A Russian daily on September 2 applauded China’s recent announcement that Beijing intends to contribute some US$540 million in aid to help Russia out of its current financial crisis. The newspaper contrasted what is suggested was the generosity of the Chinese offer–which it said came largely without strings attached–to the stinginess demonstrated by U.S. President Bill Clinton during his talks in Moscow this week. The newspaper also noted, however, that the Chinese aid is to be distributed to Russia by the IMF, and that it is not clear when or how this will occur. (Russky Telegraf, September 2)
The Russian and Chinese governments, meanwhile, have apparently not yet set a date for a visit to Moscow by Chinese leader Jiang Zemin. On September 2 Russian government officials reportedly said that Jiang had tentatively rescheduled his visit for October of this year. A day later, however, the Chinese Foreign Ministry told journalists only that the Chinese leader will visit Russia “at a convenient time.” A ministry spokesman said that diplomatic consultations were continuing over a new date for the summit meeting. (Itar-Tass, September 2-3)
Jiang had been scheduled to hold an informal summit meeting with Russian President Boris Yeltsin on September 3-4. But the Chinese leader postponed the visit–and one to Japan as well–citing the catastrophic flooding that has devastated China in recent weeks. Russia has often counterposed its “strategic partnership” with Beijing to its relations with the United States, and has scheduled high-level meetings in a way to suggest a balance between its interests in the East and West. Russia’s political proclamations of a partnership with China have, however, produced disappointing results in key areas of trade and economic cooperation. Such shortcomings were to have been among the key items on the discussion agenda during Jiang’s scheduled September 3-4 visit to Moscow.
DEFENSE MINISTER RENEWS CALL FOR START II RATIFICATION.