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The BBC's Jon Leyne
"Once again US- China relations are threatened by a new crisis"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 29 February, 2000, 20:55 GMT
China renews Taiwan threat
Ivanov and Jiaxuan
Mr Ivanov (left) confirmed Russia's support for China's claim to Taiwan
By the BBC's Paul Anderson in Moscow

The Chinese Foreign Minister, Tang Jiaxuan, has used a visit to Russia, China's new strategic partner, to renew warnings that Beijing may use military force to settle the dispute over Taiwan.

Mr Tang Jiaxuan arrived in Moscow for three days of talks aimed at building on steadily-improving relations with Russia.

His comments on the possible use of force to settle the dispute over Taiwan are not new.

Beijing has been stoking up such warnings for the past week.

But the Chinese Foreign Minister lost no opportunity to repeat them in a country that China now sees as a friend confronting the same threat to national interests from the United States.

Warning to Washington

In an obvious reference to Washington, Mr Tang said force over Taiwan could be aimed against those declaring independence, and against the attempts of certain foreign countries to intervene in China's internal affairs.

His Russian counterpart, Igor Ivanov, did not comment on the military threat, but repeated Moscow's support for the Chinese sovereignty claim over Taiwan.

Russia, he said, stood against any interference of third countries in the process.

Strategic partnership

The two ministers also hailed their new-found strategic partnership.

That partnership is based not just on Moscow's support over Taiwan and Beijing's support over Chechnya, but on huge Russian arms sales to China and on joint opposition to the development of a new American missile shield.

It is based also on joint efforts to derail what both countries see as American domination of global affairs.

Both want to forge a multi-polar world in which China and Russia have a far greater say in the management of global crises than they do at present.

Mr Tang's trip to Moscow, which includes a meeting with the acting President, Vladimir Putin, is part of that - designed to consolidate co-operation in a range of fields.

It will also pave the way for visits by the Chinese and Russian heads of State to each other's countries later this year.

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See also:

21 Feb 00 |  Asia-Pacific
China warns of force against Taiwan
20 Jul 99 |  Asia-Pacific
Taiwan ignores Chinese warnings
20 Jul 99 |  Asia-Pacific
Understanding Taiwan's tactics
20 Jul 99 |  Asia-Pacific
China's military might
24 Feb 00 |  Asia-Pacific
Analysis: The trouble with Taiwan
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