China Slams Bush
Over 'Evil Axis' Speech

From Patricia Doyle, PhD

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.
Copyright © 2002 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.

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