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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

July 8, 1998


In their final assessments of President Clinton's recently concluded trip to the People's Republic of China, the majority of editorialists overseas continued to praise the visit, judging that a "giant step" toward peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region had been achieved. Using phrases such as "great success" and "turning point" to describe the president's sojourn in the world's most populous nation, most observers concluded that an "amazing dialogue" had begun between the U.S. and China. A number of the yeasayers focused on the "uncensored airing" of Mr. Clinton's comments on "controversial issues" during his visit as a sign of an "encouraging start" toward more openness in China. Paris's left-of-center Le Monde, for example, stated that the president's nationally broadcast "praise of freedom...marks a break with two centuries of Western tradition, which had every visitor at the emperor's feet." Those commentators who were less enthusiastic about the accomplishments of the Sino-U.S. summit maintained that only "time would tell" whether the "problems" still facing relations between the two countries can be overcome. These writers echoed the view of Hong Kong's independent South China Morning Post, which held: "The U.S. may now need to refocus itself on reassuring its Asian friends that its burgeoning relationship with China does not reflect a shift in the region's geopolitical balance." Dailies in Japan, Taiwan and India were among those most worried about the U.S.' perceived geopolitical "shift" in favor of China. Following are highlights of the commentary articulating the security concerns of those regional players:

JAPAN: 'APPREHENSION' ABOUT IMPROVED SINO-U.S. TIES--Tokyo's liberal Mainichi expressed "apprehension" that a "new and improved" U.S.-China relationship might indicate that U.S.-Japan ties were "declining." Top-circulation, moderate Yomiuri, however, was somewhat reassured by Secretary Albright's stopover in Tokyo following the president's China trip. Her visit "showed that the United States and Japan agreed to 'swing Washington's diplomatic pendulum from China back to Japan,'" that paper observed.

TAIWAN: 'THREE NO'S DAMAGE ISLAND'S SOVEREIGNTY'--Dailies in Taiwan charged that the president's articulation of the U.S.' so-called "three no's" policy toward Taiwan had "seriously damaged" the island's "sovereignty." Centrist and liberal papers in Taiwan judged that Taipei was facing a "new international reality" now that Washington's "attitude" was "slanting" toward Beijing.

INDIA: USING THE DRAGON TO 'GUARD SOUTH ASIA'--Indian pundits were "distressed" that the U.S. appeared to have given China a "franchise to guard Washington's interest in South Asia" and to "keep an eye on New Delhi's activities." "In the long run," predicted the centrist Times of India, "Washington is bound to find its strategy has recoiled.... (The U.S.) will then shift away from 'engagement' towards 'containment.'"

This survey is based on 71 reports from 34 countries, June 30 - July 8.

EDITOR: Kathleen J. Brahney

To Go Directly To Quotes By Region, Click Below



CHINA: "Sino-U.S. Summit Continues To Be Highly Praised"

Official Legal Daily carried this Xinhua item (7/7): "President Clinton's visit to China turned out to be a great success. His meeting with President Jiang Zemin not only benefits the Asia-Pacific region, but the peace and stability of the world.... President Clinton's visit to China will further improve bilateral ties."

"Closer Military Ties Benefit China, U.S."

Yan Yuetong stated in official, English-language China Daily (7/6): "The fruits of bilateral military cooperation show that China and the United States are again determined to develop common security interests while discussing political conflicts. Although relations between the two armies were promoted during Clinton's visit, bilateral ties still have many restraints. While cooperation on security issues aims to avoid military confrontation and conflict, it is ambiguous and there is no responsibility for either side to obey."

"Sino-U.S. Summit Positive, Constructive, Fruitful"

Official Communist Party People's Daily (Renmin Ribao) declared (7/4): "The bilateral decision to detarget strategic nuclear weapons against each other shows the world that China and the United States can be partners instead of rivals. While reaching consensus on many international and regional issues, the two nations did not ignore the differences in areas such as human rights...but the differences should not become obstacles to the development of bilateral relations. The candid exchanges between the two leaders demonstrate that the bilateral relationship is growing more mature."

"'Three No's' Consistent With U.S. Policy Toward Taiwan"

Li Hongqi noted in official Communist Party People's Daily (Renmin Ribao, 7/4): "Clinton is the first president who openly articulated the U.S. policy towards Taiwan, focusing on the three issues that the United States will not support. Clinton's remarks indicate that the U.S. government has clearly realized the importance of the settlement of the Taiwan issue." In separate comment, Li Hongqi stated: "The achievements of Clinton's China visit has been widely recognized by the Americans.... Even some Republicans sang high praises for his China visit."

"Trade Promotes Close Ties"

Bian Hongwei maintained in official, English-language China Daily (7/3): "President Clinton's Beijing visit finalized contracts worth $2 billion, pushing Sino-U.S. economic ties to a new high. However, the United States is still limiting its high-technology exports to China. The U.S. restriction is believed to be the major cause of the trade imbalance between the two countries."

"Clinton Stresses Trade Links"

Chen Yanni said on the front page of Official English-language China Daily (7/2):

"Visiting U.S. President Bill Clinton promised yesterday that he will do everything he can to encourage stronger trade ties between the United States and China. Clinton, on his nine-day China tour, made the pledge while addressing U.S. executives and leaders of the Shanghai business community."

