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---"Focused Coverage Informed Perspectives"---Thu, Oct 30, 1997 edition Summit Coverage:
Jiang Zemin's Drexel trip, short but electrifying
Also in this edition . . .
1: Hang Seng drops on news of downgrading
2: in global economy even isolated Taiwan feels pinch
3: some progress in relations, but there's a long ways to go
4: chemical weapons and human rights make Jiang's visit to Capital Hill no easy walk
5: official media sanitizes issues for domestic audience
6: in Taiwan leaders watch carefully for signs of change in US policy
7: further coverage: Ireland and Australia
8: when provincial government goes, so will its governor
9: ROC and Chad cement ties
10: team to assess needs at airport in Paraguay
11: Taiwan and US schools team up to save birds
Markets: Hang Seng drops on news of downgrading
( Ratings cut hits stocks ) In Hong Kong "the Hang Seng Index closed 402.44 points, or 3.73 per cent, lower at 10,362.86, after twice falling below 10,000, as turnover fell to $19.17 billion from Wednesday's $25.71 billion," reports the South China Morning Post. The drop was precipitated by Moody's downgrading of its outlook on the territory's two leading banks---Hongkong Bank and Hang Seng Bank The downgrade came as interest rates rose to defend the Hongkong dollar.
( The Age - Business ) In Australia the market posted an uneventful day. "The All Ordinaries Index fell 6.7 points, less than one per cent, to 2436.1, with brokers reporting that the deluge of investor inquiries that caused a breakdown of trading the previous day had dried up," reports The Age. But clearly jitters in the market are spreading to Korea where Seoul's Korean Composite Index dropped 4.3 per cent after the government ordered banks not to stop hoarding dollars.
( Bangkok Post Oct 31, 1997 - Baht dives to 40, its lowest-ever level Sense of hopelessness as stocks slump 2.6% ) In Thailand the economic crisis probably has hit the hardest, and efforts by the Central Bank to prop up the baht could not sway the confidence of investors. "The baht closed at 40.02, down from 39.45 on Wednesday," writes the paper, noting comments from analysts that confidence in the currency and market is gone. The currency is expected to depreciate further, perhaps as low as the 45 mark. Stocks slumped 2.6 percent today, and one banker quoted by the paper said "There is nothing left to hold it. The economy looks hopeless and there is too much political wrangling."
Taiwan: in global economy even isolated Taiwan feels pinch
(sources: Central News Agency and the China Post) President Lee Teng-hui said on Wednesday that the government has taken appropriate action to deal with the recent fluctuation in Taiwan stocks and currency, but he also urged officials to make further studies of measures to stabilize the financial market.
The plunge of the Taiwan stock exchange on Tuesday, in which the weighted index, the market's key barometer, fell over 400 points, became the focus of heated debate in the regular Kuomintang Central Standing Committee meeting on Wednesday.
C.F. Koo, a business tycoon and KMT standing committee member, appealed in the meeting for the government to pay close attention to the storm in the local bourse, but to respect the market mechanism when handling fluctuations in the stock market.
Wang You-cheng, another KMT standing committee member and chairman of the General Chamber of Commerce of the Republic of China, said that the government has persuaded business leaders to intervene in the stock market to prop up share prices, but that in the longer term, it should use the stock stabilization fund to solve the stock crisis.
Thursday: Jiang Zemin's Drexel trip, short but electrifying
The following story was submitted by Professor Da-hsuan Feng just as we were going to press. . . Da-hsuan teaches at Drexel University and has been an active participant in fostering greater ties between China and the people in his locale. China Informed would like to thank Da-hsuan for assisting us in covering China-US relations and the summit
This afternoon (October 30th), at around 5:25 pm, President Jiang Zemin and his entourage of about 140 people came to Drexel University's Main Building, on 32nd Street and Chestnut. While the meeting took place inside the Main Auditorium, an auditorium of 900 normally used as a large class room, it was completely transformed by a total face lift for the occasion!
The auditorium was absolutely jam packed and standing room only for students, faculty, administrators, business leaders and, last but not least, elected officals. On stage, besides President Jiang and President Papadakis (President of Drexel University), were Governor Castle of Delaware, Mayor Randell of Philadelphia, Governor Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania, Mr. Zeng Qinghong, special assistant to President Jiang, Congressman Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania, Vice Premier Qian Qizhen and Mr. Chuck Pennoni (Chairman of Drexel's board of trustee).
Although I am sure much will be written about the visit in the media, I would like to offer my personal observations.
