Peninsula likely to top Rice's first visit
The nuclear stand-off on the Korean Peninsula will top the agenda when Condoleezza Rice pays her first visit to Beijing as US Secretary of State later this month.
Another major topic, the Taiwan question, is also likely to be discussed during Rice's visit from March 20 to 21.
Turning first to the Korean nuclear question, FM spokesman Kong Quan told a press conference yesterday: "Now the six-party talks are facing difficulties, efforts from all concerned sides are called for in order to resume the negotiations. I believe this will be a main topic for an exchange of views between Rice and the Chinese side."
Currently, China's special envoy on the issue, Ning Fukui is in Washington discussing what can be done to launch another round of talks at an early date.
A meeting is scheduled with Michael Green, US National Security Council's senior director for Asia, Joseph R. DeTrani, a US State Department special envoy for Korean affairs, and Christopher Hill, the top US nuclear negotiator, said Kong.
Beijing has hosted three rounds of six-party talks since August 2003, which involved China, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the United States, the Republic of Korea, Russia and Japan.
In response to the critiques by the US White House and State Department on China's proposed legislation on an anti-secession law, Kong urged US officials not to make "irresponsible remarks" on China's law-making decisions. On Tuesday, the US White House and State Department spokesmen described the law as "unhelpful" for cross-Straits relations.
"We call on the United States to abide by the principles of international relations, understand and support China's law-making actions and not do anything that will foster Taiwan separatist activity and harm China-US relations," said Kong.
Rice's two-day China tour is part of her first Asian tour since taking over the post from Colin Powell.
Kong said the Chinese Government would be open to anything that Rice wanted to discuss, saying that China hopes the two countries can increase mutual understanding, expand consensus and reduce disputes in a bid to advance the Sino-US strategic partnership.
It is reported that China is the last leg of Rice's Asia trip which will also take her to India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Japan and the Republic of Korea.
South China Sea research
Kong yesterday voiced China's concerns over plans by Viet Nam and the Philippines to conduct scientific research in the disputed South China Sea.
"We hope that all concerned parties carry out research co-operation in accordance with the principles of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea," Kong said.
The declaration, which was signed in 2003 between China and the member states of ASEAN, calls for improving favourable conditions for a peaceful and durable solution of differences and disputes among the countries concerned, and to ensure territorial disputes do not escalate.
Scientists from Viet Nam and the Philippines announced recently that they plan to survey 23 locations in the sea area for research.
(China Daily 03/11/2005 page1)