"U.S., China Will Enhance Cooperation In Housing Reform"

Zou Chunyi noted in Official Communist Party People's Daily Overseas Edition (Renmin Ribao Haiwaiban, 7/2): "U.S. President Clinton said the U.S. and Chinese governments plan to set up a residential housing committee in order to improve Chinese technology in housing construction. He said that cooperation within the committee will help to provide Chinese citizens with more energy-saving and comfortable houses, thus improving the people's living standard."

"President Clinton Chats With Shanghai Locals"

Zhou Jierong and Zou Chunyi remarked in State Council Economic Daily (Jingji Ribao, 7/2): "During his visit to the home of a Shanghai family, President Clinton said that owning a house is conducive to a national prosperity and stability."

HONG KONG: "Washington Faces Tricky Choice"

The independent English-language Hong Kong Standard ran this commentary by Rodney Chan (7/8): "Taiwan has been obsessed with one question since U.S. President Bill Clinton's visit to the mainland: Has Washington changed its policy towards the island?... When Mr. Clinton made his 'three no's' promises, Taipei was nervous: It may spell a substantial change in U.S. policy toward Taiwan, and may threaten the proposed parallel relations framework, which seems to be the only feasible way to guard the island amid the growing ties between the mainland and the United States.... Washington is still trying to please both Taipei and Beijing at the same time.... But when the job becomes too difficult to handle, Washington sooner or later may have to make a choice."

"After Clinton Feel-Good Factor Fades"

The independent, English-language Hong Kong Standard predicted (7/5): "Intrinsically, the visit has been a surprising success, and a most welcome one at that.... China is changing rapidly...but the change is China's own--in its own time and place. Not under duress nor from outside pressure.... The magic appeared to have touched the often abrasive U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, too. She reflected on this to the press while visiting the Shanghai synagogue.... 'Things here have been moving very rapidly,' she mused."

"Clinton's China Visit A Complete Success"

In the opinion of pro-PRC Wen Wei Po (7/4): "The visit has improved U.S.-Sino relations.... The U.S. papers, the Japanese and the Western European papers all have more and more positive reports and comments about China.... However, anti-China noises in the U.S. Congress will not disappear immediately. Hence, the United States should treasure the pleasant atmosphere of the current Sino-U.S. relations and get rid of all the obstacles and continue with the positive work."

"Turning Dialogue Into Results"

This was the editorial view of the independent, English-language South China Morning Post (7/4): "What happens next on the long and winding road of Sino-U.S. relations will be a more telling litmus test of success.... Given the choice between conflict or friendship with Beijing, most Asian countries will no doubt be relieved that Washington is managing to forge the latter. However, the United States may now need to refocus itself on reassuring its Asian friends that its burgeoning relationship with China does not reflect a shift in the region's geopolitical balance.... No one is clear on what the mainland's post-summit intentions will be, but for the moment, it appears President Clinton and his aides have played their cards correctly."

"Charting A New Course"

The independent South China Morning Post judged (7/4): "The U.S. president sees his mainland counterpart as a man of vision who can move his nation beyond the phase of economic reform and set in motion the other changes that are necessary to put China on the road towards becoming a modern democratic superpower in the new millennium.... Time will tell to what extent such confidence is justified. But Mr. Clinton's visit--and, especially, the uncensored airing of his comments on controversial issues--mark an encouraging start in this direction."

"Clinton's Hong Kong Visit A Vote Of Confidence"

The independent Sing Pao Daily News had this editorial view (7/3): "Clinton's visit marks a vote of confidence for Hong Kong's economy and its 'one country two systems.'... On the other hand, Clinton's private meeting with the Democratic Party leader Martin Lee is a gesture to the U.S. Congress and the media, showing that Washington takes the development of Hong Kong's democracy seriously."

TAIWAN: "Changes And No Changes"

Conservative, pro-unification United Daily News commented (7/7): "Everything remains 'unchanged,' and there is nothing Taiwan should be worried about. Nevertheless, both the Taiwan government and its people can clearly feel...that Washington's policy and attitude toward both sides of the Taiwan Straits are 'slanting' to Beijing."

"U.S. Must Not Help An Undemocratic Country Oppress A Democracy"

The liberal, pro-independence Commons Daily insisted (7/7): "The Americans must by no means help an undemocratic country oppress a democratic county, not to mention that Taiwan is a 'showcase of democracy' deliberately shaped by the Americans. If the U.S. government and its people betray Taiwan, they will surely let down the founders of America and the spirit they represent."

"Clinton's 'Three No's' Seriously Damaged Taiwan's Sovereignty"

The liberal, pro-independence Commons Daily insisted (7/6): "This is the first time a U.S. president has formally spoken of the 'three no's' policy. Its damage to Taiwan's sovereignty is both very obvious and serious. Especially, at his last press conference in Hong Kong, Clinton tactfully cited President Lee Teng-hui as 'affirming' the U.S. policy. This gives the impression that Taiwan endorses the 'three no's' policy, which can never be accepted by the 21.8 million people on Taiwan."

"Clinton Gives Taiwan A Bad Fall"

Chiang Hui-cheng asserted in the liberal, pro-independence Taiwan Daily, (7/6): "Clinton's...reiteration of the 'three no's' in Shanghai is...what Beijing...wanted.... Taiwan seems to have fallen quite badly regarding the already unbalanced U.S.-China-Taiwan relationship."

