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Thursday, November 04, 2004


PRC downplays stinging foreign policy attack on USA

The Peoples Republic of China does not endorse stinging criticism of US President George W. Bush's foreign policy published in the Communist Party-controlled, English-language China Daily newspaper, but apparantly doesn't shrink from it either.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue told a news briefing that Beijing had responded to a US request for clarification but said the PRC believed that unilateral actions by any government didn't fit current international conditions. "We should rely on multilateralism to handle problems facing the world, including terrorism and other challenges." she said.

On the eve of the US presidential election, one of the PRC's most senior foreign policy advisors publicly condemned the "Bush doctrine," said the Iraq war had destroyed the global anti-terror coalition and blamed arrogance for the problems dogging the United States worldwide.

The United States was dreaming if it thought the 21st century was the American century, wrote Qian Qichen, a former foreign minister credited with breaking the PRC out of the diplomatic isolation that followed its 1989 massacre of protestors in Tiananmen Square.

"The current US predicament in Iraq serves as another example that when a country's superiority psychology inflates beyond its real capability, a lot of trouble can be caused," Qian wrote.

"But the troubles and disasters the United States has met do not stem from the threats by others, but from its own cocksureness and arrogance."

The invasion of Iraq "has made the United States even more unpopular in the international community than its war in Vietnam," he said.

"The Iraq war has also destroyed the hard-won global anti-terror coalition," Qian added, saying it had caused a rise in terrorist activity around the globe and widened a rift between the United States and Europe.

The US strategy of pre-emptive strikes would bring insecurity and ultimately the demise of the "American empire," Qian said.

"It is now time to give up the illusion that Europeans and Americans are living in the same world, as some Europeans would like to believe," Qian said. "The 21st century is not the 'American century'. That does not mean that the United States does not want the dream. Rather it is incapable of realizing the goal," he said.

After the 11 September 2001 attacks on the United States, the "Bush doctrine" created "axes of evil" and pre-emptive strategies.

"It linked counter-terrorism and the prevention of proliferation of so-called rogue states and failed states ... It all testifies that Washington's anti-terror campaign has already gone beyond the scope of self-defence," Qian said.

Politics professor David Zweig, at the Hong University of Science and Technology, told VOA that Qian's comments reflect the Peoples Republic of China's growing prominence in international affairs. He said Beijing for the first time is seeing itself affected by US policy in other parts of the world.

"The fact that Chinese are being kidnapped, killed in Pakistan," he said. "China is now involved in the civil war in Darfour, in the Sudan. All of a sudden, what goes on in terms of American presence, of instability in the world has a much bigger impact on China than it did before."

In Washington, the US State Department summoned Chinese Ambassador Yang Jiechi to a meeting with James Kelly, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs.

US officials expressed doubt that Qian's remarks were a coincidence. According to the Washington Times, “they noted that there is no free press in China, and the article in question hardly could have slipped past the censors”.

A senior State Department official speculated that Beijing was doing contingency planning, in case Sen. John Kerry won the election.

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