March 19, 2005 in Nation/World

China urged to embrace democracy

Knight Ridder
 

TOKYO – In a speech laying out an American vision for the future of Asia, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice today urged China to allow for an open, representative government.

The United States is concerned about China’s military buildup, Rice said, but she added that strong U.S. alliances in the region and ensuring that “American military forces are second to none” would create an “atmosphere where democracy can take hold.”

Rice’s speech at Tokyo’s Roman Catholic Sophia University outlined what the Bush administration wants to see as Asia grows and changes. At the heart of the plan is the goal of a community of democratic nations that share values and take responsibility for global problem-solving.

“Time and again we have seen that economic and political openness cannot long be separated,” Rice said. “Even China must eventually embrace some form of open, genuinely representative government if it’s to reap the benefits and meet the challenges of a globalizing world.”

China’s leaders “will see that democracy works,” she predicted. “They will see that freedom of religion and respect for human rights are part of the foundation of decent and successful societies.”

Rice said China’s rising influence could “take a turn for the better or a turn for the worse.”


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