- The Washington Times - Friday, January 28, 2000

'More fun to receive'

Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright knows it is better to give than receive, but she could not deny her delight in getting a major honor from the European Institute.

Mrs. Albright and Javier Solana of the European Union this week were presented with the Transatlantic Leadership Award for 1999.

"In my previous life," Mrs. Albright said of her days before the Clinton administration, "I often had the pleasure of presenting awards to others.

"And I will tell you frankly that, although it is certainly more blessed to give, it is definitely more fun to receive."

"I could not think of a better way to start a new millennium, or a better person with whom to share this award than Solana, Europe's new Renaissance man."

Mr. Solana is the former secretary-general of NATO and now the secretary-general of the Council of the European Union, the EU high representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy and secretary-general of the Western European Union, the defense arm of the EU.

"If unemployment is an issue in Europe, it is because Javier has held or is holding almost every desirable job," Mrs. Albright said.

Mrs. Albright is a living bridge between Europe and the United States.

"As you know, I was born in Europe, lived through World War II, was welcomed by America and came of age during the Cold War," she said.

"It is no exaggeration to say that our partnership across the sea has made all the difference in my life, as it did in the lives of millions of others who were helped by democratic nations, defended by democratic armies or inspired by democratic ideals."

Mr. Solana also expressed his gratitude to the institute.

"In the various posts which I have held over the years, I have always worked to ensure that the trans-Atlantic relationship remains in good health," he said. "If this award is a sign that I have had some modest success, I am both honored and flattered."

He praised the institute for promoting U.S.-European relations.

"By providing a platform for policy-makers from both sides of the Atlantic, it serves the valuable aim of stimulating informed debate about the future of Europe and the trans-Atlantic relationship."

Rebuilding in China

The new U.S. ambassador to China Thursday said his goal is to rebuild relations and avoid "miscalculations" of the sort that led to fractures in bilateral ties.

Ambassador Joseph Prueher said one of his priorities is to build a new U.S. Embassy.

Mr. Prueher wants the embassy to reflect a "first world nation's footprint in Beijing, instead of … a Third World nation's footprint."

The current embassy was attacked by mobs after NATO accidentally bombed the Chinese Embassy in Yugoslavia in May.

The old embassy first served as a liaison office before the United States and China established diplomatic relations in 1979. The building is overcrowded, forcing some diplomats to work in temporary buildings on the embassy grounds.

Mr. Prueher, in his first press briefing with foreign journalists since becoming ambassador six weeks ago, said he learned an important lesson in his previous position as commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific during a standoff with China in the Taiwan Strait in 1996.

"I didn't know anybody in China to talk to," he said. "We need to have the ability to have that communication so we don't make any miscalculations and we can advise our civilian bosses better."

On the issue of human rights, he said: "I committed to pursue this in the most effective way I could, sometimes quietly, sometimes loudly, but steadfastly."

He expressed support for separating human rights from trade but advised U.S. business executives in China "not to take the tack that human rights are irrelevant to doing trade."

Mr. Prueher said he had a "very good, long meeting with President Jiang Zemin and a "short but very dense" talk with Premier Zhu Rongji.

He said he is trying to learn how decisions in China are made at the central, provincial and local level.

"If I figure it out I'll be sure to pass it on," he said.

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