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By Robert Sutter

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The United States after World War I took the lead in calling a major conference to include powers with interests in the western Pacific, including China but not the Soviet Union, to deal with relevant security issues. The result was the Washington Conference of 1921–1922 that saw passage of a Nine Power Treaty supporting noninterference in Chinese internal affairs. The treaty disappointed Chinese patriots because it had no enforcement mechanisms and did nothing to retrieve the rights of sovereignty China had been forced to give up over the previous 80 years Meanwhile, US policymakers were compelled to react to repeated acts of violence against Americans and other foreigners and their interests as revolutionary political and military movements swept through China during the 1920s.

October: China signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. A senior Taiwan envoy traveled to China for talks with Chinese President Jiang Zemin and other officials concerned with cross-strait relations. The US-led NATO air war against Yugoslavia over the Kosovo situation began, prompting strong protests from China. 1999 March: A New York Times story indicated that US nuclear warhead technology and designs had been acquired and used by Chinese weapons makers. Suspecting espionage, US authorities focused on an ethnic Chinese scientist at the Los Alamos Laboratory as a possible source of leaks of such information, holding him in tight confinement.

April: President William Clinton met the Japanese prime minister and issued a declaration strengthening the US–Japan alliance. June: National Security Adviser Anthony Lake visited China for talks with Chinese leaders. October: Defense Secretary William Perry visited China for talks with Chinese officials. 1997 October: Chinese President Jiang Zemin traveled to Washington for a summit meeting with President Clinton. China signed the International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

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