"Overhauling Taiwan's Mainland Policy"

The centrist, pro-status quo China Times argued (7/3): "The two sets of parallel relationships--that is, the Washington-Taipei relationship and the Washington-Beijing relationship--are now slanting toward Beijing, and Taiwan is facing a new international reality and a new cross-straits situation.

"Taiwan should not deceive itself or interpret the 'new three no's' policy as it wishes. Only by adjusting its mainland policy and resuming the cross-Straits dialogue can Taiwan walk out of its current predicament."

JAPAN: "Japan Must Revive Economy To Regain U.S. Confidence"

Top-circulation, moderate Yomiuri observed (7/7): "Clinton's visit to China has made clear that Japan must resuscitate its weak economy.... [Secretary Albright's] visit...showed that the United States and Japan agreed to 'swing Washington's diplomatic pendulum from China back to Japan.'"

"Is Japan's Position Declining?"

Liberal Mainichi's editorial held (7/6): "We cannot help becoming apprehensive about some of the remarks President Clinton made while in China, concerning Taiwan and Japan. The United States and Japan had hitherto stressed the significance of maintaining a global partnership.... President Clinton...stressed the importance of the (United States and China) working together to restore the Asian economy. In Hong Kong, the president emphasized that odds are extremely high that the United States and China will establish a strategic partnership. But he did not mention Japan by name as an important nation, with which the United States will cooperate in contributing to Asia and the rest of the world. These presidential remarks do not necessarily or immediately mean a change in U.S.-Japan relations or a decline in Japan's position.... Nevertheless, the 'image' of a new and improved Sino-U.S. relationship gave the impression that the U.S.-Japanese relationship is declining. Behind this is a sense of disappointment in the international community with the lack of Japan's leadership in contributing to the world or its awareness of the need to do so.... The presidential visit to China made us think twice about Japan's position in Asia and the world as a whole."

"Hong Kong--Place For Clinton To Urge Democratization"

Business-oriented Nihon Keizai's Hong Kong correspondent Izumi observed (7/2), "Clinton's visit to Hong Kong symbolizes the role the United States will continue to play as a 'watchdog' for the territory. Should Hong Kong become a place of U.S.-Chinese friction, it could emerge as a second 'Taiwan' issue."

AUSTRALIA: "U.S. Signals A Strategic Switch"

The liberal Canberra Times (7/7) carried this editorial: "President Clinton's visit may not have made any substantive changes to the issues affecting relations between China and the United States, but it does signal a profound change in United States' strategic thinking. Brilliant politician that he is, (Mr. Clinton) knows intuitively that the American people would never again be prepared to go to war with China.... This means not only that the U.S.-Japanese alliance will fade away, but that the United States' strategic interest in Southeast Asia will also evaporate. In the past, it worked hard to support what it viewed as potentially useful regimes in Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines, but its relative indifference to their current difficulties indicates that it no longer cares. As for Australia, it has disappeared below the United States' strategic horizon."

"Paramount Importance Of Engaging China"

The national business-oriented Australian Financial Review (7/2) concluded: "Integrating Beijing into the international community is the only effective way to guarantee a peaceful and responsible China. A close working relationship between China and the United States is an Australian interest of paramount importance."

INDONESIA: "Significance Of Clinton's Visit To China"

Budi Winarno wrote in ruling Golkar Party's Suara Karya (7/2): "Clinton's visit to Beijing is a good move. For Washington, an increased role in China is necessary to maintain Asian political, security and economic stability.... China hopes Clinton's visit results in greater U.S. high technology transfer to China and reduced U.S. support for Taiwan. It also hopes that the visit represents symbolic U.S. recognition of China as a great power and a major stabilizing force in Asia."

PHILIPPINES: "Giant Step Toward Asia-Pacific Peace And Stability"

The conservative, top-circulation Manila Bulletin said (7/2): "[President Clinton] is returning the visit of Chinese President Jiang Zemin to the United States last year.... The exchange of visits...will serve to enhance the understanding between the American and Chinese peoples. Improved relations among them will inevitably benefit the region and the world. The biggest economic and military power cooperating with the country with the biggest population and market augurs well for international economic development and for the cause of peace."

SINGAPORE: "China, U.S. Can Contain Threats To World Order"

Senior editorial and feature writer Asad Latif opined on the op-ed page of the pro-government Straits Times (7/3): "It is not an exaggeration to say that the two countries now have a stronger bilateral platform than before to jointly go about containing the many threats that confront the world order.... The achievements of President Clinton's visit to China indicate that two of the most powerful countries in the world have set themselves on this course.... All countries that believe in a stable, safer and more prosperous world will find something to commend about a trip that was truly historical, both for the hurdles it overcame and the vistas it has opened up."

"Visit Could Mark Turning Point In U.S.-China Relations"

The pro-government Business Times' "China Watch" columnist, Lu Ning, wrote (7/2): "The most significant point about the candid debate between Mr. Clinton and Mr. Jiang, however, is that it has changed almost overnight the whole dynamics of the visit.... In one stroke, the televised news conference and speech at Beijing University have all but sealed Mr. Clinton's controversial trip to China as a great success, beyond everyone's best expectations. It could even mark a turning point in U.S.-China relations."

