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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

June 24, 1998


With President Clinton set to depart today on a "historic" nine-day visit to the People's Republic of China, worldwide media attention focused on the importance of U.S. relations with the world's most populous nation. Many writers concurred with London's conservative Express' assessment that Mr. Clinton's trip would serve as a test of "how the world's one superpower at the end of the 20th century should engage with the potential second superpower of the 21st." While most observers did not expect discussions between Mr. Clinton and China's president to produce any "extraordinary agreements," they saw cooperation between Washington and Beijing as "essential" to laying the groundwork for "realistic coexistence." Editorialists also noted congressional opposition to the president's China policy, and deemed it "unfortunate" that Mr. Clinton was embarking on his voyage with "so heavy a domestic handicap." Echoing the view of others, Toronto's leading Globe and Mail stressed: "Engaging the dragon is better than building a great wall, which in any case cannot work.... The trick is getting the Chinese leadership to see that behaving like a rogue state not only harms our interests.... It also undermines theirs." Following are additional themes from the commentary:

'NEW ROLE' FOR CHINA TO DETRIMENT OF JAPAN?--Numerous commentaries pointed to China's "constructive" role in staving off a worsening of the Asian financial crisis by refusing to devalue the yuan as proof that Beijing was anxious to assume a stabilizing role in the region. China's action, juxtaposed with the continued weakening of the Japanese yen, moved a number of editorialists to speculate that the U.S. might shift its "diplomatic priority" from Japan to China. Moderate Tokyo Shimbun had this poignant note: "We feel a sense of loneliness in the U.S.-Japan relationship.... We can hardly ignore China's strategic diplomacy that is shaking the U.S.-Japan alliance from the ground up." Underscoring that sentiment, Singapore's pro-government Straits Times judged: "The stability of the Chinese yuan has become the last anchor in a turbulent sea. The U.S. government has given up hope on Japan and is turning to China."

THE 'INESCAPABLE' ISSUE, TAIWAN--Commentators in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong raised the question of U.S. policy on Taiwan. Hong Kong's independent South China Morning Post emphasized that Taiwan was the "one single, vital, inescapable issue" determining the future course of U.S.-China ties. Another Hong Kong paper argued that China "is eager to hear Mr. Clinton make a three no's promise in person" during his visit. The "three no's" outlined were "no support for Taiwan independence; no support for...'two Chinas' and no support for Taiwan to enter international organizations that only accept sovereign states for members." Notably, in Taiwan, a conservative, pro-unification daily and an oppositon, pro-independence paper insisted that the island would never accept PRC rule.

HUMAN RIGHTS AND DEMOCRACY: European analysts urged Mr. Clinton to continue to raise the issue of human rights during his China sojourn, and warned of Beijing's efforts to "exploit" the president's appearance in Tiananmen Square "for propaganda purposes."

This survey is based on 73 reports from 28 countries, June 10 -24.

EDITOR: Kathleen J. Brahney

To Go Directly To Quotes By Region, Click Below

|  EUROPE  |    |  MIDDLE EAST  |    |  EAST ASIA AND THE PACIFIC  |    |  SOUTH ASIA  |    |  AFRICA  |   


CHINA: "China Attaches Great Importance To President Clinton's Visit"

Under the banner above, Yang Guoqiang and Qian Tong observed in official Communist Party People's Daily (Renmin Ribao, 6/24): "On the Taiwan issue, Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan said that the United States should take even more concrete actions to implement its commitments. Tang said that the remaining sanctions on China imposed by the United States after 1989 are no longer significant. In the larger interest of further improvement and expansion of Sino-U.S. relations, Tang thinks that the U.S. government should lift all sanctions imposed on China."

"Bilateral Ties On Right Track"

Official, English-language China Daily ran this Xinhua piece (6/24): "In the spirit of the three communiques...both countries have taken many steps: negotiating and cooperating on major world issues; maintaining and increasing high level visits and contacts; promoting mutually beneficial economic and trade cooperation; expanding exchanges and cooperation in the fields of energy, environmental protection, science, education, culture and law; strengthening ties between the armed forces of the two countries and developing all types of people-to-people contacts."

"Further Academic Exchange Wanted"

Cui Ning judged in official, English-language China Daily (6/23): "Sino-U.S. educational cooperation has greatly helped China in its research and development during the last two decades, according to the Ministry of Education. Academic exchange is a major element in the educational cooperation between the two countries, the spokesman of the ministry's Department for Foreign Affairs said.... Scientific and technological cooperation between universities in both counties should be strengthened."

"Changes In U.S. Government, People's View Of China"

Song Baoxian wrote in official Communist Party People's Daily (Renmin Ribao, 6/23): "Most Americans view China's status in American global strategy to be increasingly important. Both the U.S. government and public have come to realize that the rise of China and the rapid growth of China's national strength cannot be stopped by any external forces, including the United States. The U.S.-China relationship will have ever-greater influence on the strategic interests of both sides. Secondly, the 'China threat theory', which has been trumpeted by some Americans, has now quieted. The U.S. government and public recently assessed China becoming a 'responsible big power.' These positive changes in the U.S. government's and public's view of China is serving as a vital basis for the promotion of the Sino-U.S. relationship."

"Sino-U.S. Economic And Trade Cooperation From Strategic Perspective"

Official Communist Party People's Daily (Renmin Ribao) front-paged this commentary (6/23): "Easy threats of trade retaliations and sanctions are really short-sighted, harmful and unacceptable. The annual congressional discussion of China's MFN status is an outcome of Cold War thinking and goes against current trends. Resolving the problem once and for all will boost the bilateral economic and trade relations and is the only wise choice."

