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Week of June 18, 1999

Week of June 18, 1999

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Belgrade Bombing Apology


Under Secretary of State Thomas R. Pickering led an envoy of diplomats and intelligence officials to Beijing this week to meet Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan, Deputy Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, and other Chinese military officers, with the intent to thoroughly explain the accidental bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade last May. Meetings began with the presentation of a formal letter from President Clinton offering financial retribution to the families of the embassy bombing victims. Pickering and his colleagues admitted that blaming the incident on a faulty map was oversimplified, and continued with a detailed written and oral account of a series of mistakes over time that led to the tragedy. The Chinese side has refuted this explanation, claiming they don’t believe that NATO could make so many errors, all within a short time span. They also demanded that the U.S. address the issue of accountability, and punish those responsible. Though Pickering’s efforts are decreasing tensions in the U.S.-China relationship, it is still unknown when the Chinese will agree to resume the WTO talks.

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Shift in Chinese Security Aided by NATO Campaign


The NATO military campaign in Yugoslavia and increasing U.S. ties with several small newly independent states that border China have raised significant concerns among China’s military strategists and political hard-liners. Recent military exercises and seminars with Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, and the resumption, in the near future, of joint exercises with the Philippines have strengthened the perception in China that the U.S. is hemming it in through alliances with its neighbors as part of a deliberate policy of containment. To counter this policy, China has adopted a more aggressive foreign policy known at the New Security Concept, promoted a "multi-polar" world order (as opposed to a U.S. dominated world order), made substantial efforts to repair ties with Russia, and announced that it will soon deploy a new submarine-launched ballistic missile. Sources also state that some within China’s military support the resumption of sales of weapons of mass destruction. While China is presently adopting a more aggressive stance, Western sources note that it is relatively weak militarily, and still faces a myriad of challenges in several sectors before it can build-up its military forces.

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Congress Holds Strong on Export Controls


Executives in the computer industry met in Washington last week to appeal for liberalized computer sales export controls. They were left feeling slighted by the Clinton Administration’s reluctance to do little more than pledge to take action by the end of this month. Industry experts claim that, due to rigorous U.S. export controls, other Western nations are becoming China’s key sources of high computer technology, and U.S. competitors are losing ground. Executives point out that technological advancement trends are fast-paced, and current U.S. export controls will soon make it difficult to sell even a laptop in China, which is one of the world’s fastest growing computer markets. In August, Intel Corp. will begin to market the Pentium III chip, which can be manufactured by 11 other foreign companies. Current U.S. export laws, however, will consider any computer linking eight or more of these chips as a supercomputer that requires a license before export to China. If adjustments to export controls are not made, then many in the computer industry will face a great loss of market share and potential profits in China.

The U.S. and China This Week
The U.S. and China This Week

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