SOUTH KOREA: "Explain Issues In Detail To Korea, Japan"

Moderate Hankook Ilbo concluded (7/4): "Since we believe that most issues dealt with at the Clinton-Jiang summit affect Korea either directly or indirectly, both China and the United States have responsibilities to explain the discussed issues to Korea and Japan in further detail."

"Framework For Strategic Partnership Laid Out"

Independent Hankyoreh Shinmun (7/4) commented: "What holds the most significance (for President Clinton's trip to China)...is the fact that the two leaders have now laid out the framework for a 'strategic partnership.'... A new partnership also indicates that the United States now has a means to press for further economic and political reforms, and eventually to hold China's future expansion in check. From China's point of view, the U.S. presidential visit provided a chance to further expand its involvement in global affairs.... That the two countries took a step closer to a strategic partnership comes down to this: an expanded Chinese role in stabilizing Asia.... (Despite this), the disparities in systems and values between the two countries will continue to give them ample challenges in the days ahead."

"Clinton And Jiang: Enjoying Themselves"

Pro-business Joong-Ang Ilbo featured this opinon (7/2): "Given the unprecedented nature of a nine-day long foreign visit by a U.S. president, Clinton's China visit is a clear indicator of how important the Chinese relationship is to the United States.... North-South relations and Asia's financial crisis, issues of prime importance to us, were dealt with at the two leaders' summit. The commitment of Presidents Clinton and Jiang in their communique to bring about dialogue on the Korean Peninsula is of special significance for us because we know that North-South Korea issues cannot be resolved without the meaningful participation of China. We welcome the communique, which will be the main force behind efforts to bring North Korea to dialogue.... Furthermore, the decision to stop targeting each other with nuclear missiles constitutes major progress in the security area and indicates that the United States has finally abandoned its policy of containment toward China. A much improved security atmosphere will be another product of that decision.... What overwhelmed us the most was the televised press conference by the two leaders after their summit. We thought it was a work of art."

THAILAND: "Major Turning Point For China"

Charnnarish Boonpharod commented in elite Naew Na (7/4): "Although President Jiang may exploit the occasion to prolong his rule into the 21st century, there is no denying that President Clinton's visit serves to mark China's transition from an authoritarian state to a more benign and compromising one."

"Clinton's 'Three 'No's' Could Embolden China"

The independent, English language Nation's editorial concluded (7/2): "It is not hard to see why China is greatly satisfied with President Bill Clinton's public announcement at the Shanghai roundtable which reaffirmed Washington's so-called 'three no's' policies relating to Taiwan--no independent Taiwan, no two Chinas or one Taiwan, and no to Taiwan joining international organizations.... It remains to be seen...how Clinton's pronouncement will help ease the tensions on both sides of the Taiwan Straits.... What Beijing needs to do now is to assure the world that it will not use force against Taiwan, in whatever circumstances, if it is to demonstrate its sincerity in working for peace and security in the region."

VIETNAM: "Sino-U.S. Strategic Partnership"

Quang Loi opined in army newspaper Quan Doi Nhan Dan (The People's Army, 7/2): "Since Chinese President Jiang Zemin's U.S. visit in November 1997...relatively clear signs of a reduction of tension have been noticed, primarily in the tones with which both sides refer to each other. While basic differences in the Sino-American relationship seem to remain intact, Beijing and Washington are trying not to re-ignite the antagonistic propaganda of the Cold War period.... Nevertheless...fundamental differences over Taiwan, Tibet, China's WTO membership, security, human rights and trade remain unsolved... The trend of detente in the Sino-American relationship does not indicate any change in Washington's strategy of tying up, guarding against and containing China.... It is not possible to predict when both sides will actually reach their solemnly declared 'constructive, strategic partnership.'"


INDIA: "Emerging Power Equations"

Anent K. Sahay wrote in the centrist Pioneer (7/7): "Are we at the beginning of a new era in which the United State, with China's help, is refashioning the security scenario in a critical part of the globe, which is also growing fastest economically?

"And if Tokyo is confused for now, what about Seoul, Singapore and others of the ASEAN, all of whom have had a traditionally suspicious population with Beijing? India's case is quite apart. The United States has already ordained that China be given the franchise to guard Washington's interest in South Asia, to keep an eye on New Delhi's activities.... Indians might count themselves lucky that they have just fired the nuclear weapon, though the governmental leadership would have had hardly worked out the true import of the long term warming of ties between Washington and Beijing.... But the nuclear weapons capability would hold meaning as a blue chip only if the government does not panic into signing the CTBT or NPT, as demanded by the United and China."

"Blessed Are The Tyrants"

The right-of-center Indian Express featured this commentary by columnist and former diplomat, Kuldip Nayar (7/7): "Practically every day brings evidence of America's bias against India. The latest is that President Clinton wants Beijing to be South Asia's policeman.... That Clinton does not understand, much less appreciate, the danger from China is not surprising. He does not mind even the China-Pakistan axis.... What is distressing is that the arrogance of power that has made President Clinton enunciate a dictum for South Asia will put pressure on free societies which have pledged to stay open.... Most Indians have themselves regretted the irrelevance and irresponsibility of New Delhi's nuclear tests...but the continuing spate of abuse only reflects prejudice.... Words to the effect that India is lying, mouthed over and over again by Madeleine Albright, can be forgiven, not forgotten. They are directed against the country, not the BJP-led government.... By joining hands with China, the strongest dictatorship, America, the strongest democracy, is betraying liberty and individualism. A country with the traditions of Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and Abraham Lincoln has been forced by the U.S. administration to (accept the) the opportunism of economics.... America has been taking hostile positions against democracies. This has been the biggest loss at the end of the Cold War."

