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Week of September 22, 2000

Week of September 22, 2000

The U.S. and China This Week


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U.S.-CHINA RELATIONS: Senate Passes China Trade Bill

SUMMARY: Nine months after the Clinton Administration kicked off a congressional battle over legislation granting China permanent normal trade relations (PNTR) and over three months after the House of Representatives passed the bill by a vote of 237-197, the Senate has ended the trade debate by granting its overwhelming approval in a vote of 83-15. The vote of confidence, which ends the 20-year old annual review of Chinaís trade status, has brought to realization one of President Clintonís top foreign policy objectives for his final year in office. Further, it will allow for the market liberalizing terms of the landmark 1999 Sino-U.S. trade agreement to go into effect upon Chinaís entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO), possibly later this year. The passage of the trade bill, which has drawn comparisons to significance of President Nixonís 1972 visit to China, is a measure that will strengthen U.S.-China relations and signify U.S. support for further globalization of Chinaís economy and society.

Though the extension of PNTR to China is considered by supporters of the measure as a positive step in U.S.-China relations, many, including Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky point out that warm trade relations between the two countries are not likely to last. The administration has promised to launch a tough trade enforcement drive in order to appease lawmakers skeptical of Chinaís commitment to economic reform and to market opening obligations. Also as a part of the trade bill, Congress will establish a special commission to monitor various human rights and labor conditions. The commission will be able to recommend economic sanctions on China by cutting off support from the U.S. Export-Import Bank and the U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corp(OPIC). Also, the commission could direct the president to oppose loans to China from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund(IMF). China has consistently raised objections to attachment of human rights amendments to the trade bill making the monitoring activities possible.


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INTERNATIONAL: Defense Secretary Cohen Proposes Military Exercises Between U.S., China, and Japan

SUMMARY: In an interview with Kyodo News and Asahi Shimbun this past week, U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen proposed that the United States, China and Japan should hold joint military exercises in the future in order to promote prospects for greater peace in Asia. Cohen suggested that he had begun consultations with Chinese government officials about expanding military relations between the U.S. and China, but stated that it probably would not happen for some time to come. He discussed the need for building solid multilateral security arrangements in building regional stability, using the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as an example. He clarified that joint military exercises should primarily be intended for peacekeeping operations and humanitarian aid, referring to peacekeeping operations in East Timor as a place where multilateral cooperation was needed.


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INTERNATIONAL: China and Russia Continue Attack on U.S. NMD Plans

SUMMARY: After Chinese President Jiang Zeminís restraint in directly criticizing the United States for proposed plans to implement a national missile defense (NMD) shield at the United Nations Millennium Summit in early September following U.S. President Clintonís decision to defer deployment to the next U.S. presidency, China has once again resumed its condemnation. Chinese disarmament negotiators, along with their Russian counterparts, denounced NMD and stated that a new nuclear arms reductions treaty could not be formulated until U.S. deployment plans were scrapped. Both country representatives stated their support for preserving the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) treaty, which NMD would violate if implemented. They also extended support for global negotiations that would prevent an arms race in outer space. Both countries claim that aside from violating previously signed treaties, NMD could possibly ignite another global Cold-war style arms race and that U.S. fears of attack by ballistic missiles from rogue states was unfounded. U.S. representatives dismiss its critics? claims that NMD will be a globally destabilizing.


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INTERNATIONAL: China Angered Over Vaticanís Plan to Canonize Chinese

SUMMARY: China denounced the Vaticanís plan to canonize 120 Chinese Catholic martyrs on October 1, the 51st anniversary of Communist rule. "This act by the Vatican is extremely hurtful to the feelings of the Chinese people and to the dignity of the Chinese nation and absolutely will not be tolerated by the government and people of China," the Foreign Minister stated.

The decision to canonize 120 anti-Catholic Chinese victims, who were mostly likely killed during the Boxer Uprising 100 yeas ago, has incensed Beijing. Chinaís sharp criticism of the Vatican came during a visit by Cardinal Roger Etchegaray, who attended a religious conference and ended up leaving early China due to the dispute.

Though China as an official "patriotic" Catholic Church, its members must pledge allegiance to the state, and it does not recognize the Popeís authority. Beijing leaders have stated that the Vatican must stop using religion to interfere in Chinaís affairs and it must break ties with Taiwan.

Recently China has been arresting priest, nuns and members of underground Catholic churches in southern China. Among those detained last week was an 81 year old Bishop, Zeng Jingmu, who had already spent a total of 30 years in jail and an 82 year old priest, Ye Gongfeng, who apparently was tortured by police and is now in a coma.

The Vatican believes there are 10 million Chinese who belong to underground Churches and are loyal to the Pope.


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Highs and Lows for Chinese in Olympic Games

SUMMARY: Since the Olympic games began in Sydney, China has had surprising victories and unexpected loses. The highlight earlier this week would have to be the first ever gold medal won by the menís gymnastic team. Though competing without the top gymnast Lu Yufu, the menís team still solidly tumbled through all six rotations to defeat the Ukraine, who captured the silver, and Russia, which as the Soviet Union won gold at every menís title since 1980 with the exception of the boycotted 1984 Los Angeles games.

The Chinese womenís weightlifting team also won two gold medals, while one lifter, Chen Xiaomin, smashed two world records in the process. Chenís new record came in the snatch section of the competition when she lifted 112.5 kg, in the 63kg weight class, defeating the 110kg mark of fellow compatriot Lei Li.

However, in an unexpected lose to Norway in womenís soccer, the Chinese will not be able to advance to the semi-finals and contend for a medal. This defeat came has a huge shock to the team which won silver in the 1996 Atlanta games and who were runners-up in the 1999 World cup finals.


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

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