November 22, 2002

Missile Sale Detrimental to Sino-US Relations

China Thursday warned the United States of the danger of selling Maverick missiles to Taiwan, urging it to honour its commitments.

"The United States, if it sells such weapons to Taiwan, will once again violate the three Sino-US joint communiques, particularly the August 17 joint communique, and other US commitments, and send wrong signals to the Taiwanese authorities,'' said Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzao at a regular briefing.

He said that China is "firmly opposed'' to the sale of missiles, which he described as "wanton interference in China's internal affairs.''

The Pentagon on Wednesday notified the US Congress of a possible sale of 40 Maverick air-to-surface guided missiles to Taiwan. Zhu urged the United States to adhere to the one-China policy, the three Sino-US joint communiques and related commitments and stop selling weapons to Taiwan so as not to impair Sino-US ties and cross-Straits relations.

China expressed similar opposition in April when the United States decided to sell Taiwan advanced weapons, including four Kidd-class destroyers.

The Chinese side will have a chance to raise the issue soon as Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan is slated to visit the United States on August 20 and 21. Tang will then go to New York to attend the 56th Session of the United Nations General Assembly.

According to the spokesman, Tang will hold talks with US Secretary of State Colin Powell and "other US leaders'' during his visit.

"They will conduct in-depth exchanges of views on bilateral relations and international and regional issues of common concern,'' said Zhu. "We hope the visit will enhance mutual understanding and trust and further promote bilateral exchanges and co-operation.''

Zhu also said that the visit will pave the way for the summit between President Jiang Zemin and his US counterpart George W. Bush next month when they attend the APEC leadership meeting, which will be followed by Bush's visit to Beijing.

The spokesman Thursday also commented on Wednesday's Fourth Summit Meeting between China and the European Union (EU) held in Brussels.

Describing the meeting as "very successful,'' Zhu said that leaders from China and the EU have reached broad consensus on bilateral relations and international issues of common concern.

The meeting has shown clearly the direction for the development of the Sino-EU comprehensive partnership in the new century, said Zhu, adding that it has also laid a solid political basis for the enhancement of bilateral co-operation.

(Chinadaily.com.cn 09/07/2001)

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