First, I thought there were deep emotions when President Jiang met his classmate of 51 years ago, Professor Hun H. Sun of Drexel, just before President Jiang entered the auditorium. While few words were exchanged, I noticed a strong handshake between the two. Professor Sun apologized to President Jiang that because of his personal difficulties, he could not accept the invitation of President Jiang to visit China. To that, Jiang replied: "I completely understand".
Second, Jiang told the audience that he brought greetings from the entire Chinese academic community. Then, he congratulated Drexel University for having the foresight of setting up the Sun Yat-sen lecture series. Jiang said that Sun Yat-sen was a great Chinese patriot, who brought China from the depth of 5000 years of feudalism to the modern world. He said that it was indeed fitting for such a series to exist, especially when the world is at threshold of a new millennium. Indeed, the Sun Yat-Sen lecture series, which mirrors that of the Lincoln Lecture series of Fudan University in Shanghai, was intended to be a platform to invite Chinese leaders to come to the United States, specifically Drexel University, to discuss U.S.-China relations in the 21st century. I felt that this was a particularly appropriate moment for Jiang to mention this because the first laureate of the Lincoln Lecture, Congressman Curt Weldon, was sitting next to Jiang. Also, it so happens that the second Lincoln Lecture laureate, Congressman Jack Murtha, will soon be going to Shanghai. Congressman Murtha is also from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Clearly, Lincoln Lecture at Fudan University and Sun Yat-Sen Lecture at Drexel university are now on the international radar screen!
Third, in his brief remark, President Jiang, who by now switched from Chinese to English, was expressing his "heartfelt" thanks to all the teachers of his son, Mianheng, who, as is now known to the entire World, received his doctorate in electrical and computing engineering from Drexel six years ago. He then specifically, and by raising his voice to emphasize his emotions, thanked Professor Sun, his friend of half a century. Spontaneously, this remark by President Jiang about Professor Sun was immediately responded enthusiastically by President Papadakis who announced to an almost stunned audience that Drexel University has decided to set up a Named-Professorship in honor of Professor Hun H. Sun and, in Papadakis' words, he could not find a better occasion than this one, in front of his old friend President Jiang, to make it public. Thus, there will soon be, in Drexel's Department of Electrical and Computing Engineering, a Hun H. Sun Professor of Electrical and Biomeidcal Engineering!
Forth, President Papadakis also took the opportunity to introduce Congressman Curt Weldon, who as I have said earlier, was the first Lincoln Lecture in Fudan University in Shanghai. [Editor's note: See Congressman Weldon's Lincoln Lecture in the Sun, Oct 19, 1997 edition] In his usual eloquance, Congressman Weldon told President Jiang that in this country one is just as concerned with the health of the mind, as one is with the health of the body. To make his point, and this time stunning not only the audience but President Jiang as well, Congressman Weldon presented to President Jiang a jersey of the Philadelphia Flyers (a Philadelphia professional ice hockey team), with the name JIANG splashed all over it. At that point, President Jiang smiled from ear-to-ear and said that his grandson, whom he loves very much, lived for three years in Philadelphia with his father Mianheng and was most fond of American style football.
Since I have never met Jiang in person before, I really had no preconceived notion as to what sort of interactions there would be between him and the rest of the stage party. However, judging from the give and take exchanges between him and people around him today, the ease of the exchanges, and by the enthusiastic responses of the audiences, who often broke out in cheers and clappins, I thought this visit by a father of a distinguished alumni went very well, indeed.
Perhaps, in a small way, in Drexel University's main auditorium, China and the United States gained a small step in mutual understanding and respect.
Wednesday: some progress in relations, but there's a long ways to go
( U.S. and China Reach Trade Pacts but Clash on Rights ) John Broder has a wrap-up on yesterday's events at the White House. As Broder writes, the summit has produced a number of agreements in trade and cooperation, but outstanding issues continue to divide both sides. Here are a few tidbits which Broder adds to our knowledge of the event:
- In their private meeting Clinton raised the issue of China's involvement in funding Congressional campaigns. Jiang reassured him that China has done nothing illegal.
- Jiang's government has signed onto the Information Technology Agreement which will eliminate tariffs for computers and telecommunications equipment.
- Jiang asked Clinton to make a firm commitment to help bring China into the World Trade Organization by the end of 1998. Clinton said he could not do this. He promised to do whatever he could to bring China into the WTO, but he would not ask the members to bend the rules on tariffs and non-tariff trade barriers to admit her.
