The Nando Times - China calls for Yugoslavia's sovereignty to be respected

BEIJING (December 27, 1999) - Chinese Prime Minister Zhu Rongji called Monday for Yugoslavia's sovereignty and territorial integrity to be respected in any solution to the ongoing dispute over the territory of Kosovo, China's official media reported.

Zhu, who made the remarks in a meeting with Zivadin Jovanovic, the country's visiting foreign affairs minister, also said the "legitimate rights" of ethnic groups in the country should be guaranteed, according to the Xinhua news agency.

China supported Belgrade during the North Atlantic Treaty Organization airstrikes last spring. The countries moved closer at the beginning of May when NATO planes bombed the Chinese embassy in the Yugoslav capital. The attack killed three journalists and injured 20 other people.

Beijing this month announced it had decided to provide Yugoslavia with aid for humanitarian purposes, but declined to specify the amount. However, the Yugoslav news agency Beta reported that the aid totaled $300 million.

Western countries have ruled out any aid to rebuild Yugoslavia as long as Slobodan Milosevic remained in control of the government.

Jovanovic affirmed Belgrade's support for Beijing's "one-China" policy, including its view of Taiwan as a province of the mainland.

"Yugoslavia hopes to engage itself in long-term and comprehensive cooperation with China," he said.

The minister arrived Saturday for a five-day official visit.

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