Sunday, November 12, 2006

Will New U.S. Congress Mean Changes in Chinese Relations?

Pelosi-led House seen not rocking boat on China
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives led by frequent China critic Nancy Pelosi will intensify scrutiny of Chinese trade and human rights practices, but will stop short of confrontation, American and Chinese experts said.

The Democratic Party's capture of both the House and the Senate revived concerns about new trade protectionism against China, and raised hope among rights activists for more U.S. pressure on Beijing.

Both the fears and the hopes are overblown, argue analysts, who point to vital U.S.-China cooperation on curbing North Korea's nuclear ambitions and other global problems.

"Nancy Pelosi does have a pretty strong background on China-related things, but she will now have a new level of responsibility and that may well shift the way she handles the relationship," said University of Michigan scholar Kenneth Lieberthal, who was an Asia expert in the Clinton White House.

China to come under tighter scrutiny by new US Congress
WASHINGTON (AFP) - From military strategy and human rights to labor standards and trade, China is expected to come under tighter scrutiny by the upcoming Democratic-controlled Congress.

Democratic lawmakers have complained that the dependence of the Republican administration of President George W. Bush on Beijing to contain North Korea' s nuclear ambitions has led to inevitable US compromises on the critical human rights and trade fronts.

"I think the most noticeable impact of the Congressional elections is likely to be on US China policy," said Robert Hathaway of the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars.

Evaluating the Republican Party's loss of control of the House of Representatives and Senate in last Tuesday's legislative elections, he said the Democrats were likely to pressure the Bush administration to be "more confrontational" with China on trade, human rights, religious freedom and Taiwan-related issues.


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