Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Bush says he opposes referendum on Taiwan

US President George W. Bush said in Washington Tuesday that he opposed a Taiwan referendum which might lead the island towards independence, and his stance was appreciated by visiting Premier Wen Jiabao.


US president meets Chinese premier
US President George W. Bush said Tuesday that the United States opposes the efforts made by the leader of Taiwan to seek independence.

"Let me tell you what I just told the premier on this issue. The United States government's policy is one China," President Bush told reporters in a joint appearance with visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in the Oval Office of the White House.

"We oppose any unilateral decision by either China or Taiwan to change the status quo, and the comments and actions made by the leader of Taiwan indicate that he may be willing to make decisions unilaterally to change the status quo, which we oppose."

Premier Wen stressed that China's fundamental policy on the Taiwan Issue is "peaceful reunification" and "one country, two systems."

Bush, Wen hold press conference
The mainland of China will not give up its efforts for peaceful reunification as long as there is a glimmer of hope to resolve the issue peacefully, Wen told reporters after talks with Bush at the White House.

"We would do our utmost, with utmost sincerity, to bring about national unity and peaceful reunification through peaceful means," He said.

He also said that China respects the desire of people in Taiwan for democracy, but China "can absolutely not accept and tolerate" the attempts of Taiwan authorities, headed by Chen Shui-bian, to use democracy as an excuse and attempt to resort to "defensive referendum" to split China.

Wen said, "We have expressed our will and determination to uphold national unity. This is for the very purpose of maintaining peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits. And such stability can only be maintained through unswerving and firm opposition to pro-independence activity."

Bush holds welcome ceremony for Chinese premier (1)
He said that only when we oppose "Taiwan independence" firmly, can peace and stability be maintained.

The Chinese premier said that President Bush reiterated in the meeting the US commitment to the three Sino-US Joint Communiques, the one-China principle, and opposition to Taiwan independence.

"We appreciate that," he added. "In particular, we very much appreciate the position adopted by President Bush towards the latest news and developments in Taiwan -- the attempt to resort to referendum of various kinds as an excuse to pursue Taiwan independence. We appreciate the position of the US government," Wen said.

On bilateral trade, Wen said the main problem between the two countries is the US trade deficit with China. He said China takes it seriously and has taken measures to solve this problem.

In the past 25 years since the two countries established diplomatic relations, bilateral trade has experience tremendous expansion, from a mere US$2.5 billion in 1979 to over US$100 billion today.

Wen said such an achievement is not easily made and the development of relations in these fields benefits both countries and peoples.

He said he will offer proposals in the later large group meeting with Bush on furthering bilateral economic and trade relations.

Bush thanked China for starting the six-party talks on nuclear issues on the Korean Peninsula. "We will continue to work with China and other countries involved to resolve this issue peacefully,'' he said.

The two leaders also agreed that a strong relationship between the two countries is conducive to world peace and prosperity.

"President Bush and I had an in-depth exchange of views on China-US relationship, and on national and regional issues of mutual interest," Premier Wen told reporters.

"The discussion took place under a very friendly, candid, cooperative and constructive atmosphere, and we reached consensus on many issues," Wen said. "President Bush and I both believe that the further improvement and growth of the bilateral ties will not only bring benefits to the people of the two countries, but also in the interest of world peace and stability."

President Bush, on his part, said that the relationship between the United States and China is good and strong and the United States will continue to keep it that way.

"We just had a very friendly and candid discussion. There is no question in my mind that when China and the United States work closely together, we can accomplish a lot of very important objectives," Bush said.

"Our relationship is good and strong and we are determined to keep it that way for the good of our respective peoples and for the sake of peace and prosperity in the world," he said.

Before their meeting in the White House, Bush held a welcoming ceremony for Wen.

"Our co-operation in a wide range of areas such as counter-terrorism, the economy, trade and international and regional issues has effectively safeguarded our mutual interests and promoted peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region and the world at large,'' said Wen in his speech.

"The fundamental interests of our two peoples and the people around the world require that China and the United States step up co-operation, increase mutual trust and further push forward constructive and co-operative bilateral relations,'' Wen added.

He called on leaders from both countries to view and handle China-US relations from a historic perspective and with strategic foresight and courage.

"So long as the two sides continue to strictly abide by the principles set forth in the three Sino-US Joint Communiques and boost co-operation, our relations will keep moving forward steadily,'' said Wen.

The Chinese premier Tuesday also met Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert and attended a banquet hosted by Secretary of State Colin Powell.

The Chinese premier arrived here Monday for an official visit to the United States, the first of its kind since he became the premier last spring.

Review of high-level contacts between China,US over recent years
On Oct. 19, 2001, Chinese President Jiang Zemin met with US President George W. Bush at the summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Shanghai, China. The two leaders exchanged views in an in-depth way on issues of Sino-US relationship, anti-terrorism, and the maintenance of world peace and security.

On Feb. 21-22, 2002, US President George W. Bush made an official visit to China. The leaders of the two countries agreed to enhance the high-level strategic dialogues and the contacts of departments at various levels so as to increase mutual trust and understanding. In addition, the two leaders also discussed the international anti-terrorism situation, and agreed to improve consultation and cooperation in order to enrich the communication and cooperation mechanism in the field of anti-terrorism between China and the United States.

From Feb. 27 to May 3, 2002, the then Chinese Vice President HuJintao made a state visit to the United States. When meeting Hu, President Bush said the United States would follow the one-China policy and abide by the three joint communiques between the two countries.

On Oct. 22- 25, 2002, the then Chinese President Jiang Zemin made an official visit to the United States at the invitation of President Bush. The two leaders exchanged views in an in-depth way on various issues including the development of Sino-US relationship and international and regional issues of common concern, and reached an important agreement. The two leaders said that the strategic dialogue and contacts between the two countries at the high level were very important, and agreed to go ahead with such contacts.

On June 1, 2003, Chinese President Hu Jintao met with US President Bush at the French resort of Evian. Bush highly praised China's efforts and achievements in combating SARS. Hu reiterated China's stance on the Taiwan issue. The two leaders said both sides would make efforts for the maintenance of peace and stability on the Korean Peninsular.

On Oct. 19, Chinese President Hu Jintao met his US counterpart George W. Bush at the summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum in Bangkok, Thailand, and reached consensus on promoting all-around development of a constructive and cooperative relationship between the two countries. Bush said that a good relationship with China is very important to the United States. Hu said that China appreciated the US reaffirmation of following the commitment to the three Sino-US joint communiques, and vowing not to support "Taiwan Independence," and hoped the United States would honor its commitments.

By People's Daily Online

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