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Taiwan independence never to be tolerated, Rice told
By Qing Hua (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-07-09 00:23

The Taiwan question topped the agenda as US National Security Council Adviser Condoleezza Rice met Chinese leaders in Beijing during a 24-hour visit.

U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice (L) meets with Chinese President Hu Jintao in Beijing's Great Hall of the People July 9, 2004. Rice met Chinese President Hu Jintao on Friday after a day of talks in which other Chinese leaders. [Reuters]

During talks with Rice, Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing strongly urged the United States to realize the sensitivity of the Taiwan question and seriousness of the situation, said a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman.

Chairman of Chinese Central Military Commission Jiang Zemin shakes hands with visiting U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice in Beijing July 8, 2004. [newsphoto]

Li said stability of Sino-US relations depends on whether the Taiwan question can be solved properly, urging the United States to strictly observe the principles of the three joint communiques between the two and to stop selling advanced arms equipment to Taiwan.

In a separated meeting, Jiang Zemin, chairman of the Chinese Central Military Commission told Rice that the US's recent activities on the Taiwan question, particularly a move to sell advanced weapons to Taiwan, deeply concerned and dissatisfied Chinese people, said a Foreign Ministry source.

Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing (R) greets U.S. national security advisor Condoleeza Rice in Beijing July 8, 2004. [newsphoto]

China's sovereignty and territorial integrity are paramount, Jiang said. He reiterated Chinese Government's stance to adhere to the basic principle of peaceful reunification and "one country, two systems."

The Chinese people long for peace and do not want war, Jiang said, but noting that Taiwan independence will never be tolerated.

"If the Taiwan authority goes its own way towards Taiwan independence, and if foreign forces step in, we will never sit by and watch," Jiang was quoted by foreign ministry source as saying.

Rice said US President George W. Bush attaches much importance to US-China ties. Specific issues such as trade and economics, non-proliferation, and the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula are particularly important.

On the Taiwan question, Rice said the United States understands China's concern on the issue and does not want to see conflict in the Taiwan Straits region, adding that the president's stance of support for the one-China principle -- not supporting any unilateral change to the straits status quo -- is steadfast.

Beijing-based observers said the visit paid by Rice, the "steel magnolia" in the White House, is an unusual occasion for she has rarely visited Asia independently before.

Analysts said she might come up with security proposals for Northeast Asia, especially the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula.

Fan Jishe, a senior international relations researcher with the think-tank Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the Bush administration hoped to score points ahead of the presidential election in November by acting on the nuclear issue.

The parties involved in the China-sponsored six party talks include the Democratic People's of Korea, the United States, Republic of Korea (ROK), Russia and Japan. All have agreed to a fourth round of talks by the end of September.

Fan also said that compared with the rapid development of relations between China and the European Union, there are more strategic consideration for the United States to enhance co-ordination with China, the growing power in the region.

"Rice's visit will stir up the bilateral ties," the expert said.

Rice is the first woman to serve as national security adviser since the post was created by President Harry Truman. No other, in the history of that office, has been this close to the US president. Analysts said it is understandable why Bush send her to Northeast Asia before the election.

China is the second leg of Rice's Asian tour, following Japan and followed by the ROK.

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