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China Makes Historic Concessions For Better U.S. Ties

by Franz Schurmann

Hawks Unhappy Over Improved Beijing Ties
Winding up a 13-year-rule marked by profound social changes in China, President Jiang Zemin delivered a valedictory speech at the start of a crucial political congress Nov. 8, calling on China's Communist Party to "keep up with the times" or "fall behind."

But while projecting political reform in more distant future, Jiang told delegates that the party has to undertake an imminent and most daring reform of its ideology -- changing its constitution to welcome capitalists into its fold.

During the 16th Party congress, which will last seven days, the party constitution will be modified to include the 'Three Represents', a theoretical modification of Marxist doctrine that seeks to turn what was once a revolutionary party of workers and peasants into a party representing China's bureaucratic and business elite.

-- Antoaneta Bezlova (IPS)

(PNS) -- There is a good chance that the little-publicized Crawford Ranch meeting in Texas at the end of October between President George W. Bush and China President Jiang Zemin will go down in history books for having created a de facto alliance between America and China.

In the weeks and months ahead, this fledgling alliance will be tested by two explosive challenges. One is North Korea's surprise revelation of its nuclear weapons program and the other is Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's determination to stay in power with or without his weapons of mass destruction.

But the new alliance between America and China goes way beyond North Korea and Iraq. In its Oct. 31 edition, the pro-Taiwan World Journal sketched out the terms of the accords on the Chinese side:

  • China will no longer consider Taiwan a purely domestic issue and accepts that America has interests in Taiwan.

  • China will consider Xinjiang, where it is battling Muslim separatists, as a part of America's war on terrorism.

  • China will consider American sensitivities in the dialogue with the Dalai Lama.

  • China recognizes that its relationship with North Korea goes well beyond "blood-friendship," and that both China and America have necessary priorities in the issue.

  • On Iraq, China no longer supports the long-term anti-America stance of Russia and France and now is coming closer to America's views.

  • And as to it's economy, China will follow the American model and open up its financial system.

In the long run, the Crawford Ranch talks will see America downplaying its relations with Russia and upgrading those with China, especially with a China that is opening its doors to political dialogue and economic development. China is booming and stable, while Russia limps along. And the Moscow terrorist tragedy that occurred during the Ranch talks reveals a weakness in Russia's political structure that can only get worse.

A year ago, Russia was helping America in its new war in Afghanistan, while China was distant. But when Russian President Vladimir Putin did not restrain the Russian-supported Northern Alliance forces from taking Kabul, he met with a cold reception at Crawford Ranch. Since then, Putin has increasingly tried to thwart Bush's plans to oust Saddam Hussein.

China is opposed to use of military force to bring about political change in another country. But it also needs America as its premier export market. And having America as a friend or, even better, an ally, could assure its security at least for the current decade.

Washington and Beijing have already been working together to contain North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il. They each have their own reasons. The Singapore-based Chinese-language newspaper Lianhe Zaobao, wrote on October 23 that the biggest worry in Northeast Asia is that failure to control Kim could lead to Japan deciding to produce its own nuclear weapons. China is deeply suspicious of Japan's intentions and America is angry with Japan for not doing more to help pull the global economy out of its slump.

If the new alliance between America and China begins to flow, it will mean a big bend in the river of history. Ever since victory in World War II, America found out that it could not police the world by itself. A bundle of military alliances, especially NATO, helped but did not solve the problem. But in the 1960s, America found a brilliant solution. It offered its nuclear superpower enemy, the Soviet Union, a partnership for peace through joint world policing.

At that time China, because of its revolutionary ideology, was the great rogue on the global scene. In October 1964, it exploded an atomic device and in 1979 it fired long range missiles into the South Pacific, a distance sufficient to hit the U.S.A. In the early 1960s American and Soviet leaders had discussed a joint plan to take out China's nuclear weapons facilities. But America backed off because the Vietnam War was looming. Finally, in 1972 President Richard Nixon recognized that the nuclear superpower club that once had only two members -- the United States and the Soviet Union -- now had three.

Then from 1989 through 1991, democracy seemed to become the main current of history. There was the great upheaval in China's Tiananmen Square in 1989, where demonstrators called for installing democracy. The Gulf War of January-February 1991 to push back the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait showed the effectiveness of America's high-tech military power. The third big event was the disintegration of the Soviet Union in the fall of 1991 and the rise of democratic Russia.

But now, a decade later, "democratic" Russia is in shambles, evident in the Chechen hostage horror. America realizes its war on terrorism is generating more turbulence than peace. But "Communist" China is booming under a capitalist system that has surpassed the U.S.A. as the top recipient of foreign investment.

The American Civil War Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman once said, "if you can't lick 'em, join 'em." America once joined Russia, but now it is joining China.

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Albion Monitor November 5 2002 (

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