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Michael Oksenberg; Scholar Shaped China Policy

February 25, 2001|From Times Wire Services

Michael Oksenberg, a China scholar and political science professor at Stanford University, who served on President Jimmy Carter's National Security Council, has died.

Oksenberg died Thursday of cancer at his home in Atherton, Calif., family members reported. He was 62.

A prolific writer who wrote many books on China, Oksenberg's pivotal role in Sino-U.S. relations came during negotiations toward establishment of full diplomatic relations, which came on Jan. 1, 1979.

As a member of Carter's National Security Council, Oksenberg traveled to Beijing with Carter's national security advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, in December 1978 and brokered a deal that led to the severing of full U.S. relations with Taiwan. As a result, the U.S. embassy in Taipei was replaced with a liaison office.

Dealing with the Beijing government after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Oksenberg helped funnel support to the Afghan resistance movement.

Oksenberg, the son of a diamond cutter, was born in Antwerp, Belgium, but came to the United States a year later. He became a naturalized citizen in 1945. He earned bachelor's and master's degrees from Swarthmore College before getting his doctorate from Columbia University in 1969.

For the Record
Los Angeles Times Tuesday February 27, 2001 Home Edition Metro Part B Page 6 Metro Desk 1 inches; 18 words Type of Material: Correction
Oksenberg obituary--The obituary of a China scholar in Sunday's Times gave his first name incorrectly. He was Michel Oksenberg.

He taught at Stanford, Columbia and the University of Michigan, taking a leave from Michigan, where he taught from 1974 to 1992, to work on the National Security Council. Oksenberg served as president of the East-West Center in Honolulu from 1992 until 1995, when he moved to Stanford's Asia-Pacific Research Center.

Despite his illness, he recently wrote an article on China that was published in the Pacific Forum's newsletter. He also recently completed a piece on China-Japan-U.S. relations with current East-West Center President Charles Morrison.

Oksenberg is survived by his wife, Lois; son, David; and daughter, Deborah. A memorial service is expected to be held on the Stanford campus in April.

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