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UPDATED: 15:31, July 09, 2004
Chinese state councilor urges US to handle Taiwan question properly
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Chinese State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan urged the United States to honor its commitments and handle the Taiwan question properly.

During his meeting here Friday morning with visiting US Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs Condoleezza Rice, Tang said Taiwan has been part of China since

ancient times, and China's basic and consistent stance is to settle the Taiwan question through dialogues and negotiations on the basis of the one-China principle, which has not changed although there have been major changes in the situation within Taiwan.

The biggest threat at present to the stability across the Taiwan Straits lies in the separatist policy pursued by Taiwan authorities with an attempt to alter the status quo that the two sides across the Taiwan Straits belong to only one nation, noted Tang.

He underscored that the Taiwan question concerns China's sovereignty and territorial integrity embodying China's core interests, and is the most important and sensitive issue in Sino-US relations, which can have a sound development if the Taiwan question is properly handled. Otherwise, it will severely affect the development of bilateral relations.

He went on to say that the Chinese side has taken note that all US administrations since President Richard Nixon have promised to follow the one-China policy, and appreciated President George W. Bush's reiterations that his administration abides by the one-China policy and the three Sino-US joint communiques and opposes Taiwan independence.

Recalling the growth of Sino-US diplomatic ties in the past 25 years, Tang noted that bilateral relations have been progressing in general despite twists and turns, and ups and downs from time to time.

Both sides have witnessed enhancing exchanges and cooperation, expanding common interests and increasing responsibilities for the international community, added Tang.

It is normal for the two countries with different historical and cultural backgrounds and social systems to have differences, Tang acknowledged, and the crux of the matter is to follow the principles enshrined in the three Sino-US joint communiques and treat bilateral relations from a long-term and strategic perspective.

Rice said the steady development of US-China relations is an important factor for peace in the Asia-Pacific region and the world at large, and the US side will continue strengthening bilateral relations and supporting China's greater role in international affairs.

The US side will have dialogues with China in an atmosphere of mutual respect and jointly face up to the difficulties and differences in bilateral relations, she said.

Rice also reiterated the US government's position on pursuing the one-China policy and abiding by the three joint communiques.

Rice started her 24-hour China visit Thursday noon and concluded it at noon Friday.

China is the second leg of Rice's Asian tour. In Tokyo prior to her Beijing tour, she held talks with Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi and Foreign Minister Kawaguchi Yoriko Wednesday on regional security issues. In Seoul, Rice is expected to confer with leaders of the Republic of Korea on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue.

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