Week of May 16, 2003
of May 23, 2003
The U.S. and China This Week
DOMESTIC: SARS Update
The infection rate of Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)
within China appears to be on the downturn, with only 26 new cases reported
this last week. Most infections continue to be found in Beijing and have not,
as feared, spread in any large scale to the countryside. With many workers
fleeing the cities, officials had worried that SARS may spread unchecked through
China's vast rural population, as they are not adequately equipped to handle
the disease.The recent downturn has been a boon to China, with millions returning
to their normal schedules of work and school.
In total, 300 people have died of SARS in China, the largest
death toll of any country infected by the disease. Although the mortality
rate of the disease has now been estimated at 15 percent, it has been, by
far, less deadly than other more commonly known diseases like malaria and
World Health Organization officials have also expressed some
optimism that China could contain the disease. It has been reported that officials
were encouraged by both the recent drop in infections and the strong efforts
the country has taken in mobilizing resources to deal with the disease.
INTERNATIONAL: Sikkim Issue May Be Resolved
In preparation of Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee's trip
China, officials have voiced their expectations that the dispute between
the two countries concerning the region of Sikkim will soon be resolved.
Formal talks to resolve the issue were agreed to during a visit by the
Indian foreign minister in March of 2002. Sikkim is just one of the areas
involved in the longstanding territorial dispute between the two countries
that dates back to the Sino-Indian War of the 1960s.
In recent years, with trade steadily increasing, there have
been attempts to better bilateral relations. This often manifested itself
by allowing such territorial disputes to fade into the background of bilateral
relations. News that at least the issue of Sikkim may soon be resolved
is expected to be a positive benchmark in the countries cooperative relationship
and should be a positive influence in continued economic relations and
INTERNATIONAL: Koizumi Set To Meet Hu In Russia
Junichiro Koizumi, prime minister of Japan, is scheduled
to have his first meeting with newly appointed president of China, Hu
Jintao on May 31st, in St. Petersberg. Both leaders are scheduled to
be in Russia for the 300th anniversary of St. Petersberg's founding.
The meeting is seen as a thaw in what had been icy bilateral relations
since Koizumi's visit to the Yasukuni Shrine, which commemorates Japanese
war dead. The visit was controversial because of the Shrine's association
with Japanese soldiers convicted of World War II war crimes.
It is speculated that the meeting is in prelude to the
expected August Sino-Japanese summit in Beijing, which will be held
in commemoration of the 25th anniversary of the treaty of peace and
friendship between the two countries.
The U.S. and China This Week
Last updated: 17 January 2001