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<-Back to WTN Archives China forms high-level group eyeing U.S. congress
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World Tibet Network News

Friday, January 19, 1996



2. China forms high-level group eyeing U.S. congress


By Benjamin Kang Lim
BEIJING (Reuter) - China's Communist Party has formed a high-level group to
take a close look at the U.S. Congress which Chinese leaders see as a thorn in
its often troubled ties with Washington, sources close to the party said this
week.

The Central Leading Working Group on the U.S. Congress was formed late last
year, with Communist Party chief Jiang Zemin as its head, one Chinese source
with ties to the party said.

The group will answer directly to the party's omnipotent seven-strong
Politburo Standing Committee, of which Jiang is a member, the source said.

"In the past, China thought it only had to deal with the (U.S.)
Administration. Now it knows there's a need to better understand the U.S.
Congress," said the source who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The group would seek to "study and understand" the U.S. Congress, he said.

China's leaders have come to regard the U.S. Congress as a recurrent
irritant in bilateral ties.

Congress has repeatedly slammed China over a range of issues, ranging from
trade, recognition of Taiwan, unrest in Tibet and alleged human rights abuses.

The U.S. Congress was instrumental in Washington's decision last year to
issue a visa to the president of China's rival, Taiwan. Taiwan President Lee
Teng-hui's landmark private visit to the United States last June saw Beijing's
relations with Washington and Taipei plunge to their lowest level in years.

Beijing has regarded Taiwan as a renegade province since the end of the
Chinese civil war in 1949 and seeks to push the island into diplomatic
isolation. China has threatened to invade if Taiwan declared independence.

It angrily postponed unofficial talks with Taipei last year and conducted
two series of missile tests in the sea north of Taiwan in July and August,
shaking business confidence and financial markets.

The new group's working relationship with the Foreign Ministry had not yet
been determined, the source said.

However, another Chinese with party links said the foreign affairs
committee of the National People's Congress, or parliament, would answer to the
group, he said.

The Communist Party and the U.S. embassy in Beijing declined to comment.

A Western diplomat said visiting U.S. dignitaries had urged their Chinese
hosts to try to better understand the U.S. system.

"There's a greater need for the Chinese to understand the U.S ...
especially after Taiwan's success," the diplomat said referring to President
Lee's visit last June.

China's relations with the United States have seesawed in recent years.

The United States agreed Wednesday to withdraw a military attache, accused
by Beijing of spying in south China.

In another recent spat, China voiced its displeasure over Washington's
recent decision to issue a transit visa to Taiwan Vice President Li Yuan-zu.

Western diplomats said China's anger was more muted than the rage it vented
when Washington issued a visa to the Taiwan president last year.

Last week, China's two most powerful leaders, President Jiang and Premier
Li Peng, urged the United States not to jeopardize improvements in ties by
violating its commitment to recognize Beijing as the sole government of China.
REUTER


Articles in this Issue:
  1. Amnesty says Tibet's disputed boy lama ``missing''
  2. China forms high-level group eyeing U.S. congress
  3. Control of information a daunting task for China



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