Document 34 of 39.
Copyright 1998 Kyodo News Service
Japan Economic Newswire
JUNE 24, 1998, WEDNESDAY
LENGTH: 871 words
HEADLINE: Satellites, human rights taint Clinton's
BYLINE: Keiji Urakami
DATELINE: WASHINGTON, June 23 Kyodo
The alleged transfer of sensitive U.S. satellite technology to
China and continuing concerns about
China's dismal human rights record have cast a shadow over President Bill Clinton's
trip to Beijing, which begins Thursday.
Last October during his meeting with Chinese President Jiang Zemin, Clinton
said his visit to
China would help forge a 'constructive strategic partnership,' but recent events
have put such a partnership under severe scrutiny by the public and Congress.
'The very concept of a strategic partnership was then, and is now, premature
and quite possibly delusional,' said Richard Fisher, senior analyst
at the Heritage Foundation.
'If a strategic partnership is possible, then it must be grounded in
broad-based political support in Congress and among the American people,' he
The main issue drawing criticism from Congress is a Clinton policy that allowed
American aerospace companies to export sophisticated satellites for launch
aboard Chinese rockets -- a policy critics say enabled China to use U.S.
satellite technology to improve the accuracy of its missiles.
Clinton has defended the
1988 accord with Beijing that created the policy, saying it served U.S.
interests by bringing television and telephone services to Chinese households.
He said sensitive technology was and still can be protected under 'strict
safeguards,' including Defense Department monitoring of each launch.
Perhaps more importantly, the
accord met the interests of U.S. industry, because launching satellites from
China costs 60% less than launching from within the U.S.
The accord was suspended following the bloody Tiananmen crackdown in 1989, and
it was replaced in 1990 by legislation banning the transfer of U.S. military
items or satellites to China. The
law, however, contains a provision allowing the president to waive the
sanctions if he determines doing so would be in the national interest.
President Clinton has signed nine waivers for 12 separate launches.
Critics say Clinton approved the waivers because the chairman of Loral Space
and Communications, a New York-based satellite company, was the largest personal donor to the Democratic Party
Concerns over the technology transfer were heightened following press reports
that China had targeted 13 nuclear intercontinental ballistic missiles at the
U.S. and that China had assisted Iran and Pakistan in developing weapons of
'U.S. export control policy should not, directly or indirectly, serve to
facilitate China's capacity to target the United States with nuclear missiles,'
said Floyd Spence, a Republican congressman from South Carolina, in his opening
statement at the recent House National Security Committee meeting
on U.S. satellite export policy.
The satellite issue was also spotlighted when Clinton decided earlier this
month to renew China's most favored nation trade status for another year.
Benjamin Gilman, chairman of the House International Relations Committee, said
Clinton's trip to China should involve 'no
concession, no deals, no permanent waivers, no new technology or science
agreements and -- most importantly -- no shoehorning of China into a missile
technology control regime they have been violating over the past decade.'
Clinton brushed off criticism, saying the U.S. government allowed the launch of
satellites on Chinese rockets 'for the simple reason that the demand for
American satellites far outstrips America's launch capacity.'
He said Washington's engagement policy, rather than isolation policy, helped
China agree to stop selling cruise missiles to Iran last October. He said the
government will continue to press Beijing on nuclear proliferation.
Meanwhile, human rights activists, Chinese pro-democracy leaders and Republican
lawmakers have been angered by Clinton's plan to attend a welcoming ceremony at
Tiananmen Square during his state visit to Beijing.
attending the ceremony does not mean Washington absolves China of 'its
responsibility for the terrible killing' that took place there. 'Protocol and
honoring a nation's traditional practices should not be confused with
principle,' he said.
One day ahead of Clinton's departure, four House of Representatives members
held a press
conference on Capitol Hill to protest the president's attendance at the
Tiananmen Square gathering.
North Carolina Republican Sue Myrick said, 'Mr. President, we wholly agree that
China is of enormous economic and strategic importance to the United
States...but any dialogue with China must include a
frank discussion of human rights.'
'To help the president, we have taken down the flag that flies above the
Stature of Freedom on our Capitol Dome. We will include this flag with a copy
of our Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, and we will give these
items to the president to take with him to China,' she said.
Free China Movement Network,
a group of exiled Chinese democrats, gathered outside the Chinese embassy
Tuesday to urge Clinton to meet with pro-democracy activists during his trip to
The U.S. government has so far indicated Clinton has no plans to hold such a
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