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China Firmly Opposes US Arms Sales to Taiwan
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The Foreign Ministry urged Washington yesterday not to sell weapons to Taiwan, saying the Chinese government and people "have always been firmly opposed" to such sales.


The US would violate commitments made in the three Sino-US joint communiqués, in particular the one signed between the two countries on August 17, 1982, if it offered arms to Taiwan, ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told a regular news briefing.


Such sales would undermine China's national security and the country's great cause of peaceful reunification, Liu said.


"We urge the US to abide by the one-China policy that has been repeatedly reiterated by President George W. Bush and the US government, honor its commitment to conform to the three joint communiqués signed by the two countries and oppose 'Taiwan independence'," Liu said.


"The US should stop weapons sales to and military links with Taiwan and send no wrong signals to pro-independence forces," added Liu.


The strongly worded warning against arms sales came after Stephen Young, director of the American Institute in Taiwan, urged Taiwan over the weekend to sign on to a multi-billion-dollar US weapons package intended to bolster the island's defenses.


"The US is watching closely and will judge those who take a responsible position as well as those who play politics on this critical issue," Young said. Taiwan's "legislators" described the US official's remarks as an "ultimatum" to Taipei.


Liu said the Chinese government had made solemn representations to Washington over Young's comments.


The arms bill called for the purchase of a US$16 billion package of Patriot missiles, submarines and submarine-hunting aircraft. The five-year-old offer, made by Bush shortly after taking office, was one of the biggest proposed arms sales to Taiwan. However, the arms package has been repeatedly blocked on the island.


Turning to Iran's nuclear issue, Liu urged all parties concerned to refrain from taking any action that may lead to an escalation of the situation.


He said some new developments on the issue had emerged and China would continue to consult with other members of the UN Security Council on relevant matters. 


Iran confirmed it had launched a second cascade of centrifuges last Sunday and vowed to press ahead with the peaceful use of nuclear energy.


Regarding North Korea, Liu said China's policy of economic and trade cooperation with it remained unchanged.


He said the bilateral economic and trade cooperation was aimed at strengthening the national economy and livelihoods of North Korean people so as to help the country overcome difficulties in power and food supply.


In another development, Liu said China congratulated Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva on his reelection for a second term of office. President Hu Jintao has sent a message of congratulation to Lula and Vice President Zeng Qinghong sent a congratulatory message to newly-elected Vice President Jose Alencar.


Liu said China believed the China-Brazil strategic partnership would develop further under the new Brazilian government, adding that China would join hands with Brazil in making concrete efforts to expand the partnership.


China was happy to see that the China-Brazil strategic partnership has scored considerable achievements in recent years with joint efforts from the two countries, he said.


China and Pakistan held their second strategic dialogue on October 27 in Beijing. Assistant Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai and visiting Pakistani Foreign Secretary Riaz H. Khokhar exchanged views on cooperation in various fields.


The two reached important consensus during their meeting, Liu said. Riaz visited China also to make preparations for high-level visits between the two nations' leaders, he noted.


In terms of the upcoming summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), Liu said the government would make every effort to minimize traffic inconvenience in Beijing.


He said traffic restrictions were necessary to ensure the security and organization of the summit, which is the largest international conference to be held in China since 1949. He said feedback from Beijing citizens demonstrated their understanding and support for the restrictions.


The event will see the arrival of delegations from 48 African countries and more than 20 international organizations.


(China Daily, Xinhua News Agency November 1, 2006)

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