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Congressional Commission Urges Coordinated US Policy Toward China


The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission is calling on the Bush administration to coordinate strategy across the board, in all U.S. government dealings with China. The recommendation came in the commission's annual report, which was released Wednesday, 10 days before President Bush is due to visit Beijing.

Commission chairman Richard D'Amato said he is concerned by what he sees as the U.S. government's lack of overall assessment of how China affects American national interests.

"A detailed architecture that advances all areas of cooperation with China, while reducing negative impacts on American economic and security interests, still does not exist," Mr. D'Amato said. "The United States still has no coordinated national strategy for dealing with China. We need one that specifies and prioritizes what we want to accomplish, what outcomes are and are not acceptable, and how we're going to reach those goals."

He added that the commission has seen little progress on some specific issues of concern.

"Most importantly, China's manipulation of its currency, its lack of enforcement on violations of intellectual property rights, which are important for virtually every business that enters China and is the most important item on the agenda of American business in China," Mr. D'Amato said.

One major recommendation the commission made in its report was the creation of what Mr. D'Amato called a U.S.-China energy working group.

"China's economic growth depends, to a large extent, on increasing its energy supplies," Mr. D'Amato said. "There's going to be more and more collisions over energy. We think now is the time to start looking at building more intense, alternative energy sources for both countries. We should work together on that. We should work on efficiencies and all the range of possible mechanisms to reduce both our countries dependence on imported oil."

Meanwhile, he said China's military is growing and modernizing more rapidly than the commission had anticipated. So, he also called for China and the United States to establish so-called confidence building measures, to manage and contain any military crises.

"The Chinese are building a modern navy, a modern air force, precision-guided weapons," Mr. D'Amato said. "They have space-based capabilities. They are operating in a more blue water mode (beyond the range of shore-based support) in the Pacific. And, of course, their forces are going to be coming and operating in more close proximity to our own, as well as the Japanese. In those kinds of situations, we think that the creation of institutions that would help to regularize that relationship and to head-off and, if necessary, work with the possibility of incidents or accidents that might occur."

Congress created the bipartisan, 12-member group, also known as the U.S.-China Commission, in 2000. The commission monitors the national security implications of the U.S. economic relationship with China and, in its annual reports, provides recommendations on possible U.S. action.

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