"Sino-U.S. Summit To Promote Trade Links"

Gao Wei remarked in official, English-language China Daily (6/23): "The upcoming Sino-U.S. summit will further economic links between the two countries....

"China contends that the trade imbalance is not as large as the United States claims. The discrepancy arises as a result of different statistical methods."

"Improving Sino-U.S. Ties; Boosting Asian-Pacific Stability"

Pan Zhenqiang noted in intellectually oriented Guangming Daily (Guangming Ribao, 6/17): "Recently some U.S. Congressmen launched a fresh attack against their government's China policy--some even called for Clinton to postpone his visit. Obsessed by ideological bias, they regard the Sino-U.S. relationship as a pawn in U.S. political bipartisan struggles. However...the visits the two leaders have exchanged have initiated...a new type of bilateral relationship. Prospects for Sino-U.S. relations are inspiring."

"Both Sides To Benefit From Cooperation"

The official, English-language China Daily insisted (6/17): "The accusation of some U.S. politicians that the U.S. government agreed to use Chinese rockets as a bargaining chip for China's cooperation on other issues is totally groundless.... Politicians who spread rumors about the 'China threat' are either attempting to win public approval or are still stuck in 'Cold War' thinking."

"No Taiwan Compromise"

Yu Guoqiang stressed in the official, English-language China Daily (6/17): "(Regarding the motion approved by U.S. House of Representatives with regard to the Taiwan issue)...Taiwan has always been a very sensitive issue, and the United States has to handle it well if it is really committed to building a constructive strategic partnership with China."

"What Do Nuclear Tests Imply For India?"

Hu Weimin noted in official Chinese Youth Party China Youth Daily (Zhongguo Qingnianbao, 6/17): "According to the Indian government, developing nuclear weapons is their only choice to confront the 'external threat' they have felt.... However, India's current conventional armament meets its security needs. The nuclear tests have not strengthened India's defense capability.... Met with criticism in India, the nuclear tests failed to bring a sense of security and even stirred panic among the Indian people."

"Deepening Mutual Understanding; Expanding Strategic Consensus"

Wang Jisi commented in official Communist Party People's Daily (Renmin Ribao, 6/15): "China and the United States should promote the bilateral economic relationship in light of the ASEAN financial tremor.... The new development in international security, i.e. the Indian and Pakistani nuclear tests, require the two nations to engage in a more profound strategic security dialogue.... Clinton's upcoming China visit will have substantial content and `good atmosphere'. However, the improvement of the bilateral climate does not mean that differences have been settled.... To establish a constructive strategic partnership will require unremitting effort from both countries."

"Clinton Trip Will Be Big Step Forward"

Weng Xiang noted in official Chinese Youth Party China Youth Daily (Zhongguo Qingnianbao, 6/16): "Since the Sino-U.S. relationship improves step by step rather than 'great leaps forward', the differences cannot be resolved overnight.... It is hoped that Clinton's upcoming China visit will serve as a big step forward in the development of the bilateral relationship."

HONG KONG: "U.S. Likely To Go For Three No's"

The independent, English-language Hong Kong Standard ran this commentary (6/24) by Rodney Chan: "U.S. President Bill Clinton's forthcoming visit to mainland China has Taiwan worrying--if not panicking--that its interests will be sold out.... Washington used to be a little ambiguous in its China-Taiwan policy, but now it has become more specific in its 'three nos', which is a variation of its long-standing one-China policy: no support for Taiwan independence; no support for...'two Chinas' and no support for Taiwan to enter international organizations that only accept sovereign states for members.... U.S. officials have publicly spelt out the three no's, but observers have already pointed out Beijing is eager to hear Mr. Clinton make a 'three nos' promise in person during his meet with President Jiang Zemin."

"Pre-Summit Nerves"

The independent, English-language South China Morning Post commented (6/20): "The only announcements are likely to be some small joint projects, such as a program to help train Chinese judges and lawyers along with U.S. aid for environmental projects, all of which were already agreed during President Jiang Zemin's visit to Washington last autumn. That means the tangible achievements that come out of this summit are likely to be far less than the international jockeying for position which has preceded it."

"Prospects For Sino-U.S. Economic And Trade Relations"

Pro-PRC Ta Kung Pao maintained (6/22): "(The) Asian financial crisis revealed that Sino-U.S. cooperation played an important role in stabilizing the Asian Pacific financial and economic situation.... (By protecting) the yuan from devaluating, (China) saved the Asian economic situation from deteriorating.... The U.S. government should eliminate all the obstacles it laid in the path and prepare a smooth way for bilateral trade relations to develop."

"China, Japan And Asian Financial Crisis"

The independent Ming Pao Daily News insisted (6/16): "China should not keep its pledge to protect the yuan from devaluating unless the United States and Japan take prompt and effective measures to stabilize the Japanese yen."

