November 23, 2005
BUSH'S HISTORIC ASIAN TOUR: IN SEARCH OF 'STRATEGIC COOPERATION'
** U.S. needs to promote regional goals while balancing Tokyo, Seoul, and Beijing ties.
** Dailies see U.S. "strategic partnership" with China as key item of President Bush's Asia tour.
** Papers portray Asian trip as dogged by Iraq and domestic concerns.
'Changing political and security situation in East Asia'-- Writers portrayed the U.S. as a vital force for maintaining regional stability and prosperity. While China's official Global Times highlighted the changing U.S.-Asia relationship, Japan's liberal Asahi wrote that the U.S. is the "only engine" for "promoting regional development" and is eager to "strengthen ties with Asia."Singapore's pro-government Straits Times wanted a better articulated Asian agenda, criticizing the Bush administration's "ad-hoc Asia policy," saying it has hit a "period of drift." Bush kicked off his Asia tour "singing the praises" of the U.S.-Japan alliance while attempting to not raise the "level of tension" between Tokyo, Beijing and Seoul. With Japan "losing its leadership" in Asia, strong U.S.-Japan bilateral ties are necessary to "contain unstable factors," held another Japanese analyst.
'Symbolic' Beijing visit, significant U.S.-China 'interplay'-- While observers described China as the U.S.' "most important bilateral partner," they nonetheless saw Washington and Beijing in a competition to "dominate the strategic chessboard" of the region. France's left-of-center Le Monde contended that growing U.S.-China economic co-dependency has forced the two countries into a "complicated" relationship "marked by mistrust." Germany's center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung pointed out apparently contradictory aspects of U.S. policy toward China, elements of "inclusion" vying with elements of "containment." Bush praised Taiwan's democracy and he warned the PRC of the "political costs" of its "unimpeded urge for expansion." At the same time, however, the Bush administration's China policy has increasingly downplayed Chinese hegemony, according to pro-independence Taipei Times. The paper saw China, with the size of its nuclear arsenal, "clearly poised to threaten regional and international peace." Singapore's pro-government Business Times asserted that China's "peaceful development" is compatible with long-term U.S. goals; Bush needs to "take control" of Washington's China policy and "steer it in the right direction."
'U.S. international influence' waning-- Thailand's independent Nation depicted the rest of the world as "edging away from Washington." The paper asserted America "has lost substantial international influence" in the last five years and it is "in hock to the world's last great communist power." Many observers agreed Bush went to Asia to "escape from his troubles at home" and seek support from Asian allies, showing he is "better understood abroad than at home." Euro analysts noted that Iraq "followed Bush to Asia" with mass protests in S. Korea. Writers around the globe sided with Belgium's independent De Morgen in faulting President Bush for lecturing leaders about freedom and democracy amid allegations that the U.S. used "chemical weapons" in Fallujah and had set up "CIA secret detention centers."
Prepared by Media Reaction Division (202) 203-7888, email@example.com
EDITOR: Susan L. Emerson
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 91 reports from 28 political entities over 10 - 23 November, 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."
"Bush's Modest Aims"
An editorial in the independent Financial Times (11/14): "For the moment, the U.S. Congress and the neo-conservatives in the administration are focused on matters other than China and the Korean peninsula. They are more interested in the U.S. budget, the war in Iraq and the nomination of the conservative Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court. Given Washington's difficult relations with the Middle East, Europe and Latin America, both Mr. Bush and his Asian counterparts have every reason to be grateful that U.S.-Asia relations are as good as they are. Neither side, quite rightly, wants to rock the boat."
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."
"Bush Challenges China On Democracy"
Philippe Gelie posited in right-of-center Le Figaro (11/17): "George Bush’s vision for a new Middle East is only at the germinal stages but he cannot resist the temptation to start looking elsewhere.... In a speech in Kyoto…Bush paid tribute to Japan, America’s closest ally in the region, elevating it to the status of a model for what all of Asia should become.... President Bush’s policy speech was sure to hurt the sensitivity of his hosts. But China’s officials did not wait for the speech before taking stock of the dangers they are facing: they are confronted with an American President who is not only predicting their fall but is asking them to speed it up by way of international trade."
"Chinese-American Relationship Marked By Mistrust"
Bruno Philip observed in left-of-center Le Monde (11/16): "The growing economic dependency between the U.S. and China is forcing Beijing and Washington to continue with a complicated dialogue inside a relationship which is devoid of intimacy and often marked by mistrust.... No major headway is expected after the visit, which is a sign that the relationship has its own limitations.... But in Washington everyone does not share the same vision where China is concerned. The Pentagon’s hawks and the anti-China lobbyists are worried about China’s qualitative military changes, which they believe threaten America’s interests in Asia. State Department moderates on the other hand believe the U.S. must pursue its constructive dialogue with China, which can become a factor for world stability. Meanwhile President Bush and Secretary Rice tend to lean towards a third way: a rejection of the 'containment' policy but without establishing a strategic partnership with China."
"Bush At The Center Of Asian Tensions"
Philippe Gelie judged in right-of-center Le Figaro (11/16): "President Bush arrived in Japan with a delicate mission: supporting his favorite ally while not upsetting the other interlocutors in the region. Considering the level of tension between Tokyo, Beijing and Seoul, the margin of maneuver is indeed narrow.... Japan, which feels it is losing a leadership that is fast going into China’s hands, needs President Bush and his support.... In Bush’s world, Japan belongs to that category of former dictatorships which has become exemplary after its conversion to democracy and a market economy. President Bush praises Japan for its liberalism and salutes its contribution in Iraq."
"Bush In Asia To Maintain U.S. Influence"
Philippe Gelie highlighted in right-of-center Le Figaro (11/15): "Considering the type of welcome President Bush gets in most places he visits, his Asian tour may well look like a walk in the park. But behind the oriental expressions of politeness, the visit will mostly stand as witness to the competition that has emerged between Washington and Beijing to dominate the strategic chessboard of that particular region.... While economic issues will certainly be raised, the higher stakes of power and security will dominate.... Short of being able to stop or slow down China’s emergence as a regional power, the U.S. hopes it will be able to contain it.... There are more reasons for concern than for optimism, especially when it comes to China’s expenditures in armament. This is why Washington needs regional allies: but the U.S. positioning in the region carries its own difficulties. Japan’s emerging nationalism and South Korea’s gesture towards North Korea count among them. Mongolia remains: a country whose 'courageous soldiers' are fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq. Next Monday, when President Bush visits there, the 'weather will be frigid but the welcome will be warm.'"
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."
Michael Backfisch wrote in business daily Handelsblatt of Duesseldorf (11/18): "When President Bush arrives in Beijing on Saturday, he will leave his rhetorical boxing gloves in the locker.... The harsh tones of the past few days should not be overvalued. By calling upon China to allow more democracy, Bush is following his fundamental basic instinct, since he made the spread of freedom his global yardstick in January already. In addition, domestic reasons are behind his swaggering speech...but Bush is no longer labeling China as a 'strategic competitor,' which he used at the beginning of his term. The most important U.S. goal is now to include China in global policies and to take advantage of its growing political influence on the international stage.... The president could not afford a blank confrontational course towards China, even if he wanted. The Eastern Asian empire has turned into a global player with respect to politics and Bush has to accept this. When defusing the nuclear conflict with North Korea, Beijing's cooperation is indispensable. And if the Iranian nuclear conflict lands at the UNSC, China's role is vital.... Nevertheless, unease is prevailing in the U.S. public on Beijing's economic strength.... This is the basis for U.S. competitive fears."
"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."
Peter Sturm noted in an editorial in center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine (11/17): "It is really a bit strange that the U.S. President criticized China in Japan. But, on the other hand, where, if not in Japan, should Bush meet with understanding of his words? But we should now be excited to see whether the U.S. President will now also find words of praise for Taiwan's democracy during his upcoming visit to China. He must keep in mind that the United States is dependent on China's support for the solution of many problems. Beijing's immediate reaction to the criticism is foreseeable: Beijing will reject international 'interference' in its domestic affairs. But if China's leaders tried to take an unbiased view and looked to their 'compatriots' in Taiwan, then they would realize that Taiwan, since its democratization, functions much better than in the past. But, we must fear that they do not want to see this reality. And we can by no means expect them to translate these findings onto their state. But those who came too late in the course of history, were punished too often by life."
