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Week of January, 17 2003

Week of January 17, 2003

The U.S. and China This Week


INTERNATIONAL: China Offers to Host US-DPRK Talks


China expressed its support for dialogue between the Bush administration and the North Korean government and offered to act as a host for talks between the two parties. Zhang Qiyue, a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, issued a statement encouraging both sides to engage in dialogue. "We hope the United States and North Korea can resume dialogue swiftly because we think that talks are the most effective channel for resolving this problem," she said. "If the relevant sides are willing to hold dialogue in Beijing, I think we would have no difficulty with that," she continued. The Foreign Ministry announced China's offer as Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly arrived in Beijing. Secretary Kelly had been anticipated to ask the Chinese leadership to provide additional help in resolving the dispute with North Korea. On Wednesday Kelly met with China's Vice Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing.

Beijing opposes the development of nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula and has criticized North Korea's decision to pull out of the nonproliferation treaty. Many western diplomats believe China is in a unique position to influence North Korea and seek China's increased involvement in the current crisis. Chinese analysts, however, argue that China's influence with Kim Jong Il has decreased, and cite the North Korean refugee issue as a constraint on China's involvement.

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DOMESTIC: Labor Leaders on Trial

Two prominent labor leaders, Yao Fuxin and Xiao Yunliang, both arrested in March after their involvement in the Liaoyang labor protests, were tried this Wednesday on subversion charges. The trial took place under tight security as hundreds of workers arrived at the courthouse despite the presence of police officers intended to stifle any protests. The trial was completed in four hours and no verdict has yet been issued, however one is expected as early as this week. The prosecution called no witnesses, and focused its case on linking the two defendants to the China Democracy Party. Yao and Xiao both face sentences of up to life in prison. Several international labor and human rights organizations as well as a number of US Congressmen have called on Beijing to release the pair.

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

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