USIS Foreign Media Reaction 

22 May 1997


President Clinton's announcement on Monday that he would

recommend to the U.S. Congress that MFN status for China be

renewed prompted a majority of oveseas editors to conclude

that economic "pragmatism" had held sway over human rights 

concerns, with most deeming that the decision was a "trend"

that the U.S. could not necessarily "go against."  A number

of editors were dismissive of what they viewed as an

"annual ritual" in Washington whose outcome held few

surprises for foreign analysts.  Bangkok's Business Day,

for example, maintained:  "There is some perfunctory public

debate over the issue (of human rights), but on the whole,

it is 'business as usual.'"  Some editors, mainly in

Europe, expressed dismay at what they saw as the West's

increasing reluctance to challenge China on human rights. 

Munich's centrist Sueddeutsche Zeitung pointed out that,

secure in the knowledge that "markets rule," the Beijing

leadership "can bestow its favor on the one who is the most

submissive and...punish...the most recalcitrant."  As if

echoing those conclusions, China's official Communist Party

papers hailed the announcement as a "wise" decision on

President Clinton's part.  The English-language China

Daily, whose comments are directed toward a Western

readership, ran official statements cautioning the U.S. to

"change its unreasonable and untimely practice of annually

reviewing China's MFN status as soon as possible."  The

paper declared as well that linking MFN to conditions in

Hong Kong after its reversion to China would be "totally

unacceptable."  Most Hong Kong papers, regardless of their

orientation, also welcomed the president's announcement,

arguing that denial of MFN to China would deal a severe

"economic blow" to the colony, which reverts to Chinese

sovereignty in just over a month.  "Mr. Clinton clearly

recognizes that engagement with China is the only viable

option for the U.S.," said the Hong Kong Standard,  "Now he

must persuade Congress that it is time for these two giants

to deal with each other positively, constructively and as


The recent visit of French President Jacques Chirac to

China also prompted foreign observers to comment on the

strategic and economic balance of power in Asia.  Calling

attention to the fact that the French and Chinese

presidents signed a declaration in favor of a multi-polar

world just a month after Presidents Yeltsin and Jiang

signed a similar document, the centrist Times of India

asserted:  "One more piece of the post-Cold War strategic

jigsaw puzzle appears to have fallen neatly into place.... 

China fears that the U.S. is trying to encircle it and is

seeking to give itself strategic depth by building bridges

with Russia, France and even India."  Another Indian pundit

suggested that China was "exploiting" France to "poke a

finger in the U.S.' eye," stating that the lucrative Airbus

deal signed by President Chirac in Beijing "was a subtle

message to U.S. businesses that they are not trying hard

enough with their government on human rights."  French

papers, however, dubbed their president's China foray as

"sketchy" and "a passing whim."  Left-of-center Le Monde

cautioned that China is "both too different (ideologically)

and too distant (economically) for France to consider it a

political partner....  In the Asian context,"  the paper

warned, "China's regional ambitions should be contained

rather than encouraged."    

This survey is based on 52 reports from 18 countries, May

10 - 22.

EDITOR:  Kathleen J. Brahney

                          EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC


CHINA:  "China Welcomes President Clinton's MFN Decision"

Statements by spokesmen at the Foreign Ministry and

Ministry of Trade were carried in Communist Party papers

(5/21):  the People's Daily (Renmin Ribao), the People's

Daily overseas editions (Renmin Ribao Hai Wai Ban); the

official English-language China daily, the intellectually-

oriented Guangming Daily (Guangming Ribao), the official

Shanghai Liberation Daily (Jiefang Ribao), municipal

government Beijing Daily (Beijing Ribao), the official

State Council Economic Daily (Jingji Ribao)and Communist

Youth League China Youth Daily (Zhongguo Qingnian Bad). 

These excerpts are from the People's Daily:  "Foreign

Ministry spokesman Shen Guofang said that China welcomed

the decision to extend China's MFN status, and described

Clinton's decision to do so as wise.  MFN status is a

normal and reciprocal trade relationship granted by China

and the United States on the basis of equality and is the

cornerstone of Sino-U.S. trade relations.  Maintaining MFN

status is consistent with the fundamental interests of the

peoples of both countries....  Shen expressed the hope that

the United States will adopt measures to resolve China's

MFN status permanently and will create an atmosphere for

the smooth development of Sino-U.S. economic and trade


"Don't Link MFN With Hong Kong"

The China Daily ran this:  "China yesterday welcomed U.S.

