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US Urged to Contain 'Taiwan Independence'
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China on Thursday urged the US to strictly abide by its commitment to maintain peace and stability in the Taiwan Straits and regarding the overall situation of Sino-US relations.


"The US should honor and fulfill its commitment, and work with China to definitely oppose and resolutely contain 'Taiwan independence'," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told a regular press briefing.


This statement was in response to US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's remarks at the Heritage Foundation think-tank on Wednesday that the US' Taiwan policy is comprised of an inseparable "package" that includes a commitment to help Taiwan defend itself.


Liu said there is only one China in the world, that Taiwan is an integral part of China's territory and that "we are committed to the basic principle of 'peaceful reunification' and 'one country, two systems'."


"We are resolutely opposed to 'Taiwan independence' and will never allow any one to separate Taiwan from China through any means," he noted.


Liu further dismissed speculation that the detention of a North Korean ship by Hong Kong authorities was the result of UN sanctions.


He said the local marine department was making a regular inspection of Kang Nam I, a 2,035-ton general cargo ship, which entered the Hong Kong SAR on Sunday.


The department found the ship had violated safety regulations, Liu said, adding that the ship was held for breaching local shipping regulations, not due to the UN sanctions imposed on North Korea following its nuclear test on October 9.


Ships can be detained either if they have no life-saving or fire-fighting equipment, or if their navigational array, including charts, is outdated or obsolete.


Tan Bole, an official with the Hong Kong marine authority was quoted as saying Kang Nam I was the ninth North Korean ship that his office has inspected this year with six of them having been similarly stopped.


Tan said Hong Kong's checking of North Korean ships was routine, adding that the authorities were carrying out their duties according to international maritime regulations designed to guarantee naval safety.


The ship had traveled to Hong Kong from Shanghai and was due to return home to Nampo, near Pyongyang, via Taiwan.


Liu reiterated that China would implement UN Resolution 1718 imposing sanctions on North Korea in an earnest and responsible manner.


As for illegal immigrants from North Korea, Liu said China will, as always, properly deal with the issue in accordance jointly with Chinese law, international law and humanitarian principles.


He noted that such North Korean immigrants were not "refugees," but people who entered China in an "illegal" manner.


"We have tried our utmost to give humanitarian treatment to those people," Liu said.


China's handling of illegal immigrants issue in recent years has gradually gained the recognition of the international community, he said.


Turning to the Iran nuclear standoff, Liu said the new UN draft resolution should help resolve the issue peacefully, adding that China has always backed international non-proliferation mechanisms and expects no further turbulence in the Middle East, he said.


The new draft resolution urges UN member states to prevent Iran from transferring any materials or information related to its nuclear programs to other parties and to deny Teheran any financial, technical or other assistance that could aid it in such a purpose.


"The Chinese side is currently working on the new draft," Liu said.


The US has been seeking to impose sanctions on Iran through the UN Security Council on the grounds that the Islamic country has developed a nuclear weapon program under the cover of a civilian program. Iran has retaliated stating that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.


Iran has said it wants talks with Europe, Russia, China and the US but will not suspend its nuclear work in advance.


"China maintains its position of resolving the issue through dialogue and consultation," Liu said.


Relating to an EU policy paper toward China released on October 24, Liu said China appreciates the EU's positive efforts to further strengthen China-EU relations.


He said China is carefully studying the document, while believing that it is in the two powers' common interests and conducive to world peace, stability and development to continuously enrich the China-EU all-round strategic partnership.


Titled "EU-China: Closer Partners, Growing Responsibilities," the document focuses on the importance of developing the EU-China relations, China's increasing strength, and the policies and measures the EU will adopt to boost bilateral ties.


Moving on to China-India relations, Liu said China is ready to join hands with India to further boost their strategic partnership.


He said Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing sent a congratulatory message to India's new Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee.


China is happy to see the progress of China-India ties, which are in the interests of both peoples, Liu noted.


Both China and India are major developing countries, and to strengthen bilateral cooperation is essential to the region and the world at large, he said.


This year marks a year of China-India friendship. The two countries have conducted numerous activities, and further enhanced mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples, he added.


"We believe under the joint efforts of both sides, China-India strategic partnership will continue to make new progress," he said.


Regarding the situation in Sudan's Darfur region, Liu said China supports UN troops replacing the African Union (AU) peacekeepers there but insists the operation must be approved by the Sudanese government.


China is concerned over the turbulence in some parts of Sudan and the latest troubles of the Sudanese people, he said.


China has always played a positive role in UN discussions on Sudan and supports the UN playing a bigger role in the Darfur issue, Liu said.


The Sudanese government has concerns about the UN peacekeeping troops replacing AU peacekeepers, which the international community needs to resolve, he said.


"We have been trying to persuade the government of Sudan to take a flexible attitude on relevant issues," he said.


The UN Security Council adopted a resolution on August 31 calling for the deployment of more than 20,000 international peacekeepers to replace the under-funded 7,800 AU forces in Darfur.


However, the Sudanese government has rejected the mission transfer, calling it a violation of Sudan's sovereignty and an effort by the West to re-colonize the African oil-producing country.


Also at yesterday's briefing, Liu announced that presidents of six African nations, namely, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Seychelles, South Africa, Algeria and Egypt, will visit China at the invitation of President Hu Jintao.


They will pay their visits on the sidelines of the Beijing Summit of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum in early November, he said.


(Xinhua News Agency, China Daily October 27, 2006)

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