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Week of February 7, 2003

Week of February 7, 2003

The U.S. and China This Week


INTERNATIONAL: China Continues to Discourage Military Solutions in Iraq

At Wednesday's Security Council deliberations, China's Foreign Minister, Tang Jiaxuan, reiterated China's belief that members "should strive for a political settlement of the Iraqi question within the U.N. framework." Tang suggested additional time for the U.N. weapons inspectors to find and present their evidence, claiming it was still too early to make an educated decision. Chinese state media quoted Tang as saying "If there is just one iota of hope for a political solution, the international community should devote 100 per cent effort" to realizing that hope.

Executive deputy director of Xinhua World Affairs Centre, Mr. Qian Wenrong, accused US officials of pointing out only the negative aspects of the weapons inspection reports because President Bush is determined to go to war - alone, if necessary. 'The Bush administration is determined to get rid of Saddam Hussein. That insistence is willful and unreasonable,' he said, indicating that anti-US sentiments are on the rise in China.

Beijing University's political scientist Jia Qingguo told the BBC this week that countries such as France and China were opposed to 'a just war against anybody, but they are opposed to the unilateral use of force against another country'.

Even as China continues to disagree with military solutions to the Iraq crisis and with American unilateralism, Minister Tang indicated that if a resolution authorizing force comes to a vote, China would probably abstain and not exercise its veto power.

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F.B.I. Taps Chinese Students for Intelligence on Tech-Transfer to China

In response to what is being perceived as an increased Chinese government effort to obtain militarily useful technologies, the Federal Bureau of Investigations recently began paying Chinese students at American universities in exchange for insight into the trend. F.B.I. agents are targeting students who they believe have been or might be tapped by the Chinese government to relay technology and information back to the PRC, especially those students participating in programs related to military technology, including: nuclear physics, aerodynamics, engineering related to missiles or space satellites, nanotechnology, and disciplines related to supercomputers and encryption.

The F.B.I. allows that most Chinese exchange students are in no way involved and that much of the supposed technology transfer by student is open source - not proprietary. The Chinese government issued a statement dismissing the idea that it was collecting intelligence of this nature in the United States.

As China continues to buy billions of dollars of American technology a year, it is increasingly difficult to determine which technology transfers might constitute a threat to security. Many China scholars disagree with the F.B.I.'s assertion that the effort to obtain advanced technology has intensified, and worry that the F.B.I.'s policy and statements might unfairly cast suspicion on the many thousands of Chinese students in the United States.

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INTERNATIONAL: China Stays Out of Korean Crisis

As tensions rise on the Korean Peninsula, China is doing its best to stay above the fray. Despite repeated overtures from the United States government, the PRC is still refraining from active involvement in the crisis. The Chinese government has, however, offered to host talks between North Korea and the U.S., and issued a statement requesting that both parties make an effort not to complicate the issues.

Bush administration officials have asked China to use its economic and diplomatic leverage to help put a stop to North Korea's nuclear program. In response, Chinese officials claimed to have limited influence in North Korea, and have made statements encouraging the United States to resume talks with the with the volatile state. Experts and officials in the United States have voiced concern that America cannot end the crisis alone, and indicated that China needs to be more aggressive, if only to protect its own regional power and prestige. Nuclear capabilities on the Korean Peninsula could set off an East Asian arms race and seriously unsettle the regional balance of power.

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

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