WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Clinton called in China’s ambassador to assure him the visit by Taiwan’s president to the United States does not change U.S.-China relations.
Clinton met Thursday with China’s ambassador, Li Daoyu, to reaffirm U.S. policies amounting to recognition that the regime in Beijing is the only government of China, White House press secretary Mike McCurry said Friday.
McCurry noted, however, tension in the relationship caused by this week’s private visit of Taiwan’s president, Lee Teng-hui, to his alma mater, Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y.
``It’s clear that there is not an agreement between the Chinese side and the U.S. side on that issue,″ McCurry said. ``The president reaffirmed our China policy and indicated that there is nothing about current developments that changes our policy.″
Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency, reported Friday that the Chinese ambassador told Clinton the visit had ``gravely harmed″ bilateral relations and that the United States should not have admitted Lee.
Like most countries, the United States officially recognizes only the Chinese government in Beijing.
Both Beijing and Taipei, the Taiwan capital where the former Nationalist government established itself after the 1949 communist takeover on the mainland, claim to be the true rulers of China. Washington backed the Nationalists until 1978, when it recognized Beijing and reduced ties with Taiwan to an unofficial level.
Lee’s visit was hailed as a diplomatic triumph in his homeland but was barely noted in Washington. The Clinton administration had refused to admit Lee even for a private visit to avoid angering China until Congress passed a resolution demanding that Lee not be barred from U.S. soil.
He is the first Taiwan president to visit the United States.