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Staff writer

China has informally asked Japan to spell out the so-called “three noes” policy toward Taiwan in a new document to be issued in early September during President Jiang Zemin’s visit to Tokyo, government sources said Tuesday.

The sources said Beijing wants Japan to declare articulately in the planned document its firm objections to “two Chinas,” Taiwan’s independence and the Taipei government’s entry into international organizations, including the United Nations.

But Japan will reject the Chinese request because accepting it would fuel anti-China sentiments among pro-Taiwan lawmakers of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party — who are far from small in number — and possibly undermine government efforts to create a favorable atmosphere for Jiang’s visit, the sources said.

The informal Chinese request apparently reflects Beijing’s persistent concerns over the new defense cooperation guidelines between Japan and the United States, announced last September.

The guidelines were compiled in line with a Japanese-U.S. security declaration issued in Tokyo in April 1996 by Prime Minister Ryutaro Hashimoto and President Bill Clinton.

The declaration clearly shifted the focus of the bilateral security alliance away from a joint defense of Japan against possible attacks from third countries and more toward cooperation during emergencies outside Japanese territory, possibly including a conflict on the Taiwan Strait.

Beijing regards Taiwan as a renegade province and has not yet renounced the use of military force, if necessary, to reunify the island with the mainland. During the heightened tension on the Taiwan Strait immediately before Taiwan’s first direct presidential election in the spring of 1996, the U.S. sent two aircraft carriers — one from Japan — close to the island.

President Jiang is scheduled to visit Japan as a state guest in early September, becoming the first Chinese head of state to do so in the long history of Sino-Japanese relations. When the Chinese leader came to Tokyo in April 1992, he was head of the Chinese Communist Party but did not hold the largely ceremonial title of president.

The document to be issued — at Beijing’s request — is aimed at setting the framework for Sino-Japanese relations in the 21st century, the sources said. The document would be the third since the 1972 joint statement that normalized diplomatic relations and the 1978 peace and friendship treaty.

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