- The Washington Times - Friday, April 15, 2005

Excerpts of editorials from newspapers around the world:

La Repubblica

Vatican-China ties

ROME — John Paul II’s unfinished dream — re-establishing relations between the Catholic Church and China — is about to become real. While the pope was dying, in Beijing his secret emissaries were negotiating the last conditions to resume diplomatic relations with the republic. And in the hours where the world followed the pontiff’s agony, Chinese leaders made a decisive opening … China’s communist government presented its official condolences.

Beijing also expressed the “desire to improve relations with the Vatican, if two conditions are fulfilled.”

The first is that the Vatican break relations with Taiwan. … The second is the promise “not to interfere in China’s internal affairs, not even under religious pretexts.”

But the condition posed by Beijing against internal interference may result in restrictive interpretations. If a priest dares say anything … which does not coincide with government policy, he may be accused of interference and brutally silenced.

The Hindu

India, the U.S. and the ICC

MADRAS, India — When the International Criminal Court was signed into existence in 2000, the United States under Bill Clinton was among the last to join up. Six months later, the new Bush administration pulled out of the Rome Statute, the international treaty that set up the court. It swiftly followed this up with bilateral agreements with several countries including India, also a nonsignatory, that committed the governments of these countries against turning in American military or government personnel to the ICC.

This is why the U.S. decision to abstain from the vote and thus enable the passage of a United Nations Security Council resolution to send war crime suspects in Sudan’s Darfur region to the ICC bears the strong scent of double standards. …

The wheeling-dealing by which the U.S. has managed to retain its exceptionalism to the ICC while assisting “to end the climate of impunity in Sudan” makes a complete mockery of the ideals that informed the setting up of a permanent international criminal court to try perpetrators of the gravest of crimes against humanity. …

Action by the ICC against those behind this conflict [in Darfur] can prove exemplary and help in preventing similar situations in the future, but only if all people, irrespective of nationality, are seen as equal before the court. …

In a sense, the absurdity of the situation seems only to justify India’s refusal to sign the Rome Statute …

This is not to say that Darfur is not a fit case for the international court. In spite of tremendous world pressure, the janjaweed Arab militias backed by the Khartoum regime continue to attack the non-Arab inhabitants of the region. According to the U.N., the conflict has created 2.4 million refugees and 180,000 people have died of starvation and disease alone. Action by the ICC against those behind this conflict can prove exemplary and help in preventing similar situations in the future, but only if all people, irrespective of nationality, are seen as equal before the court.

Asahi Shimbun

Anti-Japan protests in China

TOKYO — Increasingly anti-Japan demonstrations in China have sent bilateral ties to their lowest ebb since diplomatic relations were normalized in 1972.

On [April 9], about 10,000 demonstrators took to the streets in Beijing. The protesters hurled stones and plastic water bottles at the Japanese Embassy and damaged Japanese restaurants. …

Groups that are hostile to Japan had actively spent the previous few days trying to get people to join Saturday’s demonstration in Beijing. Yet, the Chinese government did not take sufficient precautionary measures to deal with the demonstration. …

Anti-China and Sinophobic sentiment in general will likely grow in Japan if such violent anti-Japan demonstrations continue. … Further acts of violence will serve only to dampen sensible opinion in both countries. In fact, it could become overwhelmed by antagonistic emotions.

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