Partners in Infamy

The results of the summit meeting between Russian President Boris Yeltsin and Chinese President Jiang Zemin in Beijing in December were, perhaps, predictable, but disappointing.

After first delaying taking a position on the conflict, Jiang announced China's support of Russia's war in Chechnya.

On Dec. 10, the Communist Party Renmin Ribao said: China supports Russia's move to crack down on terrorism and separatism in Chechnya and safeguard its national unity and territorial integrity.The government-owned China Daily reported on Dec. 9, Russia and China also agreed in principle to join hands in fighting separatism and religious extremism.

Moscow's Interfax News Agency writes on Dec. 9 that Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov said that Russian-Chinese relations are at their highest point in 50 years and that the Chinese leadership expressed full understanding and support for Russian efforts to put an end to terrorist operations in the north Caucasus.

Other media in the region took a less rosy view of the meeting. The Bangkok Post, commenting on Yeltsin's outburst declaring that President Clinton might have forgotten that Russia is a great power with a full nuclear arsenal, observed on Dec. 13, The Chinese support for this brutal and violent Chechnya operation may have caused [Yeltsin] to speak before thinking.

The paper goes on to say that Yeltsin is getting the only support in the world for Chechnya from a new friend, President Jiang Zemin.