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US opposes any referendum toward Taiwan independence
( 2003-12-02 21:31) (Xinhua)

The United States opposes any referendum designed to change Taiwan's status or move it towards independence, US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Monday.

Boucher was commenting on Chen Shui-bian's latest proposal to hold a "defensive referendum" in March 2004 in Taiwan.

"We would be opposed to any referenda that would change Taiwan's status or move towards independence," Boucher said at the State Department's regular news briefing.

"We also urge both sides to refrain from actions or statements that increase tensions or make dialogue more difficult to achieve," Boucher said.

He reaffirmed that "the United States has always held and again reiterates that cross-strait dialogue is essential to peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait area."

Boucher added that the United States takes it "very seriously" that Chen pledged "not to declare independence, not to change the name of Taiwan's government and not to add the 'state-to-state' theory to the constitution, and not to promote a referendum to change the status quo on independence or unification" in his inaugural address in 2000.

** Common interests come first, FM says

China and the United States have extensive common interests as well as some disputes, but the common interests enjoy the top priority, said Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing in a interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel which was published on Monday.

According to information from the Foreign Ministry Tuesday, Li said good China-US relations comply with the fundamental interests of the two nations and benefit peace, stability and development of the Asia-Pacific region and the world at large.

Li said China holds that Sino-US relations should be built on the principles specified in the three China-US joint communiques.

Only by following the principles, especially the principles of mutual respect of national sovereignty and territorial integrity, non-interference in internal affairs and mutual benefit, and only by properly handling the Taiwan question, can China-US relations grow healthily and steadily, Li said.

On the issue of anti-terrorism, Li said international terrorism is one of the major threats to the whole world and China has always actively participated in the international co-operation in fighting against it.

Statements saying that China persecutes minority groups in the country, including the Uygur ethnic group, by using anti-terrorism as an excuse are totally groundless and irresponsible, Li said.

The Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region has made obvious social and economic progress, and China's central governmental policies have received the support of all minorities including Xinjiang Uygur people, Li said.

Li emphasized that no sovereign country will sit idly by with separatist activities, and no responsible government could ignore the danger surrounding its people.

China's fight against the "East Turkistan" terrorist force is to maintain Xinjiang's regional peace and stability, and the security of local citizens.

Li said he hoped those who have misunderstandings on the issue could come to China and see the country for themselves so as to avoid being misled by people with dubious motives.

In the interview with Der Spiegel held last Wednesday, Li said that the only correct solution to the Korean nuclear issue is to continue the peace talk process.

Li said the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsular and the security concerns of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) are two indispensable key factors for the peaceful solution to Korean nuclear issue.

Li urged concerned parties to boost mutual trust and increase consensus to achieve a final peaceful solution to the issue through dialogue.

It serves the fundamental interests of concerned parties and also reflects a prevailing will within the international arena, Li stressed.

Li said a peaceful resolution to the Korean nuclear issue might take time, patience and wisdom and involve a difficult process, but the efforts were worthwhile.

He warned that if upheaval occurred on the Peninsula, it could be disastrous for both the region and world.

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