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How Many Chinas?

The single most important issue dividing the U.S. and China is Taiwan, reports CBS News Senior White House Correspondent Scott Pelley.

The president called for the peaceful reunification of the island with Mainland China Tuesday, but China did not get the changes in U.S. policy they were hoping for.

CBS.com reports on President Clinton's trip to China
"I think we have a consistent policy," said Mr. Clinton. "...We have encouraged a cross-strait dialogue and I think eventually it will bear fruit if everyone is patient and works hard."

In repeating long standing policy Mr. Clinton said the U.S. does not support independence for Taiwan or the current "one China -- one Taiwan" status quo. The president added that the U.S. does not support Taiwanese admission to the U.N. or other world bodies.

Taiwan is a thriving, democratic island of 21,000,000 people, founded by those who fled the communist revolution in China. For 50 years there has been a tense military standoff. Many Chinese mainlanders believe the island would be theirs if the U.S. did not provide military support to Taiwan.

The president did the absolute minimum to prevent a rift with China. Beijing wants the U.S. to write down its "one china" policy and cut military support for Taiwan. That is not expected to happen anytime soon. As such, Taiwan will likely stand as an obstacle on the road to normal relations with China for years to come.

Meanwhile, Mr. Clinton continued to press for improvements in human rights during a Shanghai radio show early Tuesday.

"Whatever differences we have in our systems and the differences of opinion we have about what human rights policy ought to be. . . By working on the things we have in common we may also come to an understanding about how to manage our differences." Mr. Clinton said.

Reported by Scott Pelley
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