"Checked By China"

The centrist Times of India had this editorial (7/6): "Even though the size of Clinton's entourage made his trip seem like the imperial journey of a medieval potentate, his body language clearly was that of a travelling salesman. As a result of its economic strength, China has the political ability to sustain an autonomous foreign and security policy in defiance of the 'non-proliferation' concerns of the United States.... In the long run, however, as the global balance of power tilts, Washington is bound to find its strategy has recoiled. In strategic terms, it will then shift away from 'engagement' and towards 'containment.'"

PAKISTAN: "Sino-American Detente: Implications For Pakistan"

An op-ed column by Rifaat Hussain in the centrist national News held (7/5): "First, as the American and Chinese perceptions converge on nuclear proliferation as a threat to global security order, Islamabad will come under increasing diplomatic pressure from China to halt its nuclear weapons program. Second, as China begins to assume greater share of international responsibilities it will expect its key allies like Pakistan to play the game of international politics according to set rules and given norms. This expectation would mean that Pakistan cannot for long remain outside the fold of global non-proliferation regime without entailing significant diplomatic costs. Finally, as China increases its commitment to the extant international order and behaves like a status quo great power, it will be reluctant to lend its diplomatic support to Islamabad for the latter's 'revisionist' stance on Kashmir. Conversely, Beijing will also oppose attempts by India to change the territorial status quo in Kashmir in its favor."

"Call For Peace"

An editorial in the centrist national News held (7/2): "From the Pakistani perspective the message from Beijing is significant and hopeful on two counts. The accent on a common Sino-U.S. strategy to deal with the problem of peace in South Asia is a safeguard against selective or arbitrary action.... More meaningful is the Sino-U.S. acknowledgement of the linkage between security in the region and the settlement of Pakistan-India differences. Although the Sino-U.S. joint statement on South Asia does not go beyond the offer to facilitate bilateral talks between India and Pakistan, the fact that Kashmir has been defined as an issue of discord, vindicates Pakistan's case for the requirements of a durable peace in the region."

SRI LANKA: "Clinton's China Visit: Strengthening A Pivotal Relationship?"

Stanley Kalpage commented in the independent, English-language Island (7/5): "It was a bold and far-reaching step to take and it is likely to pay ample dividends for future regional and world peace. Throughout Clinton's visit, subjects that were previously taboo were raised and discussed fully and frankly. As a result, a dramatic new openness has dawned in Sino-U.S. relations."


BRITAIN: "Jiang Gamble With Clinton Visit May Herald More Open China"

The conservative Times said (7/6): "All eyes will now be on Beijing to see whether Mr. Jiang moves towards a more open China or whether the summit just runs away into the sand.... Mr. Gingrich was obliged to praise the president's diplomatic skill.... For all his public relations triumph, Mr. Clinton will enjoy only a brief respite from the explosive topic of whether Chinese money influenced a decision he made that could have helped China's nuclear forces."

"A Leap Over The Great Wall"

The independent Financial Times had this lead editorial (7/2): "The point about this trip...was not that it should be judged on specific deals. It was more about signalling a decisive end to the damaging confusion on China policy that dogged the first Clinton administration. And it was intended to mark a historic recognition by both sides of the importance of their relationship.... For all America's reservations about China's lack of democracy, about its shortcomings on human rights and its sometimes questionable trade practices, the United States cannot avoid engaging with the only country that looks set to join it in the league of superpowers in the next century. In that regard, this visit could mark a turning point.... Mr. Clinton has managed to give China much 'face' by his visit, but he has managed to do so skilfully without sacrificing American principles. Now comes the task of building on this advantage.... Mr. Clinton's trip is a good start in spite of all the public relations hype. If the momentum can be maintained, his trip will have secured for him the place in history books that every president covets."

FRANCE: "Clinton's Diplomatic Success"

Jean-Claude Kiefer opined in regional Les Dernieres Nouvelles d'Alsace (7/6): "President Clinton's trip to China was an undisputed diplomatic success. Not only did Clinton bring up traditionally sensitive issues, but he managed to leave with $3 billion in signed contracts.... It is, of course, premature to speak about a Chinese-American 'honeymoon.' There are still many profoundly ingrained differences between Washington and Beijing, particularly regarding Taiwan.... Nevertheless, an amazing dialogue has begun."

"An Extraordinary Happening In Beijing"

Francis Deron maintained in left-of-center Le Monde (7/2): "Something extraordinary has just happened in Beijing. For the first time Bill Clinton, an official guest, has told his hosts how much hope the world would have in China's people, if only there was a little less anachronistic dogma...and Jiang Zemin actually lent Clinton his national broadcasting system so that he might praise freedom.... This episode marks a break with two centuries of Western diplomatic tradition which had every visitor at the emperor's feet.... President Clinton's address was a vibrant appeal to the Chinese authorities as well as to Western public opinion to urge them to look ahead, and not remain locked into a painful past.... Of course relations between China and the United States--in other words with the West--will continue to have their ups and downs.... But we should not underestimate the Clinton administration and the extensive knowledge of China some of its members have."