- Conversation touched on the Hong Kong stock market and stability in the region. Jiang reassured Clinton that the territory's economics were solid. At Clinton's suggestion, both leaders agreed that Secretary of Treasury Robert Rubin and Vice-Premier Zhu Rongji should work together to "promote financial stability in Asia".
- And one thing which we omitted from yesterday's coverage and one which is quite significant: the US will step up its support for on-going exchanges for each country's jurists and lawyers. If you are looking for a story, this is it. You can find more information from the Asia / China specialists at the University of Hawaii Law School. . . . The point here is that when Jiang Zemin stands at the podium not defending the internment of political prisoners per se, but explaining it in terms of China's 'law', one should take note of the rapid developments in this field in China: some (more informed than we) might argue this point, but China's law system is more and more bearing a resemblance to the US system in so far as procedures and levels of hierarchy are concerned. Of course there is a long way to go. But just as we will execute prisoners in the name of justice, do not forget the Chinese will do the same. We could say more, but that's for an editorial. . . .
( Gap Between Leaders Grows a Bit Narrower ) In his piece for the New York Times, James Bennet reports on the great lengths to which Jiang and Clinton both strove to create an air of cooperation. Each tried to synchronize with the other's colour neck tie, but of course the mismatch continued. What is interesting in Bennet's piece is how personal these events are, how much they are a meeting of two men. Bennet goes on to explain a sort of disconnect felt by Clinton who has always been able to engage in a round of 'male bonding' with leaders from around the world. Such familiarity is lacking in the Jiang-Clinton relationship, not because the two did not try.
Administration officials are hoping for a progressive warming in the two leader's personal relationship. And Bennet notes the Chinese sense of guangxi: "In China, personal relations, which they call 'guanxi,' are the glue of all politics and society," said David Shambaugh, director of the Sigur Center for Asian Studies at George Washington University. "If you can trust someone personally, you can trust their country."
As for the way Jiang was prepared for the summit, Shambaugh said he spoke with some of Jiang's advisors who briefed Jiang on strategies to develop a rapport with the president. "They urged Jiang to congratulate Clinton on his wife's 50th birthday, and to ask about his boyhood, and about his daughter Chelsea's recent departure for college," writes Bennet.
( Analysis: Plenty of Process, but Little Progress ) R.W. Apple Jr offers his analysis of the summit, writing that the successes were in establishing a process for communication. But on major polices, including trade and human rights, the administration has scored little. . . . We would remind readers of our Editorial (20 Oct 1997) which suggests a much more productive and interesting way forward.
See also New York Times: ( A Chinese Visitor Comes Between Longtime California Allies )
( Roar of Airlines, Not Protesters, Disrupts Welcoming Ceremony ) In today's New York Times Steven Lee Myers writes about yesterday's grand ceremonies at the White House. As the title of the piece suggests, the noise from departing airplanes, not the chants from protesters across the street, drowned out parts of the ceremony. Myers focuses much of his piece on Jiang Zemin's wife, Wang Yeping whom he equates more with Bess Truman than Hillary Clinton. Ms Wang does not lead much of a public life, writes Myers, and little is known about the obscure woman. Graduating from the Shanghai Foreign Language Institute, she went on to head an electrical engineering institute in the same city. Myers notes, her official biography does not mention her age. At the ceremony she appeared frail, at one point indicating to her interpreters she would like to sit; she and Hillary Clinton sat through most of the ceremony. . . .
( Chilly Reception Expected for Chinese President in New York ) Meanwhile, Jane Lii writes for the New York Times on the 'cool' reception Jiang can expect from the Big Apple. She informs us that Gov. George Pataki and Mayor Rudolph Giuliani will neither greet him nor attend the dinner reception. Both cite pressing campaign commitments, but it is clear from Lii's coverage that the two leaders do not want to be associated with the leader of a government which imprisons its political opponents. But as one New Yorker noted:
"It's a sign of remarkable rudeness," said Mitchell Moss, director of New York University's Taub Urban Research Center, "to ignore the leader of a nation of 1.2 billion people, especially given New York's role as the financial capital of the world and China's need for building its infrastructure and industries. "But," he added, "there is no outer limit to the rudeness that can be exhibited in New York."
To avoid the issue as the governor and mayor are doing denies them an opportunity to address their concerns. It closes doors and a chance to affect change. . . .
