Albright to Raise Host of Issues with Chinese: ASEAN Meeting Chance to Discuss Strains in Relations

Article excerpt

Taiwan will not be the only issue on the agenda when Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright meets her Chinese counterpart in Singapore next week.

Beijing's crackdown on dissidents, reports that China stole nuclear technology from a U.S. energy lab, and difficult negotiations on a package of reparations for the U.S. bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade are all contributing stress to ties between the two countries.

The United States had been unable to resume all the aspects of its "relationship [with China] the way we would like to," said State Department spokesman James P. Rubin, who has a penchant for understatement.

"The reality is that U.S.-China relations have been through a rough patch following the tragic accident" in Belgrade, he said yesterday.

"We've apologized, we've expressed our regret, we've offered compensation, we're talking about compensation, we've provided a report."

No date has yet been scheduled for the meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan. The meeting will come on the sidelines of the annual ASEAN Regional Forum, or ARF, that begins Monday in Singapore. Mrs. Albright leaves for Alaska today en route to Asia.

ASEAN, which stands for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, includes Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Burma, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

ARF brings the ASEAN countries together each year with the United States, China, Russia, Japan and the European Union to discuss regional security issues.

Apart from China, high-level talks at the weeklong session are expected to focus on strife on the Korean peninsula and the border dispute between India and Pakistan over Kashmir. …