GERMANY: "Trip Completed In Brilliant Manner"

Business Handelsblatt of Duesseldorf observed (7/6): "Clinton completed his trip to China in a brilliant manner. But the 'strategic partnership' of which Washington and Beijing are now speaking has irritated several countries in the region.... But it is better to integrate than to marginalize China as a nuclear power and permanent member of the UN Security Council. Through its handling of the policy toward Iraq, the four-powers talks on Korea, and the Asian crisis, China has proven to be a reliable partner who is willing to take over responsibility."

"Doubts Still Appropriate"

Right-of-center Fuldaer Zeitung (7/4) had this to say: "Doubts about whether the Middle Kingdom is really striving for freedom are still appropriate. From the responses to Clinton's critical words, one could hear again and again that the national security of the country always has priority. This is the argument that continues to be used to justify the massacre in Tiananmen Square nine years ago."

ITALY: "Clinton's New Bipolarism"

Enzo Bettiza asserted in centrist, influential La Stampa (7/5): "I do not believe that the visit was a failure or a 'non-event' inflated by television. In fact, I believe that it reflected the two-fold U.S. diplomatic tradition, dividing the puritan rigidity in defense of human rights from the cynical pragmatism required by realpolitik.... I believe finally that Clinton's nine-day visit has opened China's doors to a virtually post-Communist era, post-Tienanmen era."

"Washington-Beijing, Nothing Is Like It Used To Be"

Lina Tamburrino commented in PDS (leading government party) L'Unita' (7/5): "By using such enthusiastic adjectives to describe Jiang Zemin, Clinton probably tied down the Chinese leader more than he could have done with a written agreement signed by both.... At the same time, by proclaiming China a 'strategic partner,' Clinton threw on the shoulders of the Chinese leadership the responsibility of maintaining all promises and of accepting the requests which were made during the visit."

"Clinton Opened Up As Never Before"

Arturo Zampaglione filed from Shanghai for left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (7/2): "On his seventh day...Bill Clinton ventured on a delicate issue of foreign policy. In an interview with Chinese television he maintained, in a clear manner for the first time, that the role of the United States as the only world superpower is 'temporary.'... But as long as this situation exists, the United States must take upon itself the responsibility for peace and international security.

"And as far as China is concerned, Clinton opened up as never before during this visit by saying he was surprised to see that China has made some real progress toward opening to the outside and to freedom.... The White House is subtly reminding all that superpower status brings with it both duties and privileges. This status cannot be interpreted, as in the past, in the sense of being able to dispatch gunboats, but in the sense that sometimes Washington is forced to do things that other countries refuse to do."

"Spreading Virus Of Legality In Chinese Environment"

Andrea di Robilant commented from Shanghai in centrist, influential La Stampa (7/2): "The most interesting initiative taken in this trip is perhaps the collaboration between the two countries in the judicial field. Clinton came here escorted by a crowd of lawyers and jurists who, during the visit, put together a series of programs aimed at diffusing the principles of law in the vastly unreceptive Chinese bureaucracy.... The goal is to spread the virus of legality in the Chinese environment."

RUSSIA: "Visit Goes According To Chinese Scenario"

Andrei Krushinsky filed from Beijing for neo-communist Pravda-Five (7/7): "(Clinton's) visit went according to a Chinese scenario and looks like a victory for Beijing. For both sides, the results are mostly psychological. Their joint statements on nuclear tension in South Asia, biological weapons, and anti-personnel mines, and their commitment not to target their missiles at each other are a repeat of their earlier pronouncements. There has been no progress in the matter of China's admission to the WTO either. And there is hardly any reason for third countries, including Russia, to worry over Sino-American strategic partnership."

"Clinton Puts Paid To Tiananmen Topic"

Stanislav Kondrashov declared in reformist Izvestia (7/2): "This summit has done a lot of adjusting and polishing to help the two nations along the road of 'constructive strategic partnership.' It is pragmatic, not ideological. The Chinese leadership disarmed Clinton's critics on Capitol Hill by letting him explain the ABC's of American democracy directly to the Chinese audience. The U.S. president speaking his mind in Beijing and Shanghai virtually put paid to the painful topic of Tiananmen."

"Visit Helps Deepen U.S.-Sino Ties"

Melor Sturua observed in reformist, youth-oriented Moskovskiy Komsomolets (7/2): "While bringing no dramatic breakthroughs, this visit, overall, has helped deepen American-Sino ties. Clinton did not go to the Middle Kingdom to ram the Great Chinese Wall with human rights rhetoric. He went there to get around it. The Berlin Wall experience shows that walls like it are best crushed from within. Outside attacks only make them stronger."

