- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 25, 2001

'Peace-loving' China

Chinese Ambassador Yang Jiechi yesterday said China would use force to bring about the "peaceful reunification" of Taiwan.

He also insisted that China has an independent judiciary, when asked about the 10-year prison sentence imposed yesterday on Chinese-born American scholar Gao Zhan for spying.

Mr. Yang, in remarks before the National Press Club, said China wants improved relations with the United States but warned the Bush administration it could "cause serious harm" if it mishandles the Taiwan issue.

President Bush, who is due to visit China later this year, has said the United States will defend Taiwan against any Chinese attempt to reunify the island by force. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell is scheduled to visit China Saturday.

"While I am optimistic about the tremendous potential for China-U.S. cooperation, I don't mean there are no sticking points," Mr. Yang said.

"To China, the issue of biggest concern is the Taiwan question, which, if not properly handled, will cause serious harm to China-U.S. relations because it is an issue that touches the sentiments of the 1.3 billion Chinese people and bears on China's sovereignty, territorial integrity and national reunification."

Mr. Yang insisted China is a "peace-loving country" that will never "seek to any kind of dominance in the region or the world."

However, he added, "We will not give up the possibility of the use of force precisely for the purpose of bringing about the peaceful reunification of the country."

Mr. Yang said force could be necessary to "deter some extremists on the island and anywhere else from championing the so-called cause of Taiwan independence."

Mideast monitors

The new U.S. ambassador to Israel yesterday said he is trying to persuade Israelis to accept foreign observers to monitor a cease-fire with the Palestinians.

Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer also called on Egypt and Jordan to send their ambassadors back to Israel.

Mr. Kurtzer, who presented his diplomatic credentials to Israeli President Moshe Katsav, said he is "very encouraged by the first week that I've had in Israel and the quality of our discussions."

He said his priority is finding an acceptable way to monitor the implementation of a U.S.-brokered cease-fire to stop nearly 10 months of Israeli-Palestinian violence.

"I think it'll be critical for us in the days ahead on all sides to begin thinking through this issue and seeing how it can help us reach the goal that is an end to the violence, an end to the terrorism and a restoration of calm," he told reporters.

Palestinians have called for international monitors, but Israel has rejected the idea out of fear the observers would favor the Palestinians.

Mr. Kurtzer also urged Egypt and Jordan to restore full diplomatic relations with Israel.

Egypt withdrew its ambassador to protest Israel's military response to Palestinian rioting, and Jordan refused to replace an ambassador who had returned before the bloodshed began.

"We think it's time for the two countries to be represented in Israel at the ambassadorial level," he said.

Mother's tongue

On a lighter note, Mr. Kurtzer received a compliment from Mr. Katzav.

The American ambassador delivered his remarks in Hebrew, which Israeli reporters said was "heavily accented."

Nevertheless, Mr. Katzav, who was born in Iran, told him, "Your Hebrew is better than my mother's."

Bosnia 6 years later

A former president of Bosnia-Herzegovina and two religious leaders will appear at a congressional hearing today to discuss their country's status six years after a peace accord ended its civil war.

Ejup Ganic, the former president and now an engineering professor, Cardinal Vinko Puljic, the archbishop of Sarajevo, and the Most Rev. Ratko Peric, bishop of Mostar, will testify before the House International Relations Committee.

The hearing begins at 10:15 a.m. in Room 2172 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

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