"Shooting From A Distance: George W. Bush"
Henrik Bork opined in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (11/17): "George W. Bush has given the Chinese a lesson with respect to democracy, freedom of religion, and human rights. But not directly face-to-face, even though he will meet China's leader Hun Jintao in Beijing on Sunday. But Bush rather got rid of the task to urge China to show greater tolerance and establish democracy shortly before his arrival in Beijing. Will the U.S. administration now also begin with the same dance on eggshells as we know of the German chancellor during his visits to the China?… Even George W. Bush, who challenged all the tyrants in this world when he entered office, seems to have been increasingly reined in by economic interests. It is true that he recently received the Dalai Lama in the White House, but he did not mention it with a single word in public. And even during his visit to China in 2002, he hid his admonition for more democracy in a speech to students of Qinghua University. If he is now aiming at China from Japan, then this is only hypocritical."
Stefan Kornelius stated in center-left Sueddeutsche Zeitung of Munich (11/10): "The rise of China, the influence of this growing political and economic power, the inclusion of the most populous country in the world in the international system and the satisfaction of its ambitions, these are issues on the heavy agenda of the 21st century. The future global order will be decided in the interplay between China and the United States.... But nagging distrust and a lack of understanding of each other is threatening to destroy this key relation between the U.S. and China.... These days, China is again presenting itself in the world to make clear that economic growth has a political price.... It would be wrong to pursue a policy of containment.... China's unimpeded urge for expansion is threatening...because there is no Asian network of states that could give it form and a future direction. The lack of...democracy in the country is the greatest burden for all policies in the Pacific Basin.... The rise of China...its military modernization...its smart alliance policies with Asian neighbors, all this makes the U.S. and its partners in the Pacific Basin nervous.... The Sinophobes in Washington consider themselves hostages of Beijing, which finances the enormous U.S. deficits.... A direct confrontation is in the U.S. policy's blood, while Chinese virtues focus more on showing patience and on the process itself and not so much on the result of talks."
ITALY: "Bush In Mongolia To Learn About China’s Future"
Massimo Introvigne opined in pro-government, center-right daily Il Giornale (11/23): "Bush consecrated his trip to Asia to the problem of how to transform the number two power of world capitalism, China, into a democratic country.... The country that Bush visited yesterday resembles China, and it has already gone from communism to capitalism, therefore from communist capitalism to democratic capitalism: Mongolia has a population of only 2.5 million, but the experiment could be repeated in the immense China.... The Mongolian lesson for China is that if the West wants a democracy where the Communist party doesn’t remain the first party for decades, it must help the opposition equip itself not only with realistic and gradual economic programs, but electoral technologies as well. With these conditions, the series of transitions that Bush saw first hand in Mongolia could anticipate what will happen in China."
"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."
"Bush: A United Korea And Without Nuclear Weapons"
Giampaolo Pioli remarked from Gyeongju in conservative Quotidiano Nazionale (11/18): "Patiently, and at a slow and cautious pace, Bush began in Kyoto...to weave the difficult Asian web for China's 'containment.' America has noticed the giant's unstoppable advancement. The chief of the White House and Chinese President Hu Jintao are...currently engaged in a distant parallel confrontation before their one-on-one in Beijing on Sunday. At stake for the both of them is the future 'control' of the region under the economic and strategic-military standpoint."
"Bush’s Challenge On China"
Ennio Caretto opined in centrist, top-circulation Corriere della Sera (11/17): "Yesterday, from the historical, cultural heart of the former Japanese empire, President Bush delivered a speech criticizing China, by predicting the spread of democracy and liberty, and in particular of religion, throughout Asia. And he did it in the worst possible way for Beijing, by targeting its hottest issue, Taiwan, 'a country,' the President said, 'that passed from repression to democracy, [and it is] a modern, free, democratic, prosperous nation.' Showing off Taiwan, Bush dared Chinese leaders to imitate that nation, even though China considers Taiwan a separate province.... Before leaving for Busan, South Korea, to attend the annual APEC conference, Bush tried to lower tones by reiterating a strategy for a 'single China,' and urging 'both parties to try to change the situation unilaterally'.... Bush, contested by a noisy crowd on his arrival in Korea yesterday, is aiming at reaching agreements over a line of defense against avian flu as well as over free trade markets policy. These goals are out of reach without China’s support. For this reason...Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice tried to smooth over irritants during a long meeting with Li Zhaoxing, inviting to Washington also the Chinese President, Hu Jintao."
"Bush Irritates Beijing In Asia, 'To Accept The Need For Liberty'"
Alberto Flores D’Arcais held in left-leaning influential daily La Repubblica (11/17): "In Kyoto...George W. Bush begins his Asian trip by speaking of democracy and liberty in a region of the world dominated for centuries by totalitarian regimes, delivering a speech that irritated China only three days before his visit to Beijing.... He spoke in Kyoto with his mind on Beijing, urging China to 'continue on the path of reform and open policy'.... He did not hesitate to define Taiwan as 'a model of society that passed from repression to liberty.' His words...seemed to be even excessively frank, almost provocative. Beijing immediately responded through its foreign minister Li Zhaoxing: 'Taiwan is an inseparable part of China, and China does not tolerate interferences in its internal affairs.'"
"Koizumi Supports The American Friend"
Mario Platero wrote in leading business daily Il Sole-24 Ore (11/16): "Given the difficult times, certainly Bush would have preferred to announce the extension [of Japanese troop commitments in Iraq] right away, but he had to settle for a speech on equilibriums in the Asian region.... The speech was meant to be the continuation of the counterattack on Bush’s image, that began last week. But the message is weakened by political position on withdrawal taken by his party fellows in Washington."
"Bush Travels To Asia To Forget His Troubles At Home"
Giampaolo Pioli claimed in conservative, top-circulation Quotidiano Nazionale (11/15): "George Bush began his longest trip to Asia yesterday evening...to leave the hot problems on the home front in Washington, from CIAgate to the war in Iraq. He will visit Japan, Korea, China and Mongolia. His agenda includes terrorism, economy, trade agreements and global security issues, to forget domestic policy. But the White House aims to score it big...in Beijing on the issue of religious freedom through President Bush’s public participation in a service at a Protestant church in the Chinese capital.... The crux of the Korean nuclear issue will be one of the fundamental portions of the bilateral meetings…in Busan…where the APEC summit will take place. Russian President Putin, as well as Chinese leaders will participate in the Summit. It will be the crucial moment to understand not only whether the winds of a cold war are blowing between the two, but also to define trade agreements and to ask Beijing to make its monetary policy more realistic, but above all to evaluate the progress of nuclear talks with N. Korea. Symbolically, however, Beijing is the most important leg of the trip. The White House is asking not to expect clamorous results."
"Bush Visits Asia And Courts China"
Maurizio Molinari remarked in centrist, influential daily La Stampa (11/15): "When he arrives in Kyoto today, the U.S. President kicks off a seven-day trip to four Far-East Asian countries whose objective it is to offer Beijing a global partnership based on the respect of commercial, political and religious freedoms. The itinerary was designed by the White House to underscore the projection of American interests in the region.... At every stop Bush has programmed a different message, and in Beijing he will meet with President Hu Jintao on November 20. The goal is to design an agenda for a 'global partnership,' as National Security Counselor Steven Hadley defines it, which will offer China new horizons of economic growth and orienting them toward a greater respect for the rules of competition and a progressive recognition of individual rights.... Overall, Bush wants to reassure Hu of the fact that 'China’s economic success is in U.S. interest,' but on condition that the 'Chinese role in the world be a positive one' beginning with the respect of laws of competition."
