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Taiwan Issue Called Key to Sino-US Relations

Visiting Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said in Washington Monday that proper handling of the Taiwan issue is the key to developing a constructive relationship of cooperation between China and the United States.

"The Taiwan question remains the most important and most sensitive issue at the heart of China-US relations, and it concerns China's sovereignty and territorial integrity," Li said at a luncheon hosted by the US-China Business Council, a private, nonpartisan US organization engaged in business relations with China.

"There is but one China in the world. Both Taiwan and the Mainland belong to the one and same China," he added.

The former ambassador to the US said successive US administrations, both Republican and Democratic, have pledged to pursue the One-China policy and abide by the three joint communiques.

"It is our hope that the US side will handle the Taiwan question from a strategic and long-term perspective, honor its relevant commitments and support China's efforts at peaceful reunification," he said. "This will serve the interests of the two countries as well as those of the international community."

Li pointed out that the successful meeting in Shanghai between Chinese President Jiang Zemin and US President George W. Bush last October marked a return to normality in the relationship which has begun showing a positive momentum for further growth.

The two presidents reached a common understanding on working towards a constructive, cooperative relationship between the two countries and set the direction for such a relationship to develop in the future, he added.

Describing the year 2002 as "a year full of hope" for China-US relations, Li said that in two weeks' time, the two countries will mark the 30th anniversary of President Richard Nixon's visit to China and issuance of the Shanghai Communique, and President Bush is also to pay a working visit to China at the time.

Li said President Bush's visit will "provide us with an important opportunity to review the past, look into the future and move our constructive, cooperative relationship forward with concrete actions."

He said the Chinese government and people attach great importance to President Bush's upcoming visit to China and the Chinese side wishes to work closely with the US side on the preparations, help create a positive atmosphere for the visit and make the Beijing summit a success.

Li Zhaoxing arrived in Washington on Saturday for a working visit to the US He is expected to discuss with US government officials bilateral relations and preparations for President's Bush's upcoming visit to China this month.

(Xinhua News Agency February 5, 2002)

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