July 1, 1998
CLINTON IN CHINA: SEEKING DIALOGUE WITH 'THE GIANT';
SILENCING CRITICS AT HOME
Editorialists from around the globe continued to weigh in with highly positive assessments of President Clinton's state visit to the People's Republic of China. Most writers concluded that Mr. Clinton's joint press conference with his Chinese counterpart, and his speech and interaction with students at Beijing University earlier this week--both of which were broadcast live on Chinese television--had "changed forever the dialogue" between the U.S. and the world's most populous country. While a number of analysts noted that it would take "some time" to see if the U.S. leader's "bold" statements on human rights and freedom of speech would have a long-term effect on China, observers overwhelmingly agreed that the president's sojourn had racked up "impressive gains" that would "considerably improve" Sino-U.S. relations. Commentators also concluded that Mr. Clinton's "forthrightness" in publicly raising such "sensitive" issues as human rights, democracy and Tibet would effectively "silence" domestic critics of the president's China policy. Meanwhile, editorials from Japan expressed "concern" that an improved U.S.-China relationship might "supersede" U.S.-Japan ties, while Indian pundits castigated the president for "making excuses on China's behalf" for Beijing's reluctance to formally commit to the guidelines of the Missile Technology Control Regime. Following are highlights in the commentary:
'TURNING POINT' IN U.S.-CHINA TIES--A majority of opinion-makers in Asia, Europe and Latin America judged that Mr. Clinton's stay in China thus far had scored "impressive gains," which, in the view of Singapore's pro-government Straits Times, had restored U.S.-China relations "to an even keel." That paper and others argued that what "mattered most" in the bilateral relationship was that differences could now "be thrashed out in the open." Rome's influential, left-leaning La Repubblica foresaw "practical results" in economics and trade as a result of the "sincerity and frankness" of the discussions between the U.S. and Chinese presidents. In Hong Kong, center-left Tin Tin Daily News cautioned Mr. Clinton not to show "excessive enthusiasm" in his promotion of democracy for fear of "spoiling" the progress that has been achieved thus far, while the South China Morning Post viewed the Beijing University students' "grilling" of Mr. Clinton as indicative of a "China that can say 'no.'"
CRITICS 'OUTFLANKED BY CLINTON'S DIRECTNESS'--Commentary from Thailand, Brazil and a number of European countries concluded that Mr. Clinton's "successful" China visit would force critics of his China policy to "swallow their words." The moderately conservative Bangkok Post, for example, asserted that, by going to China, "Mr. Clinton is not taking U.S. foreign policy on some strange, perverted course, as the Republicans suggest. He is doing what needs to be done." London's conservative Times echoed the views of others, stating: (Mr. Clinton's) numerous critics--on the left and the right--have been outflanked by his directness." The president's visit "could serve as an example for European politicians, who rarely speak frankly with China," added Vienna's independent Der Standard.
This survey is based on 68 reports from 37 countries, June 27 - July 1.
EDITOR: Kathleen J. Brahney
|  EUROPE  |    |  MIDDLE EAST  |    |  EAST ASIA AND THE PACIFIC  |    |  SOUTH ASIA  |    |  AFRICA  |
CHINA: "TV And Print Coverage"
Official CCTV-1 broadcast (6/30) a nearly three-minute clip from the president's speech at Beijing University. Emphasized in this clip was the importance of building the new comprehensive U.S.-China relationship looking towards the 21st century. President Clinton was shown praising China's role in the Asian financial crisis. The broadcaster reported that the President answered one student's question on Sino-U.S. relations and Taiwan issues. Also reported was the dedication of books to the university's library. An afternoon broadcast (27 seconds) showed President Clinton's departure for Shanghai to continue his visit in China. Official, English-language China Daily front-paged excerpts of President Clinton's remarks at Beijing University.
HONG KONG: "Developing Debate"
In the editorial view of the independent, English-language South China Morning Post (6/30): "If it was a ground-breaking spectacle for the people of China to watch their leader cordially debating policy in public with the president of the United States, how much more extraordinary was the scene at Beijing University, when students grilled the U.S. president on some of the thorniest topics dividing the two countries.... President Bill Clinton received no quarter from his interrogators, and the mood of the audience was clear from the applause filling the hall each time another point emphasizing China's different perspective on world events and its right to hold an alternative view was made.... This was the embodiment of the China that can say 'no': The emerging superpower with a younger generation confident enough to point out to the leader of the world's most powerful nation that, for all its flag-waving, America often falls short of its own standards."
"Excessive Enthusiasm Will Only Spoil Things"
Center-left Tin Tin Daily News observed (6/30): "China and the United States have been confronting each other for a long time. Even now...mutual distrust is quite obvious. Hence, a new generation Beijing University student asked what was behind Clinton's smiling face. To bridge the gap in Sino-U.S. relations, the first step is to announce their viewpoints publicly. By taking such a step, we think that China is sincere about improving Sino-U.S. relations.... Clinton's effort to show his ideology and to promote democracy can be understood. However, if the United States shows excessive enthusiasm, it will only spoil things."