"Clinton Gets Timing Right On Tiananmen Appearance"

The independent, English-language South China Morning Post had this commentary (6/13) by Simon Beck: "Despite his spirited defense on Thursday of his planned Tiananmen Square appearance, when President Bill Clinton finally stands solemnly outside the Great Hall of the People to be officially welcomed to the People's Republic of China, his aides will be keeping an eye on their watches.... The image of the American leader being honored...at the site of the bloody end to the 1989 pro-democracy movement is a political nightmare for U.S. officials--and an absolute winner for the American media.... With the welcoming ceremony due to take place on the morning of Saturday June 27 in Beijing, it will be late Friday evening back in the United States, after the prime-time evening network news broadcasts are over.... By the time Congressmen take to the floor on Monday afternoon to condemn the event, it will already be ancient history.... This is either an incredible stroke of luck for the White House or a cleverly manipulated piece of timing arranged with the acquiescence of Beijing."

"Clear Answers Needed On Taiwan At Summit"

The independent, English-language Hong Kong Standard had this commentary (6/11) by Alan Castro: "If this (visit)...by Mr. Clinton is primarily about the future course of Sino-U.S. relations, there is only one single, vital, inescapable issue--Taiwan.

"Without a clear and irrevocable accord on Taiwan, relations cannot proceed far, however much the good intentions."

"Jiang Holds The Winning Card"

Willy Wo-lap Lam judged in the independent, English-language South China Morning Post (6/10): "Advantage President Jiang Zemin.... Beijing's hand has been strengthened by an unexpected development--the nuclear crisis in South Asia, which now tops the agenda for the American summit team.... The Jiang leadership can use this 'card' to extract promises from the United States."

TAIWAN: "Clinton Should Not Yield To PRC On Taiwan"

The conservative, pro-unification China Post held (6/24): "Clinton must not yield to this demand by Beijing. Washington surely has the right to pursue whatever Taiwan policy it believes is in the best interests of America.... Surely, Taiwan is a province of China, but it has never been a part of the People's Republic of China. This is something which Washington must not fail to understand."

"Will U.S.-China-Taiwan Triangular Relationship Fall Off Balance?"

The centrist, pro-status quo China Times held (6/21): "in the wake of the cross-Straits crisis in 1996, the importance Taiwan used to enjoy in the cross-Straits relationship has changed to a kind of unilateral dependence on the United States for its military and security protection.... Thus when the United States wanted both sides of the Taiwan Straits to resume talks and resolve their problem with peaceful means, the Taipei authorities, even though reluctant or purposely seeking to delay, can do nothing but agree.... Who and what have put Taiwan in such a passive position?... The only thing Taiwan can do is to focus on the cross-Straits ties."

"Taiwan Should Not Be Bargaining Chip In Clinton-Jiang Summit"

Under the above headline, the pro-opposition, pro-independence Taiwan Times held (6/16): "We...want to call on the Clinton administration to remember that Taiwan is an independent sovereign state which has lond been separated from the PRC, and that the 21 million people of this country have made their political choice via democratic elections and thus demonstrated that they will not accept PRC rule."

JAPAN: "Better U.S.-China Ties Necessary To Stabilize Asia"

Liberal Asahi emphasized (6/23): "Mr. Clinton's nine-day visit to China--an unprecedentedly long itinerary by an American president--indicates that his administration is very eager to form a strategic partnership with China.... Further improvement of bilateral ties will contribute to stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region. Yet, both countries must 'clear many hurdles' on the way to becoming 'true friends' in the 21st century. Japan will have a completed but important role to play in helping improve the U.S.-China relationship."

"Can U.S., China Build Framework For 21st Century?"

Under the above headline, business-oriented Nihon Keizai maintained (6/23): "It will actually be more difficult than believed for the United States and China--countries with different political systems--to stand shoulder-to-shoulder easily. The United States is trying to draw China into the international community...but the Chinese are still extremely cautious about democratization or changing to a market economy.... If the United States and China fail to build a new framework, peace and stability will not be maintained in the 21st century."

"U.S. Policy Focus Shifts From Japan To China"

Moderate Tokyo Shimbun stressed (6/14): "The historic visit by President Clinton to China...will have a direct bearing on both the U.S.-China relationship and the situation in East Asia in the 21st century. The visit will also have an impact on Japan. What is prevailing among Asian affairs and diplomatic experts at the moment is a model structure that replaces the U.S.-Japan alliance as the centerpiece of international politics in East Asia in the next century with a U.S.-China partnership. Plainly speaking, in the near future, China will become the most reliable nation for the United States in the Asia-Pacific region. Japan can hardly overlook such a possible shift in U.S. diplomatic priority from Japan to China.... Yet, we feel a sense of loneliness in the U.S.-Japan relationship.... We can hardly ignore China's strategic diplomacy that is shaking the U.S.-Japan alliance from the ground up. Distrustful of Japan's pump-priming measures, the U.S. government, since the beginning of this year, has continued to urge the Japanese government...to take more concrete measures to get the ailing economy back on track. Japan reacted strongly to the blunt U.S. request, (thus) revealing a 'split' aspect in the bilateral relationship."

SINGAPORE: "Visit Can Be China's Coming-Of-Age Party"

The pro-government Straits Times' China correspondent opined (6/22): "The warmer atmosphere (between Washington and Beijing) is helped by Mr. Clinton crossing the Pacific for an exclusive visit, instead of making the world's most populous nation just a call in a string of different stops. The Chinese are also making much of the fact that the U.S. leader's first-ever state visit to China...will be his longest overseas tour as president.... China wants to establish a strategic partnership with the United States, similar to the separate arrangements it has sealed with Russia and France, in which cooperation is stressed and differences played down.""

