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President Bush's China Visit Could Be Difficult

Monday, 28 January 2002 12:00 AM

On Feb. 21 President Bush is due to visit Red China as part of a wider Asian tour. According to Clark T. Randt Jr., the U.S. ambassador to China, Bush will discuss Beijing's human rights record, its relations with Taiwan and its export of weapons.

The American diplomat thanked China for participation in the war on international terrorism, but mentioned U.S. concerns on several issues: "Being a valuable member of the coalition does not mean that China receives a free pass with respect to the issues of non-proliferation, human rights, religious freedom and Taiwan," Mr. Randt said in Hong Kong on Jan. 21.

Beijing followed Moscow's lead in supporting the war against international terrorism. But while taking advantage of the benefits provided to China by the West for its largely vocal participation in the anti-terror coalition, China did very little (if anything at all) in practical support of the U.S.-led operation.

At the same time, in its official participation in the coalition, China's communist government justified its repression of China's national minorities (more than 150 million people), first of all those in Xinjiang and Tibet, and also hardened its position over Taiwan, considered by Beijing as its own "renegade province."

China has tried to portray opponents of communist rule in Xinjiang as part of the global terror threat being fought by the U.S.-led coalition. China's state-controlled media has reported the arrest and execution of a handful of people in northwest Xinjiang alleged to have received training and weapons from abroad and accused of being part of Osama bin Laden's terrorist network.

However, these statements offered no evidence to support Beijing's claims, and Chinese officials haven't identified any Chinese who received training or aid from bin Laden or the Taliban. Also, as the press has reported, during the war on terrorism Chinese intelligence continued to supply weapons and ammunition to the Taliban and international terrorists.

At the same time, Red China continues to pursue its plans to expand its hegemonic influence in the Pacific Rim at the expense of the U.S. and its allies and interests. Chinese companies acting as fronts for their communist government and its PLA intelligence are already established in many American states, as well as in Panama, the Bahamas and some Latin America countries.

Red China is supporting Colombia's Marxist drug traffickers and the increasingly despotic Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez, whose intentions include plans to replicate the Maoist revolution and expand China's military and intelligence presence in his country.

There is little doubt that this policy not only reflects Beijing's intentions to extend its influence but also demonstrates the official policy of Chinese communists for dealing with what they call "the main enemy of the Chinese people," namely the U.S.

Accordingly, Beijing continues to transfer missile and nuclear technologies to such clients as Pakistan, North Korea, Iraq and Iran, some of which may be new U.S. targets before the war on terrorism is over. Beijing is also supporting and developing close ties with Libya, Syria, Cuba and other traditional sponsors of international terrorism.

Last week, the Bush administration imposed economic sanctions on two Chinese companies and one person, Q.C. Chen, after they were caught selling chemical- and biological weapons-related equipment to Iran.

Unfortunately, these entities are only a few of the many Chinese businesses involved in the process of proliferation, which has continued for almost two decades.

In this connection, it would be difficult to assume that President Bush's visit to China will be easy if he is looking for a way to change Beijing's policies, which until now have been more than unfriendly toward the U.S. and its friends and allies.

Future negotiations with Chinese leaders could provide Bush an opportunity to make clear to Beijing America's position on human rights and other important issues, which are vital not only for the U.S. but also for the entire civilized world.

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On Feb. 21 President Bush is due to visit Red China as part of a wider Asian tour. According to Clark T. Randt Jr., the U.S. ambassador to China, Bush will discuss Beijing's human rights record, its relations with Taiwan and its export of weapons. The American diplomat...
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2002-00-28
Monday, 28 January 2002 12:00 AM
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