Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Saturday, January 31, 2004

Chinese Premier meets Armitage

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao met and had an exchange of views here Friday with US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Lee Armitage on Sino-US relations and issues of mutual interest.


Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao met and had an exchange of views here Friday with US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Lee Armitage on Sino-US relations and issues of mutual interest.

  Armitage also held meetings and political consultations at the vice-foreign ministerial level Friday with Chinese vice-foreign ministers Dai Bingguo and Zhou Wenzhong separately, on bilateral ties, the Taiwan issue, and the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula.

On Friday afternoon, Armitage also met with Chinese Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan.

According to an official from the Chinese Foreign Ministry, the two sides made positive remarks on the development of Sino-US ties over the past year, in particular the results achieved during the meeting between Chinese President Hu Jintao and US President George W. Bush and Premier Wen's meeting with President Bush on his US trip.

Both sides hold that a strong China-US relations conforms to the interests of the two countries and is crucial to the world peace and prosperity, the official said.

Currently, the relationship is facing both new opportunities and challenges, noted the official. In conformity with the consensus reached by the top leaders of the two countries, both sides should strengthen high and other level exchanges, deepen cooperation in all spheres, properly handle issues in bilateral ties so as to promote the Sino-US constructive and cooperative relations towards a greater development, said the official.

The Chinese side reiterated its principled stance on the Taiwan issue, he said. China underlines that the Chinese government adheres to the basic guideline of "peaceful reunification", and "One Country, Two Systems" and is willing to strive for a prospect of peaceful reunification with utmost sincerity and endeavor.

"We firmly opposes the Taiwan authorities to carry out activities of Taiwan independence by using the so-called referendum and we will allow no one to split Taiwan from China by any means," said the official.

The current situation across the Taiwan Straits is very sensitive, acknowledged the official. China hopes that the US sidewill honor its commitments and explicitly oppose Taiwan authorities' attempt to change the status of Taiwan with so-called referendum or march towards Taiwan independence for the sake of maintaining the peace and stability across the straits and the common interests of both China and the United States.

Armitage said the US side understands the importance and sensitivity of the Taiwan issue.

On the question of referendum, he said, President Bush clearly expressed the US position during Premier Wen's US trip last December and such stance of the US side has not been altered.

The US side adheres to the one-China policy, observe the three China-US joint communiques, gives no support to Taiwan independence and opposes any rhetoric or actions that will unilaterally change the status of Taiwan, he reaffirmed.

The two sides also discussed economic and trade affairs, war onterror, non-proliferation, law enforcement and health issues and agreed to handle the other's concern on the basis of mutual benefit, the official said.

On the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsula, both sides will maintain close communication and cooperation and endeavor to restart the second-round of Beijing six-party talks at an early date with tangible results.

Armitage is scheduled to leave China on Saturday.

Source: Xinhua

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