"Bush In Asia To Save Doha"
Mario Platero claimed in leading business daily Il Sole-24 Ore (11/15): "For the White House it is a matter of scoring some success following the difficult mission in South America.... This success has a precise name: the Doha Round, the talks for a further liberalization of world trade, whose crucial meeting will take place in Hong Kong in December. The talks will begin in Kyoto, Japan, where the President will make an important speech tomorrow.... It will reaffirm the strong alliance between Washington and Kyoto, but at the same time it will draw a picture of cooperation to diminish the political tensions primarily between China and Taiwan on the issue of North Korea’s nuclear disarmament."
"Bush Asking For Money In The East"
Correspondent Anna Guaita previewed President Bush's visit to Asia in Rome's center-left daily Il Messaggero (11/14): "National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley was rather vague in presenting the presidential trip, also in order to avoid a possible failure of the mission if it turns into a giant and irreversible image and political crisis. After all, the presidential visit to South America, where the project to create a free-trade area from Alaska to Terra del Fuego is still under consideration, opened a wound. In sum, the visit to Asia will be characterized by low-profile programs, and almost all of them will be economic.... And what about civil rights? What about the big battle for democracy of which Bush spoke so eloquently during the second inaugural address a year ago? That is happening quietly. A meeting with the Dalai Lama at the White House, to recall the issue of Tibet dominated by China, took place almost clandestinely, without even one photographer to document it."
RUSSIA: "Bush Finds Friends In Mongols"
Tatyana Fazh reported in reformist Gazeta (11/22): "Though the visit was brief, lasting only four hours, nobody even thought of belittling its importance: for the first time in history, the head of the United States visited Mongolia. George Bush hardly had any idea of that country. Locked between Russia and China, Mongolia belongs in a group of countries that for years remain a mystery for the rest of the world, including their close neighbors. Even so, George Bush did everything right.... Asked to share his opinion of the horse milk and performance of traditional Mongolian throat singing he was treated to during a short trip out of the capital city, the President said, 'It’s extraordinary,' and was right again."
"Bush’s Maiden Trip To Mongolia"
Vladimir Tuchkov opined in reformist Novyye Izvestiya (11/22): "Deprived of its military base in Uzbekistan, America needs a new site for its 'antiterrorist armada.' The Mongolian steppe must suit it fine. It was not for nothing that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld visited Ulaanbataar late last month."
"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."
"Iraq Follows Bush To Asia"
Artur Blinov said in centrist Nezavisimaya Gazeta (11/17): "The start of the U.S. President George Bush’s Asia tour has produced a sensation. While in Kyoto, Japan, the President called Taiwan a model of democracy other Asian countries might wish to emulate. The trouble with that model is that Beijing considers Taiwan one of its provinces and insists that it rejoin China. Bush says he remains committed to the 'one China' principle, but, given his Kyoto statement, he will clearly have to do more explaining when he arrives in Beijing on Saturday. Observers point out that Bush’s focus on advancing freedom and democracy is largely due to political problems at home, with the Iraq war keeping his popularity ratings down."
Aleksey Lyashchenko observed in centrist army daily Krasnaya Zvezda (11/17): "While formally recognizing the 'one China' principle, Washington encourages and even supports Taiwanese separatists, including through arms supplies. In another 'Japanese' scandal reported by Japanese and South Korean news agencies, the Americans, speaking confidentially, supported Tokyo’s claims to Russia’s South Kurile Islands. Russia is also concerned about the U.S. military buildup in Japan and areas close to its border. These problems will most certainly be raised during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s upcoming visit to Japan."
Aleksey Andreyev asserted in reformist Novyye Izvestiya (11/17): "Wherever he goes, be it Latin America or Japan, George Bush is greeted by mass protest actions against the Iraq war. Busan is no exception. Beijing was particularly chafed by the U.S. President’s statements about the democratic nature of Taiwanese society and People’s China embarking on democratization--exactly in that order. It has yet to be seen how Russian-Chinese 'tentative' solidarity will affect the forthcoming Putin-Bush talks in Busan."
"Bush Goes To Asia For Support"
Sergey Strokan said in business-oriented Kommersant (11/16): "President Bush sets great store by this trip. With his popularity ratings plummeting, Mr. Bush wants his electorate to know that voting for him last year was no mistake. In that, he relies on his Asian allies. Mounting problems at home have determined the chief goal of the U.S. president’s Asian tour, as he is out to fight opposition and show he is better understood abroad than at home."
AUSTRIA: "Pragmatism à la Beijing"
Foreign affairs writer Jutta Lietsch commented in independent provincial daily Salzburger 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."
BELGIUM: "Bush, Untrustworthy Champion Of Freedom"
Independent De Morgen claimed (11/17): "In principle, the fact that a world leader urged the Chinese leaders to grant more political openness to their citizens is an acceptable and laudable effort. Indeed, the international community too often yields to the Chinese economic dragon... the political-social climate...remains quite oppressive.... The fact that the U.S. President criticized China in Japan is a twofold humiliation for Beijing. First, it was totally impossible for China’s leaders to defend themselves.... More importantly,...the relationship between China and Japan is not too good.... On top of that, the U.S. President is in a very bad position to lecture the leaders of other nations about freedom and democracy. After the invasion of Iraq in 2003...the orgies of violence with which the Iraqi people are confronted are unprecedented.... Furthermore, two astonishing phenomena came to light in recent weeks: the fact that the U.S. armed forces used chemical weapons in Fallujah and, a few days earlier, the fact that the CIA is running secret detention centers where human rights are clearly violated. The Chinese leaders will undoubtedly interpret Bush’s speech as a negative posture...the whole struggle for more openness will be discredited to some extent. Indeed, the man who believes that he should stir up the situation no longer has any legitimacy in this field."
CZECH REPUBLIC: "Bush Was Not Afraid in China"
Jan Machacek comments in the business daily Hospodarske noviny (11/21): "Skeptics and pragmatics 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 view 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."
NORWAY: "Bush Blancing In Asia"
Newspaper-of-record Aftenposten commented (11/17): "When President Bush embarks on a tour of Asia, which is what he is doing this week, he will find a region marked by significant tension--quite unlike the issue of political integration in Europe. [President Bush] takes clear positions, according to his style, and gives political support first and foremost to Japan, but also to Taiwan.... Generating strong pressure from Asia towards North Korea to make the country stop [producing] nuclear weapons is also high on Bush’s agenda. But most important is China, which he will visit later on in the week. The relationship between the U.S. and China is the most important bilateral relationship in the world today. The Americans want to push for greater openness and freedom of expression in China, but are not interested in pushing things too far. The most important thing is to secure the trade that is now very important to both countries, and at the same time curb the enormous Chinese trade surplus. This is why Bush on a regular basis speaks up on how China needs to revalue its currency to achieve a better trade balance. It will be a tough discussion. In Beijing Bush will meet a strong and self-confident China, which notes that 'we have always had the world’s strongest economy with the exception of the past two hundred years.' Even in the U.S. that makes an impression."
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."
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 wrote (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 multi-polar scheme is the biggest problem to resolve in the 21st century. It won’t be easy.... Although Bush’s insistence on financial liberalization and democratization sounds like (it’s 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."
SWEDEN: "To Tame The Dragon"
Anna Dahlberg wrote in independent, liberal Expressen (11/18): "The geopolitical map is being redrawn by the high oil prices in combination with the rise of China.... The question, which the U.S. and the EU are struggling with, is how to formulate a China policy that will both recognize the positive of the emerging China and hold back the negative tendencies?... Some transatlantic sobering can be noticed. The other day President Bush hinted that China ought to follow the examples of Taiwan and South Korea and introduce democracy. The EU countries have buried the idea of lifting the China arms embargo. And that is how relations with China should be handled. Less uncritical swaggering in order to win attractive business contracts but a continued acceptance of the growing interchange with China. President George W. Bush, who has made some faux pas in other parts of the world, has, in fact, reason to smile contentedly when he faces the cameras tomorrow."
