CHINA / National

Don't sell arms to Taiwan, US urged
By Le Tian (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-05-12 05:57

Beijing yesterday asked Washington to stop selling advanced weapons to Taiwan to ensure peace and stability across the Straits.

It also criticized Libya for allowing Taiwan leader Chen Shui-bian to make a stopover in the country on his way home from Latin America.

The United States should "cease the sale of advanced weapons to Taiwan and military exchanges (with the island)," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said at a regularly scheduled news briefing in Beijing.

Liu made the remarks in response to comments on Wednesday in Washington by US Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick, who warned that if Taiwan declares independence, the US would be drawn into a war between the mainland and the island.

Speaking to the House of Representatives' International Relations Committee, Zoellick said the United States "wants to be supportive of Taiwan while we're not encouraging those that try to move toward independence."

"Because let me be very clear: Independence means war," Zoellick was quoted by Associated Press as saying.

Liu said China demands the US abide by the "three joint communiqus" and promote stability in the Taiwan Straits. The three documents are the political basis for Sino-US relations.

Chen made transit stops in Libya on Wednesday and in Indonesia yesterday on his way back to Taipei from Latin America. Both Tripoli and Jakarta have diplomatic ties with China. During the Libyan stopover, Chen was reported to have met family members of leader Moammar Khadafy.

"This act seriously violates the one-China policy that Libya has long maintained, and has a negative impact on mutual relations," Liu said at the news briefing.

China has made representations to the Libyan side and demanded that it keep its promises and immediately stop any form of official contact with Taiwan, he said.

Responding to Zoellick's comments on China's "slow" efforts to "pressure" the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) back into the nuclear disarmament talks, Liu said China's solemn position is to ensure a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula and will continue to work towards this.

China has hosted multiple rounds of Six-Party Talks aimed at persuading the DPRK to give up nuclear-weapon development, but the negotiations have made little progress.

Liu said the issues of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula and Iran's nuclear crisis would be discussed by Chinese leaders and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan when he visits Beijing next week. It will be Annan's seventh visit to China since he took office.

(China Daily 05/12/2006 page1)