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U.S., China remain miles apart on Taiwan.

BEIJING, March 30 Kyodo

China and the United States remain far apart on Taiwan, despite talks Wednesday and Thursday between senior Chinese and U.S. officials. While the United States called for "patience, flexibility and creativity" from both sides of the Taiwan Strait, Chinese President Jiang Zemin charged "America is responsible" for the Taiwan problem in the first place. U.S. National Security Adviser Samuel Berger told Chinese officials that Washington has no desire to play a mediating role in cross-strait relations, a senior U.S. official told reporters in briefing Berger's three-day visit to China that ended Thusday. The U.S. was only concerned about the issue inasmuch as it affected Sino-U.S. ties and because of Washington's commitment to Taipei under the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act, the official said. The Taiwan Relations Act in part commits the U.S. to providing Taiwan with the ability to defend itself from a Chinese attack. In a meeting with Berger on Thursday afternoon, Jiang lectured U.S. President Bill Clinton's top security adviser on the Taiwan issue. "The fact that the Taiwan question has not been solved up to now and has become the central problem in Sino-U.S. relations is America's fault," China's evening news quoted Jiang as saying. Jiang also reiterated Beijing's position that Taiwan must accept the "one-China principle" before cross-strait relations can be resumed. Chen Shui-bian, Taiwan's president-elect, has said he would be happy to discuss the one-China principle with Beijing but would not accept it as a prerequisite to negotiations. While the Taiwan issue overshadowed the talks, other areas were also covered. The senior U.S. official said the issue of human rights came up, with the U.S. side explaining to the Chinese why it plans to introduce a resolution criticizing China's human rights record at the ongoing U.N. Human Rights Commission meeting in Geneva next week. Berger and his party, which also included Assistant Secretary of State Stanley Roth and National Security Council adviser Kenneth Lieberthal, told the Chinese that other countries had also been criticized, that China was "in no way" being singled out. Nuclear nonproliferation was also covered, but Sino-U.S. cooperation in the field is "still a work in progress," the official said. Berger also told Chinese officials that Chinese policy toward Taiwan was not linked to the U.S. granting China permanent normal trading relations (PNTR), although he explained that tensions in the strait have an effect on the way the U.S. Congress will vote on the issue, the official said. In addition to meeting with the Chinese president, Berger also saw Premier Zhu Rongji, Vice Premier Qian Qichen and Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan during his brief visit. Berger's visit is the third by a cabinet-level official in the past two weeks. Last week U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Richard Holbrooke made the rounds in Beijing. Education Secretary Richard Riley called on the Chinese capital this week and next month two more cabinet secretaries -- Commerce Secretary Richard Daley and Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman -- are slated to visit Beijing. "I think that illustrates very clearly the enormous importance that all Americans place on relations between the United States and the People's Republic of China," Holbrooke told Tang last week.
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Publication:Asian Political News
Date:Apr 3, 2000
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