"President Bush Turns Eastward"
Per Ahlin commented in independent, liberal Dagens Nyheter (11/16): "We received confirmation that the U.S. still has influence in the Mideast when the Gaza border deal was closed on Tuesday. The personal intervention of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice made it possible. Apart from this, foreign policy successes have been scarce during President George W. Bush’s second term in office. Inertia has characterized (U.S.) foreign affairs, in general, and Iraq, in particular. Perhaps the trip to Asia will be a relief for him.... In many ways Asia represents the future...and it is obvious that the whole region both concerns and entices the U.S. One does not need to talk to many people in Washington to realize that the politicians in the U.S. have a fixation on what happens in China."
EAST ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
AUSTRALIA: "Speech Over-Reach"
The national conservative Australian editorialized (11/18): "George Bush is not a man afraid to speak his mind, even on occasions when diplomacy dictates staying silent on sensitive subjects is the wisest course.... On Wednesday, the U.S. president gave a speech in Japan praising democracy.... But in adding that China was already on the irreversible road to democracy, the President underestimated the Chinese Communist Party's pleasure in power and its determination to hold on to it. And in praising Taiwan, Mr. Bush starkly set out deep divisions between the U.S. and China, divisions that inevitably involve us. In the process the President certainly did Australia, which needs to stay close friends with the two superpowers, no favors. In itself, the President's speech was utterly admirable.... But by distinguishing democratic Taipei from authoritarian Beijing in this way, Mr. Bush let the communists know which regime he preferred.... But Australia can afford no such ideological indulgence. That we are absolutely allied to the U.S. is beyond doubt. And our relationship with Taiwan matters profoundly...but Australia's trade links with China are absolutely essential to sustaining prosperity.... Mr. Bush's idealism may be commendable but pragmatism dictates that he stop annoying the Chinese dragon just because he can."
CHINA: "Bush's Interesting Trip to Asia"
Weng Xiang commented in a newspaper affiliated to the official Communist Youth League China Youth Daily Elite Reference, (11/23): "Bush's trip to Asia made the world understand the practicality of U.S. diplomacy...serves U.S. domestic affairs. Bush and Rice successively held briefings for reporters on their trip to China. This shows that the visit to China was an important part of the trip to Asia. It also reflects U.S. domestic and international society's attention to U.S.-China relations. Bush needed to immediately report his achievements in China to the U.S. public.... Bush mentioned 'three represents' during the trip: representing the American workers, the U.S. business community and representing those who think we need to cooperate in the WTO. He talked about these to put pressures on certain countries, and meanwhile, try to improve his domestic position. A successful Asia trip, especially some practical economic interests for the U.S. public, could help him to gain points.... During the trip, Bush couldn't avoid the Iraq issue and democracy. Bush was always interrogated about the Iraq issue. Comparatively, he took the initiative to talk about democracy and freedom. His speech in Kyoto was taken as an important speech about U.S. policy on Asia."
"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."
"Bush Conducts Balance Strategy In Asia"
Zhang Lixia, Wang Wenfeng and Li Runtian commented in the official Communist Party international news publication Global Times (11/18): "Bush's East Asia trip is always the most challenging.... China, Japan and ROK have different positions on the U.S. strategy chessboard. In addition, there is also Chen Shuibian who can't sit at the table but is especially interested in what has been discussed there. Thus Bush's major task is maintaining a balance.... To balance his trip to Beijing, which is the most important part, he criticized China's politics while he was in Japan. To please Taiwan, he even claimed Taiwan was an example of promoting political democratization in Asia.... First, Bush is urging China to relax political freedoms.... Bush intends to take more initiative, making tough gestures on human rights and democracy, to avoid losing control of China policy in the face of Congress's tough stance. Second, Bush said these words for the Japanese.... China-Japan relations are at a low; Bush needs to balance the relations.... When he visits China, he will be friendly and practical, because the U.S.-China relations are not easily impacted. In economics, the U.S. won't choose to cut off economic relations with China now; in security, the U.S. depends on China's constructive role on the North Korean nuclear issue etc.; in the world system, the U.S. already sees China as a 'stakeholder.' Bush is seeking a balance between practical diplomacy and democracy/freedom.... From the importance that the Bush administration has placed on his trip to China, people should expect the visit to promote and play a positive role in U.S.-China relations."
"Bush Visit Depicts East Asia Strategy"
Lu Yousheng had this to observed in the China Radio International-sponsored newspaper World News Journal (11/18): "Bush's trip to East Asia shows that the U.S. has finally formed a strategy on East Asia.... For a period of time, U.S.-China relations will still have frictions, but the framework for cooperation won't change.... With Japan, the U.S. has greatly increased cooperation in the military field, trying to make Japan a balancing force in Asia, to serve U.S. interests.... The U.S. hopes to coordinate with ROK on the North Korean nuclear issue to ensure the U.S. interests.... The basic design for the U.S.'s East Asia strategy is: the U.S. gradually shifts the security focus from the world to the Asia-Pacific region. Through increasing control and use of allies, increasing contact with and guidance of countries who are neither enemies nor friends, and maintaining the balance of strength in East Asia, the U.S. intends to build up a new Asia-Pacific security framework led by the U.S. However, East Asian countries lack mutual trust. The U.S. will have many difficulties realizing its strategy."
"Bush Will Experience China's Forgiveness"
Shu Yuan asserted in the official Xinhua News Agency international publication International Herald Leader (11/17): "U.S. presidents generally have a mediocre performance during the second term, or even become trapped in scandals.... However, the decline right after Bush's reelection has exceeded everyone's expectations.... Bush's predecessors all used visits to foreign countries or diplomatic achievements to get out of difficult domestic situations.... Even if he jumps outside the domestic mire, there is hardly a 'gentle beach' waiting for him. Now Bush, exhausted with wounds and scars, is coming to Asia. What can he gain?... Japan can't offer any good gifts to Bush except for removing the prohibition on American beef for two years. Mongolia can give Bush a warm reception. But Bush can hardly change any world situation.... Many South Korean people walked the street for a large scale anti-Bush parade. Only China remains. China is a magnificent country advocating etiquette, and it has generosity for forgiving others. Bush expects to gain one or two life straws from China on U.S.-China bilateral topics or multilateral topics. At least his heart might be comforted by magnanimous Chinese minds. Maybe Bush's iron heart can be gradually melted and he can actually feel Chinese people's magnanimity and forgiveness."
"Bush's Third Visit As A Panda Hedger"
Zhang Miaoyu stated in the official Xinhua News Agency international publication International Herald Leader (11/17): "At the U.S.-China relations seminar, Bush Senior stressed many times that U.S.-China relations are the most important bilateral relations. He also assured that his son holds the same view. Bush Junior said the relations are very important and also very complicated.... Like the two sides of a coin, the relations have both a positive side, like starting strategic dialogues and reaching an agreement in textile trade negotiations, and a negative side, like the U.S. report on China's religious situation and Congress's report exaggerating China's threat. A U.S. reporter categorized the Bush administration's opinions on the relations into three groups: the panda hugger, dragon slayer, and panda hedger.... He put Bush and Rice into the middle category.... Today, as a panda hedger, Bush has not left the problem for time to solve; he is very interested in controlling the wheel of U.S.-China relations personally.... He hopes China will take more responsibility and make more contributions to international society.... This will be Bush's third time to knock at China's door. Bush's every move and word when he is in Beijing will deeply brand future U.S.-China relations."
"Bush Senior Looks At China More Optimistically Than Bush Junior"
Yuan Tiecheng wrote in the official Communist Youth League China Youth Daily (11/17): "The father of the current U.S. President, former U.S. President Bush Senior, said today in Beijing 'this is my 14th visit to China since I left the White House. I am 81 years old. I am still optimistic.' Bush Senior, though at an old age, is still hale and hearty, quick thinking.... He said he is very optimistic about Asian issues, full of confidence.... China is a happy, prosperous place full of information. China is open and exciting.... He said China still needed to change in many aspects.... He is confident about Asia if the U.S. and China can cooperate on issues of common concern.... Bush Junior was also giving a speech in Japan when his father gave the speech in China. Bush Junior's view on China is also relatively positive. But obviously Bush Senior is more positive and optimistic than Bush Junior. Bush Senior did not directly answer a reporter's question about how he looks at his son's visit to China."
