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PACIFIC PARAMETERS

American Corn Yields to Singapore's Rattan Crop

March 20, 1994| A sampling of commentary from around the Pacific Rim:

* Singapore "The childhood traumas, the broken-home background, insecurity and upheavals . . . . It almost broke my heart till I suddenly recalled that Fay's explanation for his 10-day binge of vandalism and theft was as American as corn in Kansas."

--Tan Sai Siong in the Straits Times, on American teen-ager Michael Fay being sentenced to six strokes from a moistened rattan cane, noting that "Singapore is in no danger as yet of falling for the argument that culprits are more sinned against than sinning."

* China "The U.S. does not really want to safeguard human rights, but rather to interfere with other countries' internal affairs under the pretext of human rights and to trample international norms--all to serve its hegemonic foreign policy."

--People's Daily commentary on U.S.-China relations, following the visit by Secretary of State Warren M. Christopher.

* Taiwan "America aspires to improve human-rights conditions worldwide; this ideal is absolutely deserving of support. . . . the U.S. is about the only country left that consistently displays some moral ideals in its foreign policy."

--China Times editorial.

* New Zealand "The United States should keep up the pressure, but it needs to be more subtle. Imagine how Washington would react if the United States was told it could sell more gewgaws and have reduced loans only if it treated its minorities better."

--Editorial on U.S.-China trade relations in the Evening Post, Wellington.

* Australia "While it is entirely possible that the Clintons are totally innocent, there is a posse of journalists chasing Pulitzer prizes who are prepared to contemplate alternative theories."

--Analysis of the Whitewater affair in the Australian Financial Review.

"On the sexual harassment issue, we may not be stampeded as far as America has been, but stampeded we will be. Female as well as male voices urging balance, caution and due process will be howled down. Those who speak out . . . will be described as yesterday's people."

--Peter Smark in the Sydney Morning Herald, writing of "disinformation and sheer malice" he sees prevalent in America.

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