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Hu to urge U.S. to pull back on Taiwan

Jiang Zemin with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder in Berlin
Jiang Zemin with German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder in Berlin  

Willy Wo-Lap Lam
CNN Senior China Analyst

(CNN) -- Chinese Vice-President Hu Jintao will present a strong demand to Washington to stop boosting ties with Taiwan on a trip to the U.S. later this month.

Hu, who begins a weeklong trip to the U.S. on the 27th of this month, has been asked by the top leadership to secure reassurance from Washington that it won't form a military alliance with Taiwan.

A Chinese source in Beijing said President Jiang Zemin, who is on a trip to Europe and the Middle East, was in regular contact with Hu on the strategy to take when the latter went on his first tour of the U.S.

Jiang, who heads the Communist Party's Leading Group on Foreign Affairs and Leading Group on Taiwan, is the country's highest decision-maker on U.S. and Taiwan policies.

And Hu, who will become party chief in the autumn, is gradually taking over the diplomacy and Taiwan portfolios.

Eye on Taiwan 

The source said Beijing's main worry at this stage was not so much senior Taiwan politicians visiting the U.S. as the emergence of a U.S.-Taiwan military alliance that is aimed at the mainland.

Military visit

It is understood Chinese authorities are disturbed by reports out of Washington and Taipei that a series of American military teams would soon be visiting Taiwan.

Their main job is to advise the Taiwan military on how to use advanced weapons the latter has acquired from the U.S. and ways to streamline the command and control structure of the Taiwan armed forces.

The first team of naval advisers is scheduled to arrive in Taiwan early next month to hold talks on the design and construction of the eight diesel submarines that the U.S. promised to see the island last year.

And in a speech that was only released on Tuesday, U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz reiterated President George W. Bush's pledge that the U.S. would do "whatever it takes" to defend Taiwan if it were attacked by the mainland.

Call to end arms sales

Wolfowitz also indicated that the U.S. would help Taiwan improve military tactics, including coordination among the different branches of the Taiwan forces.

In her regular briefing on Tuesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhang Qiyue called upon the U.S. to immediately end arms sales to Taiwan.

"History has proven that arms sales to Taiwan by the United States will only encourage Taiwan's attempts to split the motherland and in the end will undermine the self-interest of the U.S," official papers on Wednesday quoted Zhang as saying.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Undersecretary of Commerce for International Trade, Grant Aldonas will start a visit to Taiwan on Thursday.

Aldonas is scheduled to meet President Chen Shui-bian and other senior officials.




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