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Powell's Resignation Has Little Impact on US' China Policy

There is strong continuity for US' China policy including the Taiwan issue, which cannot be changed with the resignation of US Secretary of State Colin Powell. However, whether or not Condoleezza Rice, Powell's successor, can keep her hold on the constructive cooperation relations and deal with possible frictions between the United States and China from the macroscopic angle, needs further observation.  

A People's Daily reporter had an exclusive interview with American Chinese scholars studying international relations and they expressed similar viewpoints.


Professor Suisheng Zhao with Institute for International Studies, Denver University believed since US launched war against terrorism the main axis of US' China policy has been formed. US has developed constructive cooperation relations with China and seen as China as its important cooperative partner in its global anti-terrorism war; on the issue of Taiwan it adheres to the one-China policy and considers "Taiwan independence'' a trouble maker. These views have formed the basic common understanding among the security squad of the Bush administration. Though Powell played an important role in that what he said has basically given expression to the common viewpoints of the squad.


Professor Li Cheng with the World Politics Department of Hamilton Institute pointed out US' China policy is not only made by people around the president, but also by its think tank with deep understanding of China. Hence it is more rational with strong continuity. The increasing economic strength of China with its more influence on international affairs has become the common understanding of the US government. From its own interests, US hopes to develop constructive cooperation relations with China and does not want to have bigger conflicts with China. It also does not want to irritate China on the Taiwan issue. In this, the situation cannot be changed due to personnel changes.


All the same, in his term of office, having good relations with China Powell has continuously strengthened his contacts with China and developed constructive cooperation relations, hoped China plays more roles in international affairs and made repeated warnings against "Taiwan independence'' force on the Taiwan issue. Because of this he has been paid attention to in the world. Those who are concerned with US-China relations should attach attention to this: Whether or not can the departure of Powell make US-China relations lose lubricant? And how can Rice deal with the US-China relations?


Therewith Li Cheng's view is: There will be no big twists and turns in the main in US-China relations in the future. But the possibility cannot be eliminated that there might be fortuities that could not be forecast. There are instable factors for the issues of regional security and energy sources in some areas. When these occur, whether or not Rice can deal with the issues like Powell needs further observation.


Li said Rice is a very able person and she can exert more impact on Bush than Powell does. In dealing with diplomatic affairs, she will more likely let strength speak, put unilateralism into practice and maintain US strong status while Powell is more soft and rational with emphasis on multilateral cooperation. Generally speaking Rice takes stronger stand towards China than Powell and knows less about China than Powell. Certainly in recent years, Rice has more contacts with Chinese leaders and has deeper understanding of China with some changes on her China stand and attitude.


Zhao is more optimistic about Rice who took a doctor's degree in Denver University and worked at Hoover Institution. He believed Rice has more neutral stand than Powell does and has more direct way of speaking than Powell. But in their China policy including the Taiwan issue, her basic views are as unanimous as Powell's. 


(People's Daily November 18, 2004)

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