Taiwan: Taiwan to top agenda as US national security adviser Rice visits China
"US national security advisor Ms. Condoleezza Rice will visit China this week from (July) 8-9," said foreign ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue, adding that Chinese leaders will discuss the Taiwan issue with her.
"The Taiwan issue is at the core of and is the most sensitive issue in China-US relations. Whether the Taiwan issue can be appropriately handled will determine whether Sino-US relations can develop smoothly," Zhang stressed.
She urged the United States to "strictly abide by" previous agreements with China, including the agreement to recognize that Taiwan is part of Chinese territory, to oppose Taiwanese independence and to gradually reduce arms sales to the island.
"This is the political basis of whether Sino-US relations can develop healthily," Zhang said. "So I think during Rice's visit to China, Chinese leaders will discuss this issue with her."
Tension between Beijing and Taipei has been heightened since the island's President Chen Shui-bian was re-elected this year, with China fearful his pro-independence moves are aimed at gaining formal independence.
China considers Taiwan, which separated from the mainland at the end of a civil war in 1949, part of its territory awaiting reunification and considers the United States its biggest obstacle if it needs to take it back by force.
Rice's visit comes with China this month due to carry out its largest military exercises of the year aimed at sending a "substantial warning" to Taiwan separatists.
The military drills will take place on Dongshan Island in southeastern China's Fujian province, just 150 nautical miles west of Taiwan's Penghu Island.
Washington has warned against an increasing military build-up by China across the Taiwan Strait separating the mainland from the island and insists its arms sales to Taiwan are for defensive purposes.
While in Beijing, Rice and Chinese officials will also discuss international issues, Zhang said.
She declined to state what would be discussed by topics likely to make the agenda include developments in the North Korean nuclear standoff and the handover of power in Iraq.
"I believe through this visit both sides will fully exchange views on important issues in Sino-US relations and international issues of mutual concern," Zhang said.
Rice will fly into Japan on Wednesday to meet with Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi before visiting China and then heading to South Korea on Friday.