BEIJING: Continuing his delicate balancing act with Chinaís new leaders, Vice President Al Gore assured Premier Li Peng Tuesday that the Administrationís efforts to improve relations between the two countries will not be deterred by the ongoing investigation into whether Chinese leaders engaged in improper efforts to buy influence in American elections. When the Premier casually raised the issue during their meeting in the capital's Great Hall of the People, Gore interrupted to tell Li Peng the allegations were "very obviously in the air." Needless to say, the meeting was a bit awkward. When the two clinked glasses to celebrate the signing of new contracts for Boeing and General Motors, Gore accidentally splashed a bit of champagne on the floor. Party spokesman Cui Tiankai summed up the exchange by noting that China is convinced U.S. policy "will not be disturbed by a single act or a short period of time." Not policy, probably, but maybe policy makers.