Confounded By the Chinese Puzzle

A prospective arms sale leaves Beijing -- and much of Washington -- mystified about U.S. policy

Little wonder no one knows what U.S. policy toward China is these days. At the same time that Clinton Administration officials are threatening to curtail trade by revoking Beijing's most-favored-nation status because of China's dismal human-rights record, the Administration is quietly poised to approve one of the largest sales of U.S. military hardware and technology ever to the People's Liberation Army. The deal, which could be worth as much as $2 billion, involves gas turbine engines. The Chinese say they want to use them for jets, but some nuclear nonproliferation experts insist that Beijing has more sinister plans.

While the transaction...

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