Text of Fox News' Interview With Condoleezza Rice

The full transcript of Fox News Sunday's interview with National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice:

TONY SNOW: This week President Bush wrestled again with China, outlined an aggressive national defense policy and got his face slapped by the United Nations. For comment on these issues and more, we welcome the president's national security advisor Condoleezza Rice.

Ms. Rice, let's begin with China. There was a report on Thursday that the Pentagon had decided to suspend military contacts with China. Where were you when that report came out?

RICE: I was at the White House, and we only heard press reports about it. But Secretary Rumsfeld was also at the White House because he was briefing the president on something else. He immediately said that's not the intention, and he rescinded the memo. But the intention...

SNOW: But there was a memo, and obviously this was something that was considered seriously.

RICE: That's right, there was a memo, but it was a memo that not been approved by the secretary. It was trying to interpret the secretary's guidance, and the interpretation was just wrong.

It had always been intended that Secretaries Powell and Rumsfeld and I, on behalf of other secretaries, would review our contacts with the Chinese for appropriateness. Nobody believes that it's yet business as usual with China, so we wanted to make certain that contacts were appropriate, but there was no blanket suspension.

SNOW: Does that mark a change in policy?

RICE: The change in policy, really, for military-to-military contacts had come quite a bit earlier before the EP-3 problem when Secretary Rumsfeld had wanted to review the reciprocity of our contacts with China, and he had been doing that. But during the EP-3 incident and afterwards, we just wanted to be sure we were doing the right thing and not, for instance, engaging in social events with the Chinese.

SNOW: When you talk about reciprocity: They got full access; we didn't.

RICE: There were reports that the mil-to-mil contacts were somewhat one-sided, and I think Secretary Rumsfeld felt that the only way he could get a handle on this was to review them one at a time.

There are some contacts that we think are both appropriate and useful. For instance, some of the multilateral contacts that were going forward have been allowed to go forward.

So this was a case-by-case review, and it was just important to make sure that it was really case by case.

SNOW: If we're looking case by case, are we getting anything out of the military contacts, or would we lose anything significant if we did suspend them?

RICE: I believe that the secretary, who is the one who really has reviewed these in depth, believes that there are some contacts that are quite useful, and that we...

SNOW: Such as?

RICE: ... really ought to continue those.

Well, I think some of the multilateral ones are quite useful. And, indeed, if we can make use of the Military Maritime Commission to talk about not having accidents of the kind that we had with the EP-3, that might be useful.

So no one wants to have a blanket prohibition here. But given what we've been through with the Chinese, Powell and Rumsfeld and I all believe, and the president believes, that it's appropriate to review this one at a time.

SNOW: Are we going to get the EP-3 back?

RICE: Well, we certainly made very clear representations to the Chinese government that this is American property and we expect to get it back.

The team that went there to assess the condition of the airplane has now returned. They've done their assessment, and we'll see what they say. It obviously would be better to be able to fly the plane out if that is possible, but we've not yet had a chance to talk with the assessment team.

SNOW: Does the status of the EP-3 have any bearing on our review on a case-by-case basis of our contacts with the Chinese?

RICE: Well, clearly, the way that the Chinese handle the fact that we have a plane on the ground will have an effect on how we see U.S.-China relations. But the president has also made clear that he believes that a productive and fruitful relationship with China is possible, that it's in the interest of both countries. And so, this is a balancing act.

SNOW: Is it still possible with our plane on their ground?

RICE: It's not business as usual just yet with China, and we've made that very clear. But we will continue to work with the Chinese, and we really do believe we have to get the plane home at some point.

SNOW: When the president says, "We'll do whatever it takes to defend Taiwan," what does that mean?

RICE: The president is being very clear about his resoluteness to live up to the terms of the Taiwan Relations Act. After all, it is American law that the United States has a responsibility to make certain that Taiwan's peaceful way of life is not disturbed. It is in the context of a policy that believes in the peaceful resolution of a cross-Straits crisis that does not expect either side to try and change the status quo unilaterally.

But this is a message to the PRC that the use of force in a political context in which we really are looking for a peaceful resolution of the Taiwan Straits crisis would not be tolerated.

SNOW: Therefore, if the People's Republic use force against Taiwan, we would be compelled to respond and get involved?

RICE: The president has made very clear that he takes seriously his obligations under the Taiwan Relations Act, and that does mean that we have an obligation to try and keep the Taiwan Straits situation one that can be resolved in a peaceful manner.

SNOW: We promised the Taiwanese some diesel submarines. We asked the Dutch and the Germans to build it; they said no. Will they get their subs?

RICE: Well, it turns out there are a number of countries in the world that are capable of building diesel submarines, and we will take a hard look. But obviously we will carry through on the commitment that we've made.

If, by the way, Taiwan decides that it wants the diesel submarines, it has to be made clear that this is just the beginning of discussions with Taiwan about the arms sales. They now have to decide what they can afford, what they actually wish. This is really the first phase.

SNOW: The United States has been kicked out of the U.N. Human Rights Commission, or actually the umbrella organization under which that commission operates. Why should we take seriously a human rights commission that includes the Sudan and Libya but not us?

RICE: I think it's a very good question. And the sad thing is not for the United States. The sad thing is that the country that has been the beacon for those fleeing tyranny for 200 years is not on this commission, and Sudan is on this commission. It's very bad for those people who are suffering under tyranny around the world, and it is an outrage.

SNOW: Some people say it's your fault. Let's look at a quote from House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt to that extent. He says: "Unfortunately today's action demonstrates that U.S. unilateralism in foreign policy has consequences. This administration's failure to follow basic diplomatic precepts on official global matters has undermined our government's ability to sustain as a leadership role in the human rights arena." Response?

