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Cheney: US adheres to one-China policy
By Hu Xiao and Zhu Qing (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-04-13 23:46

Visiting US Vice-President Dick Cheney reiterated Tuesday that the United States does not support "Taiwan independence" and is against any unilateral action from each side across the Taiwan Straits to change the existing situation.

U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney (L) is greeted by his Chinese counterpart Zeng Qinghong at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing April 13, 2004. Cheney arrived in Beijing Tuesday afternoon for a 3-day working visit. [Reuters]

During talks with his Chinese counterpart, Zeng Qinghong, Cheney said the United States realizes the importance of the Taiwan question to US-China relations.

Expressing the US' loyalty to the one-China policy based on the three joint communiques between the United States and China, the vice-president said the US' stance on Taiwan has not changed.

Cheney arrived in Beijing Tuesday afternoon for a three-day working visit. On Wednesday, he is scheduled to meet Premier Wen Jiabao, Central Military Commission Chairman Jiang Zemin and President Hu Jintao separately.

Cheney's trip comes at an important time for Beijing, just weeks after the controversial Taiwan election.

At the end of last month, the Pentagon said it was developing a plan for the administration to sell an early-warning military radar system to Taiwan, again arousing criticism from Beijing.

During Tuesday's meeting, Zeng urged the US to honour its commitments, stop selling weapons to Taiwan and not send any "wrong signals" to the "Taiwan independence" forces.

Zeng said there is only one China in the world and Taiwan is part of China, adding that the island's election result would not change that fact.

The Chinese Government will continuously adhere to peaceful reunification and the principle of "one country, two systems."

Zeng stressed that China will spare no effort to settle the question in a peaceful way, but will never tolerate "independence."

Also Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan urged the United States to stop committing to the Taiwan Relations Act, which was adopted by the US Congress in April 1979.

The act runs counter to the principles of the three joint communiques, and China has been strongly opposed to it from the day it was worked out, Kong said.

Cheney's visit is also seen by analysts as a positive move to help cool economic and trade disputes between the two countries, and to seek more common ground for co-operation.

During his talks with Zeng, Cheney said the overall development of bilateral relations is sound and the two countries have seen significant progress in their ties in recent years.

Cheney, who likes to keep a low profile, said Tuesday that he believes his visit to China is "very important," adding the two countries have created the foundation for close co-operation in anti-terrorism and non-proliferation sectors.

Zeng stressed the priority of seeking common, saying China and the United States share common interests and co-operative foundations in safeguarding peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region and the rest of the world.

On bilateral trade, Zeng said China and the United States, which have seen the bilateral trade figure surge nearly 50 times in 25 years, will have huge potential to expand bilateral trade despite of some disputes.

China has sent several purchasing missions to the US since late last year to reduce the deficit. A business contract totalling US$1.59 billion was signed last December and another US$2 billion agreement was inked in January.

But new problems are emerging such as China's taxes on chips, which the United States claims are discrimination against foreign manufactures.

China adopts a rational attitude when dealing with disputes and pledges to abide by its commitments to the World Trade Organization, Zeng said.

Chip taxes, and the exchange rate of the Chinese currency will probably be covered in the upcoming Sino-US Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade conference in Washington.

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