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French support needed on Taiwan issue: official

PLA Daily 2004-01-20

BEIJING, Jan. 19 (Xinhuanet) -- China hopes that France will support its stand on the Taiwan issue, said a Chinese Foreign Ministry official here Monday, on the eve of Chinese President Hu Jintao's upcoming visit to France.

China appreciates the French government's upholding of the one-China principle, and hopes France will oppose independence moves by Taiwan authorities, Liu Xinghai, deputy director of the WesternEuropean Affairs Department of the Foreign Ministry.

President Hu Jintao is scheduled to start his four-nation statevisit from next Monday, with France as the first leg of the visit.

The smooth relations between China and France were disrupted by French sales of warships and fighter planes to Taiwan in the early 1990s despite China's repeated protests. The two sides signed a communique in 1994 in which France pledged it would no longer sellarms to Taiwan, putting relations back to normal.

China and France declared the establishment of a full partnership relationship in 1997 when French President Jacques Chirac visited China. The two sides have since maintained close relations in political, economic and cultural areas.

Liu warned at the briefing that Taiwan authorities were trying to separate China under the disguise of a referendum, another steptowards Taiwan independence.

The attitude of the Chinese government on that issue is clear-cut, and it sticks to the principle of "peaceful reunification" and "one country, two systems", and would never tolerate Taiwan independence.

China needs French support on the issue because France is a bigpower and can exert important influence with the international community. It is also an important member of the European Union and a strategic cooperative partner of China, said the official.

The United States and some other Western powers have stated clearly earlier that they support the one-China policy, and oppose Taiwan independence and referenda.

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