- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 16, 2006

A congressional advisory panel yesterday questioned China’s willingness to be a more responsible international player, saying world prosperity depends on China abandoning a single-minded pursuit of its “own narrow national interests.”

The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission made 44 recommendations in its annual report to lawmakers. It calls on the United States to combat Chinese attempts to isolate Taiwan by supporting the island’s membership in various world bodies, and to pressure Beijing to help end the bloody conflict in Sudan’s Darfur region.

“While China is a global actor, its sense of responsibility has not kept up with its expanding power,” said Larry Wortzel, chairman of the commission, which Congress created in 2000 to investigate U.S.-Chinese issues.

The panel also admonished U.S. intelligence agencies, urging the United States to set up “a more effective program” for gathering information about China’s massive military buildup and development.

In general, the commission said Beijing’s proliferation of weapons, “indulgence” of the nuclear programs of North Korea and Iran and willingness to place its energy needs above the needs of world security indicate China is “as yet unprepared or unwilling to shoulder the burdens of a stakeholder state.”

In Beijing, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said she had not seen the report, but “we are against the attempt by any country or any organization to interfere with China’s internal affairs under the pretext of the Taiwan question and impede our reunification course.”

She said China supports a peaceful solution of the conflict in Darfur.

The report said China’s global reach extends beyond East Asia to the Middle East, Africa, South Asia and Latin America, where China “is coming to be regarded almost as a second superpower.”

China’s “support for rogue regimes and anti-American governments” is meant to “balance American power, create an alternative model of governance and frustrate the ability of the international community to uphold its norms,” the panel said.

The United States and China have cooperated recently on confronting North Korea’s nuclear ambitions. But tension infuses the relationship — from ugly trade spats to fears of China’s military buildup to Washington’s charge that China abuses its citizens’ rights and befriends rogue nations to secure sources of energy.

The Bush administration should attempt to reach an agreement with China to inspect ships bound to and from North Korea for contraband, the panel said, including weapons and nuclear technology.

The commission also urged U.S. trade officials to press complaints against China in the World Trade Organization for what it called Beijing’s intervention in international currency markets and failure to enforce intellectual property rights.

American manufacturers have long complained that Beijing’s artificially low currency makes Chinese goods cheaper in the United States and American products more expensive in China.

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