Perhaps most interesting and informative is Jiang's decision not to visit the Chinese community in New York. The decision, made to deny an opportunity to protestors to mar the visit, has disappointed many in the community there. Lii further explains:
"The twin slights reflect the sensitive political geography of New York's diverse Chinese community. While the old, predominantly Cantonese power structure of Chinatown has been overwhelmingly pro-Taiwan, a flood of newcomers from Fujian province in southern China has profoundly altered both the balance of power and the sentiment toward the mainland. While many of the Fujianese ask for political asylum on arrival, they nonetheless remain loyal to China."
Jiang's arrival in the city has been the talk of the Chinese-language press, writes Lii, but the decision to circumvent the community has undermined the efforts by Fujian Chinese "to win recognition and acceptance from the city's power structure, which has traditionally allied itself with Taiwan and the old guard of Chinatown." Instead, Jiang will meet with representatives from the Chinese community in his hotel or at the China's consulate. Most of his time will be spent touring the Stock Exchange and offices of IBM, AT&T and Lucent Technologies, writes Lii. Jiang will also dine with executives from major American corporations.
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Congress: chemical weapons and human rights make Jiang's visit to Capital Hill no easy walk
( Congress gives guest rough ride ) A CIA report details how a Nanjing chemical company has helped Iran to build chemical weapons factories, and the whole affair is causing the Clinton administration headaches and fleshing out the limitations of its agreements with China on nuclear technology. While the agreement would certify China is not providing nuclear know-how to Iran, the scope does not encompass other weapons of mass destruction.
Meanwhile, Jiang visited the congress today and was confronted by the leadership on issues of human rights and political prisoners.
China's media: official media sanitizes issues for domestic audience
( Efforts urged to further links ) In China today the official English-language China Daily reported on Jiang's luncheon with members of the US Congress. The piece basically recounts what China's President said to those in attendance. It did not mention those who stand in stark opposition to his government's policies on human rights and free speech. On NPR's All Things Considered, Anthony Kuhn of the LA Times spoke about how the official media has sanitized the entire trip, accentuating the positive and focusing on the protocol which would make Jiang appear more presidential at home. The debate which occurred yesterday at the press conference was not discussed, as were key agreements in nuclear technology transfers which required China's government to sign a commitment not to re-transfer the technology to Iran and other states. Interviews of Americans of course were not of protestors, but of individuals with positive remarks about the entire affair.
( Staid coverage leaves home audience less than thrilled ) Yet, if Ted Plafker of the South China Morning Post is correct, most Beijingers have not been following the summit with much enthusiasm, despite its heavy coverage on the daily news. He quotes a number of people, including a doctor and an employee for a foreign company, who had more immediate and tangible concerns: food, money and housing. Plafker speculates whether the staid coverage of Jiang's trip has contributed to this attitude, noting that the news has omitted much from its message. There was no mention, for example, of Jiang's swim in Waikiki. And when the wife of Virginia Governor George Allen toasted Jiang and his wife, readers in China were spared the fact her toast was to "the universal human principles upon which America is built - freedom,liberty and representative democracy," writes Plafker.
See also ( Leaders stressing strategic ties )
Taiwan: in Taiwan leaders watch carefully for signs of change in US policy
Foreign Minister Jason Hu on Wednesday voiced deep concerns about the summit between the presidents of mainland China and the United States.
In reply to a query at the legislature, Hu said we need to watch closely whether Beijing will have its international profile enhanced after the summit and accordingly step up its efforts to isolate us.
Local media said the government here had formed a high-level group to keep a close watch on the meeting, the first US-mainland China summit in twelve years. They said the group led by Ding Mou-shih, secretary-general of the National Security Council, had met twice at the Presidential Office to discuss possible developments from the occasion and its possible impacts on the island.
They said another discussion would be held after the meeting, but the Presidential Office declined to comment on the report.
The Taiwan Question was raised when Clinton and Jiang meet on Wednesday in Washington. In Beijing, foreign ministry spokesman Shen Guofang said twice last week that it would be a "critical question" in the bilateral relationship.
One of Taipei's major concerns is its security, as Washington has remained the island's major arms supplier even though it switched diplomatic recognition to Beijing in 1979.
Last Thursday the head of Asian affairs on Clinton's National Security Council, Jeff Bader, said however Washington would not sign away its right to sell arms to Taiwan. He said US does not intend to improve relations with the PRC at the expense of Taiwan.
