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China 'Rendezvous With Freedom' Will Come, Baker Says

June 27, 1989|From Reuters

NEW YORK — Secretary of State James A. Baker III predicted Monday that, despite Beijing's violent crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators, the Chinese people would eventually enjoy democratic freedoms.

In a speech to the Asia Society in New York City, Baker also called on the trading partners of the Pacific to forge a new mechanism for economic cooperation.

Regarding China's violent crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators and the victory of hard-liners in the government, Baker sounded an upbeat note.

"China has suffered a tragic setback but the story is not over. . . . China's rendezvous with freedom, like its rendezvous with the advancing nations of the Pacific, cannot be long delayed. We will be there to help when the day follows the night," Baker said.

He said he will seek to establish "the framework for a new Pacific partnership" during a trip next week to Japan and to Brunei, where he will meet foreign ministers of the Assn. of Southeast Asian Nations.

"Last year intra-Asian trade approached $200 billion . . . Yet unlike Europe, there are inadequate regional mechanisms to deal with the effects of interdependence," Baker said.

"Clearly, the need for a new mechanism for multilateral cooperation among the nations of the Pacific Rim is an idea whose time has come."

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