"Hu Shi's Message Is Right"
According to independent Apple Daily News (6/30): "Clinton especially quoted former Beijing University president Hu Shi's message to impress the 500 Beijing University students and professors.... Hu Shi's message was written half a century ago. We are moving toward the 21st century, however, the Chinese government still has not accepted the principles of Hu's message.... They even try to deprive citizens of their individual freedoms. It is a pity that 50 years have passed, but the Chinese government has made no progress toward freedom."
TAIWAN: "Taiwan Should Seek Direct Dialogue With Beijing"
Wang Ming-yi argued in the centrist, pro-status quo China Times (7/1): "Taiwan has to admit that this (i.e., the 'three no's' policy) is a major setback for the decision-making authorities in their attempt to 'internationalize' the Taiwan issue.... Although Clinton's public announcement of Washington's 'three no's' policy will not bring immediate and obvious dangers to Taiwan's safety and development, his remarks nevertheless mark a change in the international situation....
"The 'no haste, be patient' policy toward mainland China will only make Taiwan lose more ground and put Taiwan's future in a more uncertain predicament."
"'New Three No's'--Taiwan Has No Reason to Be Pessimistic"
The pro-opposition, pro-independence Taiwan Times held (7/1): "Should a conflict break out, not only would the $59 billion trade and economic interests of the United States in this region be endangered, but U.S. domestic economic growth and the United States' role as the 'world police' would also be challenged.... The public should know that the cross-strait issue...is an international issue that concerns the security of the whole Asia-Pacific region. So is there any reason we should panic about the 'new three no's?'"
JAPAN: "A Transient Love Affair?"
Conservative Sankei's Shanghai correspondent Kashiyama observed (7/1): "Needless to say, Japan's greatest concern is over the growing Sino-U.S. relations and if it will supersede U.S.-Japan relations. In light of Clinton's speech at Beijing University, referring to the strong U.S.-Chinese partnership during World War II, it may not necessarily be 'oversensitive' for the Japanese to entertain such concerns. At a time when the Japanese people are dispirited by their weak economy, some of them cannot help becoming oversensitive. But are these concerns or misgivings truly substantive? Japan should examine American and Chinese intentions thoroughly and patiently.... Will Sino-U.S. relations develop into an alliance?...It is said that the United States and China have entered a new era of partnership. But will it be a 'transient love affair' or something similar to the U.S.-Soviet policy of peaceful co-existence during the Cold War era?"
"Differences Between U.S., China Exposed"
Conservative Sankei's editorial stressed (6/30): "A set of agreements, reached between Presidents Clinton and Jiang during their summit meeting, gave the world the impression that the United States and China are expanding into a new, cooperative relationship for the 21st century. Aside from the U.S.-China accord on the detargeting of strategic nuclear missiles, there were no major breakthroughs in critical areas such as the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, economics and trade, and human rights.... Questions remain over how or to what extent the United States and China will go ahead with the areas of cooperation outlined at the Sino-U.S. summit."
AUSTRALIA: "Beijing Spring?"
The liberal Sydney Morning Herald contended (7/1): "So far there is no sign that Beijing's openness to Mr. Clinton is to be generalized into a policy of political reform inside China.... Instead, it points to a regime that is prepared to take some carefully calculated risks to improve ties with the United States.... But until China has a leadership that genuinely understands the linkage Mr. Clinton makes between individual liberty, economic success and political stability, those ties will always be less than what they could be."
"China, U.S. Take Great Leap Forward"
The national conservative Australian's international editor Paul Kelly concluded (7/1): "Clinton's apparently successful visit to China has changed forever the dialogue between America and China--yet it still leaves unanswered the principles on which this relationship will be built. Clinton's words in China were masterful.... (They were) a magic mix of the 'rights of man' and Hollywood flair.... It was a domestic gift for Clinton and he played it to perfection.... Clinton looked a statesman and trumped his critics at home. Always the best way."
"Seeds Of Change"
The liberal Melbourne Age stressed (6/30): "The United States, uniquely among democracies, is able to exert leverage on China by insisting on the links between economic and other forms of liberalism. President Clinton did so again yesterday, when he told Chinese students that human rights were universal. Because of this visit, his audience may be in a stronger position to assert the rights all people share than were their predecessors in 1989."
INDONESIA: "Clinton's Visit To China Influenced By Open Communication"
Leading, independent Kompas had this editorial view (7/1): "It can be said that it is now impossible to limit openness.... It would be misguided for a leader to maintain a closed attitude in an era of information technology that encourages transparency and change. With openness, information flows more freely, and in turn, as Clinton puts it, encourages the exchange of ideas.... Respect for political and religious differences is precisely that which will strengthen and stabilize a nation. This is the idea that we can learn from the U.S. leader's visit to Beijing."
