November 22, 2005
BUSH IN CHINA: 'BETWEEN IDEALS AND REALITIES'
** Global media concluded that "little was achieved" during the "short stay."
** Bush "sent a clear message" on human rights, but PRC leaders weren't listening.
** Bush put "economic interests" ahead of "ideology."
** U.S. ambivalent towards an "awakened" China that is "demanding its place in the world."
'Battle of the titans'-- Global dailies concluded "little was achieved" during President Bush's visit to China. An independent Hong Kong outlet noted the Sino-U.S. relationship "is complex and cannot be dealt with in a single meeting," while the PRC's official China Daily agreed Bush's short stay "was not long enough to produce any breakthrough," it nonetheless offered "an opportunity to clarify areas of concern." Italian papers were uncharitable, calling the results "meager" and the trip a "failure" because it did not produce "concrete results." A German editorialist argued the visit "made clear that the rift" between the "two superpowers is deep," while a Russian writer argued that only "ritual gestures" characterize U.S.-PRC relations.
'Speaking of liberty'-- The Czech business daily Hospodarske noviny surmised that "skeptics and pragmatists" must have been "surprised" because Bush "in no way lowered the tone" in criticizing the Chinese leadership over human rights abuses. Japan's center-right Yomiuri judged that Bush's message on human rights was "stronger than ever." Many writers argued, though, that the dialogue on human rights was "closer to a deaf-mute conversation," with Beijing's leaders "reacting calmly with set phrases" to Bush's admonitions. Hu's "comments about a democratic system 'with Chinese characteristics' was a polite way of telling President Bush to mind his own business," declared France's left-of-center Liberation.
Democracy 'will not benefit Wal-Mart'-- Japan's liberal Asahi termed it "noteworthy that at this summit, the U.S. placed greater weight on economic interests than security concerns." Many analysts agreed that "business is the current priority" in U.S.-PRC relations. Russia's reformist Gazeta contended Bush "could not afford to let differences over human rights harm economic relations between the two countries." A Euro editorial asserted Washington is "dealing with China with kid gloves, for obvious economic reasons," while an Indian writer proclaimed the U.S. "can hardly afford to create further tension with a major economic partner."
'Both a partner and an enemy'-- The UAE's Gulf News observed that "China can be America's greatest opportunity or its greatest challenge." The U.S. sees the PRC "as a future competitor and potential enemy," stated a German paper, while Finland's right-of-center Aamulehti held that China, "an economic giant which is increasing its political weight" is "the obvious challenger" to U.S. global supremacy. An Italian writer discerned "ambiguity and uncertainty" in U.S. attitudes towards a land it sees as both "formidable competitor" and potential "strategic partner," predicting the U.S. would follow "a continuing...oscillation between firmness and containment on one side, and flexibility and involvement on the other."
Prepared by Media Reaction Division (202) 203-7888, email@example.com
EDITOR: Steven Wangsness
EDITOR'S NOTE: Media Reaction reporting conveys the spectrum of foreign press sentiment. Posts select commentary to provide a representative picture of local editorial opinion. Some commentary is taken directly from the Internet. This report summarizes and interprets foreign editorial opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Government. This analysis was based on 34 reports from 16 countries Nov. 19-22, 2005. Editorial excerpts are listed from the most recent date.
BRITAIN: "The Bush Sermon And A Missed Opportunity"
The center-left Independent editorialized (11/21): "By confining his show of support to evangelical Christians who by no means these days are the worst victims of China's almost casual authoritarianism, the American president has actually weakened his claim to care about human rights in general.... No one should begrudge the churches for getting their pat on the head. But it is hard not to conclude that Mr. Bush's 'cry freedom' talk was aimed at least partly at a domestic audience of evangelical Christians, at a time when his ratings in the U.S. have fallen. To some extent, therefore, Mr. Bush's visit to China has been a missed opportunity."
"The Rise And Decline Of Pacific Nations"
The independent Financial Times concluded (11/21): "China must understand that the willingness of other nations to accept its economic and strategic rise to power rests on this being accompanied by a parallel improvement in its human rights record.... It is true that U.S. protestations about human rights are compromised by Mr. Bush's conduct of the war on terror. Even so, the waning of U.S. influence in Asia should not become China's chance to begin an ethics-free ascent to the status of a great power."
