US Secretary of State starts China visit

Updated: 2008-02-26 13:09

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived in Beijing on Tuesday, starting her two-day visit to China as guest of Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrives at Beijing International Airport February 26, 2008. [Agencies]

During her talks with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi upon arrival Tuesday morning, Rice reiterated that the United States "opposes the proposed referendum" on Taiwan's United Nations' membership.

Briefing the press on the talks, Rice reiterated the US commitment to the one-China policy, its opposition to unilateral changes across the Straits and its expectation that differences across the Straits would be resolved peacefully.

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She said she also reaffirmed what she said in December last year that the United States "opposes the proposed referendum because we believe that the referendum would not be constructive and would not in fact serve useful purposes".

Chinese Foreign minister Yang Jiechi said in the meeting that the Chinese side appreciates the US' and Rice's public statements on opposition to the Taiwan authorities' proposed "referendum on UN membership", as well as the US' repeated statements on adherence to the one-China policy, its abiding by the three Sino-US joint communiques and the opposition to "Taiwan independence".

The Taiwan question matters China's sovereignty and territorial integrity and constitutes China's utmost concern, Yang said.

Rice arrived Tuesday for a two-day visit to China as Yang's guest.

During the visit, Chinese President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and State councilor Tang Jiaxuan will meet Rice, respectively.

Making her first visit to China in more than a year, Rice came to Beijing after her visit to the Republic of Korea (ROK) where she attended the inauguration ceremony of the ROK President Lee Myung-bak on Monday. She will travel to Tokyo on Wednesday.

During Rice's visit to China, both sides would exchange views "on bilateral relations and the significant regional and international issues of common concern", Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said earlier.

"The ultimate aim is to push for the healthy, steady and sustainable development of China-US relations," Liu said.

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