BEIJING: "The situation in Taiwan has heightened the friction between the U.S. and China, not that problems weren't there before," FlorCruz says. "The crisis is lurching from one crisis to another. The issues keep coming back to trade, copyright protection, nuclear proliferation and human rights." FlorCruz predicts the relationship will continue to be rocky until after the presidential election in the United States. "Clinton will be politically bound to take a harder line so he won't be bashed by the Republicans. The hope is that tensions can be contained until after November when the relationship can continue on a more even keel." In an effort to stabilize relations in the short term, Secretary of State Warren Christopher is planning to meet his Chinese counterpart next month.