Regret voiced over Mori's Taiwan visit

By Qin Jize and Chen Jialu (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-11-24 07:38

China expressed strong dissatisfaction and regret over former Japanese prime minister Yoshi Mori's visit to Taiwan, urging Tokyo to keep its commitments on the the Taiwan question.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu lodged the protest at Thursday's regular press briefing over Mori's visit and his meeting with Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian. Chen on Wednesday conferred a special medal on Mori, who arrived in Taipei for a three-day visit on Tuesday.

"The Japanese Government allowed its former prime minister to go to Taiwan and meet Chen Shui-bian, a move that has ignored China's solemn concerns. We feel strong dissatisfaction and regret about this," Jiang said.

She said the Taiwan question is related to China's core interests and the basis of Sino-Japanese political relations. The spokeswoman demanded the Japanese Government take effective measures to handle Japan-Taiwan relations in a proper way.

"In particular there should not be any political contact with secessionist forces," she said.

Mori, 69, served as Japan's prime minister for about a year from April 2000.

Despite a fierce protest from China, his administration granted a visa to Taiwan's former leader Lee Teng-hui to visit Japan.

In response to reports that US envoy Christopher Hill will travel to China next week for consultations focused on resuming the Six-Party Talks over Pyongyang's nuclear issue, Jiang said she is not able to confirm the news.

Hill, assistant US secretary of state, returned from Beijing to Washington on Tuesday and reportedly was scheduled to depart again for the Chinese capital on Sunday after briefing US administration officials.

Jiang repeated China's stance on the nuclear talks, urging all parties to work together to push forward nuclear talks.

She would not give a possible date of the resumption of talks despite Hill earlier expressing optimism that the talks could resume in mid-December.

In another development, sources with the Chinese embassy in the Democratic Republic of Congo said Chinese nationals are safe despite unrest on Tuesday that pitted riot police and United Nations peacekeepers against supporters of Jean-Pierre Bemba, who lost the presidential poll last month.

The sources said the local embassy has activated emergency mechanisms and offered safety guidance to Chinese enterprises and compatriots. No losses have been reported so far.

The normal lives of the more than 800 Chinese living in Kinshasa have not been interrupted by the riot, the sources said.

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