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China fits into Bush's 'Axis Of Evil'
Due to its anti-terror needs, the US has changed many policies and shored up its relationship with China following the Sept. 11 attacks. US President George W. Bush has visited China twice and Chinese President Jiang Zemin visited the US in October last year, when Bush helped Jiang complete his "graduation tour" by treating him to a visit to his Texas ranch. When Jiang last year managed to stay on as chairman of the Central Military Commission by less than glorious means, Bush gave him a congratulatory telephone call in a show of friendship. But what have the US and Bush received in return from Jiang?
There have been reports that China is doing much to cooperate with the Americans in their anti-terrorist activities and that it has provided much anti-terrorism related information. Maybe this is all secret information, the importance of which is unknown to the uninitiated, but judging from China's outward behavior, it not only lacks any enthusiasm for anti-terrorism activities, but is even trying to lead those activities down a road of evil.
In his State of the Nation speech over a year ago, Bush named three countries -- Iran, Iraq and North Korea -- as part of an "axis of evil." Iran has in fact changed over the years, and the struggle between its reformists and conservatives has been very intense. Bush should remove Iran from the list of "evil" countries and encourage the reformists to bring Iran back to the correct path. Instead, China should take Iran's place on the list.
China has rewarded Bush with opposition to a US attack on Iraq and to bringing North Korea's nuclear blackmail to the UN Security Council. In other words, China is in direct opposition to the US.
China is infinitely more cunning than Russia, France and Germany, which are currently also opposing the US. China used to avoid taking a stand on the Iraq issue. It even spread rumors that its relationship with Iraq was not very good, saying that China's ambassador to Iraq had,despite many attempts, never managed to meet with Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, in the end only succeeding in meeting and shaking hands with him in a toilet.
The purpose of leaking such nationally humiliating information was to create a false image and trick the US into trusting China, or wrongly believing that China could be a "partner." Very possibly, however, Beijing secretly sold Iraq the information provided to China by the US. When the situation was ripe -- ie, when Russia, France and Germany joined in open opposition against an American attack on Iraq -- China did not lend the US a helping hand. Instead, Jiang himself told French President Jacques Chirac that he opposed a US attack on Iraq. This means that the US only has sway over two of the votes of the five permanent members on the UN Security Council.
Beijing supports continued inspections by the UN weapons inspectors. Everyone knows, however, that Iraq hypocritically accepts the inspections and at the same time resorts to incoherent ravings, all in an attempt at staving off immediate attack. Procrastination will not be advantageous to the US. From the end of March, the region typically experiences temperatures in excess of 40?, making it impossible to deploy troops. A long period of war preparations and economic harm to the public will only benefit China and its blackmail of the US.
On the surface, it is North Korea that is attempting to blackmail the US, but China is behind it all. This is also the reason why it is not very difficult to understand that China doesn't want the North Korean nuclear crisis to be brought up for discussion in the Security Council.
Beijing doesn't want North Korea to play with high stakes only to lose everything, suffer UN economic sanctions just like Iraq, and as a result need even more aid from China. But the spokesperson for China's Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Zhang Qiyue, clearly stated that Beijing does not support intervention by the Security Council in the North Korean issue "at the current stage." In other words, once the US has solved the Iraq issue and is about to deal with North Korea militarily, Beijing will once again oppose military intervention, instead leaving it to the UN to solve the issue.
To sum up, Beijing's main mission is to create trouble for the US, because in Beijing's eyes, the US is a "hostile force." In 1991, prior to the war in the Persian Gulf, Beijing constantly promoted a "political solution." When the war was over, however, what did Beijing do to help find a political solution? It continued its provision of military and technical support to Iraq in order to resist the US.
Last year, Beijing kidnapped and took back to China the old democracy activist Wang Bingzhang from Vietnam, charged him with terrorist crimes and sentenced him to life in prison. This is clear proof of China's basic hooligan-like attitudes, accusing others of misbehavior in an attempt to cover up its own misbehavior. Beijing has also used anti-terrorism as an excuse to suppress dissidents in Xinjiang.
Vice President Hu Jintao has just taken over as leader of China but control of foreign affairs still lies with Jiang and his henchmen. We therefore have no hope for change in the direction of Chinese diplomacy. Scoundrels "bully the weak and fear the tough, fawn on the strong and provoke the weak." Bush has to avoid walking down the road chosen by former president Bill Clinton.
Paul Lin is a political commentator based in New York.
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