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President's Visit to U.S. Highlights the Birthplaces of American Democracy


President Jiang Zemin's journey across America--which includes Saturday's speech at Harvard--has taken him on a tour through the birthplaces of American democracy, from Williamsburg, Virginia's colonial capital, to Philadelphia's Liberty Bell. * The Chinese government insisted on establishing Jiang's itinerary, intentionally giving it an aura of Americana to showcase the Communist leader in places reminiscent of American patriotism. The Chinese also demanded that the United States accord Jiang the highest state and military honors, as a state visitor of the top rank. * Jiang's eight-day trip began at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, last Sunday and will, when it ends next Sunday, have taken him on a tour of seven cities: Honolulu, Williamsburg, Washington, Philadelphia, New York, Boston and Los Angeles.


Before leaving Beijing, Jiang held a press conference with foreign reporters, a rare event in China.

After a 10-hour flight from Beijing, Jiang's jet landed at Hickham Air Base in Hawaii, where the Japanese surprise attack in 1941 catapulted the United States into World War II. At Hickham, Jiang received the military 21-gun salute given to official state visitora.

Soon after his arrival, Jiang laid a wreath of white carnations at the Pearl Harbor memorial for soldiers killed in the Japanese attack. His first day ended with a formal dinner at the residence of Hawaii's Governor Benjamin Cayetano.


Wearing black swim goggles and a pink and white bathing cap, Jiang took Waikiki Beach swimmers by surprise as he led his party into the surf and swam the breaststroke for an hour.

Observers of the Chinese scene speculated that Jiang's swim was designed not only to make him appear more charismatic to Americans but also to reassure the Chinese that he remains vigorous. Rumors spread last summer that he had suffered a heart attack after he appeared pallid at the ceremonies for the hand-over of Hong Kong to China.

In another youthful move, Jiang danced the hula with 100 Hawaiian school children. Later Monday, Jiang arrived at Langley Air Force Base outside Washington, D.C., and drove in a motorcade to Williamsburg, Virginia.


In Colonial Williamsburg, Jiang posed for photographs wearing the three-cornered hat of American colonial times and met actors portraying Thomas Jefferson and Patrick Henry. In a sudden change of plans, Gov. George F. Allen of Virginia decided to spend Tuesday morning campaigning for his successor and his wife attended a formal lunch for Jiang in his place.

From Williamsburg, Jiang traveled to Washington, D.C. Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright greeted him at the Blair House, the residence opposite the White House reserved for the highest state visitors.

Clinton met privately with Jiang Tuesday night in the Yellow Oval Room of the White House. Albright and National Security Advisor Samuel R. Berger were also in attendance. They agreed to establish a round-the-clock telephone connection between the White House and Beijing, similar to the infamous Hot Line with Moscow.


Wednesday morning Clinton formally welcomed Jiang in ceremonies on the South Lawn of the White House, after which the two men held a formal, 90 minute meeting in the Oval Office.

During the meeting in the Oval Office, Clinton and Jiang formalized an agreement on nuclear technology. Under the agreement, China would end its program for assisting Iran in developing nuclear capabilities, and in return United States businesses would be eligible to compete for nuclear power plant projects in China.

Following the formal meeting, Vice President Al Gore '69 hosted a lunch for Jiang.

An afternoon press conference by Clinton and Jiang highlighted the differences that remain between the United States and China. On human rights, Clinton said China's policies are "on the wrong side of history," and "we have profound disagreements there." He later reinforced his point, saying "you shouldn't in any way minimize the steep differences that still remain between us over that issue."

On Taiwan, Jiang responded with similar conviction, saying, "We do not commit to renounce the use of force, but this is not directed at the compatriots in Taiwan."

Wednesday night, President Clinton hosted a State Dinner for Jiang. The guest list included not only U.S. and Chinese government officials but also the heads of some of America's largest companies, such as AT&T, Boeing, IBM and Time Warner.

The State Dinner itself generated a small controversy when the Chinese rejected the White House's proposal to hold the dinner in a heated tent, with hardwood floors, on the South Lawn of the White House. The Chinese insisted on the more formal elegance of the East Room of the White House interior. The White House consequently had to curtail its guest list.


Jiang met House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott and other Congressional leaders over breakfast in Washington.

Later in the day he traveled to Philadelphia, where he toured Independence Hall and saw the Liberty Bell.


Jiang's schedule for Friday includes a breakfast in New York with former president George Bush and a foray into the capitalist world. Jiang will ring the opening bell for the New York Stock Exchange, a publicity event tinged with irony because of the stock market roller coaster this week, precipitated by the Hong Kong market's dramatic decline. Jiang will not be greeted in New York by either New York Mayor Rudolf W. Giuliani or Governor George Pataki

Later Jiang is expected to visit the headquarters of IBM and AT&T.


Jiang is scheduled to speak at Harvard and then have lunch with acting Massachusetts Gov. A. Paul Celluci before flying to Los Angeles.


On his final day in the United States, Jiang will again meet with business representatives and Chinese diplomats. He plans to have lunch with Los Angeles Mayor Richard Riodan.

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