Fri, Jul 16, 2004 - Page 1 News List

US fires back at China over Taiwan

`STATUS QUO' The US Department of State's spokesman said yesterday that there had been no recent changes in Washington's policies or commitments to Taiwan

By Charles Snyder  /  STAFF REPORTER IN WASHINGTON

The US on Wednesday rejected Chinese demands that Washington cut back on weapons sales and other cooperation with Taiwan, insisting that US policy had not changed in recent months.

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher made the comments in response to statements Tuesday by Chinese Embassy spokesman Sun Weide (孫偉德), who said that Beijing was "gravely concerned over the recent US moves on the Taiwan question."

"I don't know why one needs to talk about `recent US moves,'" Boucher said at his regular daily press briefing. "There's been no change in US policy regarding China and Taiwan."

US officials have repeatedly communicated the US' continuing Taiwan policy to China, Boucher said. National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice reiterated the policy during her meetings in Beijing last week with the top Chinese leadership, as did Secretary of State Colin Powell in a recent meeting in Indonesia with Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhao-xing (李肇星), Boucher said.

"I think our views are well known. We've committed to a `one China' policy based on the three joint communiques and the Taiwan Relations Act. We've opposed unilateral moves by either side that would change the status quo," he said.

For China, he said, "this means no use of force or other forms of coercion against Taiwan. For Taipei, it means exercising prudence in managing all aspects of cross-straits [sic] relations. But we do not support Taiwan independence."

Boucher pointedly rejected Sun's demand that the US reduce its arms sales commitment to Taiwan.

In a special press conference on Tuesday, Sun had called on Washington to "honor its commitments" under the three communiques, including the 1982 Reagan communique that pledged to reduce and eventually end arms sales if the situation in the Strait warranted that action.

In commenting on the arms sales, Sun was repeating a so-called "three stops" demand that Li made to Rice last week.

In addition to stopping arms sales, Li demanded Washington stop high-level military and other meetings with Taiwan and end efforts to help Taiwan participate in international organizations.

The Sun-Boucher exchange, in the wake of what appears to be testy exchanges between Rice and former president Jiang Zemin (江澤民), President Hu Jintao (胡錦濤) and Li in Beijing, represent an intensification of the verbal battle between the US and China over Taiwan, although both sides insist that overall US-China relations have improved recently, aided by the Rice visit.

Meanwhile, the US House of Representatives late Wednesday night postponed a final vote on a resolution reaffirming the US' "unwavering commitment" to the Taiwan Relations Act, a bill which was introduced last month by Henry Hyde, the chairman of the House International Relations Committee and co-sponsored by more than two dozen lawmakers.

Also see story:

US relations still solid, says MAC

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