FRANCE: "The Human Rights Snag In China"
Philippe Gelie judged in right-of-center Le Figaro (11/21): "On several occasions...President Bush had the opportunity of looking his Chinese counterparts in the eye. Each time he was confronted with the assertiveness of major powers and which has usually been the stance adopted by the Americans.... The pickings in Beijing were slim, except for a contract for Boeing.... This was a political gesture from Beijing as the trade deficit with Washington continues to grow.... Little indeed was achieved in terms of reforms for the Yuan.... With so little achieved, it was not surprising then, if as the day progressed, the attacks on human rights became more violent."
"Bush Torn Between Business Deals And Politics"
Pierre Haski argued in left-of-center Liberation (11/21): "The trade deficit, the Yuan, religious freedom, Tibet and political dissidents: President Bush enumerated all of these questions during the most hectic day of his China trip. He managed results in economic trade but received a firm and definitive 'no' on political issues. The most notable result involved Boeing: Beijing's needs in commercial aviation are huge and China is maneuvering knowingly between the Europeans and the Americans.... But on all political issues the polite dialogue was closer to a deaf-mute conversation.... On the one hand the U.S. president was playing his habitual role when he attended a religious service--while the Chinese officials listened politely to the U.S. admonitions but without reacting.... Hu Jinato’s comments about a democratic system 'with Chinese characteristics' was a polite way of telling President Bush to mind his own business."
"U.S. Assaults On Democracy Worry Beijing"
Jean-Jacques Mevel concluded in right-of-center Le Figaro (11/21): "The attacks on civil liberties launched twice by President Bush are a great source of annoyance for Hu Jintao. As if he wanted to make a point, and before the start of the official visit, President Bush began his trip to China with a religious service.... The Chinese response was to say that China enjoyed democracy but the message lacked conviction.... In fact this is an issue that has the Chinese particularly worried. Human rights were significantly forgotten in the U.S. approach immediately after 9/11, but seem to be back with a vengeance, especially in Congress."
GERMANY: "Beijing's Stability"
Peter Sturm commented in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (11/21): "The Chinese leaders do not allow visitors to tell the China's government how it should treat its citizens. However, China felt obliged to answer the U.S. president's accusations in a matter-of-fact way. Beijing is trying hard to assure the world that it is not opposed to political reforms. However, if things get tough, the old mechanisms are revived. 'Stability,' which must not be endangered, is given as a reason. The government will learn too late that it actually jeopardizes this stability by sticking to it so stubbornly. Therefore, foreign calls on China to respect human rights must not be seen as an intervention but as a justified concern over the domestic development in a geopolitically most important country. The Boeing order, which President Bush takes home, shows that such a reminder does not prevent good trade relations--as many visitors believe."
"Who Changes Whom?"
Henrik Bork had this to say in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (11/21): "We are miles away from being economically run over by the Chinese, but China's growing hunger for energy, its gigantic environment problems and striving for more foreign political influence will certainly change our policies in the coming decades more than our politicians can change China. That is not an argument for canceling our calls on China to introduce more democracy. It becomes clear that such demands are in our own interest, because the less we can change China the more Chinese we will be one day."
"Not Even Sweet And Sour"
Centrist Der Tagesspiegel of Berlin (11/21) argued: "Bush did not meet his goal. China's strong man, Hu Jintao, did not make any economic compromises.... China and the U.S. face economically turbulent times, maybe even a trade war. Senators in Washington are already calling for imposing heavy tariffs to limit the wave of Chinese imports. The Boeing order will not be molly them. Neither did the summit achieve any political rapprochement. On the contrary, Bush's Taiwan comparison and the harsh reaction show that the tone between Beijing and Washington has gotten worse. After 2001, the war on terror got the two superpowers closer together for some time, but they are now drifting apart again. Washington sees the People's Republic as a future competitor and potential enemy, and China also distrusts America.... The visit did not achieve greater understanding but made clear that the rift in the relationship of the two superpowers is deep."
ITALY: "Bush To The Chinese: Expand Freedom"
Ennio Caretto wrote from Beijing in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (11/25): "While the two leaders' pragmatism has avoided a crisis, it did not reduce the gap that separates them. The White House did its best to dissipate the impression that between America and China a tepid peace reigns, perhaps a cold peace, going as far as interpreting as 'friendly and candid' Hu’s judgment that his encounter with Bush had been 'frank and candid,' meaning stormy as well. Bush and Rice underscored that dialogue between Beijing and Washington is 'vibrant' and that economic competition and China’s will to 'become a responsible protagonist of international policy' are a prelude to its democratization. For the first time in many years, in view of the arrival of the U.S. president, China did not free dissidents, but rather arrested them. An unexpected step backwards. For Bush, who will be in Mongolia today, it is a failure. The President, who is plagued by the phantom of Iraq, returns home with no concrete results. And his idealistic campaign for the export of freedom and democracy comes to a halt."
