Morrison, James, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)
Byline: James Morrison
Chinese Ambassador Yang Jiechi yesterday said China would use force to bring about the "peaceful reunification" of Taiwan.
He also insisted that China has an independent judiciary, when asked about the 10-year prison sentence imposed yesterday on Chinese-born American scholar Gao Zhan for spying.
Mr. Yang, in remarks before the National Press Club, said China wants improved relations with the United States but warned the Bush administration it could "cause serious harm" if it mishandles the Taiwan issue. President Bush, who is due to visit China later this year, has said the United States will defend Taiwan against any Chinese attempt to reunify the island by force. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell is scheduled to visit China Saturday.
"While I am optimistic about . . . the tremendous potential for China-U.S. cooperation, I don't mean there are no sticking points," Mr. Yang said.
"To China, the issue of biggest concern is the Taiwan question, which, if not properly handled, will cause serious harm to China-U.S. relations because it is an issue that touches the sentiments of the 1.3 billion Chinese people and bears on China's sovereignty, territorial integrity and national reunification."
Mr. Yang insisted China is a "peace-loving country" that will never "seek to any kind of dominance in the region or the world."
However, he added, "We will not give up the possibility of the use of force precisely for the purpose of bringing about the peaceful reunification of the country."
Mr. Yang said force could be necessary to "deter some extremists on the island and anywhere else from championing the so-called cause of Taiwan independence."
The new U.S. ambassador to Israel yesterday said he is trying to persuade Israelis to accept foreign observers to monitor a cease-fire with the Palestinians.
Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer also called on Egypt and Jordan to send their ambassadors back to Israel.
Mr. Kurtzer, who presented his diplomatic credentials to Israeli President Moshe Katsav, said he is "very encouraged by the first week that I've had in Israel and the quality of our discussions. …