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Week of April 14, 2000

Week of March 31, 2000

The U.S. and China This Week

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U.S.-CHINA RELATIONS: CIA Reprimands Staff For Chinese Embassy Bombing

SUMMARY:Following an investigation into the bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade during the U.S. led North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) missile attacks in Yugoslavia last May, the Central Intelligence Agency has fired one and disciplined several other staff for mistakes leading to the incident. CIA Director George Tenet imposed the dismissal of one mid-level officer and sanctions against six other officers which will prevent career advancement for a period of time.

The bombing of the Chinese Embassy, killing three Chinese citizens and leading to an eruption of demonstrations all across China against U.S. actions that were widely considered intentional, seriously strained relations between the two countries. Critics of the CIA’s decision claim that it is bowing to political pressure both domestically and in China. CIA officials maintain that the bombing was accidental and that it is taking measures to deal with the "systemic organizational problems that contributed to the accidental bombing of the Chinese embassy."

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U.S.-CHINA RELATIONS: Powerful Congressman Criticizes Clinton over Deal with Democrats on PNTR

SUMMARY:Texas Republican Congressman and House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee Chairman Bill Archer criticized President Bill Clinton on his efforts to make a deal to secure Democratic support in the House for approving permanent normal trade relations (PNTR), and undermining Republican support. The Clinton administration has been negotiating with Democratic representatives to create a side legislation in hopes of securing the much needed Democratic for approval of the PNTR vote coming up in late May. Democratic Representative Sander Levin has proposed the creation of a congressional commission to monitor Chinese policies and make recommendations on sanctions against China in accordance with World Trade Organization (WTO) rules. Representative Archer claims that appealing to special interests could divided supporters of PNTR and make the passage of the legislation more difficult.

A majority of Congressional Republicans support passage of PNTR, which will enact the market-opening terms of the November 1999 bilateral trade agreement between the U.S. and China and end the current annual review of trade relations. However, the lack of support from House Democrats, who demand China improve its human rights and labor standards before it gains PNTR and joins the WTO, continues to be a concern of the Clinton Administration and other proponents of PNTR.

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SUMMARY:On April 12, Jiang Zemin began his historic six-day trip to Israel. Although diplomatic relations were established between the two nations in 1992, Jiang is the first Chinese head of state to visit Israel. China is reportedly interested in Israel’s agriculture technology and Jiang plans to tour a collective farm near the Dead Sea. Other scheduled activities include visiting Israel’s parliament, the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, and the Palestinian-controlled West Bank town of Bethlehem.

On Saturday the 15th, Jiang will also meet with Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. China first recognized the PLA in 1964 when it was founded, and feels it could play a role in the Middle East peacemaking process.

However, much of Jiang’s trip has been overshadowed by U.S. strong objection to Israel selling an advanced airborne surveillance system to China. Washington feels the sale could upset the balance of power in Asia, especially when recent relations between China and Taiwan are tense. Israeli Foreign Minister David Levy stated the sale of at least one plane would continue, adding: "We will not do anything that will shake or harm our relations with the United States. On the other hand, we cannot tell the Chinese now…that a signature is not a signature." China and Israel agreed to the sale in 1996.

The two nations have signed agreements on technological, agricultural and economic cooperation.

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Union Members Protest Permanent Normal Trade Relations

SUMMARY:Thousands of union members gathered in front of the Capitol Building in Washington on Thursday to protest granting permanent normal trade relations to China. Demonstrators were concerned that passage of PNTR would mean that China would no longer feel pressure to improve labor standards and human rights within the country. Union members were also worried that the trade agreement would hurt American workers by sending more US jobs to China and leading to higher unemployment in the US. The rally at the Capitol Building was only a preface to the major protest planned this weekend against the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. Many protests who planned to be involved in other demonstrations this weekend felt that they need to take a stand not only against trade with China, but also against the overall effects of economic globalization. The Congress is planning to vote on PNTR in May, and it appears that the bill will face some opposition in the House of Representatives.

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

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