Tags: China | Angered | Chen's | U.S. | Visit

China Angered by Chen's U.S. Visit

Tuesday, 15 May 2001 12:00 AM

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Sun Yuxi said the visit violated "commitments that the U.S. side made not to have or engage in exchanges and contacts with Taiwan of any official nature."

"We ask the U.S. government to proceed in accordance with the documents signed between the U.S. side and China and stop using the question of Taiwan to interfere in China's internal affairs."

The response came after State Department spokesman Richard Boucher Monday encouraged members of Congress to meet with Taiwanese President Chen Shui-bian when he visits the United States later this month.

"We would think that meetings between members of Congress and this foreign leader would be a good thing," Boucher said adding the State Department "saw no reason to make a particular exception."

Last week, Secretary of State Colin Powell approved two "transit stops" for President Chen during his trip to Latin America, one of the few regions where countries acknowledge Taiwan as the Republic of China and have no formal relations with communist Beijing. Chen will be in New York between May 21-23, and will make a stopover in Houston either June 2 or 3 on his way back to Taipei.

China fiercely defends its claim over the island, which it considers a renegade province, and opposes any country that deals with Taiwan in any way and regularly summons foreign diplomats in Beijing to argue its case.

"The Chinese side has expressed through diplomatic channels our strong dissatisfaction and opposition to the U.S. government for allowing Chen Shui-bian to make a stopover in the United States," Sun said.

In 1982, Washington signed a joint communique with China acknowledging that it would not seek to support Taiwan's accession into international organizations and recognized China's claim to Taiwan, forming what is known now as the One China policy.

President Chen's last U.S. visit on Aug. 8 to Long Beach, Calif., prompted numerous congressmen to pay him a visit. At the time, State Department spokeswoman Lula Rodriguez said, "We do not consider meetings with members of congress or public officials to be consistent with the nature of a private transit visa."

Already, House Majority Whip Tom DeLay, R-Texas; Rep. Benjamin Gilman, R-N.Y., Rep. Dana Rohrbacher, R-Calif. and Sen. Robert Torricelli, D-N.J. plan to visit President Chen. Chen for his part has said he plans to attend a baseball game in Houston and wants to visit Wall Street while in New York.

The change in policy toward Taiwan and China since the Bush administration took office has sent Sino-U.S. relations into a downward spiral. Tension reached its height in April after the spy plane incident off the Chinese coast and was further aggravated by the U.S. decision to sell weapons to Taiwan and a pledge by President Bush to help the island defend itself against Chinese attack.

Copyright 2001 by United Press International.

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Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Sun Yuxi said the visit violated commitments that the U.S. side made not to have or engage in exchanges and contacts with Taiwan of any official nature. We ask the U.S. government to proceed in accordance with the documents signed...
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2001-00-15
Tuesday, 15 May 2001 12:00 AM
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