"China, Bush Thinks A Lot About Business And Little About Human Rights"
Gabriel Bertinetto commented in pro-Democratic Left party (DS) daily L’Unitá (11/21): "Business is the current priority in U.S.-China relations. Obviously, during his visit to Beijing, Bush did not miss the opportunity to tick off Hu Jintao over the scarce respect devoted to human, democratic and religious rights in his country. Communist leaders listened to that without arguing, limiting themselves to note that, on that issue, the two parties have different opinions. Most of all, the Americans and the Chinese focused on the trade dispute, by acknowledging or announcing progress in this sector, which is probably the reason why the dispute over other issues was limited."
"Beijing Is Both A Partner And An Enemy For the U.S."
Paolo Guerrieri commented in Rome's center-left Il Messaggero (11/21): "The problem is that the attitude of the Bush administration towards China continues to be characterized by substantial ambiguity and uncertainty. While, on one side, the U.S. considers China a formidable competitor, on the other side it recognizes its potential role as a strategic partner...not only in the field of political-strategic relations, but also in economic relations.... It is precisely because of this dual stance that the Bush administration has not decided which policy to adopt towards Beijing yet. We see a continuing, uncertain oscillation between firmness and containment on one side, and flexibility and involvement on the other. The harshest critics go as far as accusing the current administration of not having any strategy regarding foreign economic policy towards China and, more generally, towards Asia. The meager results of Bush’s latest Asian trip could thus be the result of this wider combination of uncertainties and indecisions that characterize U.S. foreign strategy."
RUSSIA: "An Unwritten Non-Aggression Pact"
Sergey Strokan commented in business-oriented Kommersant (11/21): "America and China have always been at cross purposes. This is particularly true today. The George Bush visit to Beijing proved that better than anything else. The fact that there was no joint press conference at the end of the visit, with the two leaders making separate statements is quite symbolic. Obviously, George Bush and Hu Jiangtao did not feel like answering hard off-the-cuff questions, eager to wrap up business as soon as possible. So they did by packing the agenda into one day because, paradoxically, they had nothing to talk about. Ritual gestures have been regnant in relations between the two countries. In fact, what America and China expect from each other is not studied understanding but a commitment to an unwritten non-aggression pact of the kind known among tigers: each stays on its own turf, without crossing into other's."
"Bush Intercedes For Ordinary Chinese"
Tatyana Fazh said in reformist Gazeta (11/21): "George Bush did not have it in his mind to pressure the colleague so as not to scare him off. He could not afford to let differences over human rights harm economic relations between the two countries. As a result, the talks focused on economic issues."
AUSTRIA: "Pragmatism à la Beijing"
Foreign affairs writer Jutta Lietsch commented in independent provincial daily Sazlburger Nachrichten (11/21): "The days are long gone when China's leadership reacted furiously to Western politicians urging them to give their people more rights and freedom. Beijing has taken to reacting calmly and with set phrases in such moments--while making sure at the same time that the country's media do not report the critical details.... These days, Beijing's politicians know very well that 'little Bush,' as he is often called in China, can talk all he likes about human rights and freedom. For many Asians, the U.S. administration has become untrustworthy like hardly any other since Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo. Even the Chinese who are critical of their own government do not welcome a lecture from a U.S. president."
CZECH REPUBLIC: "Bush Was Not Afraid In China"
Jan Machacek observed in business daily Hospodarske noviny (11/21): "Skeptics and pragmatists must be surprised. President Bush in Beijing in no way lowered the tone in which he criticized the Chinese leadership [over human rights abuse] last week in Kyoto, where he even singled out Taiwan as the model to be followed(!).... The traditional timid Czech attitude will claim that only 'the big ones' can talk this way because 'the small ones' can only have small views and should not meddle with anything so as not to harm their business. President Klaus and PM Paroubek during their recent visits of China did not even attempt to mention the sensitive subjects.... Dividing countries into big and small makes no sense. Many of the big ones, e.g., Germany or France, would have not, in contrast to Bush, said a word. However, the only difference between the big and small countries is that if the big ones talk like Bush they can lose big. Business with big or small countries is done along separate lines and it is foolish to hide our weakness behind it."
