WILLIAM A. REINSCH, an avowed free trader, welcomes China’s rising stature in the international economy. After all, he is the president of the National Foreign Trade Council, an organization founded in 1914 to promote an “open world trading system.” Indeed, when he was a senior trade official in the Clinton administration, Mr. Reinsch was chided by some security analysts who said he was being soft on China by placing matters of commerce ahead of national security.
But even Mr. Reinsch is uneasy about China’s attempt to buy Unocal, a midsize American oil company. The outcome of the takeover contest for Unocal is uncertain, and last week its board embraced an improved offer from Chevron. Yet Cnooc, a government-backed Chinese oil company, still has the higher offer – and it could up the ante.