Sun, Dec 19, 2004 - Page 1 News List

US urges Taiwan, China to start talks

KEEP CALM In response to Beijing allegedly planning to pass anti-secession legislation aimed at Taiwan, the US said that the focus should be on cross-strait dialogue

CNA , WASHINGTON

The US government exhorts both sides of the Taiwan Strait to really focus on engaging in dialogue and to refrain from hardening their positions or taking any unilateral actions to change the status quo, US State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said on Friday.

Boucher was responding to media reports that China is considering passing anti-secession legislation, with Taiwan as its main target.

Speaking at a daily news briefing, Boucher confirmed that the Bush administration has had conversations with both Chinese and Taiwan authorities on the anti-secession law issue.

The spokesman said that since the US government has not yet seen the text of China's new legislation, it is not in a position to comment on the law at the moment.

"We have not seen the law. We've not had a chance to study it, so we're not in a position to comment in any detail, " he said.

However, Boucher reiterated the US stance on cross-strait issues.

"I would repeat our longstanding position that we've stated many times that both sides should really focus on engaging in dialogue and try to peacefully resolve their differences," he said.

Neither side should do anything to unilaterally change the status quo, Boucher said, adding: "So we think it's the time to focus on dialogue and not for hardening of positions."

Asked about his views on a senior Taiwan official's statement earlier in the day that the US government is against China's new anti-secession law, Boucher only confirmed that the Bush administration has kept in contact with all the relevant parties on the matter.

"We certainly keep in touch with all the parties on this subject. We talked to the Chinese and talked to some people in Taiwan and are following this development. But our view is the that it's important for both sides to focus on dialogue, it's not time to harden positions or take unilateral stances," Boucher said.

As to whether Beijing's anti-secession legislation coincides with the US' one-China policy and stances on maintaining the cross-strait status quo, Boucher said Washington will have to see the actual text of the legislation before making any further comments.

Anyway, Boucher said, the US has consistently encouraged the two sides of the Taiwan Strait to "look for dialogue and not to look for staking out positions or hardening their positions."

Asked whether enacting such a law is hardening the position, Boucher said: "I'd just leave it at what I said. I think we said the same thing in other cases as well."

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