U.S., Chinese foreign policy leaders meet on Asian situation

The State Department's No. 2 official met with a Chinese vice foreign minister for a discussion of Taiwan, trade, North Korean nuclear disarmament, religious freedom and Internet access in China, the State Department said Wednesday.

Deputy Secretary of State Robert Zoellick met with Yang Jiechi on Tuesday at the State Department, deputy spokesman Adam Ereli said. The two also discussed preparations for the visit to Washington in April by Chinese President Hu Jintao.

Ereli gave no details on the discussions.

He spoke to reporters after Taiwan's president, Chen Shui-bian, pledged to press ahead with a plan to repeal long-established guidelines governing unification with China. Repeal would seem to be a major change the situation between the communist mainland government and the island 100 miles (160 kilometers) across the Taiwan Strait that Beijing considers a rebellious province.

Ereli would not to confirm reports that the Bush administration dispatched National Security Council official Dennis Wilder to Taiwan to try to persuade Chen to retain the guidelines.

Without referring directly to Chen's position, Ereli reaffirmed that the United States is opposed to unilateral changes in the status quo by either Taiwan or China.

He said the United States believes dialogue between Beijing and Taipei is the best way to resolve cross-strait differences, reports AP.


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