"Opportune Timing"

In the view of the pro-government Straits Times (6/22): "Given the current economic slump in Japan...the stability of the Chinese yuan has become the last anchor in a turbulent sea. The U.S. government has given up hope on Japan and is turning to China.... If China and the United States succeed in taking the Asian economies out of the abyss, it would enhance China's status immensely. There are therefore reasons for Asia to expect that the two presidents' meeting might create an environment more conducive to the restoration of economic prosperity in this region."

SOUTH KOREA: "Why Clinton's China Visit Is Drawing Attention"

The pro-business Joong-Ang Ilbo (6/24) editorialized: "Although it is the world's sole superpower in the post-Cold War era, the United States, cannot maintain stability of the world order alone. In East Asia especially, regional stability is unthinkable without China playing its role. Given the fact that Washington could do nothing to stop the nuclear tests by India and Pakistan, to win Chinese cooperation has now become all the more important.... The issue of the Korean peninsula naturally draws most of our attention. We hope that the Clinton-Jiang summit will pave the way for a better atmosphere on this peninsula."

"U.S., China Shake Hands As Partners"

Independent Dong-A Ilbo told its readers (6/23): "Mentioned first during Chinese President Jiang's U.S. visit last year, the 'strategic partnership' has now become the core of U.S. China policy after a long domestic discussion. Undoubtedly, it will have a critical bearing on the world order in the new century. That is why the partnership should not serve just the interests of these two nations but global peace and security."

"Hoping To Strengthen 'Strategic Partnership'"

Independent Dong-A Ilbo asserted (6/22): "Washington's realistic recognition that it cannot lead the world alone lies at the heart of the reason why it takes its diplomacy with China seriously. Its failures to prevent the nuclear tests by India and Pakistan and also to pass a UN resolution for a military strike against Iraq earlier this year, are clear proof that Washington urgently needs a strategic partnership with China."

THAILAND: "China Number-One In Thai Foreign Policy?"

Kavi Chongkittavorn stressed in the independent, English language Nation (6/24): "One of the most important elements that come out of the Asian crisis is the growing prominence of China.... China's new-found influence in the financial sector, in addition to its traditional clout in the political and security areas, has already prompted some Thai policymakers to call for a revision of our foreign policy, perhaps elevating China as the region's most prominent player, and thus replacing the United States, a country which has been the pillar of Thailand's foreign policy since World War II.... However, opponents to this new approach stress that it is the United States that has been playing the stabilizing role in the region. They say that even with its current good standing, China can never hope to replace the role played by the United States.... One thing is obvious: Thailand can no longer view its relations with the United States and China in conventional terms anymore."

"Will Clinton Kowtow To Chinese Emperor?"

Cafe Dam commented in elite, business-oriented Krungthep Turakij (6/23), "Those who disapprove of [President Clinton's trip to China] are decrying that Clinton is kowtowing to 'Emperor' Jiang Zemin.... On the other hand, Clinton may intend to send a signal that today's America regards China as an equal partner, and Japan, even though a true ally, only a weakened and incompetent one.... Clinton insists that America needs to befriend China no matter how grave the conflicts between the two nations are because their concerted efforts are needed in trade and environment, as well as in checking nuclear proliferation and international crimes."


INDIA: "India May Not Gain From Clinton's Visit"

Tokyo correspondent F.J. Khergamvala commented in the centrist Hindu (6/24): "Jiang Zemin has two overarching goals from this visit. One, to be seen personally on the world's stage as the second among equals to Clinton because a status of 'primus inter pares' is unachievable.... The second aim is to apply for and demand a defined place in the global community.... The primary Chinese effort is to dethrone Japan.... The real meat is in China wanting U.S. acceptance of its former Middle Kingdom status.... Until two years ago, China was a nuisance and a spoiler of U.S. interests. Today it has hoodwinked the United States into co-opting it as an associate for peace and stability in Asia."

"Dancing With The Dragon"

The centrist Times of India had this analysis (6/23) by C. Uday Bhaskar of Center for policy Research: "President Bill Clinton's visit to China...reiterates three cardinal truths about international relations in the present troubled times. The prevailing global geo-political ambience is neither unipolarity, bi-polarity or multi-polarity but unashamed opportunism in the pursuit of national interests.... China is Washington's newest strategic partner and the flavor is broad-based engagement in political-economic/military spheres and vigorous endorsement of Beijing as the second pillar of stability in the post-Cold War world....

"The inherent contradiction of the United States embracing an authoritarian regime when it is ostensibly wedded to the spread of democracy is one more example of inconvenient reality and principles being relegated to the sidelines. For Jiang, this visit is being billed as the 're-normalization' of ties with an old friend."

"China Syndrome"

The centrist Telegraph had this editorial (6/15): "New Delhi should be more concerned about the implicit message that the United States looks to China to ensure South Asia's stability.... This could constitute a major geopolitical shift on the part of Washington, going far beyond what had been expected from the Clinton administration's engagement of China.... Beijing has broadcast on all frequencies to Washington that it is Asia's number-one power and a worthy addition to the big power club. India's nuclear tests and subsequent diplomatic bungling, it is now clear, have helped boost China's signals.... India needs to prove that nuclear South Asia is nothing to lose sleep over. It needs to get its tattered relations with China back on track. And after the tete-a-tete between Messrs. Jaswant Singh and Strobe Talbott, it needs to use its coming dialogue with the United States to ensure Mr. Clinton's rhetoric never graduates to the level of institutionalized policy."

