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Pallone for tough measures against China

Pallone for tough measures against China

Author: Sridhar Krishnaswami
Publication: The Hindu
Date: July 7, 2000

WASHINGTON, JULY 6. Arguing that Pakistan and China had teamed up to  surround India and create an alarming potential for instability in Asia, the  Democratic Congressman from New Jersey, Mr. Frank Pallone, has urged the  Clinton administration to impose sanctions on Beijing for its assistance to  the Pakistani missile development programme.

``China and Pakistan both consider India to be their major strategic threat  - which is absurd given that India has been the victim of both Pakistani and  Chinese aggression. But given that shared strategic outlook on the part of  China and Pakistan, it is clear that these two nations have teamed up to  surround India and create an alarming potential for instability in Asia,''  the lawmaker said.

Mr. Pallone called on the administration to get ``tough'' with Beijing  saying that while Pakistan remained under sanctions for its nuclear  explosions and the military coup of last year, Washington had been trying to  influence Beijing through a policy of ``comprehensive engagement''. In his  view, this policy with respect to Pakistan was not working. ``It's time to  get tough with Beijing,'' he added.

Against the backdrop of recent intelligence reports of China stepping up  assistance to Pakistan's long-range missile programme, Mr. Pallone, in a  letter to the President, Mr. Bill Clinton, said sanctions must be imposed on  China ``forthwith'', noting that China had been ``penalised'' in 1991 and  1993 for supplying M-11 missiles.

``As we work to heighten our cooperation with India on such issues as  security, non-proliferation and terrorism, it seems inconsistent not to hold  China accountable for actions that directly threaten the security of India  and which will inevitably spur a heightened arms race on the  sub-continent,'' he said in the letter.

China's continued, and perhaps heightened, support to Pakistan's nuclear and  missile development programmes had given rise to serious concern on Capitol  Hill; and the administration was anxious that the latest revelations - not  very surprising though - would not come in handy to the Senate, now  considering the issue of Permanent Normal Trade Relations status for China.

``... if the administration considers PNTR passage so important, it must  demonstrate to Congress that it is serious about cracking down on China's  violation of non proliferation agreements,'' Mr. Pallone said. The PNTR bill  passed the House of Representatives and at one time it was said its passage  in the Senate was only a matter of time, but now prominent Conservative  Senators are thinking of attaching tough amendments which could prove  troublesome for the White House.

Hardline Republicans have consistently pointed out that the Clinton  administration, for political and economic reasons, had been looking the  other way on China going back on its ``commitments'' on non-proliferation  issues. For the last several years, intelligence agencies had been warning  the administration of some of Beijing's dubious relationships and  transactions with countries such as Pakistan.

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