Mar 1, 1990


GENEVA, FEBRUARY 27 (BY CHAKRAVARTHI RAGHAVAN) -- Any consideration of Taiwan's participation in the GATT can come up only after China is able to resume its status as a GATT Contracting Party, and subject to the agreement of the Chinese government, the Foreign Minister of the People's Republic of China, Qian Qichen has said.

The Foreign Minister made these views known at a press conference Tuesday, after his address at the Conference on Disarmament.

Qian had been asked about the recent application of Taiwan to accede to the General Agreement on the basis of its being an autonomous customs territory, and the comments from Washington implying that the United States was now favourable to this.

Qian recalled that in 1971, after the UN General Assembly decision seating the PRC as the legitimate representative of China in the UN, the GATT CONTRACTING PARTIES had expelled Taiwan as "observer" in GATT.

"There is only one China in the world and the government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legal government of China", Qian declared.

"The application of the Taiwanese authorities to participate in the GATT as observer or as a (CP) an independent customs territory is totally absurd".

"Only when China's seat in GATT has been restored, and subject to the agreement of the Chinese government, only can any consideration be given to the participation of Taiwan in GATT", the Chinese Foreign Minister added.

About the difficulties being faced in the resumption of status as GATT CP, Qian noted that a GATT working party was going into the question, where some countries had raised difficulties about China's participation in the GATT. They seemed doubtful about the Chinese policy of reform and opening up to the outside world.

"Our policy has not changed at all", he said. "We have been forced to adopt measures to curb inflation and stabilise the economy. But this will not mean we will not carry out the reforms or pursue the policy of opening up. But all countries have to take measures to curb inflation".

In response to other questions, Qian said the relations of China with countries of Eastern Europe were state-to-state relations, based on principles of co-existence including non-interference in internal affairs, and were unaffected by recent developments and the end of several communist regimes.

"We will still have normal relations with East European countries and our relations will not change by the changes in these countries", he declared.

China did not feel in any way "isolated" by the fact that less and less countries in the world had communist regimes, Qian told another questioner.

In the past, when the USSR and East European countries had communist governments, there had been a degree of confrontation between China and them. "Even in those circumstances we did not feel isolated, and we do not feel isolated either now".

On relations with the U.S., Qian noted that over the last year or so, the U.S. had adopted measures of economic sanctions and political pressures, which China did not accept. The U.S. had adopted these measures because the U.S. disliked this or that policy in China.

In the two bilateral meetings with the U.S. national security advisor and other officials, both sides had agreed bilateral relations were important and of benefit to both sides and should be maintained, but the two sides had differences on some issues.

"China is different from the U.S. The U.S. cannot become China nor can China become the U.S. Countries have to deal with each other and it is impossible for one country to impose its will on the other".