Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Ashcroft Bill Ill-Conceived, Critics Argue

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Ashcroft Bill Ill-Conceived, Critics Argue

Article excerpt

Most American leaders would like to see China clean up its behavior at home and abroad. So why is a bill co-sponsored by Sen. John Ashcroft, R-Mo., intended to make China do just that in such trouble?

The short answer, say critics, is that the bill is poorly timed and poorly conceived.

Harsh sanctions provided by the proposed China Policy Act of 1997 could disrupt the meeting Oct. 28 in Washington of Chinese President Jiang Zemin and President Bill Clinton, says Stanley Roth, assistant secretary of state of East Asian and Pacific affairs. "Were the bill to pass, it clearly would lead to a major deterioration in our relations with China and jeopardize any progress that might be made at the summit," Roth told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week. The committee chairman, Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., opened the hearing by declaring that Clinton's administration was "soft on China" and said U.S. China policy amounted to appeasement. Most other committee members disagreed. …

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