Early on, the White House was looking at a number of possible agreements that could be announced with great fanfare at the end of the summit. Most of these were in the strategic area - lifting or easing sanctions imposed in the wake of the Tiananmen Square crackdown and maybe even greater military co-operation. But it appears increasingly certain that such agreements will be impossible in the current Washington atmosphere.
Clinton's China trip is being scripted around a set of fictions. He joins the Chinese in manipulating himself for their purposes, which he mistakes as identical to his own. The most important fiction coming from the Clinton camp is that this trip is about changing the values and politics of China. In fact, the idea is to get the American public at large to accept the anodyne, uncritical view of China now firmly entrenched in the ranks of American business leaders and academic specialists.
The Straits Times, Singapore
Ironically, in trying to move beyond Tiananmen, the welcoming ceremony for President Clinton will take place at the edge of the square, with its uncomfortable symbolism for Americans still fixated on the 1989 killing of pro-democracy protesters there. Still, in a summit that depends on symbols, both sides hope that the ultimate one may be of Mr Clinton bringing a superpower sheen and legitimacy to the meeting as the leader of a country that has surpassed all in wealth, technology, military capability and cultural dominance.
The South China Morning Post
This summit is likely to yield very little of substance. The row the Republicans have whipped up over allegations that the White House helped a donor to its campaign funds to transfer missile secrets to the mainland has made it politically impossible to proceed with the original plan to lift most remaining post-Tiananmen sanctions in return for further promises from Beijing on proliferation. That means the tangible achievements that come out of this summit are likely to be far less than the international jockeying for position that has preceded it.Reuse content