Thu, Mar 17, 2005 - Page 1 News List

Rice to tell Beijing US upset over law

MESSENGER The US secretary of state said Washington was troubled by China's legislation that authorizes the use of force to resolve the situation in the Taiwan Strait

By Charles Snyder  /  STAFF REPORTER IN WASHINGTON

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will tell China's leaders that Washington's obligation under the Taiwan Relations Act to provide for Taiwan's defense makes this week's passage of the "Anti-Secession" Law particularly troublesome for the US, Rice said Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters accompanying her on a week-long trip to Asia, Rice said that in her meetings in Beijing later this week, she will reiterate the Bush administration's complaint that the Anti-Secession Law is not helpful in reducing cross-strait tensions.

She noted that the US has already told China that "we would have hoped that this would not have been done."

She also expressed the hope that Beijing's passage of the law will force the EU to reconsider its decision to lift its arms embargo on China.

Previewing her meetings with the Chinese, Rice said that the US' "responsibilities under the Taiwan Relations Act really demand that the United States make clear to both parties, China and Taiwan, that unilateral moves are just not helpful."

The US considers the Anti-Secession Law to be a "unilateral move," she said.

Under the Taiwan Relations Act, enacted in 1979, the US is committed to selling Taiwan the weapons necessary for its defense against a Chinese attack, and to keep US forces in Asia in readiness to defend Taiwan, if necessary, against an attack.

In that vein, Rice said she is also concerned about increased Chinese military spending, which has grown by double-digit amounts each year at an uncertain time in cross-strait relations.

"Certainly the military spending is concerning, because it is taking place at a time when the cross-straits [sic] issue is not still resolved and in which the United States has certain commitments to a peaceful resolution of that cross-straits situation," she said.

Meanwhile, the newly-nominated assistant secretary of state for East Asia and the Pacific, Christopher Hill, said Tuesday that China had "no justification" for passing a law that sanctions military action against Taiwan.

Speaking at a confirmation hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Hill said Washington must be "very vigorous in making clear to the Chinese our concern," about the law.

"We don't believe there is any justification for making these unhelpful statements that suggest that there are other options out there that the Chinese can use beside peaceful dialogue" with Taiwan, he said.

"It is unthinkable to resort to military means to solve [cross-strait issues]. So clearly any Anti-Secession Law that alludes to the legality of military means is simply not helpful" in addressing the issue through dialogue, he said.

Peaceful means are "the only solution to this," said Hill, who will be the department's top specialist on East Asia in his new post. A former ambassador to South Korea, Hill was nominated by President George W. Bush on March 4 to replace James Kelly, who resigned earlier in the year. His comments at the hearing were his first on Taiwan issues since being tapped by Bush.

Rice, asked about the EU arms embargo, said that the Europeans "are examining this issue."

She said she hopes that the Anti-Secession Law "would at least remind the Europeans that there are still serious security issues in this region."

also see stroies:

Chen lashes out over China's law

Alliance sets plans for `Anti-Secession' Law protest

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