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PACIFIC PARAMETERS

High Anxieties: Why U.S. Is Losing Popularity Tests

June 23, 1991| Commentary around the Pacific Rim

PHILIPPINES

"My fearless forecast is that the Yanks won't be in a hurry to resume discussions on the bases, much less sign a treaty for their extension. After all, with Clark buried under tons of ashes and volcanic debris, and Subic snowed under by volcanic fallout, it can be asked: What bases ?"

--Columnist in the Philippine Star

"Pinatubo caused Clark to be a depreciated commodity. The uncertainty of further volcanic activity in the near term diminishes the utility of not only Clark but, in all probability, also Subic. . . . But should the Americans re-open negotiations on the bases in order that they may cut the compensation package assembled over the last few months of negotiations, it will be perceived by Filipinos as an act of supreme opportunism."

--Columnist in the Chronicle

THAILAND

"President Bush says he doesn't want anything to do with managed trade. Never mind that his administration is putting the final touches on a new trade agreement that states categorically that Japan should reserve 20% of its semiconductor market for imports."

--The Nation

TAIWAN

"President George Bush has launched his expected campaign to retain most-favored-nation trading status for (Beijing) with a puzzling appeal to 'morality.' By most definitions of morality, it would seem strange to argue that a nation should be rewarded for slaughtering its students with tank cannons. . . . Perhaps (Bush) should go back to his earlier contentions that trading with Beijing . . . is in the long-range economic and strategic interests of the United States. (That argument) is less likely to offend the sensibilities of moral and honest men."

--China News editorial

"President Bush and some of his advisers are (probably) not ruling out the possibility that the U.S. may one day have to use military force to check the new economic superpower on the other side of the Pacific. Which country can play a supportive role for the U.S.? . . . To Washington, the 'China card' is still useful. . . . What has changed is that the role of the adversary has been taken over by Japan. (That) may explain why Bush seems determined to keep the door of cooperation with Beijing open, regardless of human-rights abuses."

--China News editorial

JAPAN

"American car makers are not doing enough to sell their cars in this country. Volvo is expanding its sales network here, for example. And Americans should make cars with specifications the Japanese like. Instead, they blame what they call our exclusive dealerships."

--Yutaka Kume, president of Nissan Motor Co.

"It takes 15 minutes from my house to the nearest train station using . . . a compact car, but it takes 40 minutes with a GM car."

--A Suzuki official on why American cars don't sell well in Tokyo.

"Japanese have lost the habit of thinking for themselves, since they have lived in peace for so long. Therefore, they were incapable of reacting to the Gulf War."

--Chairman of Sumitomo Electrical Industries

"Each race has its own special characteristics. I meant to show that Hispanics and blacks aren't suited to a high-level, electronic, industrialized society, but that they are suited for something like an agricultural society."

--Professor Yuji Aida defending his article that questioned American minorities' ability to govern an advanced nation

HONG KONG

"Since its retreat from Vietnam, America has maintained a stranglehold on Hanoi's attempts to rebuild its economy. . . . If the time is not yet right to pour U.S. money into Hanoi, Washington may at least be persuaded to lift the blockade on those who are ready to invest."

--South China Morning Post editorial

"If the U.S. thinks boat people are political refugees, why not allow them to migrate to the U.S.? Or, if the U.S. doesn't want to take so many Vietnamese, why not just send troops to Vietnam and establish a 'safety zone,' as it did in Iraq? If the boat people are economic refugees, what's wrong with forced repatriation?"

--Letter to South China Morning Post

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