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U.S. STILL RECOGNIZES PRESIDENT CHEN'S 'FOUR NOES' COMMITMENT

2004-01-01 14:56:27

    Washington, Dec. 31 (CNA) The U.S. government still recognizes the "four noes" commitment made by ROC President Chen Shui-bian in his 2000 inaugural speech, a U.S. State Department official said Wednesday. "We still recognize the commitments he (President Chen) made in his inaugural speech and the 'four noes' and believe that they are still operative and still pertain," State Department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli said at a news briefing.

    Speaking at the State Department's last regular news briefing of 2003, Ereli also said the United States has clearly expressed its opposition to any unilateral measures that affect the present Taiwan Strait status quo, including Taiwan's planned referendum.

    Ereli said the Bush administration would urge the government of Taiwan to heed U.S. concerns about its referendum plan.

    He further said the United States believes that dialogue is the way to resolve cross-strait disputes. "And we continue to make that position known to both parties."

    Ereli began the news briefing with a short statement marking the 25th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the United States and mainland China. "January 1st will be the 25th year of having normalized relations with China, and over the past 25 years we have worked to transform the relationship from its tentative beginnings to one where today we have a wide-ranging, candid, constructive and cooperative dialogue about issues that are important to the peace, security and prosperity of the world," he said. "We look forward to continuing and deepening that dialogue and cooperation in the coming years," he added.

    Then a reporter asked Ereli about the U.S. views on President Chen's determination to hold a referendum against mainland China's misile deployment targeting Taiwan in March.

    In response, Ereli said: "Clearly we've said that we oppose any unilateral measures that affect the status, the current status, including this referenda. We believe that cross-strait dialogue is the way to resolve these issues, and we continue to make that position known to both parties."

    As Taiwan reportedly is going to send a delegation to Washington probably next week to assure the U.S. that the upcoming referendum is not meant to change the status quo, a reporter asked Ereli whether the delegation could possibly lessen the U.S. concern.

    Ereli said: "I'm not aware of the visit --- the planned visit of this delegation, so I really wouldn't want to comment on that. And I think that we have made our -- you know, we have made our concerns very well known; I think they're a matter of public record and private discussion. And we would urge the government of Taiwan to heed them."

    Asked whether the United States still hold him accountable for his "four noes" pledge after he raised the point that China's continuing missile build-up as having nullified the "four noes" commitments, Ereli said the United States still recognizes the pledge. "Yes, we still --- we still recognize the commitments he made in his inaugural speech and the 'four noes' and believe that they are still operative and still pertain," Ereli said.

(By Jay Chen and Sofia Wu)

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