To U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte;
The Public Affairs section of your U.S. State Department announced yesterday that you would travel to China and Vietnam January 16-20, 2008.
We know you are well aware of the many issues of interest to the United States and the greater global community with regard to China and Vietnam but we fear that sometimes the niceties of diplomatic discourse mutes the message to China and Vietnam.
Here are the top issues we urge you to consider raising in Beijing and Hanoi:
Human Rights: Both China and Vietnam are on the list of nations who routinely violate human rights. The U.S. Department of state and the United Nations have documented many abuses yet the consequences for the communist governments of China and Vietnam have been inconsequential. China agreed to alleviate human rights abuses during its selection to host the Summer Olympic games later this year. Vietnam said it would address human rights more directly as it was seeking acceptance to the World Trade Organization (WTO). Most human rights organizations say those promises from China and Vietnam turned out to be lies – and the world community has largely stood by idly.
Darfur: China is Sudan’s number one trading partner; yet China continues to largely look the other way at the abuses and possibly even genocide in Darfur. In the last few days, two news items highlighted this problem. First, U.N. peacekeeping chief Jean-Marie Guéhenno told the Security Council on Wednesday that U.N. peacekeeping forces lack the troops and equipment necessary to improve the situation in violence-wracked Darfur and will continue to be ineffective until mid-2008. And, Second, China’s senior diplomat for Sudan and Darfur denied any linkage between the human rights abuses in Darfur and China’s Olympic Games. Liu Guijin, special envoy for Darfur, said China cannot be held responsible for the actions of the government of Sudan. But we wonder if China has exerted its influence in Sudan commensurate with its vast business interests there including oil drilling, infrastructure projects and weapons sales.
Pollution: China and Vietnam are now among the world’s leaders in pollution and global warming. Both nations have extremely high degrees of polluted ground water, much of it caused by over-use of pesticides and fertilizers. We urge the United States to offer ways to ameliorate this problem though training, scientific applications and the use of better methods and chemicals. China’s air pollution is now so severe that Olympic teams are expressing concern for the health of their athletes and nations such as Japan have protested that the air pollution produced in China is now impacting nations around the globe. We urge the United states to continue to raise this issue with Beijing.
Above: A beautiful, sunny morning near Beijing.
Territorial and Resources dispute: China and Vietnam are embroiled in a long-standing dispute over islands and resources in the South China Sea. We urge you to pledge that the United states will participate in resolution of this dispute if asked and certinly the united nations might be able to assist in this matter. The disagreement came to a boil in November and December after China reasserted its claim to the islands. The people of Vietnam reacted so vocally in protests and blogging that China asked the communist government in Vietnam to quell the dissent. This ugly dispute, without resolution, has many possible outcomes: all of which would be harmful to regional peace and stability.
China’s actions in the South
China Sea sparked protests
Dear Sir; we appreciate your efforts dealing with China and Vietnam and offer these suggestions for the future benefit of all mankind.
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