11/02/2004, 00.00
CHINA

China does not endorse Qian Qichen's criticism of Bush

Mystery surrounds a commentary by Qian Qichen, published on the China Daily: Qian had not written anything; nor was interviewed by the paper

Beijing (AsiaNews/ Agencies) - China did not endorse stinging criticism of U.S. President George W. Bush's foreign policy published by a state newspaper, but called for a more multilateral approach to fighting terrorism and other global ills.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said Beijing already has responded to a U.S. request to explain the commentary in the English-language China Daily, which accused Bush of wrecking global anti-terrorism cooperation with one-sided, unilateral actions. Speaking at a regularly scheduled news briefing, she refused to disclose the contents of the Chinese message to Washington. However Zhang said that China believed that unilateral actions by any government didn't fit current international conditions. "We should rely on multilateralism to handle problems facing the world, including terrorism and other challenges." she said.

On Monday, one day before the US presidential elections, the China Daily published a commentary quoting expressions of former Foreign Minister Qian Qichen. The article accused Bush of trying to "rule over the whole world." It called on Washington to discard the "Bush Doctrine" of military-backed diplomacy and, the China Daily said, of pre-emptive attack. The article also complained that the U.S. invasion of Iraq had destroyed the global anti-terrorism coalition and worsened ethnic and religious conflicts.

US State Department spokesman Adam Ereli in Washington, said on Monday the purported comments were not consistent with the views outlined by Chinese officials during a visit to Beijing last week by Secretary of State Colin Powell.

A Chinese embassy spokesman in Washington cast doubt on the authenticity of the lengthy commentary, saying Mr Qian was not interviewed by the China Daily nor did he write an article for the newspaper.

An editor for the China Daily's editorial page said the commentary first appeared in the Chinese-language newspaper Study Times on Oct. 18. She said the China Daily translated the article into English and published it.

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