At least temporarily, the United States and China have halted
last spring's dangerous drift toward rivalry and acrimony.
Secretary of State Warren Christopher visited Beijing this week.
President Clinton and Chinese President Jiang Zemin meet in Manila
next week, to be followed by a trip to Washington by the Chinese
defense minister and exchanges at the presidential and vice
presidential level next year.
A new and fragile consensus on China policy in Washington and
among the American people permits this flurry of diplomatic
activity. Rejecting the extremes of hostility to China or a warm
embrace on Beijing's terms, the consensus - still in the process of
formation - seeks cooperation with China while realistically
accepting disagreements where values and interests diverge.
*The US should continue to adhere to the policy enunciated by
President Nixon in the 1972 Shanghai Communique and endorsed by
every president since then. It acknowledges the Chinese view that
there is but one China, and Taiwan is part of it.
*China's growing role in world affairs is one of the major
developments of our era. Our government must devote sustained
attention to Sino-American relations, and policy must be
coordinated at the highest levels. Frequent exchanges of view must
occur with China's leaders.
*The US has an interest in a prosperous, stable, and unified
mainland that is effectively and humanely governed. A strong,
secure, and well-led China can contribute to global economic growth
and the maintenance of peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific
region, while a weak, divided, or isolated China would surely
threaten the region's peace and prosperity.
*(The US should seek to work constructively with China to
facilitate its entry, on mutually acceptable terms, into the
international regimes that regulate and order world affairs. China
will be more likely to adhere to international norms that it has
helped to shape. But China's entry must not be permitted on terms
that jeopardize the purpose of those regimes. Examples include the
World Trade Organization, the Missile Technology Control Regime,
and the G-7 organization of industrial nations with China in the
same status as Russia.
*The US is determined to retain a comprehensive, unofficial
relationship with Taiwan. Americans feel moral obligations to the
people of Taiwan and admire their economic and political progress.
The Taiwan Relations Act appropriately governs America's relations
with this thriving democracy. The past 25 years demonstrate that
Taiwan flourishes best when relations between the US and China are
sound. The overarching American interest is in a peaceful
reconciliation of Taiwan and the mainland. Realistically, Taiwan
can best secure a greater international voice and stature through
cooperation with Beijing, not provocation of it.
*To attain all these objectives, the US must retain a robust
military presence in the western Pacific. Effective multilateral
security arrangements in East Asia may eventually supplement the
bilateral treaties, but at present there is no substitute for the
Japanese-American and Korean-American security treaties. These
treaties are not directed against China. Rather they maintain
stability, enhance the security of the entire region, and thereby
deter an arms race or proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Indeed, the treaties enable current development of bodies such as
the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum and the Association of
Southeast Asian Nations regional forum.
*The US - especially the private sector - should cooperate with
China in its efforts to develop institutions necessary for its
continued modernization: a legal system and the rule of law; a
strengthened judiciary; an effective banking and revenue system; a
civil service system; strengthened representative assemblies;
competitive, democratic elections of local officials; and a vibrant