Further coverage: Ireland and Australia
( China on wrong side of history on human rights, says Clinton ) Jennifer Hewett of Australia's The Age writes: "The leaders of the United States and China concluded a day of unexpectedly contentious talks yesterday in a summit that produced significant commercial agreements but appeared to widen the gap on human rights." Hewett notes Clinton's apparent frustration with Jiang's position on human rights and the Tiananmen disaster. "Mr Clinton responded by bluntly declaring that China's action in Tiananmen and its policy on civil liberties put it 'on the wrong side of history'," writes Hewett.
( Thursday, October 30, 1997: FOREIGN ) The Irish Times's Joe Carroll said Sino-US relations took an important step forward yesterday, and goes on to describe the day's events and protests.
And finally . . . Media throughout the country have described the summit as the "first one since Tiananmen." If I understand it correctly, this would mean that a summit occurred in 1989 or thereabouts. But we at China Informed have confirmed the last state visit occurred in 1985. So, if you find yourself writing copy for a news organization, at the least change the line to: " . . . the first summit since before Tiananmen." Or, to be more accurate and less ideological, " . . . the first summit since 1985." Enough said.
Politics: when provincial government goes, so will its governor
James Soong, the first and doomed to be the last popularly-elected governor of Taiwan Province, yesterday ruled out the possibility of being appointed to head the soon-to-be-trimmed provincial administration after completing his term next year.
As the National Assembly has revised the Constitution to trim the provincial government and suspend all its elections at the end of next year, Soong will step down and be replaced by an appointed governor.
At a Taiwan Provincial Assembly meeting yesterday, Soong was asked about the chance of the possibility of his appointment as governor. He replied that when the National Assembly decided to suspend all provincial elections, it already ruled out the possibility of giving Soong a second chance.
Speculations and rumors about Soong's next position continue to surface--some say he may run in the Taipei mayoral election, and others say he may campaign for a seat in the Legislative Yuan and become its speaker.
But during the provincial assembly meeting yesterday, he said he had no plan to join the campaign to unseat Taipei Mayor Chen Shui-bian or to engage in rivalry with his friends for the Legislative speaker post.
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Diplomacy: ROC and Chad cement ties
(sources: Central News Agency and the China Post) Chad's new ambassador to the Republic of China, Salim Abderaman Taha, presented his credentials to President Lee Teng-hui at the Presidential Office on Wednesday.
The president said the ROC and Chad should intensify exchanges in various fields now that the two countries have resumed diplomatic relations after a 25-year hiatus.
Chad's president, Idriss Deby, is currently on a five-day state visit to the ROC. Taha said he feels honored to become Chad's first ambassador to the ROC since the two countries resumed full diplomatic ties in August this year.
Taha further said the people of Chad are also satisfied with the resumption of official ties with the ROC and look forward to seeing closer cooperation between the two countries.
Diplomacy: team to assess needs at airport in Paraguay
(sources: Central News Agency and the China Post) Paraguayan Vice Foreign Minister Leila Rachid Lichi told local media Tuesday that the Republic of China will soon send a team of experts to here to inspect the Asuncion International Airport.
Rachid said that during her visit to Taiwan Oct. 14-19, ROC President Lee Teng-hui told her that Taiwan would send a team of experts in two or three weeks to Paraguay to decide whether to supply US$40 million toward the repair and maintenance of the airport.
She said that the team will decide whether the aid would be in the form of loans or donations after the inspection tour. Paraguayan Defense Minister Hugo Estigarribia Elizeche announced in early October that repair and maintenance on the airport could wait no longer. As the government cannot spare the needed US$40 million, it would ask the ROC for assistance.
Agustin Liu Ting-tzu, Taipei's ambassador to Paraguay, has already conveyed the request to the ROC government. Paraguay might also ask its former colonial master Spain for assistance, reports said. Economy
Wildlife: Taiwan and US schools team up to save birds
National Taiwan University (NTU) and the University of California at Berkeley (UCB) will inaugurate in Taipei on Oct. 31 their international alliance to save the blackfaced spoonbill and its habitat.
Wildlife conservationists estimated in 1995 that there were only about 400 blackfaced spoonbills left world-wide. Some 300 of these birds migrate every winter from the north to wetlands at the mouth of Tsengwen Creek in Chiku Village, Tainan, making southern Taiwan the largest habitat of the endangered species in the world.
Dr. Yuan T. Lee, president of the Academia Sinica, Taiwan's top research institute, will be honorary chairman of the alliance, while NTU professors Hsia Chu-jeou, Wu You-hua, Lo Shang-lian and Liu Hsiao-ju will join officials from Berkeley's SAVE (Spoonbill Action Voluntary Echo) as co-founders.
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