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China: Lee's Taiwan visit damages relations
By Jiang Zhuqing (China Daily)
Updated: 2004-07-14 08:54

China-Singapore relations will unavoidably suffer gravely from Singapore's incoming leader Lee Hsien Loong's just-concluded visit to Taiwan island, said a Foreign Ministry spokesperson.

Answering an inquiry at a news conference yesterday, Zhang Qiyue said Singapore's Deputy Prime Minister Lee's visit to Taiwan has severely violated Singapore's commitment to the one-China policy and damaged the political base between China and Singapore, she said.

"Such a move will produce serious effects towards bilateral relations and co-operation, and the Singapore side should be responsible for all the damage," Zhang said.

As a result, Zhou Xiaochuan, governor of the China central bank, has cancelled a trip to Singapore, where he had been scheduled to give a lecture, reports said.

"The Taiwan question relates to the core interests of China," Zhang said. "China holds a persistent, formative and clear-cut position on this issue."

In response to a follow-up question over whether China plans to recall its ambassador from Singapore, the spokesperson said the Chinese side is considering relevant measures according to developments in the situation.

Reports said Lee flew to Taipei on Saturday and left yesterday for what officials described as a private visit, during which he met with island officials, including Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian.

In response, Singapore reiterated on Monday that it adheres to the one-China policy, and does not support Taiwan's "independence," according to local press reports.

Singapore officials have stressed that Lee's visit is "a private and unofficial visit" and does not in any way change the above-mentioned policy, nor does it represent any challenge to China's sovereignty or territorial integrity, reports said.

Zhang also lashed out at the US administration's second presidential report on the Tibet issue, saying it helped separatist activists of Dalai Lama and violated the principles of international relations and the three Sino-US communiques.

It was the second time Chinese officials criticized the report within two days.

"We urge the United States to stop making use of the Tibet issue to interfere in China's internal affairs," Zhang said.

"Instead, we demand the US side honour its commitments by visible actions."

The US Government submitted to Congress the first report on the Tibet issue last May, reports said.

Tibet is part of China and the Tibet issue is an internal affair of China, she said.

The dialogue channel between the central government and Dalai Lama remains open and the central government's policy towards the Dalai Lama is explicit, the spokeswoman said.

"The prerequisite principles lie in that the Dalai Lama should give up his pursuit for Tibet's separation from the motherland, stop separatist activities and declare in public that Tibet is an inseparable territory of China," Zhang stressed.

Instead of being an ordinary religious figure, the Dalai Lama is a political refugee who has been involved in long-term separatist activities and activities that threatened national unity, she noted.

For this, China opposes any meetings between the Dalai Lama and foreign leaders, she added.

Commenting on the reports that the High Court of Japan's Hiroshima Prefecture awarded damages last Friday to several Chinese who were forced to work in harsh conditions at a construction site during World War II, Zhang said China hopes the Japanese Government will seriously carry out the ruling made by a Japanese court on the compensation for Chinese labourers, and properly handle issues left over by history.

The abduction of Chinese labourers was a severe crime committed by Japanese militarists in the 1930s and 1940s, she said.

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