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US Report on Missile Build-up Denounced

The Chinese Foreign Ministry Friday denounced a US report which said the mainland was aiming more missiles at Taiwan, and accused Washington of making excuses to sell weapons to the island's government.

Some people in the United States have exaggerated the mainland's military power and the so-called threat to Taiwan, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan.

"The goal is to find an excuse to sell advanced weapons to Taiwan and mislead public opinion," he said. "The Chinese side expresses its strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition."

The report released on Wednesday by the Pentagon said the mainland was acquiring short-range missiles at a much faster rate than previously thought. It said preparing for potential conflict with Taiwan was the "primary driver" of mainland's military modernization.

"There is nothing wrong with the build-up of defence and military deployments by China, a sovereign state, to safeguard national security and territorial integrity," said Kong, stressing that China's national security policy is defensive.

Reaffirming the Chinese Government's policy of "peaceful reunification" and "one country, two systems", Kong said the growth of the independence movement in Taiwan is the greatest menace to the stability across the Taiwan Straits.

He said China hoped the United States will honour its commitments and adhere to the three Sino-US joint communiques and the one-China policy, and oppose Taiwan's "independence".

Kong Friday also reasserted China's sovereignty over Diaoyu Islands in the East China Sea.

He called on Japan to "properly handle" the issue by following the Sino-Japanese Joint Statement and the one-China principle.

Taiwanese media reported recently that the island province and Japan had reached a consensus to designate the area between the 27th and the 29th parallel north as a region where both can fish.

However, the Japanese foreign ministry on Wednesday denied the report.

For quite some time, Taiwan people who fish in the waters off Diaoyu Islands have been driven out by Japanese maritime police.

"The Chinese Government has all along attached importance to safeguarding the interests of Taiwan compatriots, including the interests of fishermen," said Kong.

Kong reaffirmed in June that China has indisputable sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands and its adjacent islands and that any attempts to seize Chinese territory would not succeed.

Kong refuted reports that South Pacific nation Nauru had closed its unofficial embassy in Beijing to establish diplomatic ties with Taiwan; and said bilateral ties had developed well since the two established diplomatic relations one year ago.

The government of Nauru has on many occasions noted it would appoint an ambassador to China and officially open an embassy, said Kong, vowing that China would help it build the embassy.

Further discussions are taking place on the second round of Beijing Talks to resolve the Korean nuclear weapons issue, Kong said Friday, when answering a question on whether the tripartite talks between China, the United States and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) will be held in Beijing in the first week of September.

He was also asked to be specific on the progress made in resolving the Korean nuclear question which was discussed by US President George W. Bush in his phone conversation with Chinese President Hu Jintao on Wednesday evening.

Thanks to the concerted efforts of China and other parties, all sides concerned were positive about beginning a second round of Beijing Talks, said Kong.

Further discussions on when and how to proceed with the talks were underway, Kong said.

(Sources from China Daily and Xinhua News Agency August 2, 2003)

Beijing Reaffirms Position on Diaoyu Islands, Taiwan
US, China Discuss Korean Security Issue
China's Sovereignty over Diaoyu Islands Defended
Diaoyu Islands: China's Territory Since Ancient Times
Nauru Committed to Nauru-China Ties
Book Tells Truth of Diaoyu Islands
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
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