White House Undecided on China Censure at U.N
Carter, Tom, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
The Clinton administration has not decided three days before the opening of the annual U.N. forum on human rights whether to sponsor or support a resolution criticizing China's record.
Such a resolution is sought by a broad range of human rights activists and has unanimous backing in both houses of Congress. But it could be expected to further complicate plummeting relations with China just weeks before a visit to Washington by Chinese Prime Minister Zhu Rongji.
Asked this week whether the United States would support a resolution, State Department spokesman James Foley said, "We've not made a decision yet in that regard in terms of how we're going to handle that issue."
The U.S. delegation, led by Nancy Rubin, leaves today for the U.N. Human Rights Commission, which opens Monday in Geneva and runs through April 30.
Whether to censure China will be a main U.S. concern, but the delegation will also work on other issues, including women's rights, Cuba, and religious persecution.
Mr. Foley said an array of problems in U.S.-Chinese relations had complicated the decision on human rights. He said North Korea, nuclear nonproliferation, whether to allow China into the World Trade Organization and "important commercial interests in China" were part of the equation.
P.J. Crowley, spokesman for the National Security Council, said yesterday the U.S. decision would be based on how best to get results.
"There is no question that we will speak out strongly on the issue of China's human rights in Geneva. The issue is, how do you ultimately change Chinese behavior."
The House and the Senate have both called in nonbinding resolutions for the Clinton administration to seek a human rights resolution on China. The Senate voted 99-0 in late February, and the House voted 421-0 acted on March 11.
At a separate hearing on the day of the House vote, Rep. Christopher H. Smith, New Jersey Republican, urged the Clinton administration to reconsider Mr. Zhu's visit to Washington set for early April.
He said the visit should not take place "while the rape of Tibet is going on. We cannot act as though it's business as usual."
There is a general expectation on Capitol Hill that the U.S. …