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Week of March 17, 2000

Week of March 17, 2000

The U.S. and China This Week

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US-CHINA RELATIONS: Daley Warns that PNTR Vote Must Take Place By June 3

SUMMARY: US Commerce Secretary William Daley, one of the Clinton Administration officials leading the initiative to gain support for passing permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) with China in Congress, warned in a March 13 speech that the legislation would not be approved if the vote does not take place by June 3. During his remarks at the conference addressing wheat growers, Daley stated that the administrationís current efforts to help secure PNTR status for China would be "dead in the water" if nothing happens by this time. The vote in Congress on PNTR, which would enact the landmark bilateral trade agreement between the United States and China and signify US endorsement of Chinaís entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO), is still unscheduled.

Daley further suggested that, "Once the annual trade relations debate begins, I think it gets markedly more difficult." Many analysts agree, claiming that the closer we get to the annual debate on renewing NTR (formerly MFN) with China and the presidential elections, the PNTR vote in Congress will become only more complicated.

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CROSS-STRAIT RELATIONS: Zhu Rongji Delivers Ultimatum to Taiwan on Election

SUMMARY: Three days before the presidential elections in Taiwan, Chinese Prime Minister Zhu Rongji delivered the latest PRC government warning to the people of Taiwan not to elect a candidate that will lead Taiwan along the path of independence from the mainland. In his statement to a group of foreign reporters at the National Peopleís Congress, Zhu warned Taiwan voters to "not just act on impulse at this juncture, which will decide the future course that China and Taiwan will follow. Otherwise Iím afraid you wonít get another opportunity to regret."

Like other threats made by the Chinaís government, Zhuís remarks were geared towards dissuading Taiwanese from supporting Chen Shui-bian, the presidential candidate most closely associated with an independent future for Taiwan. Zhuís warning comes after repeated declarations from Beijing, beginning with the February 21 white paper, that China will use military force to reunify Taiwan with the mainland if independence is formally declared or negotiations are indefinitely postponed.

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US-CHINA RELATIONS/TAIWAN: Cohen Sees No Sign of Attack of Taiwan by China

SUMMARY: On the eve of the second presidential elections in Taiwan, US Defense Secretary William Cohen expressed that there is no indication that China is preparing to attack the island despite the Beijingís threats of violence over the past several weeks. Since the Chinese government white paper was released on February 21, China has threatened that it will use military force to reunify Taiwan with the mainland if reunification negotiations are indefinitely postponed, independence is formally declared, or if a pro-independence candidate wins the elections.

At the news conference, Cohen stated, "We do not see any evidence of preparation for attack, any imminent attack. What we do see is a war of words." He further stated that Chinaís usage of verbal pressure rather than force, like during the elections in 1996, "showed there has been some progress." Also, Cohen noted that the United States has reiterated previous warnings to China not to use military force and that the United States does not support an independent Taiwan, but does urge a peaceful resolution to the reunification issue.

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

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