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US lawmakers question wooking of China, snub to India - The Indian Express

Chidanand Rajghatta ()
June 18, 1998

Title: US lawmakers question wooking of China, snub to India
Author: Chidanand Rajghatta
Publication: The Indian Express
Date: June 18, 1998

Smitten by the allure of China's markets and potential might, the
Clinton administration is ignoring or forsaking meaningful ties
with more worthy democratic allies in Asia like India and may be
putting off Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Philippines, key
American lawmakers and analysts are saying.

As President Clinton gears up for his nine-day visit to the
Communist dictatorship starting June 25, the quiet murmur of
criticism is turning into a torrent as experts are now beginning
to question, and in some cases mock, the extent to which Clinton
and his mandarins are besotted by China. The US legislature is
boiling with debate over Clinton's China policy and commentators
in the media and elsewhere are increasingly starting to challenge
the ardour with which the White House is wooing Beijing, warts
and all. Many lawmakers are starting to see some justification in
India's nuclear tests m the context of China's aggressive
proliferation designs and questioning the very rationale of the
Washington cosying up to China at the expense of New Delhi.

The most trenchant and sustained criticism of US foreign policy
vis-a-vis China and India came from Florida Senator Connie Mack,
who ripped apart the Clinton White House's duplicitous ways on
the Senate floor on Tuesday.

merican foreign policy should promote freedom, democracy,
respect for human dignity, and rule of law. It is hard for me to
imagine that the President would reward inappropriate actions by
the Chinese Communist party leaders while simultaneously
sanctioning democratic leaders of India, Mack said in a speech
devoted almost entirely to the US-India-China triangulate.

The Florida lawmaker pointed out that unlike China, India was not
a proliferator and 90 per cent of Beijing's weapons sales went to
countries bordering India. China may be too preoccupied today to
directly threaten India, but they need only employ Pakistan as a
surrogate belligerent to jeopardise India's security, he added.

"In spite of posing a potential threat to the United States and
being among the world's worst human rights violators, China gets
the perks of enormously favourable trade and investment flows and
top level diplomatic treatment including presidential visits,
while India gets sanctioned. This makes no sense. It is strange
- and it's just wrong," Mack said.

Like Mack, New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone also argued
elsewhere that the growing military and nuclear relationship
between Pakistan and China pushed India to conduct nuclear tests.
Questioning the Clinton administration investing Beijing with a
role in resolving disputes between India and Pakistan, Pallone
said the move makes no sense, given their role in Pakistan's
nuclear development.

But the administration seemed to be in no mood to back off. In
spite of being embarrassed by daily media revelations about
China's non-stop proliferation activities, Secretary of State
Madeleine Albright defended Beijing's record at a hearing on the
Hill on Tuesday, saying China had systematically come within the
international regimes that limit any country's ability to sell or
transfer weapons.

"They have improved; and I think the record would show that,"
Albright told several doubtful Senators of the Appropriations

But analysts say the record actually shows otherwise.

Most recent revelations indicate that China last month discussed
the sale of telemetry equipment to Iran, which is budding two
medium-range missiles. The equipment is used in missile
technicians are working in Libya to help develop Tripoli's
ballistic missile programme, the Washington Times reported
recently. Beijing was also shipping sophisticated equipment to
Pakistan's A Q Khan Research Laboratory the same week as
Islamabad's nuclear test.

But the revelations have largely left the administration cold at
home as it warms up to China. Much to the dismay of many
observers, Clinton has even agreed to be to be received at
Beijing's Tiananmen Square - site of the bloody student massacre
- defending his hosts' right to venue and protocol.

China's behaviour against students on Tiananmen Square,
resistance to freedom and democratic reforms, an abysmal human
rights record, and dangerous and irresponsible proliferation
activities deserve America's scorn more than India's legal
actions taken in defence of its own national interests, Senator
Mack said.

Some of that scorn came on late night talk shows. hey are going
to roll out the red carpet on Tiananmen Square. No, not to
welcome Clinton... but to hide the blood stains," comedian Jay
Leno gibed on Tuesday night.

Recent reports have also spoken of 13 of China's long range
nuclear missiles being pointed at the United States, a revelation
that has not been denied by the Clinton administration but which
has been downplayed. Expectedly, the US has dozens more missiles
pointed at China. Analysts say among the items on the Clinton
agenda is to secure an agreement during his visit leading to
disengagement by both sides on this score.

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