China, Macedonia Normalize Relations

China and Macedonia normalized relations Monday, two years after China severed ties because the Balkan state set up "diplomatic relations'' with Taiwan.

Macedonia recognized in a joint communique Monday that there is only one China and that the government of the People's Republic of China is the only legitimate authority to speak for the nation.

The documents signed in Beijing by foreign ministers of both nations also indicates that Macedonia acknowledges Taiwan Province is an inalienable part of China. Macedonia also vowed never to establish official ties of any form or conduct any communications of an official nature with Taiwan.

Macedonian Foreign Minister Ilinka Mitreva also reiterated this stance to her Chinese counterpart, Tang Jiaxuan, after the signing ceremony.

China and Macedonia, a Balkan country with a population of 2.1 million, established diplomatic ties in 1993 but severed them in early 1999.

The normalization of Sino-Macedonian ties once again demonstrates that China's sovereignty and territorial integrity is inalienable, said Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue.

The one-China principle is now understood and supported by most nations so any attempt to split China will be futile, Zhang said.

In yesterday's joint communique, the two governments pledged to explore exchanges and cooperation in trade and bilateral relations.

The two countries will also strengthen their cooperation in international organizations, the joint communique said.

Calling the signing "a significant moment in Sino-Macedonian ties,'' Tang told Mitreva that this is in the fundamental interests of both countries.

He suggested both countries should look beyond past difficulties to a new relationship based on the communique.

He also said that China will work with Macedonia on the world stage because the two share many common interests and concerns.

"We believe that on the basis of the joint communique of normalization of relations, friendly cooperation between China and Macedonia will enjoy full restoration and develop rapidly,,'' Zhang said.

( 06/19/2001)

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