Sat, Jul 10, 2004 - Page 1 News List

MOFA says Beijing can't alter Taiwan-US relations

By Melody Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH CNA

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) expressed deep regret yesterday over Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing's (李肇星) "three stops" request to US National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice over Taiwan.

In his talks with Rice Thursday, Li urged the US government to stop selling advanced arms, to halt official engagements and to stop helping Taiwan to participate in international organizations where statehood is required for membership.

However, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mark Chen (陳唐山) said yesterday that Taiwan-US relations are good, and it is unlikely the US would alter its policies because of China's pressure.

"The US will stick to the Taiwan Relations Act [TRA]," he said.

Li "strongly" urged the US to understand the sensitivity of the Taiwan issue and the "gravity" of the current situation.

Anna Kao (高安), deputy director general of the MOFA's Department of Information and Cultural Affairs, said Beijing's "three stops" demand to the US was a gesture completely ignoring the goodwill that was demonstrated by President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) in his May 20 inaugural speech.

By making the remarks, Li not only interfered in the development of US-Taiwan relations, he also attempted to undermine the 2001 agreement in which the US agreed to continue selling defensive weapons to Taiwan, Kao noted.

Kao said Li's remarks are not conducive to positive growth in the development of cross-Strait relations.

Saying that Taiwan has purchased arms only for self-defense -- rather than for military assault -- Kao said China's demand that the US stop selling weaponry to Taiwan reflects Beijing's mentality that it will not renounce using force against Taiwan to solve differences.

Kao said the MOFA believes that Washington will continue to observe its commitment to the TRA and the Six Assurances, under which the US has pledged to provide Taiwan with sufficient defense capabilities to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.

The MOFA also firmly believes that US support for Taiwan, including support for Taiwan's bid to participate in various international organizations, will not change because of Beijing's demands, Kao said.

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