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2004-03-10 18:40:40

    Washington, March 9 (CNA) U. S. Secretary of State Colin Powell reiterated Washington's stance Tuesday to a visiting Beijing official that the United States opposes any unilateral attempts to change the status quo across the Taiwan Strait.

    Powell made the remarks during a meeting with mainland Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Dai Binguo in Washington.

    Reiterating that the United States is opposed to any effort by either Taiwan or mainland China to change the current cross-strait situation, Powell voiced Washington's hope the two sides can mend their disputes through peaceful means, such as dialogue.

    According to U.S. State Department Spokesman Richard Boucher, Powell and Dai exchanged views on various issues of mutual concern, including those related to Taiwan and North Korea.

    Powell repeated to Dai that the United States has not deviated from its "one China" policy framework, which is based on three Washington - Beijing joint communiques and the Taiwan Relations Act, Boucher said, adding that Dai was slated to meet Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage later the same day.

    Washington has come under strong pressure from Beijing over Taiwan's planned March 20 referendum coinciding with its presidential election.

    Although Beijing views the referendum as a covert move toward Taiwan independence, senior U.S. officials, including Powell, have made it clear that Taiwan, as a democratic society, is entitled to hold such a public vote.

(By Jay Chen and Flor Wang)


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