Chilly air at US-China summit

New York - The US last night claimed modest progress in its relations with China after talks between President Bill Clinton and his Chinese counterpart, Jiang Zemin, saying they agreed to open dialogue in new areas, including money-laundering and the export of illegal immigrants, writes David Usborne.

But US hopes that China would commit itself to supporting the zero option for the nuclear test-ban treaty being negotiated in Geneva, under which tests even on a tiny scale would be outlawed, were disappointed. Nor did Mr Clinton offer any promise to Mr Jiang to refuse outright further visits to the US by Taiwan's leaders.

Earlier, Mr Jiang used a speech at the 50th-anniversary celebration of the UN to deliver a sharp jab at the US, criticising "big powers" that seek to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries.

US-Chinese relations took a downturn in spring, when Mr Clinton allowed President Lee Teng-hui of Taiwan to make a private visit to the US. Strains have also arisen because of China's treatment of dissidents, including Harry Wu, a US citizen convicted of spying and stealing state secrets before being deported in August.

"The peaceful reunification of the two sides of the Taiwan straits is the unshakeable will and determination of the entire Chinese people," Mr Jiang said. In a television interview this week he reiterated that "one cannot rule out the military option" against Taiwan.

But in remarks that appeared to be directed at the US and its efforts in the past to link trade with progress on human rights, Mr Jiang said: "Certain big powers, often under the cover of 'freedom', 'democracy' and 'human rights', set out to encroach upon the sovereignty of other countries, interfere in their internal affairs and undermine their national unity and ethnic harmony. This has become a principal cause for the intranquillity in the world today."

After the summit, the US Under-Secretary of State for East Asia, Winston Lord, said there had been a "step forward" in relations, but added: "I wouldn't want to suggest there are not problems remaining. There are some serious problems."

On human rights, Mr Clinton raised some specific cases with Mr Jiang. He also reiterated that the US would not support Chinese membership of the World Trade Organisation unless it came forward with a new offer on opening its markets. "We believe that China has not yet made a sufficient offer," Mr Lord said.

Many passages in Mr Jiang's speech were unlikely to sit well with those seeking freedom for Tibet, including Tibetan nationalists who have been on a hunger strike at the UN building. Mr Jiang sought to condemn governments that "deliberately ignore the colourful and diverse reality of the world and practise such hegemonic acts as imposing one's social system" on other nations.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones
tvSeries 5, Episode 3 review
News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence