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China Protests Taiwanese Defense Chief's US Visit

China is showing increased dissatisfaction over what it sees as U.S. unilateralist foreign policies, singling out Washington's recent top-level military talks with Taiwan and the U.S. nuclear strategy among its latest grievances.

Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue says her office summoned the U.S. ambassador to China, Clark Randt, Wednesday to protest Washington's handling of a visit by Taiwanese defense chief Tang Yiau-ming. Ms. Zhang tells reporters in Beijing that "China's ambassador to the United States, Yang Jiechi, also met with U.S. Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Marc Grossman Wednesday, to express China's strong indignation." "Last week's meeting between senior Taiwanese and American defense officials, the highest-level dialogue of its kind in decades, damages Sino-American relations," she said.

On the U.S. nuclear policy, Ms. Zhang repeats an earlier demand that "Washington give an explanation for the Pentagon's Nuclear Posture Review that reportedly lists China as a possible target for nuclear strikes, if it invaded Taiwan.

China has threatened to attack Taiwan if the island declares independence or drags its feet on reunification talks. President Bush has said he would do whatever it takes to defend Taiwan.

Ms. Zhang says that "Taiwan is the most important issue at the core of Sino-American relations." She called on Washington to honor its agreements with China.

Beijing maintains those agreements include a promise to gradually reduce arms sales to Taiwan.

The Chinese spokeswoman says the world faces many complicated threats to its security, and that these threats require multilateral solutions. She says that the latest American actions display a Cold War mentality that is harmful and outdated.

The official China Daily newspaper published an editorial Thursday accusing the United States of unilateralism over a wide range of issues, including arms sales to Taiwan, missile defense, nuclear testing and environmental protection. It says that the United States is blindly putting domestic concerns above its international commitments, and in so doing, endangers its long-term security.