FINLAND: "Democracy In China Will Not Benefit Wal-Mart"
Jyri Raivio remarked in leading, centrist Helsingin Sanomat (11/21): "There are very few issues where harmony between words and deeds appears as difficult to reach as in the United States’ relationship with China. The U.S. is dealing with China with kid gloves, for obvious economic reasons. Major American multinational corporations have invested in China more than many others. Wal-Mart is China’s eighth largest trading partner. Spreading democracy does not necessarily benefit Wal-Mart or other American companies. Democracy might bring along unpleasant phenomena such as organized labor or demands for more even distribution of the fruits of economic growth. Democracy might even reverse the gloomy trend of the recent past in which millions of Chinese have lapsed back into poverty. In addition to being the center for cheap production, China is important for the U.S. economy for other reasons as well. With its large surpluses, China finances large U.S. deficits. The debtor is, by nature, a little cautious in the relationship with the lender. That, too, tends to dampen the discussion on China’s democracy deficit."
"The Battles Of The Titans At A Crossroads"
Regional right-of-center Aamulehti editorialized (11/19): "If history teaches us anything, it is that no empire is forever. Not even the U.S., now in its prime, can be certain that its supremacy will continue endlessly. China is the obvious challenger. It is emerging as an economic giant which is increasing its political weight. At the same time, China is strengthening its military power which has not gone unnoticed in the U.S. Today, the U.S. has a contradiction in its relationship with China. On the one hand, it cannot but admire China’s phenomenal economic growth. On the other hand, the U.S. shuns China’s increasingly self-assertive behavior internationally and China's dictatorial government for which Bush criticized his hosts before the visit. The U.S. faces a choice. It can try to slow down China by building a new wall around China, with allies. Or it can choose the principle that if you can’t beat them, join them."
POLAND: "Between Ideals And Realities"
Piotr Gillert wrote in centrist Rzeczpospolita (10/21): "What usually starts visits of foreign leaders in Beijing is an official welcome in the Great People’s Hall at Tiananmen Square. Still, prior to the official welcome ceremony, President George W. Bush visited a Protestant church in Beijing on Sunday morning. Churches of all confessions are under the tight control of the state in China and those who oppose that control risk repression. Therefore, the visit of a profoundly religious Bush in the church was of symbolic significance. During his subsequent meeting with Chairman Hu Jintao, the American president underscored how important--in his opinion--expanding democratic and religious freedoms in China is. There is much to indicate, though, that such appeals are treated less and less seriously by Chinese leaders. Before the Bush visit, the Americans as usual presented the list of political prisoners who in their view should be released. The Chinese, who used to free a few individuals as a gesture of good will in the past, released no one this time."
"Bush Talking To The Wall"
Maria Kruczkowska wrote in liberal Gazeta Wyborcza (11/21): "It is important to have more social, religious and political freedoms in China, said the U.S. President to Chinese leader Hu Jintao. He also appealed to the latter to meet with the Dalai Lama. The Chinese authorities ignored his appeals. Disregarding words about human rights is [Beijing’s] permanent tactic. On the one hand, Beijing puts a great weight on relations with America, which they regard as a guarantee of their economic growth, on the other hand, they are not going to hear about democracy.... Bush’s democracy message has little chance to get through to the Chinese. Not only because the Chinese censorship is extremely tight, but also because the Chinese, who are so proud of their successes, are not responding easily to the Americans' appeals."
ROMANIA: "Money Talks At High Level"
Jacqueline Prager noted in independent Evenimentul Zilei (11/21): "Domestic policy is our business, but trade is a common issue--that is the essence of the message addressed by Chinese President Hu Jintao to his American counterpart.... President Bush is subject to much pressure in order to get a series of concessions at the trade level, given that both American politicians and producers are concerned by Beijing’s monetary policy that is keen on maintaining the yuan at a low level in order to encourage exports. The issue is serious for the Americans, given that the trade deficit this year with China will probably reach $200 billion. In addition, American companies are worried by the extent of counterfeit brand products, thanks to which U.S. companies record losses of billions of dollars."
