Fri, Sep 02, 2005 - Page 3 News List

Beijing warns US against missile help for Taiwan

AGENCIES , BEIJING

China warned the US and other governments yesterday against using missile-defense systems to protect Taiwan or helping Taipei produce its own system.

"China opposes any country's inclusion of Taiwan in its missile defense system," said Zhang Yan (張炎), director-general of the Chinese Foreign Ministry's arms control department.

"It also opposes efforts or attempts to support or provide the Taiwan region with a missile defense system," he said.

Zhang didn't mention the US by name, but some US officials have suggested that a possible missile defense system might be extended to Taiwan.

Asked whether China would use nuclear weapons to threaten or attack Taiwan, Zhang repeated China's pledge not to be the first to use nuclear weapons in a conflict and not to use them against "non-nuclear-weapons states."

"That position has remained unchanged and will not change in the future," Zhang said.

`We will seek peaceful reunification with maximum efforts and sincerity, but we will never tolerate Taiwan independence,'' Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang (秦剛) said at a regular press briefing yesterday.

Both men's comments came after Beijing issued a white paper, China's Endeavors for Arms Control, Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, ahead of President Hu Jintao's (胡錦濤) visit to the US next week.

"China does not wish to see a missile defense system produce negative impact on global strategic stability, bring new unstable factors to international and regional peace and stability, erode trust among big powers or undermine legitimate security interests of other countries," the report said.

In the 17,000-word paper, China also reiterated its commitment to a policy of no-first-use of nuclear weapons and pledged not to engage in a nuclear arms race.

In Taipei, Mainland Affairs Council Vice Chairman You Ying-lung (游盈隆) yesterday declined to comment on the report, saying he had not seen a copy yet.

Additional reporting by Shih Hsiu-chuan

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