China Wins Gold on Snow for the First Time
2-23: China snagged its second gold medal of the recently concluded Torino Olympic Games. Freestyle aerial skier Han Xiaoping nailed back to back corkscrew jumps and landed perfectly to receive 250.77 points, enough to edge out Belarusian Dmitri Dashinski. Although Han’s jumps were not as technically complicated as many of his competitors, his execution set his performance apart.
The medal was not only a first for Han, but it was China’s first Olympic gold medal on snow. China’s previous wins have come from competitions on ice such as ice-skating and speed skating.
The win was China’s second sold medal of the games and ninth overall.
| US Envoy Hopes to Assuage Recent Cross-Strait Tensions
2-26: Former US Deputy Secretary of State, Richard Armitage, will be heading to Taiwan in the coming week to work to dissuade the President of Taiwan, Chen Shui Bian, from scrapping the National Unification Council.
Chen surprised the United States and China with his announcement of his plans to scrap the commission, although he will not abolish it altogether. President Chen announced this week that he was considering abolishing the NUC and drafting a new constitution that would sever the last remaining links between Taiwan and the mainland.
Armitage, who will travel to Taiwan as an unofficial representative, will push Chen to reconsider his move and explain the consequences of scrapping the NUC to American-Taiwanese relations. His trip follows on the heels of a previous envoy, the National Security Council’s Acting Director, Dennis Wilder, whose diplomatic weight was insufficient to convince Chen.
| China Looms Large on Bush’s Visit to India|
3-1: President Bush has embarked on a brief two day jaunt to India, signing a nuclear agreement to provide India with nuclear expertise and fuel for civilian means. The agreement aims to develop desperately needed energy technology to satisfy India’s burgeoning economy and population.
China loomed large in these meetings between Indian and American negotiators. Although the U.S. does not see China as a threat in Asia per se, except for in the case of Taiwan, a top State department official said: “It is imperative for the United States to broaden its network of serious friendships in Asia,” as a counterweight to China’s rising power.
Administration officials claim that they are doing nothing apart from routine diplomacy and they are building a regional strategy for security which includes China. However, given India and China’s historic tensions and American congressional insecurity over the growing economic, political, and military might of China, many see Bush’s trip as a way to engage a possible ally to contain China.
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