PHILIPPINES: "China's Stubborn Message"
Max Soliven of the conservative Philippine Star asserted (6/28): "Needless to say, the Chinese leadership seems to be stubbornly sending the United States and the world the stark message that they are masters in their own house.... But for dissidents and all suspected would-be 'trouble-makers' to be rounded up and detained while Mr. Clinton was in China to preach human rights and democratic ideals? That's a slap in the face. And yet, how can the Chinese be entirely blamed for not 'respecting' President Clinton? In his own capital, Washington, DC, Clinton has, for the past many months, been...harassed and humiliated by the Kenneth Starr non-stop investigations, plus a media eager to pounce on every juicy detail, and deliver long sermons about presidential 'morality'.... China's President Jiang Zemin and Prime Minister Zhu Rongji must be appalled at the idea that what's happening to Clinton could happen to them--if they relaxed their iron-fisted rule."
SINGAPORE: "Triumph Of Good Sense"
The pro-government Straits Times noted under the headline above (6/30): "History reasserts itself with relations between China and the United States restored to an even keel, an achievement for which both presidents deserve full credit.... Mr. Bill Clinton's tour of China so far can claim impressive gains. That would not have been possible if he and his administration had not been courageous enough to defy domestic critics and take a mature view of U.S. responsibilities in Asia. Nor would it have been possible if Mr. Jiang Zemin had not felt secure enough in his leadership to take Deng Xiaoping's philosophy so much further along a logical but difficult road. Of course, significant differences still divide the two countries.... What matters more than the differences is that they can be thrashed out in the open, that the ruler of the world's most populous country and the leader of the world's most powerful can engage in public debate.... Hopefully, the world is witnessing the beginning of the end of the demonization of China; the huge media corps accompanying Mr. Clinton can accelerate that process and earn for itself a constructive role in history."
"Clinton's Missionary Zeal In Espousing Human Rights"
The pro-government Straits Times also had this analysis, datelined Beijing (6/30): "Perhaps the most remarkable feature of U.S. President Bill Clinton's Beijing trip thus far is his zeal in espousing human rights values to the Chinese. Central to his message is the non-negotiable respect for an individual's rights and protection of one's freedom to exercise such rights. From Day One, he has seized almost every conceivable opportunity to drive home this message....
"Few U.S. presidents (have) assumed this 'missionary' role as directly as Mr. Clinton is doing during this trip."
SOUTH KOREA: "Clinton-Jiang Debate On Human Rights"
Top-circulation, conservative Chosun Ilbo stressed (7/1): "The two leaders' agreement to stop targeting each other's countries with their nuclear missiles is a step which will not only further solidify the two nations' strategic alliance' but help stabilize the future of all of Asia. Most significant, however, was the open debate between Presidents Clinton and Jiang on human rights; nobody never expected that a human rights debate as enthusiastic and open as theirs would be at all possible. That the debate was broadcast live further stuns us. Appropriately, the U.S. media is evaluating the event as the greatest achievement of President Clinton's China visit, a view we fully support.... Clinton's visit proved once again that human rights lies at the heart of U.S. diplomacy. Given that the spread of American-style democracy and market economics is the ultimate goal of the U.S. diplomacy, we say that Clinton's China visit is a success."
Conservative Segye Ilbo told its readers (6/30): "It was a courageous act for the Chinese government to allow the Clinton-Jiang summit to be broadcast live, and a clear sign that Chinese President Jiang's political standing is now firm.... We hope that China will become more open and prosperous under Jiang's leadership, and that it will play a leading role in making all of Asia more stable and prosperous. Toward this goal, the Chinese government has yet to undergo drastic internal reform and to find ways to increase political freedom. That is the only way to go if China wants to overcome the challenges it faces in the days ahead and win disputes with the West over human rights."
THAILAND: "China Must Be Told: Respect Human Rights"
The independent, English-language Nation's lead editorial emphasized (6/27): "If there is anything that is important to Clinton's trip to China, it is the message that China must conform with universal values in respecting human rights. China should understand this well. Clinton could easily tell them that even the world's most powerful nation has to abide by certain international rules and norms. Inevitably, China will become one of the most powerful nations in the world in terms of economic and political power in the next millennium. But a new China that is not free will go against the global trend that has witnessed an explosion of democracy. Indeed, a democratic China will help strengthen the common bond of humankind. When 1.2 billion people are free from fear, the world will surely be a better place."
"Clinton Deserves To Be Commended"
The top-circulation, moderately conservative Bangkok Post had this to say (6/27): "Despite the protestations of the Republicans in the U.S. Congress, Mr. Clinton is not taking U.S. foreign policy on some strange, perverted course, as the Republicans suggest. He is doing what needs to be done to develop ties between the United States and a key international partner. Whatever other faults his administration may have, Mr. Clinton deserves to be commended for being in China today and taking risks to develop this vital relationship."
