Oct 26, 2004

Taiwan: China rebuffs Powell on Talks with Taiwan

Chinese officials Monday rebuffed Secretary of State Colin Powells suggestion
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Chinese officials Monday rebuffed Secretary of State Colin Powell’s suggestion they use a possibly conciliatory speech by Taiwanese president Chen Shui-bian to restart cross-straits discussions, telling him in strong terms that they are not impressed by Chen’s words and are worried about his actions.

After a series of meetings with top Chinese leaders, including President Hu Jintao, Powell told reporters the Chinese had agreed to begin a dialogue once again with the United States on human rights that had been halted for seven months. He also indicated Chinese officials planned to use their influence to prod North Korea to return to talks on ending its nuclear programs

But Powell received a non-committal answer when he inquired about the recent arrest of a New York Times researcher, and he clearly came away empty-handed on Taiwan, which China considers a renegade province. In a National Day speech two weeks ago, Chen proposed the resumption of long-suspended talks on the basis of a 1992 understanding that there is only ‘‘one China’’, but the governments in Beijing and Taipei have different ideas of what that means.

Chen’s gesture was regarded as a concession in Taiwan, which is in the midst of a campaign for parliamentary elections. Previously, Chen and his Democratic Progressive Party rejected such diplomatic ambiguity, insisting Taiwan is a separate country.

A State Department official, on condition of anonymity, said: ‘‘They gave him an earful on Taiwan.’’ He said Chinese leaders ‘‘gave him no indication they would be responsive’’ on his advice to seize an opening with Taiwan.

Source: The Indian Express