President Bill Clinton's decision to renew China's Most

Favored Nation (MFN) trading status for the coming year,

while urging the Americans to grant permanent MFN status in

order to promote bilateral economic and trade ties....  A

spokesman for China's Ministry of Foreign Trade and

Economic Cooperation (MOFTEC) also welcomed Clinton's

decision....  In a press release, the spokesman said: 'We

hope the United States will change its unreasonable and

untimely practice (sic) of annually reviewing China's MFN

status as soon as possible.'...  The foreign ministry

spokesman said China would not accept any conditions

attached to the renewal of MFN status....  (The spokesman)

dismissed as 'totally unacceptable' the recent suggestions

by some U.S. lawmakers to link the MFN issue with Hong

Kong's return to China." 

"Do Americans Know Anything About Hong Kong?"

UN correspondent He Hongze filed this for the Official

Communist Party People's Daily (Renmin Ribao, 5/20): 

"There is an unbelievable gap in awareness about the Hong

Kong reversion issue between Americans and Hong Kong

residents who were surveyed.  For instance, when asked

whether the people of Hong Kong would choose independence

or reversion after 1997 if left to decide for themselves,

60 percent of Americans responded that the people of Hong

Kong would choose independence, while only 4 percent

thought that the people of Hong Kong would choose reversion

to China.  However, when the same question was posed in

Hong Kong, 62 percent of the respondents selected reversion

to China.  When asked about the future of Hong Kong after

1997, 72 percent of the people of Hong Kong expressed

confidence about post-1997 Hong Kong, while only 5 percent

expressed concern.  However, 31 percent of the American

respondents expressed great concern about the future of

Hong Kong.... 

"There are very few reports on Hong Kong in the U.S. media,

and the majority of what reports there are tend to be

negative in tone. No wonder so many Americans have

unwarranted anxiety about the future of Hong Kong.  The

latest Asian and American editions of  Newsweek magazine

recently ran completely different covers to accompany their

lead stories on Hong Kong. The Asian edition carried no

cover photo, just a bold headline: 'Hong Kong, the city of

survival.'  By contrast, in the American edition, a lady's

eyes were covered by a national flag of China, and the

headline was changed to read:  'Can Hong Kong Survive?' 

The different covers were probably selected by Newsweek in

order to target different audiences.  

"But this difference illustrates why Americans' knowledge

of Hong Kong differs markedly from that of the people of

Hong Kong."  

"Warming Trend Marks Military Cooperation"

The Chinese press quoted Chinese officials who met with

General Shalikashvili in Beijing on the issues of Taiwan

and the Sino-U.S. joint communiques.  The official,

English-language China Daily stated (5/14) under the

headline above, "As another sign of warming Sino-U.S.

official relations, Chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of

Staff John Shalikashvili was warmly received in Beijing

yesterday. Vice Chairman of the Central Military Commission

and Defense Minister Chi Haotian and Chief of Staff General

Fu Quanyou met separately for lengthy talks with

Shalikashvili. They also hosted two banquets in his honor. 

"Both military leaders expressed willingness to strengthen

exchanges and dialogue between the two armies. 

Shalikashvili is the highest military official to visit

China since 1985.  The two sides also discussed further

bilateral contacts and dialogues on berthing of U.S. fleets

in Hong Kong after July 1 and preventing ocean accidents." 

HONG KONG:  "Clinton's MFN Moves The Right Way--Forward"

The English-language Hong Kong Standard editorialized

(5/21):  "Mr. Clinton's announcement had been anticipated

for months.  But it is nonetheless welcome for that. 

Governor Chris Patten has rightly described it as

'excellent news for Hong Kong.'...  But Mr. Clinton is

right to stick with China.  This newspaper has pointed out

in the past that the challenge facing the world today is to

ensure that China's emergence as an international player is

achieved in a way where everyone benefits and no one feels

threatened....  Washington must do more to ease China's

entry into the World Trade Organization.  Mr. Clinton

clearly recognizes that engagement with China is the only

viable option for United States.  Now he must persuade

Congress that it is time for these two giants to deal with

each other positively, constructively and as equals."

