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7/19/04 - TAIWAN ARMS SALES - 2004-07-19

White House National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice reportedly told Chinese officials in Beijing this month that the U.S. will continue to sell weapons to Taiwan for purposes of self-defense.

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher says the policy of President George W. Bush is that the U.S. opposes unilateral actions by either China or Taiwan to change the status quo:

“For Beijing, this means no use of force or other forms of coercion against Taiwan. For Taipei, it means exercising prudence in managing all aspects of cross-strait relations. We do not support Taiwan independence. For both sides, it means no statements or actions that would unilaterally alter Taiwan’s status. We continue the sale of appropriate defensive military equipment to Taiwan in accordance with the Taiwan Relations Act.”

James Kelly, Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, recently told members of the U.S. Congress that U.S. policy on China continues to be based on three joint communiques issued by the U.S. and the Peoples Republic of China and the 1979 Taiwan Relations Act. America’s “one-China” policy, said Mr. Kelly, has made “vital contributions to easing tensions” between Taiwan and the Peoples Republic of China. An environment has been created in which people-to-people exchanges across the Taiwan Strait and cross-strait trade have been flourishing.

The “foremost concern” of the U.S., said Assistant Secretary of State Kelly, “is maintaining peace and stability in order to advance U.S. interests, spare the [East Asia] region the dangers of war, safeguard Taiwan’s democracy, and promote China’s constructive integration into the global community, as well as the spread of personal freedom in China.” Mr. Kelly said that the U.S. has an “abiding commitment to preserve peace in the Taiwan Strait.”