"Bush Compliments, Koizumi Smiles, Implication Aims At Other Countries"
Huang Heng asserted in the official Xinhua Daily Telegraph (11/17): "President Bush gave a speech during his visit to Japan. He paid many compliments to the U.S.-Japan alliance. Koizumi echoed his words. But all media that attended the meeting believe that, no matter the focus of their talks or their attitudes afterwards, there is an implication between the lines.... Associated Press said Bush's trip to Japan seems to be covered by the shadow of his onward trip to China.... Bush said in the speech that a free Japan has helped change local people's lives.... Free Japan is providing assistance in changing the world. Kyoto indicated that this refers to Japan sending out Self Defense Troops to join the military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan led by the U.S..... Koizumi took advantage of Bush's compliments to defend his diplomacy. He said he believed the closer the U.S.-Japan relations are, the greater the chances are to have good relations with neighboring countries. One of Bush's goals in visiting Japan is urging Japan to implement the earlier agreement they reached on issuing the final report on the U.S. military realignment in Japan."
"What Bush Carries With Him For His Visit To China"
Xu Qingduo commented in the China Radio International sponsored newspaper World News Journal (11/15): "President Bush's Asia visit started on November 14. His visit to China has especially aroused the world's attention. The U.S. will grab this chance to aggressively put pressure on China on currency, trade and military issues. Analysts indicate that the U.S. government has taken a series of steps to put pressure on China right before President Bush's visit. This has had two goals: to pander to the Hawks; secondly, to sway public opinion for use as a negotiation phenomenon to get more compromises from China. For example, on the U.S.-China trade issue, Bush will possibly further put pressure on the RMB appreciation issue.... Undeniably, U.S.-China relations are complicated. If the two could negotiate with cooperative attitudes, there could be better solutions to problems between them."
"Bush Visits China Three Times To Talk About Cooperation"
Tang Yong and Li Hongwei commented in the official Communist Party international news publication Global Times (11/14): "This is Bush's third time to visit China. The media hope the U.S. and China will take this chance to push the bilateral relations to a head. Bush will visit Japan, ROK and China in that order.... The Bush administration places particular emphasis on not letting Japan feel alienated while developing U.S.-China relations. Bush must want to emphasize Japan's role in Asia. On the other side, this proves that Asian strength is undergoing a change. If the U.S. doesn't support Japan, the drop of Japan's position in Asia will be even more serious.... Analysts indicate that the main topics during Bush's visit will be the North Korean nuclear issue and U.S.-China trade issues.... The rate of senior officials' frequent visits to China is unprecedented. Meanwhile, the appearance of China threat theory for the third time shows that the U.S. emphasizes cooperation with China, and at the same time is worried about China's rapid development.... Analysts believe that the general opinion of U.S. society toward China is becoming more practical and positive, including Bush's views on China. Many analysts noticed Zoellick's speech in September and thought it was a positive signal."
"China Continues With Steady Foreign Policy"
Eric Teo Chu Cheow commented in the official English-language newspaper China Daily (11/8): "Beijing has actively sought diplomatic stabilization with its major partners and projected an active posture in its diplomacy, as befits a large nation.... Of particular significance were two successful visits by American leaders to Beijing, ahead of President George W. Bush's visit to China this month during his tour to Asia to attend the APEC Summit in Busan.... Diplomacy was clearly in the air this autumn in Sino-U.S. military ties, as both Beijing and Washington contributed to reducing animosity after the postponed visit of President Hu to the United States in early September, owing to Hurricane Katrina. Beijing has also actively sought to play up its cultural and 'soft power' image in the United States by hosting a month-long cultural extravaganza on American soil in order to reach out to the American people. It was also significant that Rumsfeld's landmark visit came hot on the heels of China's...condemnation of Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visit to Yasukuni. The tour was also in the context of a progressive convergence of views between Seoul and Beijing.... But even more significantly, Rumsfeld's visit just preceded Hu's announced goodwill visit to Pyongyang to meet DPRK leader Kim Jong Il in late October, just weeks ahead of the scheduled resumption of six-party talks in Beijing in November."
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.... 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."
"How China Can Reassure The World It Wants Peace"
Hong Kong-based writer Frank Ching stated in the pro-government Business Times (11/16): "The visit by U.S. President George W. Bush to Beijing this week, the third such visit of his presidency, is likely to focus on economic issues...greater religious freedom...the North Korean nuclear issue, Iran, terrorism and energy. What he may be too diplomatic to bring up, however, is an even more pressing issue: the need for China to demonstrate that it will not be a bully when it becomes powerful, as it undoubtedly will.... It is not enough to say that China's rise will be peaceful. It will be necessary, as Deng Xiaoping said, to demonstrate this through action. Of course, it is not possible today to demonstrate how China will behave in the future. But China can do much more today to establish its peaceful intentions. In particular, it would help if China were to operate in a more transparent manner, especially where its military spending is concerned. It would also help if China were to demonstrate that it respects human rights, both those of its own people as well as those of others. If China does these things, it will go a long way to reassure the rest of the world about its peaceful intentions."
"Taking Care Of Business, The Schwarzenegger Way"
The independent English-language South China Morning Post said in an editorial (11/15): "As a sign of what is foremost on the American political mind, China is hosting a string of the U.S.' most important figures this week. President George W. Bush arrives on Saturday, his father, an ex-president and former ambassador to the mainland, is already in Beijing to take part in a forum, Trade Representative Rob Portman is also there and the Governor of the state of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, is visiting with a large delegation.... Much of that has to do with the Bush administration's confusion over how to deal with China's economic and political rise. Rather than working with China, it has opted to protect its markets and pressured [China] to reform its currency. Those points are foremost on Mr. Portman's agenda and are expected to be reiterated when Mr. Bush arrives. Mr. Schwarzenegger also means business, but has come on friendlier terms.... In his six days in China, Mr. Schwarzenegger may well have more success in getting his message across than Mr. Bush during his three-day visit.... The actor-turned-politician has something to offer and a simple, valid point to make. The President will do well to bring more than mixed signals."
CHINA (MACAU SAR): "U.S.-Japan Further Enhance Their Allied Relations"
The pro-PRC Chinese-language Macau Daily News remarked (11/18): "Seizing the opportunity of attending the APEC summit, U.S. President Bush has been making a trip to Japan, Korea, China and Mongolia. He hoped to inject more energy in his East Asian strategy. The main focus of Bush's East Asian trip is to handle the 'intricate'--called by U.S. officials--U.S.-China relation properly, to resolve the DPRK nuclear issue and to strengthen U.S.-Japan allied relations. Strengthening the U.S.-Japan relations is the center and the strong point of Bush's East Asian strategy.... After the Japan-U.S. summit, Koizumi said that both Japan and the U.S. had already come to a consensus on military reorganization. In March next year, they will finish the final reorganization report of U.S. troops stationed in Japan. Such a military reorganization indicates that U.S.-Japan military alliance will be upgraded on the whole and both sides will further enhance their military cooperation."
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."
"U.S. Needs To Delink Taiwan And China"
The pro-independence, English-language Taipei Times posited (11/18): "U.S. President George W. Bush has at long last demonstrated that he is aware of Taiwan's value as a democracy.... The question that now remains is this: since the White House appears ready to accept that Taiwan is no longer an authoritarian state controlled by a murderous dictator, how will it translate this knowledge into a meaningful strategy for Taiwan?... Eventually the U.S. must realize that the 'Taiwan issue' can not be treated as a subset of the 'China issue.' Many people in the U.S. have become accustomed to treating Washington's policy toward Taiwan as a small and irksome outgrowth of Sino-American relations. This approach may have had currency in 1951, but it makes little sense now. From the U.S. perspective, preserving Taiwan's de facto independence is not the end game--nor is maintaining trouble-free relations with China.... U.S. policymakers seem to be unable to decide how to deal with China, and as a result, they lack a grand vision for U.S. policy in the region.... The ultimate U.S. goal in East Asia must be the preservation of the current strategic situation, with the U.S. as the undisputed guarantor of regional stability and security.... The...alternative--letting Japan and China slug it out for control of the West Pacific--could well lead to World War III."
