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PacNet #1 – East Asia’s Rolling Economic Crises: Worries for the Year of the Tiger

By all normal lights, the assessment of recent political and security developments in Northeast Asia should be glowing. The Four-Party Talks relating to the Korean peninsula resolved a long impasse over agenda issues and began in Geneva. Sino-United States relations are the best in years after President Jiang Zemin’s State Visit to Washington, and President Clinton will finally travel to China sometime in 1998. Negotiations on China’s membership in the World Trade Organization are showing solid progress. Japan and Russia have set in motion a promising new process that may produce the long delayed World War II peace treaty. At the same time, both countries’ relationships with China have also tangibly improved. Hong Kong’s reversion to China was smooth. And the Republic of Korea’s truly democratic presidential election brought an opposition leader to power for the first time.