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Clinton: US Committed to ‘1 China’

July 19, 1999

WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Clinton assured Chinese President Jiang Zemin in a telephone call Sunday that the United States is committed to its ``one China″ policy despite Taiwan’s moves toward independence.

Clinton spoke with Jiang for a half-hour from the presidential retreat at Camp David in Maryland, said White House spokesman David Leavy. He said the two leaders discussed an array of U.S.-Chinese issues, and Clinton reiterated U.S. policy with regard to China and Taiwan.

``He hoped both sides could maintain a dialogue, and the cross-straits issues could be resolved peacefully,″ Leavy said.

China has promised to crush any attempt by Taiwan to break away, after Taiwanese President Lee Teng-hui stated July 9 that relations with China should be conducted on a ``state-to-state″ basis.

Leavy said Sunday evening that he had no comment about a report from the official Chinese Xinhua News Agency that Jiang specifically told Clinton that China will not rule out force against Taiwan if the island tries to split from the mainland.

Lee’s statement rattled Washington, partly because of the uncertainty it created. While the United States has recognized Beijing as the official government since 1979, it also supports Taiwan militarily.

Taiwan is the seat of the Nationalist government that fled mainland China after the Communist takeover 50 years ago. China regards the island as a renegade province.

The developments are expected to come up this week when Secretary of State Madeleine Albright sees Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan during a meeting in Singapore.

Update hourly