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2004-07-09 12:49:59

    Taipei, July 9 (CNA) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) expressed deep regret Friday over mainland Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing's "three stop" request to U.S. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice over Taiwan.

    In his talks with Rice Thursday, Li urged the U.S. government to not only stop selling advanced arms to Taiwan, but to halt official engagements with Taiwan and stop helping Taiwan to participate in international organizations where statehood is required for membership.

    Li "strongly" urged the United States to understand the sensitivity of the Taiwan issue and "gravity" of the current situation, according to foreign wire service reports.

    Anna Kao, deputy director of the MOFA's Department of Information and Cultural Affairs, said Beijing's "three stop" demand to the United States was a gesture completely ignoring the goodwill that was demonstrated by President Chen Shui-bian in his May 20 inaugural speech.

    By making the remarks, Li not only interfered in the development of U.S.-Taiwan relations, he also attempted to undermine the 2001 agreement in which the United States agreed to continue selling defensive weapons to Taiwan, Kao noted.

    Kao said Li's remarks are not conducive to positive growth in the development of cross Taiwan Strait relations. Stressing that Taiwan has purchased arms only for self-defense rather than for military assault, Kao said mainland China's demand that United States stop selling weaponry to Taiwan has only reflected Beijing's mentality that it will not renounce the option of the use of force against Taiwan to solve differences.

    Kao said the MOFA believes that Washington will continue to observe its commitment to the Taiwan Relations Act and the Six Guarantees under which the United States pledges to provide Taiwan with a sufficient defense capability to help maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Strait.

    The MOFA also firmly believes that the U.S. support for Taiwan, including support for Taiwan's bid to participate in various international organizations, will not change because of Beijing's unilateral demands, Kao stressed.

    Minister of Foreign Affairs Tan Sun Chen also said a day earlier that Rice is not expected to issue any statements unfavorable to Taiwan during her current Beijing visit.

    As part of her Asian tour aimed at addressing regional security issues, particularly the efforts to dismantle North Korea's nuclear program, Rice arrived in Beijing Thursday afternoon after an overnight visit to Japan. She will leave Beijing for Seoul later Friday for a brief visit before returning to Washington, D.C.

    Rice met with mainland Chinese President Hu Jintao and his predecessor, Jiang Zemin, who is now chairman of the Central Military Commission, upon her arrival in Beijing Thursday afternoon.

(By Deborah Kuo)


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