- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 7, 2003

China's new year's wish
Chinese Ambassador Yang Jiechi is wishing for better relations with the United States but also warning against mishandling the delicate issue of Taiwan.
Mr. Yang, in a recent speech, noted that 2002 "witnessed major improvements in China-U.S. relations," and 2003 holds the promise of more good will as Vice President Richard B. Cheney prepares to visit Beijing.
Chinese President Jiang Zemin and President Bush met twice last year and once in 2001. In April, Vice President Hu Jintao, now general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party, visited the United States.
"Looking ahead, I have full confidence that 2003 will be another year for further improvement in the China-U.S. relationship," Mr. Yang told a meeting of the Asia Society and the Council on Foreign Relations at a meeting in New York last month.
"Now the major task before us is to implement the important consensus reached between our two presidents and further push forward our constructive and cooperation relationship."
Mr. Yang pledged China's full support in the war against terrorism and thanked the United States for recognizing the Muslim terrorist threat to China posed by the Eastern Turkestan Islamic Movement.
He promised China's cooperation in "cutting off terrorism financing, intelligence sharing, border control and transportation security."
However, he warned the United States against any action that might encourage the independence movement in the Republic of China (Taiwan), which China considers a renegade province. Washington recognizes one China but has pledged to defend Taiwan against any attempt to forcibly reunify the island with the mainland.
"The question of Taiwan has always been the most important and sensitive issue at the heart of China-U.S. relations. Properly handling this question is the key to a stable and healthy relationship between us," Mr. Yang said.
"There is but one China in the world, and both the mainland and Taiwan belong to one China. China's sovereignty and territorial integrity brook no division."
The ambassador said China will keep its promise of peaceful reunification and a one-country, two-systems policy for Taiwan similar to that for Hong Kong.
"The United States government has stated that it adheres to the one-China policy and is against Taiwan independence," Mr. Yang said.
"We hope that the U.S. side will strictly honor its commitment to the Chinese side and play a constructive role in China's peaceful reunification."

New French envoy
Washington is welcoming the first new French ambassador in seven years. Jean-David Levitte arrived last month to replace Francois V. Bujon, who was here from December 1995.
Mr. Levitte, a career diplomat, was France's ambassador to the United Nations for the past two years and an adviser to French President Jacques Chirac from 1995 to 2000. He also served in Hong Kong and Beijing.
The 56-year-old envoy, who holds a law degree and speaks Chinese and Indonesian, is married with two daughters.

Guatemala heads OAS
In another new year's change, Guatemala has assumed chairmanship of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS).
Arturo Duarte, Guatemala's ambassador to the OAS, described "the great honor" bestowed on his country as he assumed the three-month rotating chairmanship last week.
Mr. Duarte said the main mission of the OAS is to promote democracy in the Western Hemisphere.
"As long as the needs of the citizens are not met, democracies remain imperfect," he said.

Globalization index
Which country had the world's most globalized economy last year?
Moises Naim, editor and publisher of Foreign Policy magazine, and Paul Laudicina, vice president of the A.T. Kearney international management consulting firm, will answer that question at a 1 p.m. news conference today at the National Press Club.
They will release their annual "Globalization Index," ranking 62 countries on the basis of economic integration and other issues. Ireland was the top-ranked country last year.

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