Sun, Mar 17, 2002 - Page 1 News List

China lashes out at US over `nuclear blackmail'

REUTERS , BEIJING

China, using its strongest language against the US in months, accused Washington yesterday of "nuclear blackmail."

State television said Vice Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing (李肇星) called in US Ambassador Clark Randt Jr to deliver "solemn representations" on a Pentagon nuclear policy review and a visit to the US by Taiwan Defense Minister Tang Yao-ming (湯曜明).

It said Li protested strongly at a US policy review reported to describe contingency plans to aim nuclear weapons at China, among several other countries.

"China wants to make it very clear that China will never yield to foreign threats, including nuclear blackmail," the television report quoted Li as telling Randt. "The days when China could be bullied are gone forever."

Threats would "simply increase the determination of the Chinese people to safeguard their sovereignty," he said.

Li accused Washington of breaching three joint communiques, which paved the way for a normalization of ties, by offering Taiwan advanced weapons.

"The United States must abandon the idea of Taiwan as an unsinkable aircraft carrier," he was quoted as saying.

"Taiwan has been a burden on the US shoulders for more than half a century. We don't see any good in the US continuing to shoulder that burden," he said. "It will simply drop a stone on its own toes."

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