"Eagle And Dragon"

The centrist Times of India had this editorial (6/15): "If India is to emerge from this present complexity with its honor and national interest protected, it will have to...alert Asia and the rest of the world to the danger posed by the Sino-U.S. alliance..... Finally, New Delhi has to ensure that talks with Islamabad get off the ground as soon as possible."

"The India-Pakistan Standoff"

Associate editor K. K. Katyal contributed this analysis to the centrist Hindu (6/15): "Pakistan's heart must have been warmed considerably when...President Clinton, suggested that, because of the history of the Kashmir problem and other differences between India and Pakistan, 'China must be a part of any ultimate resolution of this matter.'... Indians need to be given credit for keeping their cool in the face of this provocative idea. Mr. Clinton developed a full thesis on this subject, saying that America's interests in the security agenda in South Asia required the cooperation of China.... The checkered history of Sino-U.S. dealings has been marked by a love-hate relationship. Now 'love' has the better of 'hate.'"

"Tools To Use Against India"

According to an editorial in the pro-Congress Party, Urdu-language Qaumi Awaz (6/15): "The (nuclear) tests have provided the West, especially the United States, with a tool they can use against India and a number of inroads to interfere in South Asian affairs.... President Clinton has made a new mischievous point by suggesting China be made part of the efforts to decide and settle various issues in South Asia, including the Kashmir issue."

"Dangers Of U.S.-China-Pakistan Alliance"

An editorial in pro-BJP, Urdu-language Pratap maintained (6/15): "U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright is apparently going all out to hit at India's honor and dignity as a sovereign state. She appears to have made it a matter of prestige...to inflict ever greater harm on India. American efforts to forge an alliance with China and Pakistan on Kashmir is a vicious move to bend India to their will even at the cost of its own security interests. By working in tandem with China, which has openly violated the non-proliferation regime with its active involvement in Pakistan's nuclear program, the United States has exposed the duplicity of its proclamations on the issue....

"(India) must be on full alert...as the newly-forged U.S.-China-Pakistan alliance can impose a war on us."

PAKISTAN: "Clinton's Visit And China's Economic Interests"

An op-ed column by Ahson Saeed Hasan in the center-right Nation insisted (6/24): "America should spell out more clearly its own interests and aims, and pursue them with the same diligence as do the Chinese. Perhaps the best way to start would be as the British have found in Hong Kong, to take policy out of the hands of the China experts with emotional and career commitments to one side or other of China issues, and treat China as what it is: a country like any other except for its size."

BANGLADESH: "Hope U.S.-China Ties Will Have Permanent Foundation"

Anti-West Inqilab intoned (6/24): "It is noticeable that while explaining justification of the China visit, President Clinton not only acknowledged China's success and prospects, but also mentioned the failure and helplessness of the United States.... We believe that worldwide failure has led Washington toward Beijing.... Wishing success to President Clinton's during his visit to China, we would like to remind him that it would be prudent and justified to extend hands of cooperation and friendship toward China instead of making anti-China conspiracy and machinations.... China's friendship and cooperation will help achieve peace, prosperity and stability not only in Asia, but in the world. We hope that President Clinton will strive for gaining China's friendship and that U.S.-China relations will have a permanent foundation."


BRITAIN: "The Going Doesn't Get Any Tougher Than This, Bill"

Under the above headline, the conservative tabloid Express noted (6/24): "The end-of-the-century world has become both more reasonable and more cold-blooded. Clinton will be testing how the world's one superpower at the end of the 20th century should engage with the potential second superpower of the 21st. This will be a visit which--for good or ill--could affect us all."

"Clinton To China"

The conservative Times' lead editorial stressed (6/23): "The first trip to China by an American president since 1989 was always bound to be controversial.... The Clinton policy of constructive engagement' has always had American opponents; on the right, which sees China as America's new enemy, and on the left, where it is derided as rewarding tyranny. Now, the president's defense of that policy is many times harder to get across. From an international perspective, this is bad news. American engagement with China is safer for the world than any envisageable alternative.... China is changing; it is a less tightly controlled society than in 1989. To enjoin Beijing to liberalization at home and responsibility abroad is in every one's interest; it is depressing that Mr. Clinton sets out with so heavy a domestic handicap."

"Clinton To Tread Warily In China"

The liberal Guardian had this from Washington (6/23): "Since Richard Nixon broke the ice in 1972, the visits have been more ceremony than substance. Mr. Clinton will want to do better. He will have with him the bulging agenda of diplomatic, defense, trade, environmental and bilateral issues appropriate to a meeting between the world's two most important countries."

"Clinton In China"

The independent Financial Times' lead editorial stressed (6/22): "Whatever its concrete results, the Sino-American summit draws a line under the deterioration in relations since the Tiananmen Square massacre, and underscores both sides' commitment to strengthening mutual confidence and cooperation. Furthering that process is important for its own sake. But recent events have invested Mr. Clinton's visit with significance beyond its implications for bilateral ties. Its agenda must now inevitably reflect the even larger task of redefining China's place in the global community."

"Clinton's Chance In China"

The conservative Daily Telegraph had this lead editorial (6/22): "Mr. Clinton has been urged from different quarters to cancel the trip, to postpone it and to go ahead with it as planned. The last option is the best, but only on condition that the president uses the welcoming ceremony in Tiananmen Square to condemn what happened there in 1989 and to call for political liberalization. That...would forcefully restate America's interest in advancing the cause of democracy across the globe. And it would be a worthy centerpiece of Clintonian, second-term foreign policy. The president should recall the use made of such a strategic platform by his hero, John Kennedy, in Berlin in 1963, and by Ronald Reagan during his visit to the Soviet Union in 1988."

