Reuters. 3 February 2002. China Slams U.S. President Over 'Evil Axis'

BEIJING -- China said Sunday President Bush's comments calling North
Korea, Iran and Iraq an "axis of evil" suggested the United States was
preparing the ground for widening its "war on terrorism."

A strongly worded commentary, carried by the official Xinhua news agency
less than three weeks before a planned Bush trip to Beijing to meet
Chinese President Jiang Zemin, said no such axis existed between the
three Asian nations.

"No small number of people suspect that by labeling Iran, Iraq and North
Korea as an 'axis of evil' the United States seeks to prepare public
opinion for possible strikes against those countries under the banner of
anti-terrorism," the article said.

China has backed the U.S.-led "war on terror," but maintains ties with
Iran, Iraq and North Korea.

Sunday's commentary said using the term "axis of evil" gave the wrong
impression the three countries had formed an alliance.

"Using the word 'axis' makes people think of the powerful military
alliance formed by fascist Germany, Italy and Japan, which turned the
world upside down with their atrocities."

It said Iran, Iraq and North Korea did have a few things in common in
that they all differ with the United States on policy and value systems,
and that all three of them had unfriendly relations with the world's
mightiest military power.

Last week, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman berated Bush for his use
of such strong language in international diplomacy and said all
countries should be treated equally.

"The Chinese side does not advocate using this kind of language in
international relations,"  Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan told a
news conference.

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Barry Stoller

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