"Bush Wants China To Learn From Taiwan’s Democracy And Freedom"
The pro-independence Taiwan Daily commented in an editorial (11/17): "[U.S. President George W.] Bush delivered a speech in Kyoto Wednesday, lauding Taiwan’s democracy, freedom and prosperity and saying Taiwan is a model for China to learn from.... It is noteworthy that in a few days, Bush will meet with Chinese President Hu Jintao in Beijing. Bush will ask China to continue implementing its currency reform policy, increase U.S. exports to China, and protect intellectual property rights. Sources said the neo-conservative force in the U.S. hopes that the Bush administration will adopt a tough position toward Beijing with regard to issues like human rights and religious freedom. Bush, on the other hand, hopes to influence China’s social transformation via economic and trade development.... Bush’s speech stressed the value of Taiwan’s democracy and clearly pointed out China’s totalitarianism. It is particularly pleasing to see that when Bush listed Taiwan, together with Japan and South Korea, as democratic economic models and asked China to play an aggressive role [in this aspect], he has in fact endorsed Taiwan’s [status] as a country, an independent sovereign state."
"Excessive Profits Erode Security"
The pro-independence, English-language Taipei Times editorialized (11/15): U.S. President George W. Bush will visit Japan, South Korea, China and Mongolia on his latest trip to Asia. The Bush administration’s China policy has increasingly been influenced by experts who favor economic engagement in terms of huge market and business opportunities, while paying less attention to the constant expansion of Chinese hegemony and its authoritarian structure, which oppresses democratic forces.... If the U.S. regards Beijing as responsible, on what grounds can it condemn countries such as North Korea and Iran? The threat these nations pose to international security and democracy is limited compared with that posed by a nuclear power such as China.... The U.S. has much to lose if Bush continues to rely on those who take an economic view and champion profit at the expense of international security in the construction of his administration’s foreign policy. China stands out in that it is so clearly poised, both by virtue of its size and its nuclear arsenal, to threaten regional and international peace. If it were not for Beijing’s support, would a government like North Korea’s dare to act in such a high-handed manner?"
"Taiwan Not On Bush Agenda"
The conservative, pro-unification, English-language China Post wrote (11/15): "This will be Bush’s third official visit to China. Taipei is always apprehensive whenever a top U.S. official, especially the president, goes there. But this time Taiwan has receded from a hot issue to a background issue of U.S.-China relations because the momentum in Taiwan towards independence has stalled, thanks to U.S. intervention and Beijing’s new tactics. There is a general agreement in Washington that since Beijing passed an anti-secession law in March, condoning military force against Taiwan independence, there has been a reduction in cross-strait hostility. U.S. constraints on Taipei pursuing pro-independence initiatives that risk conflict with China will likely remain strong through to the end of President Chen Shui-bian’s term of office in 2008. This relaxed status quo is cherished by all except the Chen administration, which seeks to break it."
JAPAN: "Practical Approach Welcomed"
The liberal Asahi stated (11/21): "President Bush affirmed... 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.... 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."
"Bush Speech: Declaration Of Values Of Freedom And Democracy"
The conservative Sankei judged (11/18): "President Bush's speech in Kyoto on November 16 during his current tour through Asia expressed the basic diplomatic stance of his second-term administration toward Asia, particularly China, which will have a significant impact on Japan's diplomatic policy.... It is the basic policy of the Bush administration to expand freedom and democracy.... As was the case in his first presidential tour through Asia in 2002, President Bush began in Japan and emphasized how these two countries that share the common values of freedom and democracy have established a close alliance and how Japan, which prospered under its alliance with the U.S., has made significant regional and global contributions.... The President also referred to freedom and democratization in South Korea and Taiwan, singling Taiwan out for special praise.... Given Beijing's sense of alarm that democratization is a step on the road to Taipei's independence, the president's direct praise undoubtedly served as a strong message to Beijing.... It was a bold speech that attached greater importance to the value of freedom that forms the basis of a democratic nation than seeking immediate economic gains. Attention is now focusing on Beijing's reaction when Bush meets with the Chinese president on November 20."
"Is Singing The Praises Of The U.S.-Japan Alliance Enough?"
The liberal Asahi editorialized (11/17): "It is clear that Prime Minister Koizumi attaches great importance to the U.S.-Japan alliance. We wonder whether the prime minister's effusive praise of the alliance's effectiveness took the president by surprise.... It is undeniable that U.S.-Japan relations are vital to Japan, and it would be wonderful if the U.S.-Japan relationship would help resolve pending diplomatic issues between Japan and its neighbors. The reality, though, is far from this, given Japan's strained relations with China and South Korea and its failed bid to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council. The idea that everything will work well if U.S.-Japan relations are fine evidences an almost complete lack of thought.... Following talks with PM Koizumi, President Bush spoke on U.S. policy toward Asia, urging China to democratize and play a more important role in the international community, as well as expressing the message that he is visiting Asian nations to clarify that the U.S., as a Pacific nation, would like to take part in the thriving Asia-Pacific community."
"Situation in East Asia Prompts Strengthening Of U.S.-Japan Alliance"
An editorial in the top-circulation, moderate Yomiuri observed (11/17): "At their meeting, President Bush and Prime Minister Koizumi confirmed the further strengthening of the U.S.-Japan alliance to deal with the changing political and security situation in East Asia, centering on the rise of China. PM Koizumi noted that with close and strong ties with the U.S., Japan could maintain good relations with China and other Asian nations. China's move to become a major military power, backed by its rapid economic growth, has become a matter of major concern regarding the security of the Asia and Pacific region. China is strengthening moves to expel U.S. influence and establish leadership in this area.... President Bush observed that the stronger U.S.-Japan relations are, the lower the likelihood of a regional conflict. The U.S. is pursuing the realignment of its military on a global scale. The U.S. probably believes that strengthening its alliance with Japan will be helpful in watching over the 'arc of instability' that extends from East Asia to the Middle East and in serving as a deterrent force to promote regional stability.... From the perspective of strengthening the U.S.-Japan alliance, the GOJ should start talks with local base-hosting communities at an early date and obtain local support for the base realignment plans."
"Bush Projects Democracy Toward Asia"
The business-oriented Nihon Keizai editorialized (11/17): "Besides reaffirming the strength of the U.S.-Japan alliance during his talks with PM Koizumi in Kyoto, President Bush gave a policy speech, speaking on how he viewed Asia through the 'prism of democracy.' While calling Taiwan an example of successful democratization, the President cited Burma as a nation that lacks freedom and placed China between Taiwan and Burma. His remarks were indicative of his logic that U.S.-Japan relations are important for spreading democracy across the world.... U.S.-Japan relations based on the friendship between the two leaders will not last forever, given that PM Koizumi is expected to step down in September 2006; President Bush's term ends in January 2009, and his prospective successors will get most of the attention when the presidential campaign gets underway in early 2008. In addition, public support for the President has fallen below 40 percent over the Iraq war, Hurricane Katrina, and the indictment of the Vice President's former Chief of Staff. It is true that the 'Bush-Koizumi era' has been an exceptionally good point in the long history of U.S.-Japan relations, and the President's visit to Kyoto attested to this. The importance of U.S.-Japan relations will remain unchanged for the foreseeable future. It appears that the time has come to give thought to U.S.-Japan relations after the Bush-Koizumi era."
