Sat, Jul 10, 2004 - Page 1 News List

China blasts US for supporting Taiwan

WAR OF WORDS Hu Jintao and Jiang Zemin told the US National Security Adviser that they were `seriously concerned' about the situation in the Taiwan Strait

AP , BEIJING

Cadets of Taiwan's navy academy take a group picture at a joint graduation ceremony of five military academies in Taipei yesterday. Beijing yesterday called on the US to stop selling Taiwan advanced weaponry for its defense.

PHOTO: REUTERS

Chinese President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) yesterday expressed "serious concern" to US National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice over US arms sales to Taiwan, saying the nation's status is the key to US-Chinese relations.

Hu said Beijing wouldn't tolerate moves by the self-ruled nation toward formal independence and appealed to Washington to avoid sending the "wrong signal" to its government.

His comments came a day after his predecessor, Jiang Zemin (江澤民), who holds a key military post, pressed Rice for an end to US sales of weapons to Taiwan.

Hu affirmed Beijing's promise to pursue peaceful unification with Taiwan, which has been autonomously ruled since 1949.

"But China shows no tolerance to the Taiwan independence," the official Xinhua News Agency paraphrased the Chinese president as telling Rice during a meeting at the Great Hall of the People, the seat of China's legislature. It said the country is "the key to sound and stable development" of US-Chinese relations.

Rice, who was on a three-nation Asian tour, visited Beijing to seek Chinese support for Washington's demand that North Korea give up nuclear weapons development, as well as other issues including Iraq.

Rice's talks in Beijing are "helpful for you to get a comprehensive understanding about ... our serious concern over the question of Taiwan," Hu told her.

Hu appealed to the administration of US President George W. Bush to avoid sending the "wrong signal" to Taiwan, Xinhua said.

China says it worries that US support is encouraging activists who want to make Taiwan's de facto independence permanent -- a step that Beijing says could lead to war.

Xinhua said Hu called on Washington to "honor its commitments" -- a reference to US pledges made in the 1980s that include a promise to reduce and eventually end arms sales to Taiwan.

US officials had no immediate comment on the talks yesterday.

On Thursday, Rice affirmed the "one-China policy," which doesn't support Taiwan independence, according to an official traveling with her, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The official said she repeated Bush's opposition to any unilateral change in Taiwan's status.

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