"Clinton Heads For China Under Fire"

The independent Financial Times opined (6/15): "The attacks have been so harsh that he [President Clinton] will have little to offer in `deliverables'--pacts, contracts and other pre-arranged deals--beyond scenic pictures and the recognition that Beijing's importance is such that he dare not cancel his trip. Officials had hoped for a deal on cooperation on space technology, but that has been rendered politically impossible by the unproven accusation that the administration approved the transfer of technology which made China's missiles more accurate.... Mr. Clinton will even have to risk offending Chinese leaders. His planned reception across from the infamous Tiananmen Square has drawn so much heat that he will be forced to make it an occasion for tough words on human rights."

FRANCE: "U.S.: China's Number-One Foreign Investor"

Jean Leclerc du Sablon said in right-of-center Le Figaro (6/24): "While Congress may disapprove, business circles fully support President Clinton's visit to China. Yet the expected windfall of the trip may not be as high as U.S. industry expects.... In the past two years, U.S. investment has grown considerably, making the United States China's number-one foreign investor.... But the promises made by Jiang Zemin during his U.S. visit in October '97 are threatened by the difficulties facing the Chinese economy in the wake of the Asian crisis."

"Asia, A Nuclear Continent"

Therese Delpech commented in left-of-center Liberation (6/11): "The United States has made the choice of a partnership with China based more on economic than strategic reasons. This is of serious concern to India. We can also share in that concern, knowing as we do that China's goal is to get rid of the United States once (China) is ready to police the region on its own.... The recent nuclear tests have at least helped to force the West to widen its scope of nuclear vision to include Asia...and the Middle East."

GERMANY: "Clinton's Tightrope Act"

Olaf Jahn opined in right-of-center Berliner Morgenpost (6/24): "At the Sino-U.S. summit in Beijing, President Clinton and his colleague Jiang Zemin will be faced with a difficult task. They must justify the meeting as an important one, although they will be unable to present any extraordinary agreements. At the same time, they have to struggle with symbols (such as Tiananmen) that will awaken in China and in the United States strong feelings among the people.... But...realistic progress has taken place in environmental issues, energy planning, and the fight against crime.... If appearances are not wrong, both sides will lay the groundwork for critical and realistic co-existence. This is not very glamorous, but important."

"Future Power"

Christoph Rabe maintained in an editorial in business Handelsblatt of Duesseldorf (6/23): "For the United States, China is a great challenge. Differences in human rights, trade, and security policies cannot obscure the fact that China has gained in stature over the past few months. Unlike Japan...China is playing a constructive political role, especially regarding the solution to the Asian financial problems. The fact that this crisis has not turned into a disaster is also based on Chinese monetary policy.... China is trying to become a global player in economic as well as in political matters.... The United States and China are emphasizing the need to create greater confidence and to no longer turn their backs on each other. Clinton can count this as a success for his policy of constructive engagement, a policy which he implemented despite bitter resistance from Congress."

ITALY: "Most Difficult And Risky Visit Of Clinton Era"

In left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (6/24) Arturo Zampaglione commented from Xian: "The visit to China will be the most difficult and risky of the Clinton era. Jumping from Xian to Beijing, from Shanghai to Hong Kong, President Clinton will try to defend Chinese dissidents from the repression of the regime, protect Taiwan from Chinese designs, stop the export of deadly technology to pariah nations, and...improve relations between the two sides of the Pacific.... Over the next ten days, Clinton will risk his international credibility and his hopes of being remembered in diplomatic history books as a Nixon and not as a Carter. A trip without results, to the mercy of Beijing's arrogance, would risk adding to the president's domestic political weakness caused by the Lewinsky case. The premises are not so encouraging.... Jiang Zemin...does not seem intentioned to change course as a result of President Clinton's visit.... If the chances of success depend on the grandiosity of organizational efforts, however, the visit is likely to be successful. Mr. Clinton is going to Beijing with a court which will beat all history records for its size, its means and costs."

"Clinton In China To Sell American Dream"

PDS (leading government party) L'Unita front-paged this editorial (6/23): "China is certain to get most of 'image' benefits from this visit. Bill Clinton will not meet the dissidents, but he will have contacts with students...and he will participate in a radio talk show. He will be able to say what he wants about democracy and human rights, and, for sure, he will make his points with the audience which is able to listen. Will he make the American dream more attractive and visible?"

"Clinton, Mission China"

In the editorial view of left-leaning, influential La Repubblica (6/21): "Clinton's visit to China will not please a good portion of Congress...but it will please the American industrial world, which can't wait to obtain free access to the world's largest market of the future....

"More than by the appeal of its market, however...Beijing is, de facto, the best guarantor of economic stability in that area now that Japan is shaky...and is affecting all the markets in its implosion.... Similarly important is the power exerted by President Jiang Zemin and Prime Minister Zhu Rongji over the political situation in the area, especially now that we need to monitor closely the nuclear escalation between India and Pakistan (even though China is anything but neutral, being closer to Islamabad). Giving Beijing increased responsibility may turn out to be useful for Washington."

RUSSIA: "China Is Not A Behemoth"

Under the above headline, centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta had this (6/24) by Pavel Spirin in Beijing: "The American establishment has yet to figure out whether China is a friend or foe. Assuming that the president wants to rediscover China for the Americans and to tell them that they need not fear it as a 'communist behemoth,' he can easily accomplish his mission."