INDIA: "Munich 1998"
The centrist Times of India had this editorial (7/1): "Now it is possible to trace the full outline of the play-acting stages in Beijing. The U.S. president did not utter a word of disapproval on China's record of nuclear and missile proliferation. He yielded on Beijing's denial of visas to the three (journalists) from Radio Free Asia, and he only very perfunctorily referred to human rights and Tibet. It would appear that this charade...was meticulously planned for the benefit of a gullible American public and a largely cooperative Western media. The Chinese leadership got everything it wanted and gave away nothing.... Lured by nuclear deals which may total well over $65 billion, the U.S. administration has decided to sacrifice its much advertised non-proliferation goal for commercial gain."
"Clinton Makes Excuses For China On MTCR"
Tokyo correspondent F.J. Khergamvala commented in the centrist Hindu (7/1):
"The detargeting arrangement is obviously symbolic and meaningless. The real issue was China turned down U.S. attempts to get Beijing to formally enter the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) but, true to form, it was the Clinton administration that volunteered to make the excuses on China's behalf. In remarks that seemed to suggest China's neighbors suffer from amnesia, Mr. Clinton said that both countries had agreed not to help the ballistic missile development programs in South Asia.... Mr. Jiang successfully got Mr. Clinton to criticize Japan for its tardiness in improving its economy and, consequently less responsible than China in stabilizing Asia. The fact is, Japan has actually contributed far more than the United States itself, let alone China."
"You Scratch My Back"
The right-of-center Indian Express insisted (6/30): "Clinton is only storing up trouble for the future. China has given no indication that it can prove a sustained and reliable ally to the United States.... Meanwhile, South Asia must figure out how to cope with this unstable and unnatural alliance."
PAKISTAN: "Bold, Substantive Visit"
The centrist News commented (7/1): "From all accounts, U.S. President Bill Clinton's China visit has been a bold and substantive initiative.... It is perhaps a little too early to predict the course of Sino-U.S. relations, as opinions differ on how far the strategic relationship can be developed. Nevertheless, the Beijing summit has made a landmark contribution to the evolving global power scenario. Asserting that it was vital to look beyond the past, President Clinton referred to a 'new age of human possibility' created by the forces of history, saying China and the United States must go forward on the right side of history for the future sake of the world."
"Arms Race Theme Being Taken Seriously By Two Important World Powers"
The center-right Nation opined (7/1): "The manner in which the theme of arms race in South Asia is beginning to recur in the statements of President Clinton shows how seriously the issue is being taken by two of the most important world powers. Only a couple of days earlier, President Clinton and Chinese President Jiang Zemin had issued a joint statement saying that they 'shared interests in a peaceful and stable South Asia.' Now President Clinton, while addressing students in Beijing said: 'We are now pursuing a common strategy to move India and Pakistan towards a dialogue to resolve their differences.'... With India refusing to be nudged or shoved, what leverage does either have to make it see reason?
"They can nudge Pakistan all they want but with the other side having stonewalled each and every initiative...there is little chance of their interest translating into any concrete and meaningful step."
"Message From Beijing"
Karachi's independent, national Dawn stressed (6/30): "President Clinton and President Jiang Zemin...must make it clear that a dialogue on Kashmir is essential to resolve this problem. Without that there can be no peace in South Asia."
BANGLADESH: "U.S.-China Agreement"
Pro-Awami League, Bangla-language Janakantha made these points (6/30): "The U.S.-China joint communique reflects agreement of the two countries on several important issues, including global peace, security and stability and nuclear weapons. Disagreements on certain issues were open, and those will not create stumbling blocks to promoting relations between the two countries. It is commendable that both the American and Chinese leaders described their relations as ones of partnership, not of hostility. Their decision not to target long-range nuclear missiles on each others' cities will remove mutual distrust and play a significant role in promoting their political ties."
"President Clinton's China Visit: Perspectives And Prospects"
Anti-West, Bangla-language Inqilab asserted (6/30): "President Clinton went to China on behalf of the United States' own interests. The main goal is to strengthen America's commercial and economic interests."
"Big Power Wave Lengths"
The independent Daily Star remarked (6/29): "China and the United States have made more positive strides in their relationship based on the belief that they can and must do business with each other."
BRITAIN: "Critics Swallow Some Of Their Skepticism"
The liberal Guardian commented from Washington (7/1): "As Bill Clinton's China trip winds down this week, the White House spin machine has been painting a glowing picture of his achievements in his meetings with President Zemin and in speeches and broadcasts to the Chinese people.... That sort of hyperbole has become predictable around the Clinton court. But the surprise has been the extent to which the president's critics have been forced to swallow their words about the Beijing visit."
"Small Leaps Forward"
The conservative Times had this lead editorial (6/30): "Saturday's extraordinary televised dialogue between Mr. Clinton and President Jiang Zemin and Mr. Clinton's powerful address at Beijing University...have changed the character and tone in a way which will better serve both the interests...and the delicate relationship between their two countries.... Mr. Clinton's decision to speak out on human rights and democracy will immensely strengthen his position when he returns to Washington. His numerous critics--on the left and right--have been outflanked by his directness.... China is not about to become a liberal democracy in the near future. However, the changes that have happened are neither inconsequential nor irreversible. They are best encouraged through American engagement with China."
