the Secretary-General's concern at the gravity of the crisis, assured the Secretary-General that China would pay its dues in April.

During the wide-ranging dialogue, the two men also exchanged views on the situation on the Korean peninsula, on efforts to resolve the strife in Afghanistan, on progress in the negotiations in Tajikistan and other regional matters.

The Secretary-General emphasized his gratitude to China for its efforts in making the Fourth World Conference for Women in Beijing such a resounding success. He also praised China's preparations for the United Nations Conference on Human Settlements (Habitat II), in particular for its hosting of the meeting on urban water issues on 21 to 22 March.

On Tuesday, 26 March, the Secretary-General will confer first with President Jiang Zemin, and later in the day with Premier Li Peng.

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For information media. Not an official record.