"Clinton Shows Great Foresight"

The center-right Sing Tao Daily News commented (5/21): 

"Clinton said that the extension of MFN status was 'the

best way to mix China into the international big family and

to safeguard U.S. interests.'  This saying shows great

foresight.  In this era, the United States should not use

MFN status to threaten China.  It should adopt a fair and

cooperative attitude....  China hopes the United States

will grant it permanent MFN status, but it seems impossible

within the next one or two years.  Hong Kong in its

transition period will be involved in this dispute.  For

its own benefit, Hong Kong should continue its lobbying."

"MFN Protects U.S. Business Interests"

The independent Hong Kong Economic Journal opined (5/21): 

"If the United States did not renew China's MFN status, not

only would the human rights situation in China deteriorate,

but Hong Kong would also become a victim by taking a blow

to its economy.  The Hong Kong Special Administrative

Region would be caught in a dilemma.  U.S. business

interests would also be hampered....  If China and the

United States fall foul of each other due to the MFN issue,

more contracts will be won by (the United States') 

business opponents."

"Permanent MFN For China Reasonable Request"

The independent Sing Pao Daily News said (5/21):  "The

renewal of China's MFN status every year is still one of

the major contradictions between China and the United

States.  China's request for permanent MFN status is

absolutely reasonable....  If the United States stops

granting China MFN status, Hong Kong will suffer a bigger

blow than China.  We urge the U.S. congressmen not to do

anything bad to Hong Kong despite their good intentions.  

"Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy relies on its own

effort and not on foreign governments' attention."

"The Right Direction"

An editorial in the independent, English-language South

China Morning Post  said (5/16):  "The modifications

announced yesterday in the changes to civil liberty laws

are to be welcomed....  This is a source of relief:  Even

if limited, the modifications are good news.  More

importantly, they are a positive sign that Mr. Tung and the

future rulers of the Special Administrative Region are not

immune to public opinion and will take notice of well-

founded arguments with wide support.  It may also be a

signal of growing confidence in Beijing that Hong Kong's

democratic traditions are not a threat." 

"Do Not Look For Order At The Expense Of Freedom"

The independent Ming Pao Daily News held (5/16):  "The

chief executive's office has made eleven modifications to

the public order and societies ordinances after

consultation.  The office has deleted some of the

suggestions that many people questioned as violating civic

rights.  It shows that consultation does give play to the

ordinances.  However...some areas still need to be

improved...  When safeguarding the interests of 'one

country', please do not sacrifice the freedom and life

style of people under the 'two systems.'" 

"More Leniency In Applications For Demonstrations Needed"

Center-right Sing Tao Daily News said this (5/16):  "The

chief executive's office just announced the public order

and societies ordinances after modifications....  However,

there are still some areas that can be improved....  If the

future government is more lenient in dealing with

applications for demonstrations, the amendments will be

widely accepted." 

"Public Opinion" 

The pro-PRC Hong Kong Commercial Daily contended (5/16): 

"The chief executive's office has accepted the constructive

opinions of society.  The Hong Kong government carried out

various consultations before, but none of them have fully

accepted public opinion in their consultations like this


INDONESIA:  "China's Successful Strategy In The West"

Pro-government, Islamic-leaning Berita Buana conveyed this

logic (5/17):  "If China is `sweet' toward the United

States and Europe, Beijing should behave even nicer to

ASEAN countries with their population of 420 million and

crucial markets.  China is currently in the international

spotlight.  Some observers want to see what will happen to

Hong Kong...and are intrigued by the 'one China-two

systems' paradigm.  While such a system would not work in

Europe, anything is possible in China.  Communism is used

to achieve unity in the bureaucracy and as a tool of  the

leadership, whereas capitalism is used for the people's


PHILIPPINES:  "Spratlys--A Worry For ASEAN, U.S., Japan" 

The independent, second leading national Philippine Daily

Inquirer told its readers (5/19): "While the United States

refuses to bring the Spratlys within the coverage of the

mutual defense treaty on the grounds that they are not part

of the Philippine mainland, the United States, Japan and

ASEAN cannot be indifferent to any escalation of the

dispute between the Philippines and China....  Any

hostilities between these two countries will immediately

create a specter of insecurity over the ASEAN members...and

over the pivotal role of the United States inmaintaining

the balance of power in the Asia-Pacfic." 

