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PacNet #20 – Can Sino-U.S. Relations be Salvaged?

The accidental U.S. cruise missile attack against the PRC embassy in Belgrade, Yugoslavia will have long-term negative consequences for Sino-U.S. relations, especially if both sides continue to mishandle the tragic affair. Ten days of talking with Chinese scholars, students, officials, and ordinary citizens in Shanghai, Nanjing, and Beijing have convinced me that their shared sense of frustration, confusion, suspicion, and anger toward the U.S. is genuine. The Chinese government seems more intent on exploiting these feelings than on addressing them, however, and the U.S. seems more focused on Chinese reaction to the incident than on providing a full accounting of the tragedy.