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Chinese Officials Focus on Soviet Strategy to Dominate the Mideast

December 26, 1978
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Chinese officials responsible for shaping their country’s foreign policy continue to warn important American visitors that the Soviet Union’s strategy is domination of the Middle East and control of its oil resources, according to impressions gained by the latest Congressional group retuning from the People’s Republic of China.

Five Senators, who were inside China for 12 days at the Chinese government’s invitation to explore the country and meet its leaders, did not directly ask their hosts in Peking about their feelings toward Israel. Instead, they posed the question to two high level authorities in seeking what they could do to assist in bringing peace to the Middle East. In their responses, the Chinese did not discuss Israel.

A spokesman for Harrison Williams Jr.(D.NJ), chairman of the Senatorial group which returned to the United States last Tuesday, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that the responses from these authorities on the question focused on Soviet maneuvers towards central in the Middle East and in the Horn of Africa. Their silence on Israel was in accord with expressions by other Chinese leaders in recent weeks to subordinate the Israel-Arab conflict to primary interest on Soviet intentions.

At the People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs, the spokesman said, Secretary General Hsieh Li said, in a brief comment on the Middle East, that China’s influence is very limited in that area but he stressed the Soviets seek influence that would be detrimental to the United States.

At the Great Hall of the People, Vice Premier Ken Piao, who was described as China’s Secretary of State Cyrus Vance and National Security Affairs Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski rolled into one, went into a longer response that boiled down to the same point — the Soviet’s desires to control the Middle East oil and prevent deliveries to nations outside its influence.

The Senators besides Williams were Howard Cannon (R.Nev.), Henry Bellmon (R.Okla.), Dale Bumpers (D.Ark.) and Donald Riegel (D.Mich.). They were appointed by President Carter to make the visit after the Chinese government had requested a Senatorial delegation to tour China.

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