"Philippine Firmness Needed" 

In its second editorial, the Philippine Daily Inquirer

stated (5/19):  "The strategic position of the Philippines

in the South China Sea and Pacific--both in political,

economic and security terms--should be considered in the

calculations of ASEAN, the United States, Japan and China

as they interact over the Chinese tactic of testing how far

they can go in substantiating their historic sovereignty

claims over the South China Sea.  As for the defense treaty

with the United States, we should not think of its revision

as the only way to defend our territory.  The dynamic of

events that may be created by armed conflict over disputed

territories creates its own logic for U.S. intervention. 

The upsetting of the balance of power can prompt U.S.

military intervention, regardless of whether or not there

is a treaty calling for immediate retaliation.  America has

a big economic and security stake in maintaining the

balance of power in the region.  Japan and ASEAN have big

stakes in a credible and significant U.S. military presence

in the region.  China's need to develop friendly relations

with the United States and Japan to have access to capital

and investment are factors that can restrain it from

pushing its historic claims to the point of armed conflict. 

But the bottom line for the Philippines is to make it clear

at all times to China that it is not going to be bullied by

(China's) probing thrusts." 

"Appeasement:  Mice Playing With The Cat?" 

An editorial  in the liberal Today said this about

developments in the contested Spratly Islands  (5/14): 

"We've seen what Chinese promises are worth and what

illusory fruits diplomacy by minus-one bears.  And for all

our nervousness over the Spratlys, it is well to remember

that the rest of Asia is also fretting over the military

posturings of the People's Republic of China....   

"There is a variation on Santayana's famous saying that

those who learn the lessons of history are condemned to

commit the same blunders with effects twice as bad.  No

one--at least no one in the modern age who holds an

important government position--can claim he doesn't know

what happened the last time powers major and minor tried to

mollify an aggressive nation with expansionist tendencies:

The result was the outbreak of the Second World War and

Hitlerism run amok in Europe....  A mouse can try to

challenge a cat, but all it will accomplish is to amuse the

cat at the mouse's expense.  But pit a hundred mice against

the cat and...well, the cat just might get nipped enough to

flee....  All our diplomacy as far as China is concerned

has proven that we're...helpless and easy prey." 

"Use Diplomacy, Not Force, To Deal With China"

In his column in the independent Manila Standard (5/10),

Jerry Barican  commented on the Philippines' territorial

dispute with China over the Spratly Islands:  "There is no

way we can militarily  defeat a determined China even if we

spend our entire government budget, which is a paltry $20

billion, on national defense....  Under...economic and

military difficulties, risks and costs, the true deterrence

of China lies more with diplomacy than military

adventurism....  In that context, we are not helpless.  We

belong  to ASEAN, to which China assigns importance.   We

can and have appealed to the United States, less by way of

military protection than by means of the whole diplomatic

arsenal available to it, not excluding trade, to restrain


SOUTH KOREA:   "Clinton Embraces China"

In the view of conservative Segye Ilbo (5/21):  "President

Clinton is confident that Congress will pass an extension

of Most Favored Nation status for China.  Even if Congress

objects to an MFN extension, the  president knows he will

get it through with his veto prerogative.  His real concern

is to put an early end to the issue before a prolonged,

heated debate about China hurts him politically.  Also, the

president made his decision early in order not to give

conservative organizations time to form a strong coalition

against an extension of MFN. The return of Hong Kong to

China is a further complication for the president. 

Extending MFN, however, may well be a trend that the United

States cannot go against."

"China And France: Strong New Partnership To Balance U.S."

Anti-establishment Hankyoreh Shinmun held (5/17):  "China

and  France have strengthened their new partnership for the

21st century.  Aimed at balancing the United States, it

will be a 'comprehensive partnership' weighty enough to

demand a new kind of  international order....  By seeking

close relations with Russia and France, China is preparing

a card  that will put it on higher ground in dealing with

the United States.  Although France was the first country

to sanction China after the Tiananmen incident, it has

lately adopted a practical line which puts the economy

first.  It gave tacit approval to China's handling of human

rights by saying that particular circumstances should be

taken into account."  