SPAIN: "Bush In China"
Centrist La Vanguardia judged (11/21): "The sleeping giant has definitely awakened and is demanding its place in the world, something that creates evident geopolitical and economic tensions. [China’s] integration into a new international multipolar scheme is the biggest problem to resolve in the 21st century. It won’t be easy.... Although Bush’s insistence in the financial liberalization and the democratization sounds like [it is for] internal consumption, it’s evident that the lack of freedom will represent a serious problem for Chinese diplomatic and economic leadership in the long run."
UAE: "Shaking Hands With Red Dragon"
The English-language, expatriate-oriented Gulf News concluded (Internet version, 11/20): "Under Clinton, [Sino-U.S.] ties blossomed and China was referred to as a strategic partner. All that changed with the political firm of Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld. China was viewed if not as an enemy then certainly as an opponent and was reclassified as a strategic rival.... On occasion, Washington went out of its way to embarrass China.... China can be America's greatest opportunity or its greatest challenge. Bush's stern words about lack of democracy and religious freedom mean little, they certainly won't stop him trying to sell Boeing aircraft. For the U.S., the yuan may be over-valued but it is still valued by American commerce. China, though, is much more than the world's next big thing. Its success and prosperity will provide a good foundation for Asia and for America. It is a strategic opportunity."
EAST ASIA AND PACIFIC
CHINA: "Strengthened Sino-U.S. Ties Serve To Benefit All"
The official English-language newspaper China Daily commented (11/21): "The message sent from the Hu-Bush summit was very clear: complicated as it is, the Sino-U.S. relationship is so important that the two sides must keep it stable or, better still, move it forward. Only through expanding their cooperation can the two countries more effectively meet common global challenges and better safeguard their mutual interests. Obviously, President Bush has managed to take a pragmatic and balanced approach in his administration's China policy despite the increased advocacy of the 'China threat' by some hawkish U.S. politicians. Bush's short stay in Beijing, just 40 hours, was not long enough to produce any breakthrough in ending specific disagreements between the two countries. But it offered both sides an opportunity to clarify areas of concern and, more importantly, find more areas for cooperation. Just as President Hu said, both leaders believe that Beijing and Washington should strive for mutual benefit and a win-win situation through developing 'constructive and cooperative' relations. The Sino-U.S. relationship has become so entwined that each player is dependent on the other to a great degree. The strategic vision shared by the two countries serves as the foundation for their partnership."
"U.S.-China Relations Gradually Enter The Most Pleasant Stage"
Wang Chong commented in the official Communist Youth League China Youth Daily
(Zhongguo Qingnianbao) (11/21): "Along with Bush's visit and the possible visit of Hu Jintao to the U.S. earlier next year, the drama of U.S.-China relations will gradually enter the most pleasant stage. Bush's visit...and a series of earlier visits by U.S. senior officials all tell the world people that no matter how the 'dragon slayers' cry out in the U.S., the two countries' relations are good in many fields such as trade, international cooperation and personnel exchanges. The common interests of the two countries are unprecedented in quantity. The leaders' diplomatic activities show a trend of increasing common views and decreasing divergences.... This September, Zoellick's comment about China as 'stakeholder' was good news, and also a challenge for China. The U.S. will always be defensive toward China due to the social system, political system and strategic interests. The U.S.'s strong response to the EU's removal of the arms embargo against China is proof. Besides, economic disputes will increase and become fiercer. With the increasing criticism about China's efforts on IPR, and U.S. requests to decrease the trade deficit, economic disputes will also bring some changes to the political relations. After this climax, U.S.-China relations may be stable before the 2008 election."
CHINA (HONG KONG SAR): "Talks And More Talks The Only Way Ahead For Ties"
The independent English-language South China Morning Post editorialized (11/21): "Expectations that President Hu Jintao and his U.S. counterpart, George W. Bush, would resolve any of their nations' differences during talks in Beijing yesterday were low. Such a view was not a matter of pessimism; more, it was an acknowledgment that the relationship between China and the U.S. is complex and cannot be dealt with in a single meeting, not even at the highest possible level of diplomacy.... But there is no doubt that the Bush administration is having difficulty coming to terms with China's increasing economic, political, military and cultural influence around the world. For a nation that has been so prominent globally for a century, this is understandable. Mainland leaders also have at times struggled to come to grips with their position. Their pursuit of energy security and economic considerations has sometimes taken precedence over diplomacy, straining ties. But the U.S. and China have everything to gain from continuing their dialogue and working out their differences. The meetings yesterday served that purpose.... Discussion, at all levels, is the best way ahead for both. Only through continuously talking over their differences, concerns and fears can China and the U.S. find the common ground that is essential to their future."
