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Week of November 10, 1999

Week of January 28, 2000

The U.S. and China This Week

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MILITARY/DEFENSE: Optimism Results from "Constructive" U.S.-China Talks


Chinese and U.S. officials met for three days this week for the first time since NATO bombed the Chinese embassy in Belgrade last May. According to a U.S. Defense Department representative, the high-level talks between Defense Secretary William Cohen and Chinese Lieutenant General Xiong Guangkai were most "constructive," as U.S. and Chinese representatives discussed prospects for greater military cooperation between the U.S. and China. The resumption of consultations between U.S. and Chinese military delegations marks a positive step forward in relations between the two countries, and may culminate in a visit by Defense Secretary William Cohen to China sometime later this year, plans for which had been put on hold in the aftermath of the embassy bombing in Belgrade. The Pentagon will release further details about the talks, which emphasized the shared concern between the U.S. and China for peaceful approaches to Asian security.

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MILITARY/DEFENSE: Chinese Defense Chief Visits South Korea


Chief Defense Minister Chi Haotian arrived in Seoul for a 5 day historic visit on January 19 to meet his South Korean counterpart Cho Seong-tae. The visit, the first by a Chinese defense chief to South Korea since the two countries became adversaries in the Korean War five decades ago, is considered by both sides as a major step towards improving bilateral military relations. Diplomatic relations between the two countries were only established in 1992, which has primarily promoted economic ties. In one of the meetings, Minister Chi stated that Beijing would extend its full support in maintaining peace, stability, and nonproliferation of nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula. Officials in Seoul hope that solidifying ties with Pyongyang’s traditional ally will help discourage North Korea from building missles and nuclear weapons.

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FOREIGN RELATIONS: Lee Teng-Hui Defends Statehood Claim During U.S. Congressional Visit


In a recent meeting with U.S. senators in Taiwan, Taiwanese President Lee Teng-Hui repeated his claim that Taiwan is an independent state, explaining that the "one-China" concept has been mistakenly associated with the PRC since its influence has increased in the international community. Lee maintains that both Taipei and Beijing claim they are the sole legitimate governments of China and that Taiwan has been a sovereign state since it was established by Dr. Sun Yat-sen in 1912. These comments came two days after the U.S. congressional delegation leader stated that Lee should be extremely cautious in using rhetoric about defining Taiwan’s status in order to avoid needless conflict between the U.S. and China.

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U.S.-CHINA RELATIONS: China Denounces US ABM, Defense Stance


Chinese objections to US plans to modify the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty underscored recent Chinese criticism of U.S. policy on a variety of issues. Most recently, Chinese Ambassador Hu Xiaodi’s January 27 speech to the Conference on Disarmament obliquely critiqued U.S. Senate’s October 1999 failure to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty as one more example of how a certain country "practices expediency and double standards toward arms control and disarmament agreements, even trying to weaken or abolish relevant treaties." The speech followed joint Chinese-Russian attacks on the US position, put forth during China’s Defense Minister Chi Haotian’s three-day goodwill visit to Russia earlier last week. Chinese Foreign Minister Zhu Bangzao in an earlier January 14th news conference also expressed criticism of U.S. interest in abrogating the 1972 treaty as detrimental to disarmament efforts. Other recent Chinese objections include a Pentagon report detailing potential threats to a Chinese company’s operation of ports in the Panama canal and the linking of China’s human rights record to the upcoming permanent Normal Trade Relations (NTR) vote in Congress by Representative Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.) and others.

The criticism contrasted to several positive developments in bilateral relations ranging from the agreement for compensation for last year’s bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade, the recent resumption of U.S.-Chinese military relations with Lt. General Xiong Guangkai’s meeting with U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen, and last year’s completion of the U.S.-Chinese WTO accord. In addition to fears that a contravention of the 1972 ABM treaty would destabilized regional strategic balance, the possibility that the U.S. may include Taiwan in any anti-missile defense umbrella in the Asian-Pacific region is viewed by many Chinese officials as a threat to Chinese sovereignty. The U.S. counters that plans to develop a ABM defense system center on deterring a limited nuclear attack from a "rogue state" capable of launching only a few missiles.

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ECONOMICS/TRADE: U.S. Eager for EU-China deal on WTO


The United States is eager to have the European Union (EU) and China complete a deal for China’s entry to the World Trade Organization (WTO) in order to speed up the vote for Normal Trade Relations (NTR) in Congress. The United States reached a trade agreement with China last November on terms for China’s entry to the WTO. However, Republican led Congress is waiting for China to complete bilateral negotiations with other trading partners, most importantly the EU, before proceeding with the NTR vote. Talks were scheduled in Brussels between delegations from the EU and China on January 24 and 25 for the first time since October, however EU officials refuse to be rushed in its negotiations. The Clinton administration regards seeking permanent NTR with China as one of its main goals for the remainder of the year. They fear the November presidential elections could create complications for completing this task and hope the vote will take place soon. NTR with China is one of the most important steps for China’s entry into the WTO.

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

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