THAILAND:  "A Carrot And A Stick For A 'Most Favored


The lead editorial of the small circulation, English-

language Business Day commented (5/22): "Renewing China's

Most Favored Nation status has  become an annual ritual in

Washington.  There is some perfunctory public debate over

the issue, but on the whole it is 'business as usual,'

mainly  because China provides the United States with the

best source of low-priced consumer goods. This alone gives

enough justification for the tariff  breaks.  There was, as

always, the usual rhetoric about the need to 'engage' China

in order to encourage political and social changes,

particularly on the issues of democracy and human rights. 

Aside from business issues, however, the relationship

between China and the United States is also based on

military considerations, for the United States can plainly

see that  China will in due course begin to flex its

military muscle in the  Asia-Pacific region." 

"Jiang's Appearance On CNN:  Major Shift In China Policy?" 

Cafe Dam commented in elite, business-oriented Krungthep

Turakit (5/14):  "The CNN interview with Chinese President

Jiang Zemin is unprecedented and indicates a major shift in

China's policy....  Today's China can no longer disregard

the outside world as it becomes increasingly dependent on

international trade....  The main objective for Jiang's

granting an interview was evidently to placate the world's

concern about the future of Hong Kong....  On the other

hand, China realized that it has to rely on Hong Kong in

many important ways.  Also, China meant to prove that Hong

Kong under its rule will be no less prosperous than when

the colony was under Britain's control."



FRANCE:  "France's Sketchy Presence In Asia" 

Francis Deron, Jean-Claude Pomonti and Philippe Pons wrote

in left-of-center Le  Monde (5/15):  "This is the third

time in a year that President Chirac has traveled to

Asia....  (In the past,) the Franco-Chinese 'political 

dialogue' has helped the two nations to gain some

recognition when the world scene was monopolized by

Washington and Moscow....  The Chinese, Japanese and

Southeast Asian leaders do not have the same hostile and

ambivalent feelings towards France that they have toward

the United States, which is a  source of either admiration

or mistrust....  In many ways, Asian nations see France's

renewed interest in their region as a passing whim. 

Focusing on the idea of a 'multipolar' world--in other

words, in reaction to the United States--France is

flattering Asia....  This is in no way the expression of a 

French Asian policy, which is still very much missing." 

"Asian Mirages" 

Jacques Amalric remarked in left-of-center Liberation

(5/15): "No one can confirm  that post-Deng China will be,

in the year 2015 or 2020, the peaceful and  responsible

superpower that many want to imagine.  

"The multipolarity preached in Beijing today could be a

step towards a new bipolar world in which China will play a

major role." 

"Selling China On Human Rights" 

Catholic La Croix's Bruno Frappat had this to say (5/15): 

"Time will tell whether Chirac's wager has been won and

whether he will have managed to sell China on human rights,

a commodity it refuses to import." 

"Why Chirac Is Going:  Chinese Buying Power"

Charles Lambroschini wrote in right-of-center Le Figaro

(5/14): "With the globalization of the world economy,

President Chirac's message to the voters is clear:  They

must look to distant horizons....  Anglo-Saxon experts

predict that, in the next 20 years, the Chinese market's

buying power will equal that of the United States....  This

explains President Chirac's interest  in Asia." 

"A Problematic Trip To China" 

According to Jean-Luc Domenach in left-of-center Le Monde

(5/14): "There is a basic  error in thinking that a

political approach to China is the answer....  In a

worldwide perspective, it is difficult to see over what

fundamental principles democratic France and Communist

China could agree.  In the Asian context, China's regional

ambitions should be contained rather than encouraged. 

Finally, in a bilateral context, it has been repeatedly

proven that a political approach to China has never

improved either our  exports or our cultural and linguistic

influence in that country....  China is both too different

(ideologically) and too distant (economically) for France

to be able to consider it a political partner."