AUSTRIA: "Clinton, The Marco Polo Of Modern Times"

Independent, mass-circulation Kurier had this assessment (7/2): "Bill Clinton is in top condition. Even before he concluded his trip to China, the world was cheering the Marco Polo of modern times, the great communicator, who picks up the delicate issue of human rights at every stop of his trip. Clinton's decision to express his views on democracy and human rights will strengthen his position enormously.... And even the seven Chinese intellectuals with whom Clinton tested his strength in Shanghai, merely drew his attention to the fact that such a big country would 'hardly be able to realize so quickly' a transformation which took the United States 200 years. One thing, however, one must not forget, despite all due respect for Clinton's courageous consistency and the example of the United States: In 1997, China carried out the most executions since it reintroduced the death penalty."

BELGIUM: "Japan Still Central"

Sus van Elzen observed in liberal weekly Knack magazine (7/8): "A lot can be discussed with China. But saying that all is fine and well now between the old Maoist citadel and its former 'enemy number one' is grossly exaggerated.... (Yet) never before has a Chinese emperor, king or president deigned to take on a debate with a foreign counterpart on an equal footing. Never, as long as TV has existed, have the Chinese been able to hear and see criticism on China's policy from a foreign president.... So, it was a great success; everybody is happy. But, strategic changes? Perhaps sometime in the future, but not really now."

"Talking To China"

Foreign editor Axel Buyse told readers of independent Catholic De Standaard (7/2): "No one can deny in honor and decency that Clinton's option for a 'constructive engagement' toward China is bearing fruit--and that there is simply no alternative.... It is results that count. A rapprochement between the United States and China enhances stability in Asia.... Where dialogue and contact are present, democracy and broad ideas regarding human rights will seep through."

CANADA: "The Two Chinas"

International affairs columnist Marcus Gee noted in the leading Globe and Mail (7/1): "As Mr. Clinton is discovering, there are really two Chinas: the official, political one, and the unofficial, personal one.... The official China is still among the most politically rigid in the world.... The other, unofficial China, is a different world. In their personal lives, Chinese are freer than they have been at any time since the Communist revolution of 1949.... Which China will prevail, the rigid, official China, or the liberalizing unofficial version? The answer is not really in doubt.... Democracy will come to China. The only question is how. If China's leaders do what South Korea and Taiwan did and make the change of their own accord, China stands a good chance of sailing through the transition. If they dither and let discontent build, China could easily become another Indonesia--its dynamic economy thrown into depression, its social fabric torn asunder. The choice for Beijing is clear. Let the freedom that is flourishing in the unofficial China migrate to the official one. Let the two Chinas become one, before they go to war."

"Great Limp Forward"

The conservative Ottawa Citizen mused (7/3): "[Thomas Jefferson] would never have defended freedom on the one hand and dismissed it as a matter of mere 'disagreement' on the other.... For all the admiration Mr. Clinton's performance has stirred in political and media circles, his defense of human rights should leave those who truly cherish freedom feeling squeamish.... We agree to disagree. Now, let's have dinner. Thomas Jefferson would have lost his appetite."

DENMARK: "Congress Learned Dialogue"

Center-left Politiken judged (7/2): "Congress must have learned from Clinton's visit that the only responsible future policy is to engage China in dialogue. This does not only mean the official China, but also the new China which is bubbling under the surface."

HUNGARY: "Tienanmen, TV Diplomacy"

Top-circulation Nepszabadsag had this op-ed piece (7/4): "What has happened is unprecedented: China offered a possibility on a golden tray to U.S. president Clinton, a magician of TV diplomacy.... But the presidential visit has had fewer results than expected. The majority of U.S. businessmen traveling with Clinton were unsatisfied....

"The vast markets of China (and the cells of human right activists) have not opened up; Westinghouse, Bank of America (and Amnesty International also) remained empty handed. China is still as far from the WTO membership as it was before. If we give it a thought, the Clinton visit has brought more to China than to the United States."

MOLDOVA: "Need For Constructive Relations With China"

Igor Guzun pointed out in independent, pro-centrist Momentul (6/30): "We have learned from the Embassy of the Republic of China in Chisinau, that President Bill Clinton's current visit to China is an event of a major importance in the Beijing-Washington relationship. The news chronicle of the diplomatic mission in Moldova specifies that in the current international situation, the creation of healthy and lasting relations corresponds to the fundamental interests of the two countries and it will work for peace, stability and world prosperity only if the two countries strictly respect the principles included in the three Chinese-American communiqués, approaching consistently the common interests from the point of view of strategy and perspective."

POLAND: "An American In Beijing"

Right-of-center Zycie had this analysis (7/7) by Lukasz Warzecha: "Long after Clinton is back in Washington, a discussion will likely continue on whether there has been too much pragmatism or idealism during the visit. At one point, both sides of this dispute may learn that the real victors of a diplomatic game are the Chinese, who have achieved much, offering nothing in return."

PORTUGAL: "Democracy Lessons Unplugged"

Commentator Alexandra Abreu Loureiro wrote in right-of-center weekly O Independente (7/3): "Bill Clinton's democracy lessons did not resonate in China. In practice, the Asian superpower already knows all it needs to. And in theory, the government in Beijing has little interest in the values that have made America what it is.... Jiang Zemin scored again when he forced the Clinton administration to make its first public and specific declaration over the status of Taiwan. The island the Chinese view as a renegade province discovered that this time its American allies were more interested in pleasing Beijing. When, at the beginning of the week, the students asked the president if behind his smile was concern about how to contain China, Bill Clinton's answer should have been 'yes.'"