"China Conundrum"

Pavel Spirin remarked in centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (6/23): "As Bill Clinton sets out on a visit to Beijing, he must be tormented by the question of whether today's China is a future 'second Japan' or an alternative to the ex-USSR."

SPAIN: "Trans-Pacific Thaw"

Business Expansion commented (6/24): "The country which has dominated the 20th century and the country that aspires to share that dominance in the next initiate an historic encounter tomorrow.... This trip takes on added importance given the situation being faced in Asia and the surprisingly constructive role Beijing has been playing in it over the past few months. To this one might add the extremely delicate moment that China is facing in its economic reform efforts. All these factors have given rise to conditions that could, over the nine days that Clinton is to remain in China, propitiate a state of relations different from the tensions that have characterized them over the past few years.... Despite their differences, Washington and Beijing are showing that they can speak the same language, something that lends priceless stability to an Asia that has been generally and increasingly unstable."

AUSTRIA: "Moral Vs. Business Principles"

The front-page commentary in mass-circulation Kurier read (6/24): "[Clinton] repeated like a prayer wheel: 'We must not isolate China, we would only isolate ourselves.' He is not right from the moral point of view, but he is right pragmatically speaking, because the U.S. president cannot (and does not want to) prevent China from opening up. It will be decisive for his critics, however, whether he will find clear words on issues like human rights, nuclear weapons, and Tibet--or whether it will all be about business only."

BELGIUM: "Jiang Has A Dream"

Asian affairs writer Freddy De Pauw wrote in independent Catholic De Standaard (6/24), "For Jiang, (the Clinton visit) is a new step on the road toward the realization of his dream, namely (to achieve) a strategic alliance between China and the United States which will determine next century's balance of power in the Pacific region and even in the world.... Clinton's visit also comes at a moment when the area is counting on China to avoid further destabilization. Because of the financial crisis there,... the cards in the balance of power are being reshuffled. Last year, Beijing was very irritated by the expansion of military cooperation between Japan and the United States. Now that Japan is in serious trouble, China may present itself as a beacon of order and hope to strengthen the Chinese-American side of the China-U.S.-Japan triangle."

"Bones Of Contention"

Conservative Catholic La Libre Belgique's Philippe Paquet observed (6/20): "It is important that two powers such as the United States and China should continue the warming up of their relations.... Private initiative, so dear to America, is gradually ridding the People's Republic of its Marxist-Leninist rags, while shaping a new man ever more independent of the party's grip. In addition to the attraction of an immense market, Mr. Clinton has to make his compatriots sensitive to the emergence, certainly tortuous but inexorable, of a modern nation."

CANADA: "Engaging The Dragon"

The leading Globe and Mail (6/24) editorialized: "Mr. Clinton's policy of engagement is designed to get the Chinese to see themselves as leaders in the international system--and to conduct themselves accordingly. Engaging China does not preclude criticizing China: Mr. Clinton should raise China's human-rights record with the Chinese leadership, and not just behind closed doors.... At the same time, however, the intercourse of commerce and diplomacy between the two countries should be encouraged to grow as much as possible. Washington wants to draw China into the international system--the better to mitigate Beijing's more reckless impulses.... Engaging the dragon is better than building a great wall, which in any case cannot work. China is big enough and powerful enough to pursue an independent, anti-Western foreign policy. The trick is getting the Chinese leadership to see that behaving like a rogue state not only harms our interests, it also undermines theirs."

"Bill Does Beijing"

The conservative Ottawa Citizen said (6/24): "It is not wrong for the Americans to pursue calm dialogue with China's leadership. But the card that is the prestige of a presidential state visit should be played only after meaningful results have been achieved, either on human rights or in the realm of Western security interests. It should be a reward, not a bribe. Instead, Mr. Clinton has chosen to appear diplomatically promiscuous, displaying the same puppy-like desire to be everyone's friend that is his most crippling character flaw."

DENMARK: "Clinton Ought To Underscore Democracy"

The lead editorial in the left-wing Information held (6/24): "The alliance between the United States and China could be of great benefit to the world, but only if it is handled in the right way.... We could be entering an uncertain phase, however, particularly if Japan, Russia and India feel threatened by the new alliance.... A number of Chinese dissidents have tried to arrange a meeting with Clinton during the run-up to the visit, but Clinton's advisors have refused to allow any such meetings. This does not augur well for Clinton's visit. He ought to underscore the need for democracy, strategic alliance or no strategic alliance. That would be the right thing to do, Clinton."

"Chinese Will Exploit Tiananmen Appearance"

Center-left Politiken featured this opinion (6/20): "The visit is of great importance to China as it stresses the fact that the United States no longer considers China as a pariah.... It is surprising that Clinton and his advisors failed to understand the symbolism of the ceremony taking place on the Square. They will realize their mistake when they see how the Chinese exploit the situation for propaganda purposes. Regardless of what Clinton says in his speech, the Chinese propaganda machine will twist his message."