"Bush Puts Interests Over Responsibility; Beijing Can Take A Breathing Spell"
The independent Chinese-language Hong Kong Economic Times commented (11/21): "U.S. President Bush visits China. On the surface, he did not make any significant achievements with Beijing. However, judging from all sorts of clues, Bush has adjusted his China policy. He has put economic interests on top of ideology. Although there will be more trade disputes, China can take a breathing spell because Beijing can make concessions in exchange for better Sino-U.S. relations.... It is worth paying attention to the fact that Beijing suddenly offered a gift--a U.S.$4 billion Boeing contract--to welcome U.S. President Bush's China visit. Such a move is rare because China would only release dissidents in the past.... Since Bush puts interests over responsibility, Sino-U.S. relations become more pragmatic. It can prevent the U.S. from advocating China threats so that Beijing can have a relatively peaceful international environment to drive its economy."
TAIWAN: "Changing Washington-Beijing Relations"
The centrist, pro-status quo China Times took this view (11/21): "In other words, when the rise of China is no longer a theory [but a fact], how will the United States address such a development? It is an issue of concern not only for Taiwan but for Asia as a whole. Following a series of events such as the U.S.-China jet collision, war on terrorism, and the Six-Party Talks, the United States has in fact been constantly fine-tuning its policy. This year is in particular a critical year [for U.S.-China relations]. U.S. officials ranging from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, Secretary of the Treasury John Snow, to the heads of Commerce Department have all visited mainland China in tow; even Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, who holds a tough attitude toward Beijing, went to Beijing a month ago. Perhaps these moves may not be sufficient enough to judge whether the United States has changed its policy, but evidently, Washington looks to use greater contact to resolve U.S.-China disputes. Looking at the [official U.S.] language, [it is noteworthy that] more and more American officials choose to use 'manage' rather than 'challenge' to describe current Washington-Beijing relations."
JAPAN: "Practical Approach Welcomed"
The liberal Asahi stated (11/21): "President Bush affirmed during his joint press conference with Chinese President Hu in Beijing that his visit would further strengthen relations between the U.S. and China. Hu added that both countries are aiming for mutual benefits and interests. Their remarks suggested that the two countries that hold the key to stability in Asia are seeking practical benefits while attempting to avoid a decisive standoff.... President Bush had previously referred to China as a 'strategic competitor,' expressing concern over its rising economic and military power. But with growing hopes in the U.S. for China as an expanding market for American exports and investment, this phrase is no longer heard. In Beijing, President Bush called China 'an important trade partner for the U.S.' It is noteworthy that at this summit, the U.S. placed greater weight on economic interests than security concerns. Bush called on China to further open its markets and reduce its trade imbalance with the U.S. ... Even though the U.S. urged Beijing to expand political freedom and promote democracy, it took pains not to drive China into a corner, calculating that economic prosperity will prompt more Chinese people to demand freedom.... Nevertheless, despite the emphasis on economic matters in America's China policy, the U.S. is not going to drop efforts to contain Beijing in the area of security. The fact that Bush went to Mongolia after China appears to suggest that Washington intends to continue to be ready for a potential military threat from China.... The efforts demonstrated at the recent summit to enhance a pragmatic approach will likely contribute to the stability and prosperity of Asia as a whole."
"Limits Of Strategic Cooperation"
Conservative Sankei editorialized (11/21): "Is China a strategic partner for the U.S. or a rival? President Bush and Chinese President Hu agreed during their meeting in Beijing that the two nations would work to reduce friction and to maintain and develop a cooperative relationship. However, the limits of U.S.-China cooperation have begun to appear, as China, which is growing economically and militarily, has made clear its intention to resist a U.S.-dominated unipolar order.... The U.S. is concerned that Beijing is accelerating its efforts to create a regional community by undertaking vigorous diplomacy across the Eurasian continent, including Southeast Asia. Washington appears to have given tacit approval to the planned establishment of an East Asian Community, given the advocacy of Prime Minister Koizumi and the fact that Japan will demonstrate leadership. There are signs that Russia will join the 'anti-Japan' coalition in East Asia formed by China and South Korea over the history issue. This coalition is keeping its distance from the U.S.-Japan alliance on North Korea's nuclear and human rights issues.... Given the situation, Japan needs to further strengthen its ties with the U.S."
