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China to U.S.: We Didn't Do It

Chinese foreign minister says political contributions 'have nothing to do with China'

WASHINGTON (AllPolitics, April 29) -- China's foreign minister on Monday denied that his country made a concerted effort to influence American elections last year.

Secretary of State Madeleine Albright told the official, Qian Qichen, that the U.S. has "serious concerns" about the allegations, but a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said China "has never been engaged" in such efforts.

"It did not take part in the past and will not take part in the future," the spokesman said.

During a brief session with reporters before heading into talks with Madeleine Albright, Qian said, "I believe it's very unusual for people to see political contributions and money politics in the United States; however, they have nothing to do with China."

Qian & Albright

Albright said, "I raised the issue with the vice premier when I was in China in February and expressed to him how seriously we view these allegations and I will do so again and also make clear to all of you that they are currently under judicial investigation."

Qian is in Washington to prepare for a summit next fall between President Bill Clinton and China's President Jiang Zemin in Washington. Clinton is expected to pay a return visit to Beijing next year.

Qian is expected to stop by the White House this morning to meet with National Security Adviser Sandy Berger, according to White House spokesman Mike McCurry, and is scheduled to meet with Clinton Wednesday morning.

The foreign minister was unusually upbeat about Sino-U.S. relations, saying Washington and Beijing had more in common than not.

"The two sides have made progress in many fields including political consultations, economic cooperation and trade, environmental protection, exchanges between the two militaries and so on," he said.

He added, "I believe that although there are some differences between the United States and China, they are far outnumbered by our common views."

Albright said that among her agenda items would be to "stress U.S. concern about human rights in China as well as the U.S. interest in the preservation [of] Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy and its basic freedoms."

Albright further responded that she was hoping for progress in talks about China's entry into the World Trade Organization, when asked if that might happen before the fall summit.

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