HUNGARY: "Clinton Serves U.S. Interests In China"

Influential Hungarian daily Magyar Hirlap published this op-ed piece by foreign affairs columnist Csilla Medgyesi (6/24): "The nine-day visit of the U.S. president to China is only of symbolic importance, especially for the Chinese. No breakthrough is expected of the visit in tackling any of the problematic issues, although there are plenty of them. President Clinton has even been using U.S. magazine Newsweek a tool for explaining the very need of the forthcoming presidential visit to the Far East.... Clinton is going to see the most important sights of China first: the Forbidden City and the Great Wall and he goes to Shanghai and Hong Kong later. This part of his program is fine. But the (U.S.) public...and the democratic opposition in China still can't forgive the U.S. president for accepting Chinese protocol and agreeing to the official reception at Tienanmen Square."

IRELAND: "Constructive Engagement"

The moderately conservative Irish Times held (6/24), "Mr. Clinton must bear in mind that China has still a long way to go before its economy becomes the second largest in the world.... It is highly vulnerable to shifts in competing Asian currencies. All the more reason for Mr. Clinton to manage the relationship sensitively, and for his hosts to reward him with genuine reciprocal action on his political and human rights agenda. It takes two states to run a successful policy of constructive engagement."

MALTA: "Clinton's Visit To China"

The top-circulation Sunday Times featured this commentary (6/21) by Stephen Calleya, Deputy Director of the Mediterranean Academy of Diplomatic Studies and a frequent commentator on foreign affairs: "Clinton's firm decision to go ahead with his scheduled visit to China is not only the correct foreign policy move for the United States to make, but also is an example that other great powers should follow if they are serious about wanting to integrate China into the world economy. In practical terms it is impossible to isolate the world's most populous nation.... There is no doubt that China has the potential to be a superpower in the next century. As a result the outcome of the U.S.-China relationship will in large measure determine whether the 21st century is one of security, peace and prosperity or one of tension and turmoil. Maintaining regular and in-depth dialogue is the best foreign policy mechanism to adopt if another cold war is to be avoided between Beijing and Washington."

PORTUGAL: "Just Eternal Interests"

Fernando Correia de Oliveira wrote in center-left Publico (6/24): "As the Chinese knew long before the phrase was invented, in diplomacy there are no eternal enemies, just eternal interests.... The Chinese regime, under the cover of communism, is nothing more than a capitalist dictatorship--ironically the best guardian Washington could have for its investments in the Middle Empire (no strikes, no civil society fighting for the environment, for example). Economically, China is America's main supplier; American exports to China translate into tens of thousands of jobs in the United States. Interests are more and more common. Clinton understood [this] in 1994, doing away with the pseudo-blackmail of most favored nation status, which insulted the Chinese regime to the point of ridiculousness. As they are fond of saying in Beijing, 'the world needs China, and China needs the world.' Even when the world changes and closes its eyes to a China that is essentially changeless."

SWEDEN: "A President In The Middle Kingdom"

Liberal Dagens Nyheter opined (6/24): "The United States, like the rest of the Western World, is dependent on working relations with Beijing. Not even by wishful thinking would it be possible to disregard China as being a great power.

"It has a veto right in the Security Council, nuclear weapons and can exert influence in arms control policy, and it also has an important role in the economic development of Asia. Beijing, in addition, is one of the parties of a conflict which might grow into a major threat to world peace--the one between China and Taiwan.... Washington plays a key role. To Taiwan, U.S. support is a necessity, and the Chinese president is said to have come to the conclusion that American participation is a must in order to bring about a peaceful reunion."


ISRAEL: "An Event Carrying Great Symbolism"

Mass-appeal, pluralist Maariv editorialized (6/24): "Ever since (the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre), the Chinese government has been trying to improve its image in the world--in this respect, Clinton's visit represents a milestone.... Many believe that the 21st century will be the Chinese century, as the 20th has been the American century. This gives great symbolic meaning to the meeting between the presidents of the two countries."


KENYA: "Time To Heal Wounds"

The moderately independent Standard (6/24) had this editorial: "Despite a weary Congress' hot breath on his back, Clinton has realized the importance of Washington forging greater cooperation with Beijing. The Tiananmen Square massacre and China's human rights record have been a favorite pastime talk for Americans. They loathe the fact that the world's most populous nation continues to flourish even with its Communist regime in power. This will be a lifetime chance to rid the two states of mistrust and suspicion."


ARGENTINA: "Beijing Expects Clinton's Visit To End Isolation"

Francisco Seminario, international columnist for independent Perfil, held (6/24), "Beyond any concrete commercial results, Clinton's visit to China...will be undeniably symbolic. Chinese leaders are anxious to put an end to the international condemnation suffered by China after Tiananmen bloody repression.... China expects Clinton's official visit, the 'diplomatic event of the decade,' to help it emerge from its isolation.... Beijing's condemnation of the nuclear tests made by India and Pakistan, and the Chinese decision not to devalue its currency...(show) China is attempting...to play a stabilizing role in the region."

BRAZIL: "The New China"

Center-right O Estado de Sao Paulo observed (6/23): "At the height of the yen crisis, the Chinese government made it known to the U.S. authorities that they would act responsively by maintaining the stability of the yuan, unless Washington continued to watch passively the fall of the Japanese currency, while insisting at the same time that Beijing not devalue its currency. Had China chosen the easy way of devaluing the yuan to maintain competitiveness in its exports, Asia would have certainly dived into the 'competitive devaluation' race, worsening the crisis that was already reaching all the principal stock exchanges in the world, thus threatening the world economy. Beijing desires political recognition for having become the most important capital in Asia, which left the American government in a delicate situation. For sure, the shift in the axis of power from Tokyo to Beijing is in progress, but it's still too early to consider China as Japan's substitute as the main political center in the region."

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