- BEIJING (Reuters) - China said Sunday President Bush's comments calling
North Korea, Iran and Iraq an "axis of evil" suggested the United
States was preparing the ground for widening its "war on terrorism."
- A strongly worded commentary, carried
by the official Xinhua news agency less than three weeks before a planned
Bush trip to Beijing to meet Chinese President Jiang Zemin, said no such
axis existed between the three Asian nations.
- "No small number of people suspect
that by labeling Iran, Iraq and North Korea as an 'axis of evil' the United
States seeks to prepare public opinion for possible strikes against those
countries under the banner of anti-terrorism," the article said.
- Bush, who launched the U.S. "war
on terror" after the September 11 attacks on America, called the three
states an "axis of evil" in his State of the Union address last
Tuesday and accused them of trying to develop weapons of mass destruction.
- U.S. military action in the wake of the
September 11 hijacked airliner attacks on Washington and New York, which
left more than 3,000 people dead, has focused on Afghanistan.
- The United States launched airstrikes
against Afghanistan's then ruling Taliban regime after it refused to hand
over Saudi-born militant Osama bin Laden, who the United States accuses
of being the mastermind behind the September 11 attacks.
- Rhetoric concerning states which the
United States considers sponsors of terrorism has heated up since the September
11 attacks and speculation has grown over what will be the next U.S. move
in its drive to stamp out groups it considers terrorists.
- China has backed the U.S.-led "war
on terror," but maintains ties with Iran, Iraq and North Korea, whom
Washington considers "rogue states" that sponsor terrorism.
- The United States has accused Iraq and
North Korea of violating the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and interfering
with monitoring by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
- Sunday's commentary said using the term
"axis of evil" gave the wrong impression the three countries
had formed an alliance.
- "Using the word 'axis' makes people
think of the powerful military alliance formed by fascist Germany, Italy
and Japan, which turned the world upside down with their atrocities."
- It said Iran, Iraq and North Korea did
have a few things in common in that they all differ with the United States
on policy and value systems, and that all three of them had unfriendly
relations with the world's mightiest military power.
- Last week, a Chinese foreign ministry
spokesman berated Bush for his use of such strong language in international
diplomacy and said all countries should be treated equally.
- "The Chinese side does not advocate
using this kind of language in international relations," Foreign Ministry
spokesman Kong Quan told a news conference.
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