BRITAIN:  "Clinton Gives Boost To China Policy" 

The centrist Independent reported from Washington (5/20): 

"President Clinton yesterday launched a pre-emptive strike

in defense of his controversial China policy by announcing

that he would renew China's MFN trading status for another

year....  Yesterday's early announcement guarantees a

furious debate in Congress, where China's MFN status was

already expected to be given a rougher ride than in recent


GERMANY:  "Same Debate, Same Result"

Kurt Kister wrote in centrist Sueddeutsche  Zeitung of

Munich (5/21):  "Every year, the China debate in Washington

heats up.  The pattern is as follows:  After intense

frowning, the president--irrespective of whether he is

called Reagan, Bush, or Clinton--grants MFN  status to

China.  Then human rights activists and members of

the...political opposition provoke a storm of protests. 

They argue that the Chinese government violates human

rights and is rewarded with the MFN  status.  Congress then

has a vote, and the separation between human rights and

economic interests again find a majority.  The same will be

true this year, despite some differences....  Trade between

China and the United States has grown year after year.  

The United States, France, Germany and other countries are

competing for orders.  The Beijing leadership can bestow

its favor on the one who is the most submissive and, at the

same time, punish those who are the most  recalcitrant. 

China knows that the markets rule.  In this context, noble

resolutions in favor of Tibet or political prisoners are a

ritual that can be neglected." 

"Global Pragmatism" 

Herbert Kremp observed in right-of-center Die Welt of 

Berlin (5/21): "President Clinton has now extended MFN

status for China.  We can now talk of the globalization of


ITALY:  "Clinton Wants To Renew MFN To China"

A report by New York correspondent Marco Valsania in

leading business Il Sole-24 Ore (5/21) said:  "Bill Clinton

has asked Congress for a renewal of MFN status to China.... 

But the White House, which is playing one of its key games

in foreign policy, is facing a stronger opposition this

time, including both conservative and left-wing sectors of

the Democratic Party.  Christian coalition groups and AFL-

CIO labor unions are against the decision....  The tension

has already forced the Clinton administration to a partial

retreat, i.e., giving up its initial goal of obtaining

permanent renewal of the Most Favored Nation status for


"Clinton's And Chirac's Business With China" 

An editorial in provocative, classical liberal Il Foglio

(5/21) noted:  "It is not clear yet whether France, in the

framework of its new collaboration with China, will also

break the embargo on weapons, one of the few sanctions

against Beijing which still remain in effect since

Tiananmen.  President Chirac limited himself to saying that

he will not sell weapons to Taiwan.  Clinton...said he

(would) establish a strategic dialogue with the Chinese on

a wide range of issues....  Defeated in Central Africa by

U.S. diplomacy...France is taking its revenge in the Far

East.  Trade expansion will benefit from that.  Less so

human rights." 

RUSSIA:  "Clinton Does Much To Improve Ties With China" 

Iya Motskobili said in reformist, business-oriented

Kommersant Daily (5/21):  "In the last couple of years

Clinton has done a lot to improve relations with China. 

But constant violations of human rights in that country,

along with its arms supplies to unstable political regimes

and conflict areas, remain a stumbling block in the

bilateral relationship." 

"Different Opinions On Human Rights" 

Reformist Segodnya (5/19) cited Russian Deputy Foreign

Minister Grigory Karasin as saying: "The discussion (of

Hong Kong's future) with our partners in China, the United

States and other countries revealed different opinions,

including on human rights.  And he added that Russian

diplomats thought it important to follow Beijing's very

serious approach to everything concerning Hong Kong's new


"U.S. Is Last Hope" 

Alexander Chudodeyev said in reformist Segodnya (5/14): 

"Hope dies last, so local (Hong Kong) democrats are not

hiding the fact that they count on Washington.  Beijing

naturally views the transfer of Hong Kong as an 'internal

matter' and wants the rest of the world out.  So it looks

as if the United States and China have discovered another

big outstanding problem."

BELGIUM:  "Clinton Listens To Advice From U.S. Business"

 Asian affairs writer Freddy De Pauw held in independent

Catholic De Standaard (5/21):  "U.S. President Bill Clinton

has extended China's MFN status by one year....  The chance

that the Congress will cast a two-thirds majority veto is

very limited.  But, opponents are counting on more votes

than last year in order to, thus, obtain a small moral

victory over Beijing....  As president, Clinton did not

give a clear direction to Washington's China policy.  As a

presidential candidate, he pleaded for a harsher approach

but, as president, he gradually had more of an ear for the

advice from business people with interests in China.  The

decision to extend China's MFN status was certainly

stimulated when, during the visit of Vice President Al Gore

to Beijing, a few interesting contracts between American

and Chinese enterprises were concluded." 