"US-China Relations -- Rivalry And Cooperation"
Business-oriented Nikkei observed (11/21): "Through a series of meetings between President Bush and Chinese President Hu, the possibility has emerged that the trade friction between the U.S. and China that had been escalating since this spring may cool. However, since President Bush called strongly for greater freedoms in China during his visit, disputes between Washington and Beijing on political issues could become more serious. The U.S. and China will likely maintain what President Bush called a 'complicated relationship' that includes both confrontation and cooperation."
"President Calls For Greater Freedoms"
Top-circulation, center-right Yomiuri judged (11/21): "President Bush sent a clear message to Chinese President Hu that China needs to take on the political and diplomatic responsibilities that come with being a major power.... Although the Bush administration has taken a tough position on human rights and democratization in China, its message was stronger than ever. Promoting democratization around the world is one of the top items on the agenda for the administration in Bush's second term. Bush's statements in Beijing represented a candid expression of U.S. irritation with the fact that, in contrast with China's rapid economic development, there is no sign of democratization there.... In his policy address in Kyoto, President Bush identified the U..S-Japan alliance as an 'anchor' for regional and world peace and said that the U.S. would step up its involvement in Asia. China appears to be trying to drive a wedge between the U.S. and Japan while expanding its influence in the region. Japan cannot allow itself to play into Beijing's strategy but instead needs to strengthen its ties with Asian nations by maintaining its strong alliance with the U.S."
SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA
INDIA: "America Need To Take Concrete Steps"
Centrist Gujarati daily Gujaratmitra held (11/21): "[The U.S.] is not at all serious in pressuring the Chinese government to move towards a democratic way of life. The U.S. is only interested in the huge Chinese markets for its domestic products. It is a known fact that despite Chinese government’s coercive action at the Tiananmen Square crushing pro-democracy protests by students, the U.S., except condemning the incident, didn’t take any concrete steps. It is surprising that the U.S. takes a tough stand in establishing democratic norms in nations where its interests are served. However, it chose to turn a blind eye when it came to taking definite stand vis-à-vis establishing democracy in nations like China, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, whose leaders have always shown scant regard for freedom and liberty of its citizens. Being a leader, it is the duty of America to ensure that all the citizens on this globe, regardless of their nationality, enjoy all rights as human beings."
The centrist Statesman took this view (11/21): "It was a devastating snub that President George W. Bush had never quite anticipated. A man whom the world calls a war-monger ought to have gone on the defensive after the latest revelations on Iraq. Instead, unabashed as ever, he is exceedingly anxious to spread democracy around the world. And in the process he has incurred the wrath of another superpower for unwarranted meddling in its internal affairs.... He has urged China to follow the Taiwan model on development to bring about a 'prosperous, free and democratic country.'... Almost immediately, this unwarranted prescription on governance and the flattering reference to Taiwan has had Beijing’s dander up.... The leader of any other democracy may well have got away with such criticism of China, well founded in act as it is. But it is indicative of the drop in stature of the American presidency under Bush that the remarks are deemed unacceptable. It is a measure of the diplomatic shrewdness of his advisers that they opted for Kyoto in Japan, and not Beijing, as the venue for their President to hold forth on China-Taiwan relations during his visit. They must have calculated that the general uproar over the remarks would have been still more strident in China. An equally compelling reason was that the United States can hardly afford to create further tension with a major economic partner. Nonetheless, the snub from Beijing was almost immediate and Bush has been shown his place. Was he trying to divert attention of the Asia-Pacific bloc from the latest mess in the backyard of the State department and the Pentagon?"
BRAZIL: "Speaking Of Liberty"
Center-right O Globo commented (11/22): "President Bush's visit to China shows how international relations are dynamic. The two countries were fierce enemies during the Cold War. Today, in more than one way, they are partners--to the extent that Bush could touch on, in China, sensitive points about local (Chinese) society.... Bush showed his desire 'that social, political, and religious freedoms grow in China'.... To allow these criticisms, within its own territory does not really cost the Chinese government much, given that the local press is controlled with an iron glove. But it does indicate a change of attitude--at least, the willingness to listen to what the other one has to say. President Bush's commentaries are also important for the Western world. The entire West, at this moment, seems to be paralyzed with admiration (and lack of concern) with the Chinese economic advances. Before this becomes a kind of ingenious admiration, it is important, now and forever, to remember the gigantic costs of this--one of which is the lack of liberty and the consequent persecution of any type of free thought."
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