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Chinese tour of U.S. fails to open lines of communication

Nov. 5, 1997

Chinese President Jiang Zemin finished his tour of the United States yesterday and returned to China. The meetings were not as successful as they could have been, and we need to take advantage of every opportunity to bridge communication. This visit was a failed opportunity.

Chinese-American relations are in an awkward state. America is having trouble staying on top now -- competition is fierce.

China has a growing population and is seeking to exert its influence in the world. If the United States is to keep its status as the world's chief superpower, it needs new, stronger ways of influencing China.

Our days of heads buried in the sand, while we praise the United States as far and away the greatest country in the world, are done. We have been so wrapped up in our excellence that we have stopped striving to get better.

President Bill Clinton needs to lead America in taking a stance about issues in China. We have waffled long enough. Gross injustices have occurred with trade and human rights.

Clinton needs to take a stand, tell the Chinese what will not be accepted and hold them to those standards. Take an active stance -- not a passive one embroiled in pre-planned scenarios. From what Zemin was greeted with last week, the Chinese might believe we will tolerate economic and moral injustices.

We cannot let this continue. We have to find new options for dealing with the Chinese, because the old ones aren't working.

Withdrawing most-favored trade nation status from China would be ineffective. Taking this status away just results in retributive sanctions against America, and we need the markets for our goods. In the long-run, it would hurt us more than them. Debating about withdrawing most-favored nation status is even more ineffective. Just move on and figure out an alternative.

The United States should enact economic sanctions against China if the country refuses to level the trading field. They need to feel the sting of trade sanctions, because our previous options failed to get the message across.

President Clinton also needs to keep pressing the human rights issue. America cannot afford to ignore abuses of human rights in order to gain favor. It is contradictory to the values of this country.

-- from the Post, Ohio University

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