American Rice in Asia

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was in Beijing today, and had some firm words regarding the current tensions over China's passage of the anti-secession law. Staying firmly by President Bush's policy of opposing "unilateral" moves that increase tensions, Dr. Rice politely but firmly raised the question with her hosts. She also spoke out regarding the EU plan to lift its arms embargo, all the while recognizing that China and the United States do have several areas of cooperation.

The Chinese official response is covered by the International Herald Tribune:

Rice also said that in meetings with China's president, prime minister and foreign minister she discussed the two sides' differences over Taiwan.

She criticized an "antisecession" law China recently introduced to press Taiwan to return to negotiations over eventual reunification.

She said the law was "not a welcome development" and had inflamed tensions between China and Taiwan.

China's state-run media highlighted their government's firm response to Rice's criticisms of the new law.

China's president Hu told Rice the United States should not "send any wrong signals to Taiwanese secessionist forces," reported the People's Daily.

Hu will make his first visit to the United States as President of China later this year, Rice announced Monday.

Meanwhile, FOX News reports that the EU may be reconsidering its position on lifting the arms embargo. Again, it is the mother of the Anglosphere that leads the way, as recent remarks from the UK's Foreign Minister Jack Straw seem to indicate at least a willingness on the part of the EU to reconsider. This is vital as the United Kingdom is the one European nation whose military capabilities are closest to the standards of the United States.

Strong leadership from the United States and its natural allies can do a lot to alleviate tensions in the world, and to encourage positive change, as we have seen lately in Lebanon. We will be watching to see how things develop in the Taiwan Straits, as well.

[Cross-posted at Between Worlds and Naruwan Formosa]

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