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President Bush Reaffirms 'One-China' Policy - 2004-05-30

President Bush has reaffirmed his commitment to the "one-China" policy in a conversation with his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao. The reassurance came after China criticized the United States for allowing Taiwan's vice president to make transit stops in the United States en route to and from Central America.

China's foreign ministry said that President Bush gave the reassurance to President Hu in a telephone conversation Saturday evening.

In a statement Sunday, the foreign ministry said Mr. Bush "strongly reiterated" his support for the one-China policy, which has guided Sino-U.S. relations since 1972. The foreign ministry said Mr. Bush also restated his opposition to Taiwan independence.

The conversation between the two leaders was an apparent attempt by Washington to sooth relations between Washington and Beijing. Last week, China condemned the United States for allowing the newly re-elected vice president of Taiwan, Annette Lu, to stop in the United States for a brief visit on either side of an official trip to Central America. China's Foreign Ministry said that Mrs. Lu's visit could "sabotage" Sino-U.S. relations.

Beijing considers the island of Taiwan, which has been self-governed since 1949, to be a part of China. Beijing says the two must eventually be reunited, and has threatened to use force if the Taiwan government makes any moves towards independence.

Although the United States does not maintain official diplomatic ties with Taiwan, it remains one of the island's chief allies and its main arms supplier.

Beijing routinely opposes visits to the United States by Taiwan officials, arguing that such visits suggest an implicit recognition of the Taiwan government.

On Friday, Mrs. Lu stopped in Las Vegas while traveling to several countries in Central America. She plans to visit San Francisco for several days on her return journey to Taiwan.

Despite the unofficial nature of her stay in the United States, Mrs. Lu was scheduled to meet with members of the U.S. Congress while on American soil.