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Friday, August 12, 2005

US rhetoric over China needs tempered with sound judgment - says senior US Senator

US rhetoric over China needs tempered with sound judgment - says senior US SenatorUS rhetoric over China needs tempered with sound judgment - says senior US Senator
Daya Gamage – US Correspondent to Asian Tribune

Washington, D.C. 12 August ( “The United States has an opportunity to shape a cooperative relationship that would allow us to influence China’s overall strategic choices. It would be a colossal mistake if misguided assumptions, rhetoric and actions lead to a dangerous and conflicting relationship. This is not a time to let paranoia chart the course of U.S. policy toward China” is what U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel advises the United States administration and his own colleagues in the Congress.

Chuck Hagel is no spring chicken. A very senior lawmaker, he belongs to the same political party to which President Bush belongs: the Republican Party, which captured both the Senate and the House of Representatives in 1996 after 40 years. The Senator is the number two Republican on the most influential Senate Foreign Relations Committee and chairman of the Congressional-Executive Commission on China. He belongs to a handful of Senators who have influential voices in the United States Congress. The Bush White House often gets succumbed to their opinions, reviews and deliberations.

His special review on U.S. policy toward China and the relations of both economic giants to the OP-ED page in the widely read Financial Times of August 10 issue, Senator Hagel warns, “today’s overheated U.S. rhetoric over China needs to be tempered with sound judgment and wise long-term considerations.

He qualifies his above statement saying, “both competition and cooperation will feature in U.S.- China bilateral ties in the 21st century. That does not mean relations are destined to be hostile although they could be if mishandled.”

The senior Senator further adds, “The rise of China is a reality. No amount of Congressional legislation or U.S. bludgeoning will change that. This is a country with a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council, the world’s largest population and, by some measure, the world’s second largest economy.”

Chuck Hagel, who is aware of the United States tendency to impose its will on Third World nations without giving much attention to their views says “an important U.S. response to the rise of China is to strengthen alliances and friendships in the (Asian) region, especially with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and to work with its partners to sustain America’s stabilizing role in Asia and the Pacific.”

He gives saner advice to both the Administration and both arms of the U.S. Congress declaring “the U.S. must also make positive steps to maintain its competitive position in the world. It also must get its own house in order. Raising trade barriers or compromising its core free trade values will undermine America’s overall long-term interests.”

Hagel gives reasons for close relations between the two countries: “A U.S.-China partnership based on mutual self-interest is important to both countries. Each has a clear stake in the other’s success. China has become America’s third largest trading partner. The U.S. and China have worked together to strengthen regional security, fight terrorism and international crime, help stabilize Afghanistan and address the North Korean nuclear problem.”

He warns “In 2004, China’s exports to the U.S. were nearly six times its imports of U.S. goods and services. Trying to close that gap through artificial tariffs that violate World Trade Organization rules and public threats will not resolve the differences. Most likely, such actions would further divide us, complicating the issues we should be working on and magnifying Chinese recalcitrance.”

The Senator reminded “China has enacted some basic economic reforms in recent years, in large measure to comply with WTO standards. But China has many more reforms to make not least, opening its markets to U.S. companies. This will require continued economic reform, a more transparent and consistent regulatory and licensing system, enforcement of distribution rights for foreign companies and strong enforcement of intellectual property laws.”

- Asian Tribune -

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