Saturday, March 19, 2005

Rice Puts Japan At Center of New U.S. Vision of Asia: China Challenged in Major Speech

By Glenn Kessler, Washington Post Staff Writer, Saturday, March 19, 2005; Page A16

TOKYO, March 19 -- Condoleezza Rice, on her first foray into Asia as secretary of state, outlined on Saturday a new U.S. vision of Japan's increasing importance as a global power and challenged China to open its political system and work harder to "embrace some form of genuinely representative government."

In a speech to about 500 professors and students at Sophia University here, Rice offered an expansive view of Japan's role in the world -- including unambiguous support for its campaign to win a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council -- that suggested the administration viewed the longtime U.S. ally as a counterbalance to the rising regional influence of China.

Rice said the United States welcomed "the rise of a confident, peaceful and prosperous China," but she warned that China must be "willing to match its growing capabilities to its international responsibilities," referencing in particular its economic dealings with Sudan and Burma, both repressive regimes.----------------

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