Lethbridge Herald, The (Newspaper) - October 30, 1973, Lethbridge, Alberta
.2d-THE LETHBRI Chou En-Lai terms Watergate an internal scandal Soviet 'expansionism' sours Chinese boss PEKING Relationships between the United States and China have in no way been affected by the Watergate affair, Premier Chou En-Lai said in an interview this week. Premier Chou also took the occasion of a two-and-a-quarter hour conversation to strike out against the Soviet Union, charging it with "expansionism" abroad and "fascism" at home, and said that Moscow was dragging its heels on the chance to settle border differences with Peking in the hopes of finding "other opportunities" to make trouble for the Chinese government. Chou also displayed great skepticism about the possibility of achieving any kind of lasting settlement between the Arabs and Israel. He expressed confidence that "isolationism" would never return to the United States, even if the Democrats were to win the next presidential election, because of the "objective" situation prevailing in the world Finally, he indicated that there could be no establishment of full, normal diplomatic relations with Washington until America withdrew all recognition of the Nationalist government on Taiwan and that island reverted to Peking's sovereignty. This is a summary of an interview of more than 6.000 words. Apparently troubled by a relatively inexperienced interpreter, whose translations Chou En-Lai interrupted several times displaying considerable knowledge of English the premier specifically asked that his exact words not be quoted more often than necessary. RECORD CHECKED May Yu-Chen. deputy director of the foreign ministry's information department, and Mrs WiT Shih-Liang, our friendly interpreter, went over the record of the conversation to insure its accuracy. The premier displayed considerable friendship for the United States during his conversation although he did not mince words concerning some aspects of American policy. He showed acerb hostility for the Soviet Union although, on analysis, his opinions clearly left the door open for Moscow to negotiate a settlement with Peking, if it is sc desired, a prospect he obviously doubted. After a few amiable exchanges, the premier began the main thread of the conver- sation by saying the Watergate affair has had no adverse effect on relations between Pek- ing and Washington. He added: "We never use the word scandal in discussing this. Since it is entirely your internal affair, we have never published anything about it in our press." Chou then observed that to him the Watergate affair perhaps reflected U.S. political life and U.S. society as a whole, ad- ding: "You have had such things occur in your society before and undoubtedly will have them again. There are many social aspects interwoven into it. It is better not to discuss this issue." He said he hoped that President Nixon would be able to overcome his present difficulties. It was plainly indicated by Chou that the basic if not only stumbling block to full diplomatic relations was Taiwan. When, like Japan, the United States withdrew recogni- tion from Chiang Kai-Shek's regime and recognized the People's Republic as sovereign of all China, and when Peking itself had established authority over Taiwan, thus "unifying our the matter would be settled. Chou added that Nixon and Secretary of State Kissinger had opened new channels to China and that "common ground" as well as "differences" existed between Washington and Peking. There had been useful developments during the last 18 months, es- pecially in growing exchanges of visits, technological, scientific, commercial and sports contacts These helped "friendly relations." He expressed understanding if far from whole-hearted approval of policy toward the Soviet Union and added that the two which he carefully dis- engaged China "have many disputes to settle" and these disputes demonstrated that each wished to surpass the other in a power competition. Moreover, he added, when they managed to settle one question between them, another cropped up. Chou said the United States had over- extended its commitmt.nts after the Second World War and Nixon had been honest when he said in Kansas City on July that no one could have dreamed that American prestige would sink so far in a quarter of a century. By C.L.SULZBERGER New York Times Service Even then the president was contemplating withdrawing U S. influence from certain areas, the premier noted, adding that "this was not isolationism." Withdrawal in specific areas was quite different, he said, from a return to isolationism. Chou implied a belief that isolationism would theoretically be a bad thing because the Soviet Union sought to penetrate wherever there were American withdrawals; but. he said, no real power vacuum was created by the latter since "the people of any area evacuated rise up themselves and fill the resulting vacuum." Today, Chou observed, the United States was trying to relax its relationships with the Soviet Union, but he believed this would not work. Right after the Soviet-American agree- ment on arms limitations last year the Secretary of Defense Melvin R. Laird re- quested an increased military budget. The re- quest was renewed this year by the Pentagon after the Soviet-American accord to prevent nuclear war. The United States at least made its position known, Chou continued, unlike the Soviet Union, whose defense budget was a secret. Therefore Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei A. Gromyko's recent proposal in the United Nations for a 10 per cent across-the-board cut in arms budgets was "ridiculous." The premier said he favored keeping the North Atlantic Treaty Oganization and Western Europe strong even though he had originally opposed the alliance. But NATO was not only defensive in facing the now aggressive Warsaw Pact, but it was also itself partly aggressive. For example, NATO had backed Portugal in its African colonial policy, which he said was "wrong." Nevertheless, Chou cautioned Western Europe to avoid "illusions" that peace was at hand, to stay vigilant and to pre- vent the menace of its own "Finlan- dization" by Soviet pressures. As for the People's Republic of China, it had no pretensions to being a superpower and no desire to seek hegemony. The most impor- tant thing for China was to handle its own af- fairs well. It would take the Chinese "several decades" to develop their economy. That would not be done "during the 20th century" and "we will need millions of trained successors to carry out this program." Chou insisted that China had never express- ed the desire to recover "all the territories" lost to Russian control during the 19th cen- tury as a result of "unequal treaties." This, he said, was a canard spread by Moscow. He said that although the Sino-Russian treaties had been "unequal" and although they had been abolished by Lenin, China was prepared to accept them "as a basis" for starting new negotiations with Moscow. The existing borders had never been properly ad- judicated because they had not even been precisely surveyed ana "the map doesn't ac- cord with reality." Therefore certain places were "claimed by both parties" and should be called "disputed areas." SPIES UNACCEPTABLE He added later that the Russians, from Khrushchev through Brezhnev, had specializ- ed in sending agents, spies and subversives into friendly countries, some of which had thereby become Moscow's but that "we will never accept such stuff; China, under the leadership of Chairman Mao Tse- Tung would never submit." That was why the government was fighting the "two lines" represented by the purged Liu Shao-Chi and the dead Lin Piao. Chou said the Maoist idea of continuing, or permanent, evolution insured against degeneration of a social system by constantly changing its metabolism and thus regenerating it. But he insisted that the Soviet system had declined into "social im- perialism" abroad and a search to "dominate everywhere it on land, on the sea, in the air. He expressed particular concern about Russian naval activities. Moreover, he added, "domestically the privileged class controls everything in the Soviet Union. 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