"Clinton In TV Plea For Chinese To Join Tide Of Freedom'"
The conservative Daily Telegraph had this (6/30) from diplomatic editor Chris Lockwood in Beijing: "[The Beijing University speech] and...Saturday's televised debate with President Jiang Zemin mark a remarkable step towards openness, which is likely to have far-reaching consequences in a country undergoing political as well as economic transformation."
FRANCE: "Clinton's Failed Show At Beijing University"
Jean-Jacques Mevel remarked in right-of-center Le Figaro (6/30): "In the eyes of White House strategy makers, Beijing University could not have possibly been a better forum for Clinton's political message...yet his message was welcomed with a certain coldness."
"Meager Harvest For Clinton"
Blanca Riemer said in centrist La Tribune (6/30): "While Clinton's visit to China has been qualified as politically historic, it has turned out to be rather disappointing economically... U.S. banks and insurance companies hoping to be granted licences to develop their activities in China will probably return home empty-handed."
GERMANY: "Considerably Improved Sino-American Relations"
Ruediger Koelsch commented on national radio station Norddeutscher Rundfunk of Hamburg (6/30): "We will have to wait at least half a year before it will be possible to say whether President Clinton's two spectacular performances will have affected the human rights situation in China.... Clinton hopes that projecting a different image of China and the Chinese to the Americans will create many difficulties for his domestic opponents..... This means that the president will continue to be open for attacks from the Chinese government and from the conservatives in Congress. This view should not, however, diminish the success of his visit to Beijing. His trip has certainly considerably improved Sino-American relations."
Uwe Dolderer made these observations in right-of-center Muenchener Merkur (7/1): "The U.S. president achieved the seemingly impossible: Clinton...described the use of force in Tiananmen Square as 'wrong,' demanded the release of political prisoners, criticized the arrest of dissidents, and promoted the granting of freedom rights, but China's most powerful man did not feel insulted and answered critical questions. The fact that such a dialogues is possible before the eyes of the Chinese and the world, is the real success of Clinton's mission. In the United States, Clinton was fiercely criticized for his trip, the success of his visit has now proved him right."
"Clinton Finesses Difficult Challenges"
Right-of-center Ostsee-Zeitung of Rostock made these observations (7/1): "In an elegant manner, President Clinton walked over the slippery stage in Beijing and managed to do justice to all sides. For the United States, the Middle Kingdom is becoming increasingly important not only because its vast market. Allied Japan is struggling with the Asian crisis, India and Pakistan are exhibiting their deeply rooted hostility in a nuclear arms race, while China in turn is stable and economically promising. In view of these geo-strategic and geo-economic trump cards, Clinton did not have great difficulties avoiding a meeting with dissidents, being received on Tiananmen Square, which is soaked with blood, and questioning Taiwan's independence. Clinton knows that Chinese porcelain is precious and fragile."
Winfried Scharlau commented on ARD-TV's (national channel one) late evening newscast "Tagesthemen" (6/29): "Only naive zealots still think that the leaders of the People's Republic of China can be publicly isolated and marginalized.... His appearance on TV, his openness and his statements on human rights, democracy, and the problems of Tibet have deeply impressed the Chinese and have silenced critics and created hopes that the live broadcasts on TV were more than only a present to Clinton to appease domestic policy opponents. The public discussion of highly sensitive subjects allows the assumption that the Chinese leadership is heading for liberalization and cautious development which it cannot block in the long run."
ITALY: "Washington Is Satisfied"
PDS (leading government party) daily L'Unita said this (7/1): "Washington is satisfied: a breach opened in the wall; up until some days ago it would have been unthinkable that Beijing would have allowed its guest to talk live on radio and TV. Jiang Zemin ran some risks, but won a lot...and yesterday the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said that the visit 'was a success'.... Common understanding was on top of the list. But this understanding worries Tokyo, which has for some time been considering itself the only U.S. interlocutor in Asia. Japan gets jealous when Bill Clinton caresses Beijing. Japanese political observers wonder if unknown political and strategic factors are emerging from the American President's visit to China. Indeed, Clinton himself...mentioned the possibility of creating a 'Far East NATO.'... Beijing has good reasons for being satisfied. Among others, yesterday the American president made a remark which Beijing liked in particular. On a live radio show Clinton rejected Taiwanese independence."
"Chinese Clinton Is Frank And Ambiguous"
Provocative, classical liberal Il Foglio maintained (6/30): "With Japan in decline, the nuclear race between India and Pakistan, and the spread of nationalism in the East Asian countries traditionally friendly to the United States, Clinton has been induced to bet on China, which, in any case is Asia's second largest power. It is a difficult bet."
"New Rift In The Forbidden City"
Commentary by Aldo Rizzo in centrist, influential La Stampa held (6/29): "China's democratization, if it is so, is moving ahead very cautiously and who knows how much time will be needed. But what happened last Saturday before hundreds of million TV watchers...cannot be dismissed. Indeed, there was a 'break in the trend' and the merit of having substantially imposed it on Beijing's leader goes to Bill Clinton."
