China seeks to renew trade talks : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread


SKANEATELES, N.Y. (AP) - In a signal of easing tensions, China has sought to renew trade talks and a team of U.S. negotiators is ready to travel to Beijing in anticipation of the Asian-Pacific Economic Conference next week.

``The Chinese have indicated that they would like to get back to the table, and we're prepared to send some technical level of negotiators in advance of the APEC meeting,'' said White House spokesman Jake Siewert.

High on the agenda would be agreement about China's accession to the World Trade Organization.

Relations between the two nations have been strained in recent months by allegations that China tried to influence the 1996 elections by funneling contributions to Democrats and that Beijing stole U.S. nuclear secrets.

The situation worsened May 7, when the United States accidentally bombed the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade. Then last month there were further strains when the president of Taiwan advocated a change in his nation's relationship with China, a suggestion China viewed as a move toward Taiwanese independence.

The United States maintains unofficial links to Taiwan under the Taiwan Relations Act, which authorizes the sale of defensive weapons to the island and pledges to treat threats with concern.

Nevertheless, both sides have remained optimistic about trade prospects. Clinton and Chinese President Jiang Zemin plan bilateral talks at APEC meeting in New Zealand.

The WTO is the Geneva-based organization that sets rules for international trade. U.S. businesses see China's entry as important to opening Chinese markets. For China, it also could mean new markets - and an end to the annual, emotional debate in Congress over renewal of normal trade relations.

-- Stan Faryna (, September 02, 1999

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