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Week of June 30, 2000

Week of June 30, 2000

The U.S. and China This Week

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U.S.-CHINA RELATIONS: House Likely to Vote on China Trade Bill Resolution

SUMMARY:In the wake of the May passage of the legislation which would extend permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) to China and end the annual debate over the status of trade relations, the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to hold another vote on whether or not to make a resolution to the bill. California Republican Representative Dana Rohrabacher has introduced a resolution that would prevent Beijing from gaining the benefits of the fall 1999 Sino-U.S. trade agreement until China becomes a full member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Representative Rohrabacher cited China’s increasing repressive behavior since the House passage of the PNTR bill in May as a key reason for the resolution. As China’s accession to the WTO is expected to take place later in the year, on June 2 the Clinton Administration had requested that Congress temporarily extend benefits to ensure China’s access to U.S. markets.

Many Members of the House, including Republican Representative Bill Archer from Texas who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, are working to defeat the resolution. The White House, which made an all-out effort during the spring to ensure passage of the PNTR bill in the House, has expressed little concern about the outcome of the vote on the resolution. White House spokesman Jake Siewert said, "This is a decision for Congress to make. Our focus is on enacting PNTR as soon as possible and we’ll continue to work with both Houses to that end."

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CROSS-STRAIT RELATIONS: Beijing Rejects Chen’s Proposal for Embracing "One China" Policy

SUMMARY:Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian recently stated that his government is willing to accept a "one China" policy according to a verbal agreement made in 1992 between the Straits Exchange Foundation and the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, two semi-official groups in Taipei and Beijing which handle cross-strait relations in the absence of official relations. According to this agreement, both Taipei and Beijing would agree to a "one China," but each side would have its own interpretation. In addition, Chen repeated his overture made to Chinese President Jiang Zemin made after the summit on the Korean Peninsula, to "shake hands and reconcile" and discuss the definition of "one China."

Beijing rejected Chen’s attempt at a compromise on China’s insistence that Taiwan adhere to a "one China" policy which recognizes that there is one China of which Taiwan in an inseperable part. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao accused Taiwan of using different interpretations of the "one China" policy as a pretext for keeping the island independent from the mainland. Furthermore, Zhu maintained that in 1992 the two aforementioned cross-strait relations organizations verbally agreed to a "one China" policy, but postponed the discussion of the definition of the policy to a later date. So far, Beijing has refused to continue negotiations over the future of cross-strait relations until Taiwan has agreed to its understanding of the "one China" policy.

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CROSS-STRAIT RELATIONS: Taiwan Will Form Mainland Policy Advisory Committee

SUMMARY:The Taiwanese government recently announced that it would establish a special committee to advise Taiwan President Chen Shui-bian on Taiwan’s policy toward the mainland. The committee will include a nominating unit which will a recruit over 20 members, including academics, entrepreneurs, public opinion leaders, and other recommended individuals. Committee coordinator Lee Yuan-tseh, president of Academic Sinica, stated, "the move is in line with President Chen’s pledge to seek consensus from people, promote ethnic harmony and maintain cross-strait peace." A primary goal of the committee for the next 5 to 8 years is to formulate a guideline for relations with the mainland. Functionally, the committee will be in a parallel position to the National Unification Council, established by former Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui during his tenure.

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INTERNATIONAL: U.S. Against Weapons sale to China from Israel

SUMMARY:The U.S. Congress has expressed bilateral outrage over the impending sale of an advanced airborne radar system to China from Israel. Many in Washington feel the radar system will give China a military edge over Taiwan if a cross strait conflict erupts. Both Democratic and Republican members in the House of Representatives committee, which appropriates aid to Israel, demanded the sale be canceled. And both parties adopted a resolution stating, "The committee is very disturbed by reports that Israel is preparing to provide China with an airborne radar system that could threaten the forces of democratic Taiwan and the United States in the region surrounding the Taiwan Strait."

Israel’s Foreign Minister David Levy responded to U.S. concerns, "We are trying to find a solution to this matter without threats Israel would never and for nothing do anything to endanger the security of the United States," he said. However, the sale of the early warning radar system occurred under the Netanyahu’s government and Israel has previously stated it would not break its contract with China.

China has recently turned towards Russia and Israel to buy advance military hardware in order to modernize it’s antiquated Navy and Air forces.

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DOMESTIC: China’s Government Writes first White Paper on Growing Drug Problem

SUMMARY:China issued its first policy paper outlining China’s growing drug problems. The government said it has solved more than 800,000 drug cases in the 1990’s, but admits, "the situation is grim."

State media report China’s law enforcement establishment as "waging a fierce battle against all drug-related criminal activities, administering merciless punishment to those involved." To prove this point, China executed 10 convicted drug criminals on Monday and at least 38 others the week before.

The report also stated that between 1991 to 1999 China confiscated almost 40 tons of heroin, tons of opium, marijuana and methamphetamines. Heroin was used 70% of the time by addicts. The policy paper said the number of registered drug addicts rose from 148,000 in 1991 to 681,000 in 1999.

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

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