Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

China Vows to Support U.S. Policy in N. Korea Clinton Talks Trade, Rights with Leader

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

China Vows to Support U.S. Policy in N. Korea Clinton Talks Trade, Rights with Leader

Article excerpt

Chinese President Jiang Zemin promised President Bill Clinton today that China would enthusiastically support the U.S.-North Korea agreement to terminate North Korea's nuclear weapons program, according to senior U.S. officials.

China's support for the accord was not in doubt, but U.S. officials said Clinton was pleasantly surprised by the vigor of Jiang's endorsement. Chinese influence over North Korea could help ensure implementation of the deal, which calls for the United States, Japan and South Korea to provide North Korea with conventional nuclear power reactors in exchange for abandonment of its plutonium production program.

The harmony over North Korea was the highlight of what U.S. officials described as an amicable meeting that reflected the substantial overall improvement in U.S.-China relations since last spring, when Clinton abandoned his attempt to use trade pressure to force China to improve its human rights record.

Clinton restated the U.S. position that further progress in relations with China will be keyed to such human rights mileposts as the release of dissidents and liberalization in Tibet, senior officials said.

The positive session with Jiang provided a promising start to a day of bilateral meetings between Clinton and key Asian leaders gathered in Jakarta for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

Sunday night, under pressure to reassure these leaders that his international agenda will survive last Tuesday's Democratic defeat at the polls, Clinton asserted that he does not expect the Republican takeover of Congress to have "any impact on our foreign policy."

"We don't have a parliamentary system" in which a change of party control in the legislature forces a change in government, Clinton said at a joint news conference in Manila with Philippine President Fidel V. Ramos. "The power vested by the Constitution in the president to represent the United States in foreign affairs ... is quite clear."

In meetings with Asian leaders, officials said, Clinton's objectives include:

Obtaining Japanese and South Korean agreement on the organization and financing of a new Korean Energy Development Organization, or KEDO. …

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