Fri, Mar 17, 2006 - Page 1 News List

US security report calls for more reform in China

By Charles Snyder  /  STAFF REPORTER IN WASHINGTON , WITH AGENCIES

US President George W. Bush has repeated his call for a peaceful resolution of cross-strait tensions, warning China that it should not use coercive measures against Taiwan, and warning both sides against actions that change the "status quo."

The call was contained in the president's National Security Strategy, a 49-page report released yesterday by the National Security Council, in which Bush outlines his strategy for defense and security-related foreign policy for the remainder of his second term.

"China and Taiwan must also resolve their differences peacefully, without coercion and without unilateral action by either China or Taiwan," the document says.

The president urged Beijing to "continue down the road of reform" and afford its people basic human rights, and "walk the transformative path of peaceful development."

"Our strategy seeks to encourage China to make the right strategic choices for its people, while we hedge against other possibilities," it said.

The report called on China to "follow the path of East Asia's many modern democracies," a sentiment Bush used in a speech last year in which he pointed specifically to Taiwan's democracy and urged Beijing to follow Taipei's democratic example.

This would contribute to regional and international security, the document said.

The president also warned China on its rapid military buildup.

He said China "cannot stay on this peaceful path while holding on to old ways of thinking and acting."

Among those "old ways," the president cited China's "continuing military expansion in a non-transparent way," expanding trade while seeking to direct markets rather than opening them, and supporting energy-rich nations without regard to their misrule or misbehavior at home or abroad.

"Ultimately, China's leaders must see that they cannot let their population increasingly experience the freedoms to buy, sell and produce, while denying them the rights to assemble, speak and worship," it said.

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