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White House: Bush was following Taiwan Relations Act

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (CNN) -- The White House Wednesday was trying to clarify just why President Bush chose to say, in a series of recent interviews, that the United States would defend Taiwan if it were attacked by China.


Condoleezza Rice, Bush's National Security Adviser, told reporters traveling with Bush in Little Rock that the president was following the Taiwan Relations Act, which Congress passed in 1979.

The law, Rice said, "makes very clear the United States has an obligation that Taiwan's peaceful way of life is not upset by force."

Rice said the president's comments that the United States would defend Taiwan show "how seriously and resolutely he takes this obligation."

"A secure Taiwan will be better able to engage in cross-strait dialogue," she added.

Meantime, a senior administration official who did not want to be identified said that China's military buildup made it more important that the president make such a statement at this time.

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