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Last Updated: Sunday, 6 March, 2005, 15:28 GMT
China warns against Taiwan ties
Police officers outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing
China is wary of the US and Japan's relationship with Taiwan
China will not tolerate the US and Japan including Taiwan in a security alliance, Chinese foreign minister Li Zhaoxing has said.

Speaking to reporters at the annual National People's Congress, Mr Li said any co-operation between the three would encroach on China's sovereignty.

China sees Taiwan as its territory, and says it is committed to reunification.

Mr Li also called for an end to the EU's arms embargo, but said China did not need to buy any of its weapons.

Mr Li said the embargo should be lifted primarily because it was a jarring note in the partnership between the Beijing and the EU.

Controversial law

The relationship between the US, Japan and Taiwan should be "strictly restricted to a bilateral nature", Mr Li said.

"Any practice of putting Taiwan directly or indirectly into the scope of Japan-US security co-operation constitutes an encroachment on China's sovereignty and interference in China's internal affairs," he said

Tung Chee-hwa
Tung may retire

"The Chinese government and people are firmly against such activities."

US and Japanese officials said last month that the peaceful resolution of the Taiwan issue was a common strategic objective - a move that angered China.

The annual Congress meeting is due to approve a controversial "anti-secession" law on Tuesday, which would not allow Taiwan to separate from China.

An estimated 15,000 people in southern Taiwan demonstrated against the proposed law on Sunday.

Some in Taiwan fear the law will be used to justify an attack on Taiwan, if it moves towards independence.

China has insisted that the law is aimed at moving towards a peaceful reunification with Taiwan, but it regularly threatens to use force if Taiwan declares independence.

Arms sales

The European Union's 15-year arms embargo on China was imposed in the aftermath of China's crackdown on protesters in Tiananmen Square in 1989.

Most European Union countries back lifting the embargo, but Washington wants Europe to maintain the restrictions, because it fears EU weapons could in the future threaten Taiwan or US forces in the region.

The political future of Hong Kong Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa, whom the Hong Kong media say is set to retire with two years left in his second term, is also in the spotlight.

Mr Tung, who is in Beijing for the meeting of the advisory body to the NPC, the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, hinted on Sunday that he would soon end speculation over his widely tipped resignation.

At a meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao on Saturday, the president told Mr Tung central government "fully approves" of his work, saying that he had united the people of Hong Kong after the former British territory's reunification with China in 1997.


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