Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL), February 7, 1996 | Go to article overview
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Time to evaluate U.S.-China policy

While the White House focuses its foreign policy attention on Bosnia - as it should because our troops face potential peril in a land where long-term peace is uncertain - another international situation demands the president's resolute attention, lest it become a crisis.

China is showing little interest in becoming a full partner in a free world. In fact, it has in recent days reverted to form, behaving as a menacing totalitarian state. It is building up its military and making threatening gestures to Taiwan, which China regards as a renegade province.

China also is unwilling to play by the rules in trade. It is refusing to abide by its own agreement with the U.S. to curb the pirating of intellectual property. China has, for example, been exporting bootleg compact disc recordings, in violation of a trade accord reached with the U.S.

Meanwhile, Wei Jingsheng, the Chinese dissident nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, began serving a 14-year jail sentence that the Chinese government handed down in December. His crime? Promoting democracy.

China's plans for military maneuvers off the coast of Taiwan are not being taken as a sign of imminent invasion. Rather, they are viewed by the U.S. as an act of intimidation; China is attempting to disrupt Taiwan's economy and its March presidential elections.

Nonetheless, the potentially destabilizing effect of China's militaristic belligerence, trade intransigence and continued disinterest in democratic reform is something the free world cannot tolerate.

The U.S. response is the same as it always has been. It is warning China to avoid a confrontation with Taiwan, stop human rights abuses and end its unethical - its illegal - trade tactics.

China's response is the same as it always has been. It says the U.S. has no business meddling in China's internal affairs.

The U.S. has been reluctant to punish ignored warnings with economic sanctions out of fear that this would only further isolate China, increasing the risk that it would become a dangerous adversary.

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