CANADA:  "Hypocrisy" 

According to the conservative Ottawa Sun (5/21)  "The

hypocrisy of U.S. President Bill Clinton's administration

reared its ugly two heads Monday  with renewed plans to

extend MFN trade status to Red China.   We use the

adjective 'Red' purposely here because China is what it is-

-a repressive communist regime with an absolutely appalling

human  rights record....  While we do not deny the United

States' right to trade  with any country it wishes, it

still yanks our chain when Americans throw up barriers to

impede Canada's right to trade with whatever country it

desires....  This does bring us around to the Helms-Burton

law....   In defense of his decision...Clinton said the

United States had an interest in China's political and

economic reform and would have little sway over the country

if it were to curtail its trade status.  This is  the same

argument, of course, which Canada presented in it dealings

with  Cuba....  Unfortunately, the Clinton administration

listens to no one but itself when it comes to foreign

relations.   All of which only punctuates its hypocrisy."  

                        MIDDLE EAST-NORTH AFRICA 


EGYPT:  "American Producers And Consumers"

Pro-government daily Al Ahram held (5/22): "It was 

unprecedented that the U.S. administration renewed China's

Most Favored Nation status without a problem....  The 

American administration used to pressure China on human 

rights...or for violations of American IPR....  The weapon

the administration used was threatening not to renew the 

MFN status....  The renewal this time came because of the

harm that American producers and consumers could have

suffered if China were sanctioned." 

                               SOUTH ASIA


INDIA:  "Chirac In China" 

The centrist Times Of India opined (5/22), "With the recent

visit to Beijing by French President Jacques Chirac, one

more piece of the post-Cold War strategic jigsaw puzzle

appears to have fallen neatly into place.  With the

exception of Britain, all other permanent members of the

Security Council have now formally and jointly expressed

their reservations about the preponderance of U.S. power. 

Last month, the presidents of China and Russia signed a

declaration on the desirability of a multipolar world.  And

last week, the French joined the Chinese in saying pretty

much the same thing.  For some time now, France has been

telling anyone willing to listen that a unipolar world will

inevitably be a dangerous place....  

"As far as China is concerned, President Chirac has gone a

long way toward ending the rancor which existed on the

bilateral front after France's 1994 weapons sale to

Taiwan....   For their part, the Chinese have rewarded

France with a $1.5 billion contract for Airbus

Industries....  China fears that the United States is

trying to encircle it and is seeking to give itself

strategic depth by building bridges with Russia, France and

even India.  Washington denies it is trying to contain

China....  By declaring themselves in favor of a multipolar

world, China and France are saying that they want a United

States that is similarly benign.  Unfortunately, whether in

trade or security matters, the Clinton administration

insists that the United States is an indispensable nation." 


"Clinton Renews MFN Status For China"

The centrist Hindu's Washington correspondent, Sridhar

Krishnaswami, wrote (5/21):  "President Bill Clinton, has

announced his decision to renew the Most Favored Nation

Status to China for another year....  One of the more

compelling reasons for the the whole concept

of economics and everything that goes in this category.... 

One of the crucial things that cannot be ignored is the

mega market opportunities of China and in what the American

businesses would have to lose if Beijing retaliated against

the revocation of the MFN by the United States. Though the

administration here formally delinked trade and human

rights, China in its own way has been making that

linkage....  (President Clinton's) decision undoubtedly

sets in motion another major foreign policy debate in this

country and one in which the president will have his way in

the end....  Clinton will also be finding that more

Republicans and Democrats may be voting against the MFN

extension than in the past."   

"China Exploits France To Get At U.S."

Tokyo correspondent F.J. Khergamvala presented this view in

the centrist Hindu (5/20):  "Who in Europe is better to be

exploited to poke a finger in the United States' eye than

the French?  The Chinese have done exactly that and, in a

foreign policy success, for the first time got a Western

nation to agree on paper to recognize Beijing's own

definition of human rights....  In an obviously well-timed

and well-planned trade-off, this concession by Chirac was

one of two that apparently lubricated the $1.8 billion in

contracts granted to French companies....  The size of the

Airbus order is a subtle message to the Clinton

administration and an even more open message to U.S.

business that they are not trying hard enough with their

government on human rights....  

