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News :: International Relations

China official's closed meetings with candidates' advisors raise eyebrows

A senior Chinese government official's closed meetings with top foreign policy advisers to leading U.S. presidential candidates have come under fire from critics of U.S. policy towards China.
Thursday, July 19, 2007

China’s Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo met on June 19 with advisers to Democrats candidates, including New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama. He also met Republicans including Arizona Sen. John McCain and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the Washington Post reported June 28.

“United Front tactics at their best — getting Americans to adopt the habit of receiving lectures from PRC officials on how to limit the scope of American interests,? said Richard Fisher, a China specialist with the International Assessment and Strategy Center, noting that such interaction is a “massive mistake? on the part of the candidates.

Conservative critics of China said the move appears to be a pre-emptive influence effort by Beijing, which was caught funneling cash into the 1996 reelection campaign of President Bill Clinton and also sought to influence the Bush administration through FBI double agent Katrina Leung.

The Dai meeting was arranged by former Clinton administration Deputy Defense Secretary John Hamre. Others involved in arranging the discussions were former Carter administration National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski and Reagan administration Defense Secretary Frank C. Carlucci.

The campaign aides included former CIA general counsel Jeffrey H. Smith, representing the Clinton campaign; former Navy Secretary Richard J. Danzig, representing Obama; former State Department official Derek Chollet, representing Edwards; former State Department policy planning chief Mitchell B. Reiss, representing Romney; McCain's national security adviser Randy Scheunemann; and Antony J. Blinken, staff director of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and an adviser to Biden.

“This deserves close watching,? Fisher said.?


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