Week of July 16, 1999
Week of July 16, 1999
World Cup May Open Door to Smoother Ties
The World Cup contest between the American and Chinese women’s?soccer teams,
may prove to play the same role as the ping-pong matches of the 1970s in opening
up U.S.-China relations after a period of tension. An exchange of letters
between Presidents Bill Clinton and Jiang Zemin, and the publication of a
picture of Clinton with the Chinese soccer team in the Beijing Evening News
(a state-run tabloid), denote a slight improvement in tense relations. Clinton’s
efforts to meet with the Chinese team after the championship game and Jiang’s
same-day response to Clinton’s letter indicate each leaders?interest in continuing
bilateral relations despite recent strains caused by allegations of Chinese
campaign interference and espionage, failure to reach agreement on China’s
entry into the WTO, the accidental American bombing of the Chinese embassy
in Belgrade, and Taiwan’s renunciation of the ‘One-China?formula.
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Foreign Lenders Approach China on Debt
Foreign lenders have approached the Guangdong government in an effort to
re-start negotiations regarding loans made to Guangdong Enterprises that they
charge were guaranteed by the provincial government. The lenders are hopeful
that the government will not allow the state-owned-enterprise to go bankrupt
as was the case with another financially strapped company, Guangdong International
Trust and Investment, known as GITIC. On the premise that the loans were guaranteed
by the Guangdong government, the foreign banks that lent funds to the company
rejected a plan to overhaul the company that would split the losses between
the government and the lenders. Instead, working on the assumption that the
Chinese government can not afford to alienate foreign investment, they demanded
that the Guangdong government pour $1.8 million into the company to allow
it to resume making interest payments on the loans. Financial analysts expressed
skepticism that the government would assume full financial responsibility,
speculating that it was more likely to allow the company to go bankrupt.
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President Lee Renounces ‘One-China?Policy
Amidst tense U.S.-China relations, Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui renounced
the ‘One-China?context on which cross-strait relations have been based. Lee
stated that Taiwan will henceforth treat relations with China on a "state-to-state"
basis, thereby nullifying the need for Taiwan to declare independence. China
and the United States have restrained overt reactions and sought clarification
on the matter from Taiwan. The definition of the ‘One-China?policy is widely
debated, and has two interpretations. China’s definition is that there is
One China, including Taiwan, with Beijing as the sole sovereign government.
The widely accepted international meaning is that there is one China, including
the mainland and Taiwan, the status of its government yet undetermined. Lee
has reassure the international community that the new definition does not
imply a policy change, and national unification remains the primary goal.
Many America scholars believe that Lee’s primary goal was to strengthen the
ruling Nationalist Party’s position in Taiwanese domestic politics in preparation
of national elections to be held next spring.
The U.S. and China This Week