RICE: I think it's very sad that people, particularly on the Hill, would decide to blame America for this. Obviously, the United States has been too strong on the human rights agenda.

I suspect that this was a backlash of those who don't like being judged, that perhaps the United States has been a little too active on the Human Rights Commission. We were very active in this most recent round, and maybe it will be easier now for human rights abusers to escape scrutiny.

I hope that the Europeans and other democratic states that remain will take up this mantle and be certain that the human rights message is as strong as it has been with the United States in the commission.

SNOW: China is holding a professor at an American university. We talk a lot about human rights. Is our concern about human rights so important that we would think about suspending trade relations? Are trade relations more important than human rights in this case?

RICE: The president has made very clear that human rights is at the center of his agenda; it's about American values. But it's a question of how one pursues that agenda. And he believes, as his entire administration does, that trade and openness of economies eventually leads to openness and freedom on the political side. You cannot tell people to think and work but not at home. So eventually free trade does lead to greater freedom.

SNOW: He's absolutely sure of that?

RICE: We really do believe that throughout the world there are examples of how opening economies, whether it was Korea or Taiwan or Chile, that opening economies leads to pressure for political change. And the Chinese government may not expect that, but it has been demonstrated that there's a pretty clear link.

SNOW: Former President Clinton's going to be in Hong Kong. He says the administration has been cheering him on and supports his mission. Is that true?

RICE: President Clinton is going to Hong Kong as a private citizen.

SNOW: No consultation with the White House?

RICE: Certainly there's no objection to the president going. I've talked personally to the president about his trip, and I'm quite certain that he will do a good job. But he's not going as an official representative in any way of the administration.

SNOW: No coordination with the White House?

RICE: The president wanted to make certain, and we wanted to make certain, that he knew where we stand with China. That only makes sense. And we appreciate the fact that he thought that important.

SNOW: The president has outlined an approach to missile defense. Tony Blair seems to have signed on. What about Vladimir Putin?

RICE: President Putin gave, I thought, a very upbeat analysis of the president's speech.

No one expects Russia or for that matter anyone else to tomorrow say, "Oh, yes, we've seen the light now, you're absolutely right."

But the president started the process on Tuesday of laying out a different vision for how to think about deterrence, how to think about nuclear weapons, one more in line with the world of 2001 than of 1972. And I think people are responding to it. It's very heartening.

SNOW: When you say 1972, you're referring to the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. Is there some likelihood that the Russians might agree either to rip it up or amend it in such a way as to make missile defense more likely?

RICE: The United States has made very clear the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty is both unrepresentative of the relationship that we want to have with the Russians, and a constraint on moving forward with the promising technologies that we need to pursue in order to defend ourselves, our allies and our troops.

I think the Russians are listening. And the consultations that will begin this week are extremely important. We are only asking people to listen, to begin the discussion. I think we are going to win this argument -- the intellectual argument.

SNOW: Secretary Rumsfeld says Russia's neither an ally or a friend. You're a Russian expert. How do you characterize it?

RICE: It's probably best not to try to characterize Russia in one word or another. I think Russia is a country in transition.

It is clearly not an enemy, and that's important. We don't have to be, as President Bush put it on Tuesday, we don't have to be strategic adversaries any longer. We have some interests in common, some that are in conflict. That's the nature of great power relations.

It's different than the relationship with the Soviet Union when it was an implacably hostile relationship on every conceivable dimension. What's changed is that it's now a more normal relationship with Russia, and that's a very good thing for the world.

SNOW: Yasser Arafat has called for a summit involving the United States, the Palestinian Authority and Israel. Should such a summit go forward if violence is still continuing in the region?

RICE: Well, we've made very clear that we believe the first step has to be a lessening of the violence and that probably at this point there needs to be some small steps, or really what would be very large steps, on the part of both the Palestinians and Israelis. But the Palestinian Authority needs to make a call to stop the violence.

We don't have any objection to having discussions between the parties when both parties are ready. But the United States is not in a position, nor would it wish, to impose a solution or negotiations on the parties.

SNOW: Suha Arafat says she hates Israelis. Do you think her husband does?

RICE: I can't judge. I just believe that if Chairman Arafat is going to have a real leadership role, he needs to channel the problems of his people into ways that can really solve the problems of his people. That means renouncing violence, it means beginning the dialogue.

And on the Israeli side, we've talked with Prime Minister Sharon about the importance of keeping open for the Palestinian people the possibility of a good economic livelihood.

SNOW: Twenty-eight years ago a bomb went off on a Sunday morning in Birmingham. You felt the shocks. You grew up there. One of the four girls who died was a kindergarten classmate. What did you feel this week when the bomber was convicted?

RICE: I was very proud of Birmingham in taking this on some 30- plus years later.

It's hard. I have relatives in Birmingham. I know that it's been a hard several weeks for the whole city because in some ways people would rather forget, but you can't afford to forget.

And so I was proud of Birmingham in the way that it conducted itself, and I hope that there will be some much needed closure for both black and white Birmingham, which fortunately is starting to become one Birmingham.

SNOW: You've had an incredible life all over the globe. Was that the most stunning moment of your life?

RICE: Well, I've had many stunning moments. But yes, I think as a child, where you come from really matters a lot, and I come from Birmingham. And what Birmingham teaches is that history matters, but so does moving forward. And I think it's a message that, frankly in my other life with most of the world, that history needs to be overcome in favor of peace and reconciliation is one that can be spread around the globe.

SNOW: All right. Condoleezza Rice, thanks for joining us.

RICE: Thank you very much. Great to be with you, Tony.