SPAIN: "Great Leap Forward"

Liberal El Pais stressed (7/5): "It is China in the person of its leader, Jiang Zemin, who has derived the most benefit from this meeting, especially as regards what is really important to Beijing's leadership: Taiwan. Clinton said 'no' to independence for the island, 'no' to two Chinas, and 'no' to Taiwan's joining international bodies as an independent state.... The tone of Clinton's trip supports an Asian perception that the United States is beginning to subtly reorient its relationships in the region to the detriment of its steadfast ally and privileged partner, Japan.... China will not become a liberal democracy in the foreseeable future, but its conduct as a 'responsible power'--in the volatile Asian economic crisis and in the discreet way it has managed Hong Kong's takeover--has merited Clinton's decisive support."


EGYPT: "Lobbies And Influence"

Salama Ahmed Salama, columnist for pro-government Al Ahram, declared (7/7): "Americans like to think that after President Clinton's visit, the Chinese have adopted the American lifestyle and ruling system, and that they have become convinced of democracy and human rights. The Chinese, however, know very well that they will not adopt any of these pieces of advice. The Chinese realized that dealing with the United States would not be through the State Department, but by financing election campaigns and parties, and using Chinese market allures to influence trade and business. This should be a lesson to Arab nations that placed their funds in American banks and left everything to the Israeli lobby in Washington."

"Goals Of Both Countries Fulfilled"

Pro-government Al Ahram judged (7/2): "President Clinton's visit to China has fulfilled most of the goals of both countries, which have never been reached in the history of their relationship. Washington secured its economic and strategic interests with China, and has never relinquished its traditional call for democracy and human rights. China has won American and international recognition that it is a superpower which the United States cannot ignore. However, it has maintained its unique formula for its political, economic and social regime."

ISRAEL: "China Becomes A Partner"

Independent Jerusalem Post wrote in its lead editorial (7/5): "From the leader of the democratic opposition in Hong Kong, to the students at Beijing University, to the presidency of China, the verdict has been nearly unanimous: The trip was as historic as Richard Nixon's and will have equally far-reaching effects."

"Clinton Makes History"

Analyst Meir Shtiglitz opined in mass-circulation, pluralist Yediot (7/2): "Clinton does not view the world in 'good' and 'bad' terms. He knows that authoritarian leaders must not automatically be compared to Hitler, and that not every conciliatory gesture must be read as outright capitulation.... Clinton is driven by the conviction that in an imperfect world it is better to try to change things and defuse tensions than to fall into despair, choose brinkmanship and brace for the worse. His is the way of a statesman who feels he is strong enough to shape things rather than let himself be shaped by them."


ARGENTINA: "Another Chinese Wall Awaits Clinton In Washington"

Jorge Elias mused in daily-of-record La Nacion (7/5): "Clinton found two sides in China: a president who is willing to change...and the young people, represented by the students at Beijing University, who cling to their nationalism and prefer to avoid, like ancient dinosaurs, foreign pressures."

"The Chinese Card"

Claudio Uriarte emphasized in left-of-center Pagina 12 (7/5): "The most impressive moment of Clinton's nine-day tour in China...came when Clinton rejected Taiwan's independence and its obtention of a seat at the UN. With that declaration, Clinton dramatically put an end to three decades of calculated U.S. ambiguity, and showed he was ready to put all the eggs in the same basket: continental China, still Communist China."

BOLIVIA: "A Chinese-American Society?"

Conservative El Diario had this commentary by Samuel Mendoza (7/2): "President Clinton's visit to China has something positive and something negative. Let us hope that the results, in memory of those 2,000 or more students massacred in the Tiananmen Square in June, 1989, means some kind of 'opening' towards the principles of liberty, justice and democracy...after almost half a century of dictatorial oppression. The public debate between the two presidents is proof that such an opening can take place and achieve a better future for the Chinese people.... It will be good to keep track of the repercussions of this memorable visit, that, as we say, could be positive as well as negative, according to how the agreements are adopted and complied with."

BRAZIL: "Jiang Zemin, Aiming For Synthesis?"

Liberal Folha de Sao Paulo's international editor speculated (7/7): "Calculating that the reunification with Taiwan is expected to be delayed, the Chinese president is thinking of political reforms aimed at alleviating the still timid pressures towards democratization in the country and at improving China's image abroad.... (Jiang Zemin) will probably look for political mechanisms to allow an enlightened Confucianism. That is, to maintain the authoritarian ideology espoused by the Chinese philosopher Confucius more than 2,000 years ago, with sprinklings of some of the teachings of the Arkansas missionary."

PERU: "U.S.-China: Still A Difficult Relationship"

Business daily Gestion told its readers (7/5): "The emphasis that the White House puts on human rights and democracy in its relations with the rest of the world makes its tolerance of the Chinese government more noteworthy. President Clinton's visit has not changed this; that is why other countries are talking about the United States' 'double standard.' It is true that Bill Clinton said some uncomfortable things to the Chinese government with regard to civil liberties, especially religious freedom. But it is probable that the Asian authorities understand that this is a part of the cost--especially the rhetorical cost--that must be paid to maintain favorable relations.... The visit leaves the sensation that Washington is doing everything to improve the relationship, while Beijing is the one being courted."

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