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Chinese Defense Minister Meets US Under Secretary of Defense

Chinese Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan reiterated China's stance on the Taiwan issue in Beijing Tuesday, saying "Chinese people themselves are more eager than any other to realize the peaceful reunification of China."

Cao, also vice chairman of the Central Military Commission and a State Councilor, made the remarks during his meeting with Douglas Jay Feith, US under secretary of defense for policy. Feith is here for the sixth round of consultations on defense at the vice defense ministerial level.

Cao said that during this positive and constructive consultation, the two sides exchanged views on issues of common concern, which promote the mutual understanding and trust between the two sides.

He pointed out that to hold such defense consultations is an important consensus reached by heads of state of China and the United States.

"It is a major sign of the normalization of military exchanges between China and the United States, as well as its important content," he added.

Facts proved that the defense consultations are an effective mechanism to enhance mutual understanding and trust and to promote bilateral military relations, he said, hoping that this mechanism will be continued and further contribute to the future development of bilateral relations.

Cao also emphasized that China always held active attitudes toward development of bilateral military relations, and would like to make joint efforts with the US side to push forward its healthy and stable development.

"This will inject positive elements to the constructive and cooperative Sino-US relations," he stressed.

Feith agreed with Cao's evaluation of Sino-US relations and the defense consultation mechanism.

He said: "After our serious discussion on key issues including the Korean nuclear issue, the Taiwan issue and Military Maritime Consultative Agreement, we believe that the two sides share common interests on many important international issues."

On the Taiwan issue, he stressed that to safeguard the peace of the Taiwan Straits is in the interests of the two sides.

Feith reiterated that the United States adheres to the one-China policy and opposes any unilateral actions to change the status quo of Taiwan.

(Xinhua News Agency February 11, 2004)


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