I was most upset to read the Page 1 article ``China Tried to Sell Iraq Arms After Embargo,'' Jan. 31, which alleged that ``Chinese leaders were secretly searching last month for a country willing to smuggle weapons to Iraq ....'' Such an allegation is sheer fabrication with no factual basis. Since the very beginning of the Gulf crisis, China has been firm and unequivocal in its opposition to the Iraqi invasion and annexation of Kuwait, calling on Iraq to withdraw its troops from Kuwait immediately and unconditionally and to restore the legal government of Kuwait. In the meantime, China has all along maintained that all efforts should be made for a peaceful resolution of the conflict in the Gulf.
As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China voted in favor of 11 relevant resolutions against Iraq, including resolution 661, which imposes sanctions on Iraq. China has all along earnestly implemented this resolution, hence suffered considerably great economic losses. According to initial statistics, China has suffered a direct economic loss of about $2 billion. Immediately following the invasion of Kuwait, China stopped its military sales to Iraq.
China does not have nor wishes to seek any self-serving interests in the Middle East, and its only concern is to maintain peace and stability in the region. China will, together with the international community, continue to make unremitting efforts to seek a peaceful resolution of the Gulf conflict.
Chen Defu, Washington, Embassy of the People's Republic of China,
[Editor's note: The Monitor stands by its story.]
Who pays the cost of New York's thirst? The article ``It's Not Perrier, But N.Y.C. Keeps Water Tasty, Clean,'' Jan. 11, on the attempt by New York to regulate the Catskill-Delaware watershed misses the point. The issue is not protection of the environment, it is one of who will bear the real costs of clean water.
The diversion of water to New York has had profound consequences for the watershed. Our rivers and streams downstream of the city's dams are at times mere trickles. The five major and several minor dams of the Catskill-Delaware system have destroyed a dozen of our valleys.
The best way to conserve water and fund filtration plants is to make the final user pay for the water he uses, but today almost none of the water used by New York is paid for through metering.
The city is attempting to shift the costs of complying with the EPA regulations from water users to the less numerous and less politically influential people who live in the watershed. Protection of the environment is being used as a cover for a much less palatable political objective.
Perhaps the old saw should be amended to ``environmentalism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.''
John V. Higgens, Sundown, N.Y.
Japan and realistic diplomacy Regarding the article ``Gulf Crisis Tests Japan's Position in World Community,'' Jan. 8: I protest against the author's interpretation of Japan's refusal to be drawn into a shooting war in the Gulf. Far from losing international stature, Japan may well be consolidating a claim to be the leader in realistic diplomacy.
While we are letting ourselves be drawn like lemmings to the sea, they are relying on support of UN resolutions and acting in accordance with the peace-maintaining position that was forced upon them (by the United States!) in 1945.
Kathryn Parke, Black Mountain, N.C.
US also ignores musical heritage In the story ``Brazil's Stagnating Pop Scene,'' Jan. 8, the words of Brazilian music critic Arnaldo DeSouteriro echo the situation here in the US - that ``people end up liking whatever [music] they are bombarded with.''
The present disheartening decline of interest in great musicians like Gilberto Gil, Jorge Ben, and Gal Costa in Brazil is really no worse than the American public's ability to ignore, and even in a way discard, the greats of our wonderful jazz heritage - Duke Ellington, Gil Evans, John Coltrane, and countless others.
As long as low-taste or no-taste pop-schlock-rocker money-crazed producer types who aim to please 13-year-olds are allowed to maintain control over the entire recording industry and the radio air waves, then Madonna, Michael Jackson, and New Kids on the Block will have to sustain our artistic souls.
Judith Kay, Ardentown, Del.