"An Alliance That Needs Understanding And Support From Neighboring Countries"
An editorial in the liberal Mainichi noted (11/17): "At their meeting in Kyoto, President Bush and PM Koizumi reaffirmed the maintenance and strengthening of the U.S.-Japan alliance...'in a global context.' The development of bilateral cooperative relations, based on the U.S.-Japan security setup, is necessary to maintain peace and security in the Asia-Pacific region.... Looking at the situation in East Asia, it is clear how important close and strong U.S.-Japan relations are. North Korea's nuclear development has posed a serious threat.... It is also of great concern that China is undertaking a naval buildup and aiming to advance into the Pacific Ocean. A strong U.S.-Japan relationship is meaningful in that it serves as a 'public asset' that helps to contain such unstable factors. In that sense, it is worrying that Koizumi's diplomacy toward East Asia remains at a standstill. China and S. Korea have begun to take joint diplomatic steps toward Japan in protest of PM Koizumi's visits to Yasukuni Shrine. An East Asian summit will be held in December that will not include the U.S. The extent Japan will be able to demonstrate leadership there will have an impact on the future of the U.S.-Japan alliance.... It is important for the U.S. and Japan to increase the ranks of countries that support the common values shared by the U.S. and Japan and agree with the purpose of the bilateral alliance. Now is the time for PM Koizumi to restructure Japan's Asia diplomacy."
"Japan Should Explore Ways To Co-Exist With Other Asian Nations"
The liberal Asahi editorialized (11/14): "As we approach the end of the year, diplomacy is on the agenda in East Asia, beginning with President Bush's November 16 meeting with Prime Minister Koizumi in Kyoto and then the APEC summit in Busan, South Korea, on November 18.... Prime Minister Koizumi will likely try to turn around his Asia diplomacy, which has been his weakest point. The 21st century has been called the 'Asian century'.... Asia will continue...using China and India as locomotives.... The U.S. government has not concealed its displeasure over moves to create an East Asian Community that excludes the U.S. or an East Asian Summit. That is likely why it will try to leave an impression that it is eager to strengthen ties with Asia at the APEC summit, promoting the view that the U.S. is the only engine for encouraging trade and investment liberalization and promoting regional development. There is a strong sense of dissatisfaction in the U.S. toward China, which has been undertaking a military buildup while running trade surpluses with the U.S. At the APEC summit and during his visit to China, Mr. Bush is expected to urge Beijing to further revalue the yuan and to protect intellectual property rights, a move intended to bolster his popularity at home.... China has been making its economic and political presence felt, and Beijing is eager to show its ability to lead Asia at an East Asia Summit that does not include the U.S. The country with a weak presence in the 'Asia game' is Japan."
INDONESIA: "U.S. Once Again Pressures China"
Leading independent independent Kompas (11/22) commented: "Bush stated that China should give more opportunities to U.S. farmers and businessmen who want to access the Chinese market, evaluate its currency, and overcome pirating of films, computer programs, and other U.S. patented materials.... However, pledges are not the breakthrough since no specific and concrete steps are being taken to respond to U.S demands. The U.S. is disappointed about China’s cold reaction regarding civil rights issues. The U.S. has pushed for religious, social, and political freedom but has received little response, as opponents in that country are still being detained. The U.S. seems to be trying to dictate to China, but China refuses to obey. On the surface, the two countries are giving the appearance of trying to build economic relations, but on a deeper level, the U.S. is haunted by geopolitical and geo-economic disputes."
MALAYSIA: "Taiwan 'Anxiety' Regarding US-China Ties"
Petaling Jaya-based leading government-influenced, Chinese-language daily Sin Chew Daily editorialized (11/22): "After Bush's meeting with Hu Jintao, we can understand the anxiety of the Taiwanese government in observing that an off-balance U.S. triangular relationship with China and Taiwan has now been formed with the U.S.-Sino tie weighted heavier on the side of mainland than on Taiwan. But such anxiety has also shown the lack of a clear world vision on the part of the Taiwanese leadership. When China and the Untied States have already moved toward expanding cooperative partnership amid differences, and when the U.S. government has already accepted that supporting the independence of Taiwan would be the highest risk factor that could trigger a confrontation between China and the United States, the Taiwanese government should by now realize that the United States would never come to its rescue should Taiwan take the independence road. We regret that, until now, Taiwan is still trapped in its internal political struggle on issues relating to its independence. The Taiwanese government should know that like any other country, Washington's foreign policy is based on its own national interest. Bush has already said that strengthening the U.S.-Sino relationship is in line with US national interest."
"U.S. To Follow China's Leadership In East Asia Pacific Economic Development"
Government-influenced, Chinese-language Nanyang Siang Pau declared (11/22): "The APEC Summit held in Busan and the follow-up visit of President Bush to China has confirmed our belief that China has indeed become a rising sun in the east that can lead East Asia and Pacific nations in economic development.... Washington has finally come to terms with the fact that in order to be part of the growing team in the Asian region, the U.S. will have to support the East Asia and Pacific development led by China too. While in Japan, although Bush gave the 'shrine-visit' Koizumi much needed moral support, one cannot help but notice the loneliness of Japan in the Busan APEC summit. In order to please his allies, which also include Taiwan, and his domestic audience, it was wise for Bush to level all his criticism on China while still in Japan. Such an approach paved a smooth path for Bush to sing the right tune to the Chinese leader when he landed in Beijing. Hu Jiatao's five major proposals in pushing forward a constructive U.S.-Sino cooperative partnership were like 'a bang on the gong' that sealed the peaceful coexistence policy between the two nations.... China has indeed become an economic platform for world businesses to engage in trade. China is now a country in Asia whose lead the U.S. would want to follow in order to be part of regional development."
"Washington Attempting To Weaken China's Influence In Asia"
Penang-based Chinese-language independent daily Kwong Wah Jit Poh editorialized (11/22): "The ultimate goal of Bush's preemptive policy is to continue U.S. supremacy in the world. Yet Bush's preemptive policy is only good for applying in weaker nations. For stronger and tougher nations such as North Korea, Bush's preemptive policy has lost its practicality. In addition, Washington has no practical means to stop the economically emerging China from improving its modernized military status. China processes great potential to become the world's largest economic body now. China's increasingly influential power in the world is also on par with the United States. With such concern as a backdrop, it is thus logical for Washington to want to strengthen its ally status and its military partnership with Japan in order to block or weaken the influential power of China in the East Asia and Pacific region. Although the United States has reconfirmed its One China policy with the Chinese leader during Bush's recent visit to China, beneath the surface, the contradictory cross straits policy of the United States has remained to contain the growth of China in the Asian region."
"President Bush's Asian Tour Shows Contradictions Of U.S. Foreign Policy"
Government-influenced Nanyang Siang Pau took this view (11/15): "President Bush has continued to raise his self-interest banner wherever he goes. His statements have often shown the contradictions in U.S. foreign policy. Bush's contradictions in expressing his ideology can be reflected in the media interviews held shortly before he departed for his Asian tour of four countries. During this Asian tour, Bush has even slapped the face of Chinese leaders by visiting with the Dalai Lama and praised the democratic movement there. While we believe Asian leaders and Asian people would not respond to Bush's visits to their countries as the Latin American people did to Bush when he was on tour there, we feel the Bush administration should do more homework in saying such statements before leaving for Asia."
SINGAPORE: "Costly Impasse On Trade"
The pro-government Business Times editorialized (11/18): "The track record of the current round of World Trade Organization (WTO) talks has been dismal so far.... Now it looks as if the upcoming Hong Kong ministerial conference is as good as doomed.... The long-standing impasse on access to Europe's heavily protected farm markets remains. For members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) group gathering this week in Busan, the ball is clearly in the EU's court if the WTO talks are not to be torpedoed.... But will the EU give ground? Or will the squabbling and wrangling continue, and the deadlock remain, resulting in the four-year Doha round...failing to be inked by end-2006? In the event, then, instead of multilateral agreements, global trade could well retreat to regional pacts, with the smaller developing countries--including those of the expanded EU--at a distinct disadvantage."
"Bush Comes To Asia"
The pro-government Straits Times editorialized (11/16): "Message: The U.S. does want to remain engaged in Asia.... The Bush administration has very few Asia experts in high office.... As a result, the administration's Asia policy has been conducted on an ad hoc basis...with no overarching strategy or vision informing its agenda. All this--in addition to the administration's focus on the Middle East, terrorism and the war in Iraq, to the exclusion of almost everything else--has occasioned a period of drift in America's Asia policy.... U.S.-China relations have been difficult in recent years, with disagreements on issues ranging from Taiwan to trade, from currency exchange rates to China's military modernization.... When a new power emerges to challenge a regnant one, there is bound to be some friction. But it is in the interest of both the U.S. and China to...see to it that it does not become so abrasive as to cause sparks to fly, resulting perhaps in a conflagration.... They have managed to do that on Taiwan...suggesting it is possible to reach a modus vivendi on other issues as well. If Washington really wishes...to facilitate China becoming a 'responsible stakeholder', regionally and globally, it should not be difficult to establish.... There is certainly no inherent contradiction between 'responsible stakeholder' and Beijing's own 'peaceful rising' concept.... One hopes Mr. Bush's Beijing stop will begin to dissolve that distrust."
