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China protests U.S. backing for Taiwan

China has called on the U.S. to stand by its commitments over the Taiwan issue
China has called on the U.S. to stand by its commitments over the Taiwan issue  

BEIJING, China (CNN) -- Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing has summoned the U.S. ambassador to express Beijing's "strong indignation and resolute opposition" to what it perceives as growing American support for Taiwan.

Beijing considers Taiwan a breakaway province and regards any outside influence on the island's status as interference in its domestic affairs.

State-run CCTV, Xinhua and most Chinese papers reported the story prominently Sunday.

That the strongly worded diplomatic protest was made on a weekend and was widely reported by the Chinese media may have been meant to amplify Beijing's anger.

"The era of Chinese being bullied is long past," Li was quoted as telling Ambassador Clark Randt, adding: "In the world today, it is a very proud thing to be a Chinese."

Li criticized Washington for permitting Taiwan's defense minister, Tang Yiau-ming, to attend a defense convention this month in Florida.

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The visit was the first by a defense minister from Taipei since 1979 when Washington officially switched diplomatic ties to Beijing.

Li also protested the planned visit to the U.S. by former Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui.


Lee has been labeled a "trouble-maker" by Beijing's for his pro-independence efforts during his time in office.

By pampering such figures, Xinhua quoted Li as saying, the U.S. was "inflating the arrogance of the separatist forces in Taiwan."

He said the question of Taiwan was "the most important and most sensitive issue at the heart of China-US relations", adding: "Pampering and supporting 'Taiwan independence' can only meet with the resolute opposition of all the Chinese people and will be doomed to failure."

Chinese officials have also reacted angrily to reports last weekend about a Pentagon contingency plan to use nuclear weapons against China in certain situations, which might include a conflict in the Taiwan Strait.

The Pentagon report says one possible contingency for the use of nuclear weapons is Chinese military action against Taiwan
The Pentagon report says one possible contingency for the use of nuclear weapons is Chinese military action against Taiwan  

Accusing the U.S. of "nuclear sabre-rattling" Li said China was no threat to the United States and stood by its call for the elimination of all nuclear weapons.

"If there is anything good in threatening the Chinese people, it can only be one thing: the Chinese people's vigilance against certain people will be further heightened, their determination to safeguard the motherland's sovereignty, territorial integrity and national dignity will be greatly enhanced," he was quoted as saying.

'Bad actions'

Last week Foreign Ministry spokesman Sun Yuxi said China was "deeply shocked" at reports that China was on a Pentagon nuclear hit list and called on the Bush administration to explain what the weapons review meant for U.S. policy.

China was among seven countries listed on the Pentagon "Nuclear Posture Review" list of potential targets, including Russia, Syria, Libya as well as the three states President Bush has labeled as forming an "axis of evil": North Korea, Iran and Iraq.

"In just over one month, the American side has committed a series of bad actions that trample upon the spirit of 'U.N. Convention' and the three Sino-U.S. communiqués," the Xinhua report said.

As a result the agency said China sees a pattern in Washington's approach to relations, prompting the weekend summons and diplomatic protest.

The three Sino-U.S. communiqués are regarded as the founding guidelines for relations between Washington and Beijing, particularly with regard to the status of Taiwan and what Beijing calls the "one China" principle.

A U.S. State Department spokesman said the Bush administration had no comment on the Chinese complaints.

Ambassador Randt agreed to convey China's protest fully to the highest officials, Xinhua reported.


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