Influential, left-leaning La Repubblica provided this editorial view (6/28): "Nine days to demolish nine years of distrust and cool relations. But already in his third stop, the turning point has been made. Clinton talked about human rights to China and the Chinese leader responded to him.... Obviously, positions remain distant. However, it is the first time that the United States and China have dared to discuss crucial issues so openly, without smoke screens or diplomatic ballet.... Sincerity and frankness, if they are respected, will not fail to produce practical results on the economic and trade levels, dear to the hearts of both the American and Chinese leaders, as well."
"Challenges And Thorns For Clinton In Beijing"
A front-page editorial by Ugo Tramballi in leading business Il Sole 24-Ore emphasized (6/27): "Isolation (of China)...is not an alternative: We would be sure of helping to build our enemy of the next century with our own hands."
RUSSIA: "U.S.-Sino Accords To Benefit Nuclear Non-Proliferation"
Igor Mikhailov pointed out in reformist writers' weekly Literaturnaya Gazeta (# 27, 7/1): "In the wake of the Indian and Pakistani nuclear tests, the Beijing accords give hope that agreements on the non-proliferation of nuclear and rocket technologies will be implemented.... After this visit, the multipolar world concept is likely to have fewer opponents."
AUSTRIA: "From Troublemaker To Partner"
Independent Der Standard commented (7/1): "In this delicate period, Clinton has managed so far to deepen the partnership with the leadership in Beijing, without deviating from America's fundamental doubts about China's human rights policy.... Clinton's confidence interwoven with criticism comes at the right time. His visit could serve as an example for European politicians, who rarely speak frankly with China. And it can only help turn a troublemaker into a constructive partner."
BELGIUM: "Clinton On U.S.-Style 'Real Life Show' Was A Hit"
Beijing correspondent Eric Meyer observed in independent Le Soir (6/30) on the president's televised speech at Beijing University: "(The students') questions (were) provocative, but they untangled many things. For instance, after the question on the U.S. 'perfidy' and Clinton's answer ensuring that an equal relationship was much more useful for the future than an impossible attempt at hegemony, a relaxation was perceptible--as if this admission of a negative feeling allowed one to turn to oher problems. This U.S.-style 'real-life show' at least had the merit of creating a link between Bill Clinton an the Chinese university youth."
BULGARIA: "China Becomes A Challenge For American Policy"
Bulgarian Socialist Party daily Duma observed (7/1), "Clinton went to China where he was received like an emperor--with honors dating back to the time of the Tang dynasty.... A complete coincidence of interests rarely occurs between great powers. However, the United States states today that its wants to build a lasting friendship with the Chinese people in the 21st century. A China that is becoming a world power is a real challenge to American foreign policy on the eve of the new millennium. China's readiness to contribute to regional and global security and development should not be neglected either. Probably this what Clinton was counting on when he climbed onto the Great Wall."
CANADA: "Clinton Debates Jiang, The People Win"
The leading Globe and Mail concluded in an editorial (6/30): "(President Clinton's) success in engaging his host, President Jiang Zemin, in a debate about human rights, the Dalai Lama and the 1989 massacre at Tiananmen Square on a live television broadcast to the Chinese people will do much to restore Mr. Clinton's credentials as a democrat. But Mr. Clinton's foreign policy achievement may do even more for his reputation back home.... It is one thing for the American president to speak out on human rights, quite another for his Chinese counterpart to allow him a platform.... By debating Mr. Clinton and allowing it to be aired...Mr. Jiang signalled his interest in taking steps toward a more progressive political system. The second occasion was Mr. Clinton's impassioned speech to students at Beijing University....
"The importance of these debates is not so much who is correct, but the fact that they occurred in public and without obvious reprisals. By allowing some natural light to peek through the diplomatic haze that had threatened to shroud the visit, Mr. Jiang showed how ready he is to pursue his own policy of engagement. Given what has happened, should Mr. Clinton really have stayed at home?"
Montreal's centrist La Presse outlined this view (6/30): "The televised debate..has demonstrated that personal contacts between two chiefs of state can sometimes lead to an unusual frankness.... The meeting of two leaders does not mean that they agree on everything. The importance of this meeting comes from the fact that the world needs them to agree on some fundamental issues and from the fact that they would fail their duty if they would not even try to agree."
Montreal's liberal francophone Le Devoir argued (6/30): "President Bill Clinton has negotiated for himself...a right to freedom of speech that amazed the gallery. We will see if this fascinating 'diplomatic show' will have an impact on the democratization process in China."
DENMARK: "Clinton's Triumph"
Center-right Jyllands-Posten's editorial said (7/1): "President Clinton's political adversaries too often forget how strong he is outside the poisoned air of Washington. This is something he has proven daily during the China visit, and his impact has subdued even the greatest pessimists.... Clinton's success has further weakened the dull-witted right in Washington and critics of official U.S. policy towards China. While he has had an unprecedented open dialogue with the rulers of China about human rights, democracy and market economy, his adversaries have only the ever more ridiculous Lewinsky case to offer, as American voters already have realized. Even though the visit will continue for another two days, Clinton's journey to China is already revealing itself as a historic and epoch-making event. That is fully deserved."
