Visiting US Deputy Secretary of State Richard Lee Armitage reiterated in Beijing Friday at a press conference that the US policy on Taiwan is based on the one-China policy and the principles enshrined in the three Sino-US joint communiqués.
The referendum does raise some questions and make people doubt the motive of those who set forth the referendum, he said, because "as I understand it, referenda are generally reserved for items or issues which are either very divisive or very difficult. And the wording I've seen of the referendum seems to be neither divisive nor difficult."
Meanwhile, he said the US has dealt with the Taiwan issue sensitively and sensibly since the normalization of relations between the United States and China 25 years ago, adding that US President George W. Bush has made it quite explicitly that he will oppose any unilateral actions to change the status quo of either side across the Taiwan Strait.
The two questions proposed by leader of Taiwan authorities Chen Shui-bian for the March 20 Taiwan referendum have aroused opposition from various circles on both sides of the Taiwan Strait.
During Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to the United States last year, President Bush stated clearly the US stance of adherence to the one-China policy, abiding by the three Sino-US joint communiqués and opposing any word or activity of the Taiwan authority to change the status quo of Taiwan, and the US authority has reiterated this stance time and again, he noted.
On the Korean nuclear issue, Armitage said both the United States and China hope that the second round of six-party talks can be restarted as soon as possible.
The US side appreciated China's efforts to bring a peaceful resolution to this question, he said.
Chinese Defense Minister Cao Gangchuan, vice foreign ministers Dai Bingguo and Zhou Wenzhong have held talks respectively Friday with Armitage on bilateral relations, the Taiwan issue and the Iraq issue.
At the press conference, Armitage also answered questions on US-China bilateral trade and military relations.
(Xinhua News Agency January 31, 2004)