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Office of the Vice President

For Immediate Release May 19, 2000



Washington, DC--Vice President Al Gore announced today that the United States and China have signed a joint statement pledging stronger cooperation on a range of efforts to protect the environment and promote sustainable development, including international efforts to combat global climate change.

The joint statement -- signed in Beijing by U.S. Ambassador Joseph Prueher and Madame Zhu Lilan, China's Minister of Science and Technology -- is the latest result of the U.S.-China Forum on Environment and Development co-chaired by Vice President Gore and Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji. Negotiations on the statement were completed following a letter from the Vice President to the Premier urging his support.

"This statement represents an important step forward in our continuing efforts with China to achieve cleaner, more sustainable growth," said the Vice President. "I am particularly pleased that the Chinese government is declaring a new willingness to work with us in the international effort to address climate change. Only through cooperation and engagement can we hope to meet our pressing global environmental challenges."

In the joint statement, the United States and China "recognize that countries can achieve sustained economic growth while protecting the environment and taking actions to combat climate change." The two countries also express their willingness "to entertain new and creative thinking and approaches to cooperation between developed and developing countries on climate change."

The U.S.-China statement comes two months after a joint statement by the United States and India that also pledged stronger cooperation to address climate change and other environmental concerns.

On trade issues, today's statement notes that China's entry into the World Trade Organization could advance its clean energy and environmental protection efforts by accelerating the greater use of environmentally-sound technologies in China. It affirms the two countries' intent "to work together to assure than any increased trade flows will not undercut natural resource management and species protection programs."

The U.S.-China Forum on Environment and Development was established in 1997 to expand bilateral cooperation and dialogue on sustainable development and environmental protection. In April 1999, Gore and Zhu Rongji co-chaired the Forum's second session in Washington, DC. Its third session, a minister-level meeting, was held in Honolulu in January 2000. Plans are underway for a fourth session in China.

The Forum includes four working groups: Energy Policy, Environmental Policy, Science for Sustainable Development, and Commercial Cooperation. Through the activities of the working groups, the U.S. and China are now cooperating to ensure continued trade in biotechnology products that do not harm the environment, to develop cleaner production methods as well as cleaner and more efficient sources of energy, to minimize air pollution and its effects on human health, and to mitigate and reduce the effects of natural disasters.