HUNGARY: "Writing History"
Conservative Napi Magyarorszag featured this editorial (6/30) by foreign affairs editor Laszlo Daroczi: "Regardless of the development that the Chinese society and Beijing-Washington relations undergo in the future, one thing is for sure: President Bill Clinton was writing history when, ignoring otherwise expected diplomacy, he provoked a dialogue with his Chines partner about topics that Jiang would have been reluctant to discuss in public."
POLAND: "Who Needs Whom?
Kazimierz Pytko commented in centrist Zycie Warszawy (7/1): "It is China that needs America, not the other way round. Why did Bill Clinton decide, however, to appear in Tiananmen Square and review a parade of the Chinese army which massacred the protesting students? Why did American diplomacy agree to the fact that the stay of the president was planned by the Chinese authorities, which meant that they will use the president for their own propagandistic purposes?... Nobody questions the fact that the United States is the only superpower. But one 'policeman' is not enough for the world as we know it.... In this situation, American commentaries that the Chinese authorities allowed a live broadcast of uncensored Clinton speeches to protect him from an attack of Republican politicians...are quite funny.... If Zemin convinced Clinton to appear in Tiananmen Square, he could have forbidden the live broadcasts of [Clinton's] meeting with the journalists or students."
RUSSIA: "Clinton's Concept Starting To Work"
Pavel Spirin wrote in centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (6/30): "The constructive strategic partnership concept Clinton suggested last October has finally started to work, as the two countries have reached agreement practically on all serious problems. Clinton's visit, observers say, has laid the foundation of a new global reality which is to be taken into account by all countries, primarily Russia."
"Conflict Of Interests In Trade Remains"
Aleksandr Platkovsky filed this from Beijing for reformist Izvestiya (6/30): "Bill Clinton got what he wanted in Beijing more than anything else, a billion-strong audience and full freedom to air his ideas.... The visit has left a conflict of interests over U.S.-Chinese trade unsettled."
SLOVENIA: "Gold And White Stars Above Tiananmen"
Left-of-center Delo (7/1) carried this commentary by its China correspondent Zorana Bakovic: "It will be interesting to hear what Clinton will tell Congress when its members ask about the 'real difference' that (Clinton) had promised.... The only document which suggests that the two powers plan to become 'strategic partners' is the agreement to de-target nuclear weapons.... Although the agreement is entirely unimportant in the military sense...it has complemented the image of friendly interweaving of white and golden stars, for it indicated a considerably higher degree of mutual trust than two years ago.... What exceeds the symbolism of the second Chinese-American summit within the past six months is the evident effort with which the two superpowers are seeking a formula for a 21st century world order that is acceptable to everyone."
SPAIN: "Clinton In The Chinese Bazaar"
Commercial Negocios noted (6/30): "Bill Clinton has revised ping-pong diplomacy with China by saying what was necessary to be said within the limits of acceptable statecraft."
TURKEY: "U.S. And China"
Ergun Balci wrote in intellectual/opinion-maker Cumhuriyet (6/30): "The realities of politics call for enhanced Chinese-American relations, and do not permit any tension because of human rights and democracy issues."
QATAR: "Too Busy To Mention Chinese Muslims?"
Semi-independent Al-Rayah's editorial pointed out (7/1): "Clinton has a busy schedule in China, focusing mainly on American interests in the huge Chinese market, but he still found time to include religious and cultural programs in his agenda in an attempt to cleanse an image tarnished with claims of sexual harassment. Some might wonder about press reports on religious freedoms enjoyed by Christians in China, reports that make no mention of the persecution of Muslims in Xinjiang province.... The story of human rights is not an issue for Americans interested in places in which their companies are signing billions of dollars worth of contracts."
BURKINA FASO: "Tempest In A Teapot"
Independent Le Pays commented (6/30): "In short, a tempest in a teapot to the great despair of those who nastily believed in the capability or the will of the American president to retroactively call the Chinese leaders to order. On the contrary, the chief American executive has left his convictions and his democratic demands at the door, to strengthen the dividends of an economic and trade cooperation with Peking. Nothing surprising because, in this production, if there is a constant in American policy, it is its obsession to clinch lucrative markets everywhere they set foot. It was this same obsession that guided the steps of the American president during his african tour."
ARGENTINA: "Opening, The New Chinese Image"
Ana Baron, on special assignment in Beijing for leading Clarin, commented (6/30): "In a country which traditionally represses dissidents, the TV transmission of the political differences between U.S. President Bill Clinton and Chinese leader Jiang Zemin, was one of the most important results of the summit.... The discussion stirred agitation in a country which is not used to these discussions.... Jiang Zemin's relaxed...performance during the exchange of ideas increased his popularity in Chinese society and has allowed to a clear difference to emerge from the traditional style of the Communist Party bureaucrats.... On the other hand, the U.S. president--very much criticized for having accepted being officially received at Tiananmen Square...will be now able to use the TV transmission as a proof that there is a certain will to make the current Chinese political system more flexible."