"U.S. Simply Muddling Through On China Policy"
The pro-government Business Times remarked (11/16): "As President Bush prepares to leave on his Asia trip, which will include a visit to China, it's important to restate the obvious: Washington, under the Bush administration doesn't have a 'China Policy.' Instead, when it comes to dealing with the emerging East Asian giant, the White House has adopted a policy of 'muddling through,' by responding to conflicting pressures at home.... By failing to come up with a clear articulation of the U.S. policy towards China and to forge a constructive Sino-American partnership like the one that began to take shape under the Clinton presidency, President Bush seems to have given a green light to bureaucratic agencies, interest groups and Congress to steer the direction of the relationship with Beijing. The protectionist forces in Congress have helped drive the anti-Chinese momentum in Washington by blaming Beijing...for the erosion in the U.S. industrial edge.... President Bush...will have an opportunity to set the stage for a Sino-U.S. dialogue in which both sides should discover that their core national economic and security interests are really not at odds, and that...China's 'peaceful development' is compatible with long-term U.S. goals. But before that dialogue takes place, Mr. Bush needs to take control of Washington's China policy and steer it in the right direction."
THAILAND: "Another Difficult Road Trip For Bush"
The lead editorial in the independent English-language Nation read (11/17): “The U.S. President arrives in Asia amid concerns about the direction of American foreign policy.... Whether he is able to achieve much more than he did in Argentina…is less certain. The Argentinean episode seems typical of the way the rest of the world is edging away from Washington.... It seems now that everything associated with U.S. foreign policy is reflexively perceived as negative. Much of this…stems from Washington’s hugely unpopular decision to invade and occupy Iraq...Bush’s swaggering disdain for the opinion of much of the international community that upset so many people and countries around the world. At the same time there is growing discontent with the Washington brand of globalization that the White House has vigorously pursued and the divisions and inequities it produces.... By holding so much U.S. debt, China and Japan hold the power to create financial chaos in America.... By extending such credit to Washington, Beijing is effectively financing America’s foreign adventures such as the Iraqi invasion. When he came to power, Bush vowed to spread freedom and democracy. Instead, he comes to Asia representing an America that has lost substantial international influence in the last five years, and that is in hock to the world’s last great communist power.”
SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA
INDIA: "The Outcome Of The Visit To China"
Mumbai-based centrist Marathi daily Dainik Lokmat stated (11/22): "By now U.S. President George W. Bush must have realized that China is not Iraq or Pakistan. The U.S., which conducts itself like a global policeman, is not used to outspoken self-respecting replies. But Chinese President Hu Jintao dared to snub Bush when the latter offered unwarranted counsel about the need for a strong democracy in China. He said China will never espouse the 'Western concept of democracy' that America believes in. He also hit back at the U.S. lobby which lamented the human rights violations in China. In this fashion, the Chinese President expressed his dislike for America’s meddling in its internal affairs. Bush’s flattering reference to Taiwan was also termed as uncalled for. Resultantly, Bush hardly got anything substantial from the over an hour-long meeting with Hu Jintao. It was Bush’s third visit to China, and his fifth meeting with Hu Jintao in the last one year. That is indicative of the growing stature of China as a superpower. As inexpensive Chinese goods flood the U.S. market, America is becoming increasingly apprehensive of the Chinese stance."
"America Needs To Take Concrete Steps"
Mumbai-based centrist Gujarati daily Gujaratmitra noted (11/21): "During his official visit to China, U.S. President George Bush appealed to the Chinese government for freedom at all levels for its citizens. Although this statement may reflect the U.S.’s pro-democracy stance, it 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 a 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. President Bush needs to keep this in mind during his deliberations with Chinese President Hu Jintao."
Calcutta's centrist Statesman went on to say (11/21): "A man whom the world calls a war-monger ought to have gone on the defensive after the latest revelations on Iraq. Instead...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...has had Beijing’s dander up.... The leader of any other democracy may well have got away with such criticism of China.... 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.... The U.S. 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.... To talk of freedom and rights in some other country is sanctimonious humbug.”
"China's Super Moves"
Sunanda K. Datta-Ray alleged in left-of-center Bangalore-based English daily Deccan Herald (11/21): "The strategic silence of China and the U.S. on key issues shows that they are working towards a rapprochement. It was Hu and Hu in Beijing as China ingratiated itself (without giving away anything of substance) with George W. Bush who is seen as the major impediment to the superpower status the Chinese consider their due. The need to conciliate the U.S. was underlined again during Hu Jintao's recent triumphal tour of Europe.... However, cooperation can't go further unless the EU lifts the arms embargo imposed after the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. Britain, France and Spain are keen on abolishing it. But Angela Merkel, Germany's chancellor-designate, is thought to be pro-American.... Europe cannot act without U.S. permission. And while the U.S. wants China on its side...its terms and conditions are rooted in a mix of economic, political and chauvinistic factors. The arbitrary steps taken to prevent the Chinese acquiring the oil giant UNOCAL revealed the strength of American feeling.... When Bush does raise moral issues, it is as a bargaining counter. Understanding this, the Chinese are prepared to negotiate token concessions."
PAKISTAN: "President Bush Meeting With Chinese Counterpart"
Popular Urdu-language Ausaf wrote (11/22): "The U.S. President Bush during his visit to China has said that China must grant religious freedom to its people.... He also asked the Chinese President to ban those firms and companies that are indulging in manufacturing counterfeit goods and commodities. It is strange that on the one hand, the U.S. claims to be a harbinger of religious, political and civil liberties, on the other hand, it is trying to strengthen global imperialism through curtailing the trade and economic freedom of others. It is even also restricting the freedom of its own citizens. The Bush administration has devised discriminatory laws against Muslims. It shows that the U.S. is misusing religious and civil liberties for its political interests."
"Amity Between U.S. And China"
Islamabad-based Urdu daily Assas editorialized (11/22): "Though no big news came out immediately after the President Bush’s visit to China, diplomatic circles are agreed that improvement in the relations between two superpowers can play an important role to ensure peace in South Asia.... Pakistan is close to both the U.S. and China, but the suspicions and misgiving between India and Pakistan will not be removed until the peaceful solution of the Kashmir dispute. Being the superpowers of the world, it the responsibility of China and the U.S. to resolve this issue."
ARGENTINA: "Partners, But Still Adversaries"
Leftist Pagina 12 said (11/21): "Strong relations, constructive discussions and common interests were some of the phrases that characterized the declarations, of both U.S. and Beijing officials, during the beginning of President Bush's two-day visit to China. Nevertheless, more subtle and in second place were some topics in which the two ancient 'adversaries'--now 'partners'--can't find a common ground. Among them, there's the situation of Taiwan and Washington's request for more flexibility of the Yuan. Even though the two officials tried to create a friendly atmosphere, Bush's visit was marked by his criticism and that of his officials, to the limitations to religious, political and individual freedoms in the Asian country."
"Speech And Reality"
International columnist Claudio Mario Aliscioni opined in leading, centrist Clarín (11/21): "It's common practice for U.S. Presidents to obtain political benefit from their trips abroad. But, as someone remembered yesterday with some humor, George Bush might return from Asia asking himself why he left his country in the first place. This has its reasons. First, problems continue to grow in Washington and now even his own allies desert him. Then, he deploys in China a controversial speech on freedom and human rights. Looks like everybody in Beijing were discreet enough to overlook the disasters in Iraq."
BRAZIL: "Speaking Of Liberty"
Right-of-center 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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