China is strongly opposed to a US bill that would support Taiwan's efforts to join the World Health Organization (WHO).
"The US side has ignored China's stance and signed the wrong bill. We are strongly against that," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said during a regular news briefing Tuesday.
US President George W. Bush signed the bill into law on Monday.
Zhang said Taiwan, as part of China, is not eligible to join the WHO or participate in the activities of the WHO as an observer according to related resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly and WHO regulations.
The 57th World Health Assembly (WHA), held last month, adopted a motion of the General Committee with an overwhelming majority to refuse the proposal of "inviting Taiwan to participate in the WHA as an observer."
"This has reflected the widely accepted consensus and cut-and-dried attitude of the international community on this issue," Zhang said.
She said the central government has always cared for the well-being and health of Taiwan compatriots, and has actively promoted technical cooperation between Taiwan and the WHO.
The Chinese delegation suggested four concrete measures to further expand such cooperation, showing its sincerity and constructive attitude, Zhang said.
"The channels for Taiwan to acquire health information have been smooth," Zhang said. "The real intention of Taiwan's attempt to join the WHO is to create 'two Chinas' or 'one China, one Taiwan' on the international arena. The conspiracy is doomed to fail."
The spokeswoman urged the US government to follow international public opinion, realize Taiwan's political intentions, abide by the three Sino-US joint communiqués and its repeatedly reiterated one-China policy, and stop all action that support Taiwan's attempt to join the WHO and send Taiwan authorities wrong signals.
"Otherwise it will damage the development of China-US relations," she said.
In a presidential statement issued on the same day, Bush asked the executive to "construe the Act to be consistent with the one-China policy of the United States, which remains unchanged, and determine the measures best suited to advance the overall goal of Taiwan participation in the World Health Organization."
According to the spokeswoman at yesterday's briefing, the third round of six-party talks on the Korean nuclear issue will be held between June 23 and 26 in Beijing.
The second working group meeting of the six-party talks will start from June 21 to 22 to make preparations for the new round of talks, Zhang said.
The previous two rounds of six-party talks, which involved China, the Democratic People Republic of Korea (DPRK), the United States, the Republic of Korea, Russia and Japan, were held in the Chinese capital August last year and February this year respectively. The inaugural working group meeting was held in Beijing from May 12 to May 15, at which the six parties agreed to meet for the third round of talks in late June.
Zhang said it is China's hope that the parties concerned would show their utmost sincerity and flexibility for cooperation in the spirit of mutual respect and equal consultation for progress in the third-round talks.
After the previous two rounds of six-party talks and one working group meeting, the six parties have reached a consensus on such issues as peaceful solution of the nuclear issue through dialogue, a nuclear-weapon-free Korean Peninsula as the ultimate goal, and nuclear freezing as the first step to complete nuclear abandonment, while addressing the security concerns of the DPRK.
China hopes the parties concerned would, based on the consensus, continue in-depth discussions, expand common grounds to push forward the talks, said Zhang, adding that the nuclear issue is a complicated one, and it is unwise for any side to expect that it could be solved after one or two rounds of talks.
According to Zhang, the major tasks of the second working group meeting are to make preparations for talks on substantial issues and get related documents and the working agenda ready.
The Chinese delegation to the talks, including the head of the delegation, will remain unchanged and a press center will be set up during the talks for the convenience of the media, Zhang said.
Turning to the terrorist attack in Afghanistan last Thursday that killed 11 Chinese workers, the spokeswoman said China has never shaken its anti-terror position despite the deadly attack.
Zhang said that the Chinese government strongly condemns the terrorist attack against its citizens, and has called for the Afghan government to carry out a thorough investigation and bring those accountable to justice at an early date.
"We also asked the Afghan government to ensure the security of other Chinese workers in Afghanistan," she said.
Zhang said although this incident happened, China will continue to join international efforts in the fight against terrorism, and will continuously support and participate in the reconstruction work in Afghanistan, Iraq and other regions.
She noted that the Afghan government attached priority attention to this incident, and has set up a special group to make a thorough investigation.
More than 20 gunmen raided a Chinese construction site in northern Afghanistan early last Thursday, and killed 11 Chinese workers and injured four others.
Moving on to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's upcoming visit to China on June 21 to 25, the spokeswoman said China and Syria will sign a series of agreements on bilateral cooperation during the visit.
Zhang said that during Bashar's stay in China, Chinese President Hu Jintao will hold talks with him and Chairman of China's National People's Congress Standing Committee Wu Bangguo and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao are expected to also meet with him. The two sides will exchange opinions on bilateral relations, international issues and other issues of common concern.
Zhang said China and Syria have long-standing friendly cooperative relations. Since the establishment of diplomatic ties, the two countries cooperated in various fields. The bilateral economic and trade relations have developed rapidly in recent years.
China hopes to further enhance cooperation with Syria in various areas, she said.
Zhang said during Bashar's visit, China and Syria will sign agreements on bilateral cooperation in the fields of trade, public health, radio, film and television. Relevant departments of the two sides will also hold talks and exchanges over the details of cooperation.
She noted that besides Beijing, Bashar will also visit Shanghai. She hoped Bashar's China visit will promote the Sino-Syrian friendly cooperative relations to a new stage.
According to the spokeswoman, the International Seminar on the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence is being held in Beijing on June 14-15 at the sponsorship of the Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs (CPIFA), to mark the 50th anniversary of the enshrinement of the five principles.
Former Chinese Vice Premier Qian Qichen and former Indian President Kocheril Raman Narayanan made keynote addresses at the opening ceremony of the seminar, and Qian highlighted the vigor and vitality of the five principles, Zhang acknowledged.
The Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence will continue to display its vitality however the international situation changes, said Zhang.
The Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence, the basis of China's diplomatic policies, have become the crucial criteria for regulating international relations, and China conducts external exchanges in compliance with the principles, said Zhang, adding that some basic contents of the principles have been written into China's Constitution.
The Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence, initiated jointly by China, India and Myanmar in 1954, are mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other's internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful co-existence.
At yesterday's briefing, the spokeswoman announced that Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will attend the opening ceremony of the Third Foreign Ministers' Meeting of the Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) in Qingdao, a coastal city in east China's Shandong Province, on June 22 and deliver a keynote speech.
Zhang also announced Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing will attend three meetings of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Jakarta, Indonesia, from July 1 to 2, at the invitation of Hasan Wirayuda, foreign minister of the ASEAN rotating presidency Indonesia.
The meetings include the Foreign Ministers' Meeting of ASEAN plus China, Japan and the Republic of Korea, the ASEAN Post-Ministerial Conference and the 11th Foreign Ministers' Meeting of the ASEAN Regional Forum.
At Li Zhaoxing's invitation, Swedish Foreign Minister Laila Freivalds will pay an official visit to China from June 20 to 25, according to Zhang.
(Sources including Xinhua News Agency and China Daily, June 16, 2004)