"Virtual Reality And Interests"
Oscar Raul Cardoso, leading Clarin's international analyst, wrote (6/28): "In relations between superpowers reality and images have little weight, no matter how far-reaching they are in the present global culture. National interests still prevail.... Clinton, with his criticism of the repression as a 'mistake' of the Chinese regime, as well as Jiang's defense...appear as reciprocally granted spaces to address their domestic audiences.... Even though it may infuriate the best consciences, the truth is that the human rights issue was not a key issue in this summit.... The search for a geo-political balance in Asia, a region of growing threats during this past year, is the benefit which Clinton's mission apparently wanted to preserve."
BRAZIL: "A Historic Debate"
An editorial in center-right O Estado de Sao Paulo maintained (6/30): "In Beijing, Clinton wanted to create a climate of cooperation with China, preparing the soil for a constructive relationship with a nation that could be according to all linear projections, the largest economic power in the world before the first half of the next century.... A frank debate on TV is a good indicator of trends.... China's problem is not what direction it will take, but at what speed the reforms will be conducted."
"The Right To Pray And Vote"
Readers of independent Jornal da Tarde saw this (6/30): "The U.S. president's trip to China is a historical landmark of great importance, above all for eliminating the mistaken isolationist international policy of the most populous country in the world, conducted by the major Western power since the Cold War era....
"Even the most skeptical and severe critics of U.S. foreign policy will have to recognize the importance of the liberalization represented by the clear exposition of positions opposed to the regime on issues such as the occupation of Tibet and human rights.... The historic landmark is the fact that millions of Chinese came to know that all people have the right to work, pray and decide freely their destiny."
BOLIVIA: "Clinton And The Chinese"
La Paz Catholic-church owned daily Presencia published this commentary (6/29): "I believe that the trip, above all, is about business.... The White House has subtly leaked to foreign ministries and the global media attempts to highlight another more noble mission: that of influencing the Beijing authorities toward democracy.... They would not dare dictate lessons...to the wise Chinese.... The only thing they can do is suggest timidly that they would appreciate what in the rest of the world we call human rights. Otherwise, instead of convincing them, (the Americans) would provoke the Chinese dragon to adopt a rampant posture against those who touch its thorny spine. And then there goes business! The paradox of Clinton's conciliatory trip to China is the contrast with the American policy toward the other heterodox regime, Cuba."
CHILE: "Clinton In China"
Conservative, popular Las Ultimas Noticias ran this editorial (6/30): "Regardless of how intense words are, they cannot change reality, but they have reached the youth who will probably govern that country."
JAMAICA: "Clinton In China"
The moderate, influential Daily Gleaner (6/29) had this comment: "While both Beijing and Washington would like to improve their relations, the trip was bound...to be more symbolic than substantive. Its main goal was probably to prevent the relationship getting any worse.... At any rate, President Clinton surely must have hoped that the human rights issue would not burst into the forefront. Unfortunately for him, it did just that.... It will take some skill for Mr. Clinton to succeed in pulling any significant foreign policy advances from this trip."
TRINIDAD: "Clinton's Passage To China"
Referring to Mr. Clinton's visit to Tiananmen Square, the popular daily Trinidad Express opined (6/20) that the visit to "that infamous location signaled to longstanding critics of China that the government's attitude to 'human rights' was in no way being influenced by critics of the regime.... China's Communist Party, in short, was not going to change its old ways.... Interference would have the least impact on the government's policies.... Mr. Clinton is not the first and he is not likely to be the last American president who has come to terms with the world not as he might like it but as it really is. Far better to try to nudge China toward a more liberal posture than to adopt an aggressive stance which can only push even so-called Chinese liberals into a corner. At the end of his trip, Mr. Clinton may not have wrought any overnight changes in the way things are done in China. But he would have at least made China feel less insecure, which is, if nothing else, in the interest of world peace."
URUGUAY: "Clinton-Jiang Debate--Arranged In Advance?"
Top-circulation, conservative business El Observador had these remarks (6/29): "The millions of Chinese who watched this discussion were completely astonished, as they never imagined that the leader of this authoritarian regime would be questioned in his own country and that they would be able to watch it with no censorship. After being severely critiziced by the Republicans when he accepted having the welcome ceremony at Tiananmen, Clinton gained political strength with the debate....
"On the other hand, and in an open political manner, the Chinese leader unblocks and opens his country's way into the World Trade Organization."
"Nothing Will Be The Same"
Top-circulation conservative El Pais declared (6/29): "Beyond all the commercial agreements and the improvement in the relations between Taiwan and China and nuclear weapon commitments that may be achieved, Clinton's decision to visit China is fully justified. This demonstrates the untimeliness and political nonsense of the posture of the Republicans' in Congress who asked their president not to go to Tiananmen and to ask that the welcome ceremony be held somewhere else... After Clinton's resonating speech, nothing will be the same in this huge country."
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