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Week of September 8, 2000

Week of September 8, 2000

The U.S. and China This Week

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U.S.-CHINA RELATIONS: Senate Resumes China Trade Bill Battle

SUMMARY: After a one month summer recess, the Senate has resumed debate over legislation, which will grant China permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) already passed by the House of Representatives in May. The Senate vote for the bill is expected to take place on September 15. While bill supporters on and off Capitol Hill have little doubt that it will be passed in the Senate despite the long delay during June and July, Senate opponents are planning to take measures to add amendments to bill. This could further delay passage of the China bill, making necessary a second debate and vote in the House before the legislation could be passed as law.

The most widely recognized potential amendment to legislation granting China PNTR is one proposed by Senator Fred Thompson (R-TN) to place sanctions on China if it sells weapons to Pakistan and other countries. Senator Thompson has threatened to press for this amendment if Senate Democrats refuse to vote on a separate nonproliferation bill he drafted prior to the vote on the China trade bill. Other possible amendments include those calling for Taiwan to join the WTO prior to settling reunification disputes with China, strengthened military ties between the United States and Taiwan, protecting religious freedom and human rights, eliminating prison labor, and allowing Chinese workers to form unions.

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INTERNATIONAL: Jiang Zemin in New York for U.N. Summit, To Meet Clinton

SUMMARY: Jiang Zemin in New York for U.N. Summit, To Meet Clinton

SUMMARY: Chinese President Jiang Zemin, along with Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan and Vice Premier Qian Qichen, arrived in New York City on Monday, September 4 to attend the United Nations Millennium Summit. Jiang will meet with U.S. President Bill Clinton on the sidelines of the summit. He will also be trying to improve China’s image in the United States as part of the Chinese State Council’s public relations campaign as the U.S. presidential elections draw closer.

Jiang Zemin has already concluded an interview with Mike Wallace of CBS News? "60 Minutes" to give the American public a chance to hear him speak. During Jiang’s visit, there is a whirlwind tour of Chinese orchestras, art shows, and dance troupes through 10 American cities. Also, Chinese state media organizations, such as People’s Daily, Xinhua News, and China Radio International have added broadband access to mirror websites in the United States and hope to attract increased U.S. web-surfers. Chinese leaders often complain that the U.S. media is biased in its presentation of China and aim to reverse this trend.

When Jiang meets Clinton on the sidelines of the summit on September 7, he is expected to push for a more solid commitment from the United States on Taiwan. Diplomatic sources state that Jiang will discuss making progress with the United States on matters that will put a damper on potential moves toward independence by Taiwan. Specifically, he hopes to discuss decreasing U.S. arms sales to Taiwan and Beijing’s willingness to compromise on cross-Strait reunification dialogue.

Another item of interest is whether or not he will continue to criticize the U.S. proposed national missile defense (NMD). China has been one of its strongest opponents in the international community and Chinese foreign ministry officials said he would use the U.N. summit as platform to further criticize the United States. However, China approved Clinton’s recent decision to delay deployment of NMD till the next presidency. In addition, Jiang’s brief September 6 speech at the summit did not directly discuss China’s opposition to NMD. Rather he chose to refer to the need for countries to abandon the Cold War mentality and to embrace a new security concept based on mutual trust, benefit, equality, and cooperation.

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CROSS-STRAIT: Taipei’s Vice Mayor Visits China

SUMMARY: he vice mayor of Taipei, Pai Hsiu-hsiung, made a rare visit to mainland China for a four day visit. Though his trip is seen as a private and unofficial visit as head of a Taiwan-based association for the elderly, he is still the first high-ranking official from Taipei to travel to China.

"He will be exchanging experiences in the field and will visit some facilities for elderly people," said Xaio Caiwei, a spokesman for the semi-official China National Committee on Aging, which invited Mr. Pai.

Under current Taiwan laws, high-ranking government officials and elected mayors are prohibited from travelling to China, except for international conferences, handling bilateral affairs, or other important mission.

"We want to use understanding and contacts to improve relations and build a strong foundation of interaction," Mr. Pai said. "We’d seize on any opportunity to meet. We still need some time to improve relations between the sides, but basically, this is an excellent start. If I have a chance to run into any mainland officials, I will relay the desire of the Taiwan people to see cross-strait relations improve."

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DOMESTIC: China Withdraws 40 members from its Olympic Team

SUMMARY: China has dropped 40 athletes and officials of its Sydney Olympic team due to charges of "suspicious blood test results."

Controversial track coach Ma Junren was then dismissed, along with all but one of his runners who failed drug screening tests.

Last week the International Olympic Committee introduced a combined blood and urine test for the banned drug EPO. Those who were dropped had tested positive for EPO, which is said to improve athletic performances by up to fifteen percent.

"It is not that this time the Chinese Olympic Committee is so strong or so firm in the fight against doping. Actually, this is a long time stand to fight against drug abuses," said Tu Mingde, Secretary General of the Chinese Olympic Committee.

This withdrawal of so many people is believed to affect China’s overall medal hopes. But by demonstrating its resolve to catch drug users, China may have boosted Beijing’s bid for the 2008 Olympics.

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

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