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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

USIS Washington 

03 June 1998


(China MFN renewal serves U.S. national interest)  (840)
Washington -- Following is the text of a fact sheet issued by the
White House June 3:
(begin text)
ENGAGEMENT: President Clinton's policy of engagement with China is
expanding our cooperation in areas important to the national interest
-- stability in Asia, preventing the spread of weapons of mass
destruction, combating international crime arid drug trafficking,
protecting the environment and expanding mutually beneficial trade. It
also provides us with an effective means to deal forthrightly with our
differences, notably human rights. The manner in which we engage China
will help determine whether it becomes an increasingly open and
productive partner for America, or whether it becomes more isolated
and unpredictable. The President's strategy is showing results and we
need to stay the course. This vote must be about how best to promote
U.S. interests. Extending to China the same normal trade treatment we
give to virtually every nation on earth will help further integrate
China -- and promote the interests of the American people. Revoking
MFN would rupture our relationship with a fourth of the world and
jeopardize our political and economic security.
ENORMOUS STAKES: The stakes are enormous, as demonstrated by regional
events of the last six months. China has the potential to advance U.S.
objectives. Engagement is producing tangible results:
-- China condemned both India and Pakistan's nuclear testing and urged
restraint, and is hosting a P-5 meeting in Geneva later this week to
address South Asian security concerns. China's role critical to
preventing arms race and lessening chance of conflict.
-- China has played a constructive role in responding to the Asia
financial crisis, in part by maintaining its exchange rate, thereby
decreasing pressure for competitive devaluation in the region.
-- China continues to play a constructive role in peace talks and
easing tensions on the Korean Peninsula.
-- China has resumed cross-Strait contacts with Taiwan, and will
resume talks at senior levels later this year. Tensions at lowest
level in three years, with no threatening military exercises.
INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION: China's adherence to international rules
advances the interests of the American people. On nonproliferation,
China has joined us in the NPT, CTBT, CWC, and BWC regimes, committed
to no new nuclear assistance to Iran, joined a major international
nuclear suppliers group, the Zangger Committee, and put into place
comprehensive nuclear export controls. We have a strong bilateral
program to combat alien smuggling, narcotics trafficking and
terrorism, and are working with China to meet environmental
challenges. MFN extension supports our efforts to subject China to the
same international disciplines as other major powers and builds
JOBS: An estimated 170,000 U.S. jobs depend on exports to China. Those
exports have more than tripled over the past decade, to $12.8 billion,
and China is now our fifth largest trading partner. Revocation would
derail the talks on China's entry into the WTO, under which China
would reduce its trade barriers substantially, creating new export
opportunities for U.S. companies and workers. Revocation would invite
retaliation against U.S. exporters and investors. Revocation would
also hurt U.S. consumers, who could pay upwards of half a billion
dollars more in a single year because of higher tariffs on such
products as shoes and clothing.
HUMAN RIGHTS: Engagement does not mean endorsement. The Administration
has consistently pressed its human rights concerns with China,
including President Clinton's direct statements to the world at the
October summit, in the presence of China's President. Our approach is
showing results. China has released dissidents Wei Jingsheng and Wang
Dan, signed the International Covenant on Economic, Social and
Cultural Rights and committed to signing the Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights. Normal trade and continued economic engagement
continue the process of opening China, exposing Chinese to our
politics, ideas, economy and personal freedoms. Revoking normal trade
status will diminish these ties and play into the hands of those in
China who want less openness.
RELIGIOUS FREEDOM: Revocation would also set back the cause of
religious freedom in China. Over the past year, China has received our
religious leaders delegation, expanding the dialogue on this key
issue. Revoking MFN would close doors to U.S. religious groups and
others that seek to promote religious freedom in China through
educational, cultural and other exchanges. It would also make it more
difficult to pursue the cases of imprisoned religious leaders.
HONG KONG AND TAIWAN: Hong Kong is the gateway of trade between the
U.S. and China. Revocation of MFN would weaken the Hong Kong economy
by slashing its trade, eliminating tens of thousands of jobs, cutting
economic growth and income sharply. Hong Kong leaders across the
political spectrum favor renewal of MFN. Revocation would damage
Taiwan's economy, with $20-30 billion invested in the mainland.
Taiwan's economic viability is in the interest of the American people.
(end text)

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