Oct. 29, 1997: U.S.-China Summit

President Clinton welcomes China's president to the White House amidst protests.
7:53 | 10/28/11

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Transcript for Oct. 29, 1997: U.S.-China Summit
Just say this Bill Clinton and Jones and and do not speak the same language as to state the obvious but. It can also obscure the fact that language is simply one of several obstacles to understanding. The case in point. -- today's New York Times told the story of a lawyer representing American business interest in China. He is said to -- one a string of lawsuits against local Chinese companies in a Beijing court. An American diplomat as the lawyer how do you do that. He's he said the lawyer just invite some very powerful people in Beijing to come and sit in the front row. Message loud and clear when important members of the establishment -- on your aside. Chinese courts fall in the line. Contrast that with what the most powerful man in Beijing president Jiang Zemin said at -- white house press conference -- this afternoon. He was asked whether he might release two of China's most famous dissidents from prison. I am the president of the People's Republic of China said -- job. Not the chief judge of the Supreme Court. To an American audience that actually sounds quite reasonable here after all the president could not overrule the Supreme Court. In China where power is still very march centrally controlled. He cooked whether he will -- not after this summit is over still remains to be seen. This was the central day of the summit Nightline correspondent Dave Marash reports. On Howard one. There's a Chinese proverb quoted today Busch Gardens of the better to see something wants -- -- about a hundred times. All day today the White House look -- see you all the home -- -- -- American -- -- While staring -- the sound of hundreds of Americans. Protesting his presence in the country. Even as president. -- president John in so for a private meeting this morning across the street effigies perhaps to Lafayette park. Marking the diplomatic -- -- -- -- I love my. I care about him. Is not right to roll out -- red carpet. For the -- regime that rolled out the tanks against its own people -- amends Blair. President of China is being honored today. Was an official state visit. But we are here at this rally. To remind the world that it is an honor his government has not yet earned. Politicians movie stars and just when people. Turned out -- -- call today to express a variety of objections. To America's teaming up with the Beijing regime. This policy on most favored nations. As a sham. -- -- -- first I just wanted to express my solidarity with the Tibetan people. The rally drew at least 35 different groups covering the full spectrum old politics of America. From fundamentalist Christian conservatives. To labor movement liberals. We -- today to stand but the working people of China in the struggle. Against injustice. And justice on -- jobs. The my friends I would rather be and this unusual coalition. Then the other unusual coalition the coalition that now includes the man from Hope, Arkansas. And the butcher of Beijing. Oblivious to such talks the two presidents proceeded to an afternoon news conference open to mr. -- surprised by his Chinese guest. We've got to know. It. For -- this summit offers the opportunity not just for diplomacy. But also for showcasing his politicians skills. Not that there was on the absence of important agreements. President John and I agree with United States and China share a strong interest in stopping the spread of weapons of mass destruction. And other sophisticated weaponry in unstable regions. And rogue states. In exchange for Chinese promises not to sell nuclear materials to -- wrong. President Clinton has lifted restraints on American sales to China of equipment for nuclear power plants. This agreement is a win win win. It serves America's national security. Environmental. And economic interests. When questions turned to human rights issues like the 1989. Tiananmen massacre -- approved. The Chinese presidential overdue but his country is great wall. Triple which it wouldn't -- The Chinese Government had to take necessary manages according to law to quickly resolve the -- To ensure that our country enjoys the -- Another victory for dark yeah. President Clinton's reaffirmation. Of America's one China policy ruling out any recognition of the government of Taiwan. -- supporters also march this afternoon at the capitol. The attempts to match their real official event on president -- schedules. With a Carol Marie event to protest. Continued into the Washington night. With a virtual who's who Clinton administration figures and attendance. Glasses clink of the White House and toasts to what was viewed as a good day -- diplomacy. What's the meaning of all the notes at post is a post. Doesn't mean a lot and that's me you spend the rest of your life holdings and that means you're gonna deal -- the civilized man. Which one diplomatic analysts may be just the massive jobs and then came to Washington to hear. I think the advice that he was given overall. Was that he had to -- some out reach beyond negative images of China. To the American people directly. I think that's why we saw him use the English language so often and do it so well. And what -- President Clinton gotten out of the very ABC news White House correspondent John Donvan. One of the real benefit to mr. Clinton today was a public relations benefit -- took the chance to show how tough he is. On the subject of China's human rights record at a joint news conference right there in mr. -- presence he was very firm on the issue firmer than he's been in the past. And he has developed something of reputation among critics for coddling the Chinese leadership. Not today and surprise a lot of people -- -- Within walking distance of the White House -- A simpler dinner continued -- days yin and Yang of opposing ideas. Okay it is truly. -- really want to dedicate this to the people who are not here and have no representation. And that's to the 1000000200. Million Chinese who have no representation. We are -- forces. On the rest of his visit president job we'll see historic places like independence hall in Philadelphia. And conclude business breakthroughs. Like a three billion dollar deal on airplanes with Boeing. But everywhere the Chinese leader goes the sound of protesters will follow him. So far at least there -- noise seems less hurtful to president -- but his diplomatic and commercial agreements seem helpful. I'm Dave marriage for Nightline in Washington.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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