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China has stern words for neighbors on trade and border disputes

By Julian BaumStaff writer of The Christian Science Monitor / May 7, 1987



Peking

China has been giving a verbal lashing to its neighbors, Japan and India, using unusually strong language to describe frictions with both. The problems are longstanding ones. They include a continuing trade deficit with Japan and a recent court decision to award ownership of a dormitory for Chinese students in Japan to the Taiwan government instead of mainland China.

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The dispute with India concerns conflicting territorial claims along a mutual border of 2,500 miles. It led to a brief war in 1962. Negotiations to settle the claims, begun in 1981, have produced no accords.

Senior Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping has spoken out strongly on these issues in the past two weeks. On Monday, Mr. Deng urged Tokyo to reconsider a court ruling on the ownership of the Kokario dormitory in Kyoto. Two weeks ago, he warned of Japanese militarism and reiterated his desire to see the trade deficit decreased.

The Kokario dormitory was built by the Republic of China in 1952 with money that China claims did not belong to the Taiwan government. A court awarded Peking ownership in 1977, but last February a higher court ruled in Taiwan's favor.

This week Deng said the case should be resolved on the basis of the friendship treaty and other official communiqu'es in which Japan vows to recognize only one China. The Nakasone administration has said it is unable to intervene in a decision by its judicial branch.

The spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Ma Yuzhen, charged yesterday that the dormitory case violated agreements between China and Japan and ``openly created [a policy of] two Chinas or one China and one Taiwan. ...''

On the trade deficit, Mr. Ma added: ``The Japanese side had talked much but done little to settle this issue.'' Last year, China had a $4 billion deficit with Japan, down from $6 billion in '85. Despite a centralized trade administration China has not been able to close the gap.

Ma admitted that China had its own problems reducing the deficit, but that Japan also should bear some responsibility. He also said that ``certain forces'' in Japan were trying to revive militarism, a reference to Japan's decision this year to increase defense spending. ``In view of the historical lesson, people naturally should feel concerned and be on guard against this tendency,'' he said.

On the question of China's border with India, the Foreign Ministry spokesman claimed that Indian military personnel had ``repeatedly crossed the line of actual control ... to further nibble at Chinese territory. ...'' He also said the Indian military had violated Chinese airspace and amassed troops in disputed areas. Indian officials have made similar charges against China in recent weeks.

``Faced with the tense situation emerging in the border areas along the Sino-Indian boundary, the Chinese side cannot stand by without taking action,'' Ma said.

In a meeting with the head of the Communist Party of India two weeks ago, Deng said the border dispute should be settled in a spirit of mutual accommodation. This has been interpreted to mean that both sides would have to yield up sizeable claims to reach an accord. New border talks are expected this year.