From a news briefing yesterday by State Department spokesman James P. Rubin:

Q: Jamie, you began your statement . . . with the fact that it's up to the Chinese to decide their future. . . .

Now, the one-China policy . . . was . . . not simply "we have a one-China policy," but "we recognize the Chinese people believe there is one China." . . . Now, if some of the Chinese people -- like the people doing very well on their own on Taiwan, with a flourishing economy and a democracy and all of the above -- don't want to be part of that other China, which they find reprehensible in lots of ways, will the U.S. continue to insist that there's only one China, if the Chinese themselves say there isn't one China anymore?

Mr. Rubin: Well, we do not support Taiwan independence. We do not support Taiwanese membership in organizations where statehood is required. We do not support a two-China policy or a one-China, one-Taiwan policy. . . .

Q: . . . But your one-China policy is based, isn't it, on the wishes of the Chinese people?

A: Our one-China policy is based on our national interest.

Q: . . . It's an election season, or close to one, in Taiwan. Do you think that might have something to do with this statement of nationalistic rhetoric?

A: It's very hard for me to speculate on that prior to the conversation that . . . is expected to happen tomorrow . . . with Taiwanese authorities in Taipei through our offices there that are called "unofficial offices."