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US disowns new Taiwan policy

PEKING UNLEASHED a torrent of rhetoric yesterday, after Taiwan announced without warning that it was abandoning the One-China policy that has governed its uneasy co- existence with the mainland for almost half a century. But it made no immediate move to act on threats to retake the island - which it regards as a rebel province - by force.

Peking has warned Taiwan "not to underestimate the Chinese government's firm determination to uphold the nation's sovereignty, dignity and territorial integrity". The flare-up followed a statement by Taipei that it now regarded Taiwan-China relations as matters between distinct Chinese states. Taipei claimed that the One-China formula, with its acceptance of Taiwan as part of an indivisible China, was being used to undermine the island's government.

The United States reaffirmed its support yesterday for One China.