Hu told Rice: China's concern over Taiwan serious
After expressing his welcome to Rice for her China visit as US President George W. Bush's special envoy, Hu said the frequent communication and consultation between the state leaders on Sino-US ties and major issues of mutual concern is very important for the promotion of the sound and steady development of bilateral relations.
Rice arrived in China Thursday noon. Between Thursday afternoon and Friday morning, Chairman of the Chinese Central Military Commission Jiang Zemin, State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan and Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing met or held talks with Rice, respectively.
All these indicated that China "attaches importance to Rice's visit", Hu said during his meeting with Rice at the Great Hall of the People Friday morning.
Rice said that it's "wonderful" to be in Beijing and conveyed President Bush's greetings to President Hu and Chinese people. US-China relations were "developing in a positive way," she told Hu in her opening remarks. President Bush hoped that the two sides could discuss all the questions in a mutually respect atmosphere, Rice added.
Rice paid the visit as guest of Li Zhaoxing and was expected to leave Beijing for Seoul Friday noon.
During the talks between Rice and Li Zhaoxing, the Chinese FM strongly urged the United States to realize the sensitivity of the Taiwan question and seriousness of the situation, said a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman.
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.
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 President 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.
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.
China was the second-leg of her three-nation Asian tour, along with Japan and the Republic of Korea (ROK).