"Not too worrisome to the Americans would be the language

used in the joint declaration on the United States'

overbearing attitude....  It is clear where the finger is

being pointed, although the term used is milder than the

Sino-Russian document of last month, which used

'hegemons.'...   So far as the reality is concerned, a

Sino-French partnership does not do much by itself by way

of a counterweight to the U.S. position on the world

stage....  The United States is unlikely to lose much sleep

over it, not only because there is nothing much in a Sino-

French partnership to worry it, but also because France is

following the China policy initiated by the United States."

"Clinton May Favor MFN For China"

The centrist Hindu's Washington correspondent Sridhar

Krishnaswami expressed this view (5/17):  "There is no

doubt that Clinton will be giving his positive

recommendation on the subject (of MFN to China)....   But

the White House is also faced with another dilemma...with

the slow erosion in the numbers of the Republicans who have

backed the granting of MFN to China.  The second

disadvantage for the White House is its timing: On July 1

Hong Kong reverts back to China after 150 years.... 

"The Clinton administration's China policy is not about to

undergo any major changes in the sense that Washington is

not going to look beyond the mega-market opportunities

framework....  Even if the second Clinton administration

could have made a 'breakthrough' in its China policy by

injecting a strategic dimension, that opportunity seems to

have been lost because of the domestic realities.  The

White House has been saddled with the additional burden of

the campaign finance scandal, in which allegations have

been made of China trying to influence the American

electoral process.  The impact of the campaign finance

irregularities of the Democratic Party has dealt a

debilitating blow to the conduct of foreign policy per se."

PAKISTAN:  "Sino-Russian Opposition To U.S. Hegemony"

The Peshawar-based, independent Frontier Post ran this op-

ed piece by Muhammed Ali Talpur (5/18):   "The Russia of

today still has the capability of destroying the United

States and the world many times over.  All the elements of

the Cold War era minus the ideological factor...(are still)

in place.  The recent agreement signed by Russia and China

has once again shown that remnants of communism are still

breathing and may pose a threat to the hegemony of the

United States.... 

"The United States is ready to give India a 'stabilizing'

role in the region at large....  By focusing on the issues

on which Indian and U.S. interests might converge, India

has sought to depict itself as a state whose friendship

would advance larger U.S. strategic interests along the

wider Southern Asian rim.  Given this set of new

circumstances, the objective here is to remind India and

Pakistan that their permanent security interests consist

not of regional hegemony but simply of ensuring survival

and autonomy."

NEPAL:  "An ASEAN-10 Could Stand Up To China"

The government-owned Sunday Despatch observed (5/19): 

"When ASEAN expands its membership to ten, it will create a

group of 500 million people with a fast-growing internal

market.  The new countries are the source of cheap labor as

well as abundant raw materials like timber, coal and

hydropower.  Politically, a united ASEAN has great

advantage over an assertive China in the region.  The

region is worried because of China's territorial disputes

with five other countries over the Spratly Islands...

ASEAN's commitment to include three new a

great achievement of the association working for the peace,

prosperity and mutual understanding among the countries of

the region."



NIGERIA:  "What Benefits In New Friendship With China?" 

The Lagos-based independent Post Express ran this editorial

(5/21):  "China is open to  Western investment.  We are

behaving as if we do not need that investment.  Whatever

benefits we stand to reap from our relations with China can

only be the result of their own openness to Western

investment, technology and ideas.  Thus, we are about to

receive second-hand goods and services.  Moreover, there is

very little in the cultural outlook of  the Chinese that

can appeal to our people.  Nor do we have the discipline

that they got from communism to benefit from their

experience.  Even if they were so disposed, our present

leadership (and the past ones) does not have the

ideological tutelage that placed China in a position to

convert Western investment to prosperity.  Most

importantly, it may be excusable to buy Chinese locomotives

and sell them oil in return.  But one thing we must not

learn from them is the culture of political repression and

cruelty to its citizens." 



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