The Clinton administration, mindful of Chinese concerns, has no plans to send an official delegation to the inauguration of Taiwan President Lee Teng-hui. It also hopes Mr Lee will not seek a return visit to the United States soon. The issue of US representation at the May 20 swearing-in arose yesterday when Assistant Secretary of State Winston Lord said a US delegation was expected to attend the festivities, but he gave no details. A State Department official later clarified that the Clinton administration planned to send an unofficial delegation to Mr Lee's inauguration 'in keeping with past practice'. He noted that when Mr Lee was inaugurated in 1990, several members of Congress attended along with a Ford administration interior secretary, Thomas Kleppe. Meanwhile, the White House said yesterday it had no plans for Mr Lee to visit the US despite conservative Senator Jesse Helms' decision to invite him. A Chinese government spokesman yesterday warned that the US should follow the 'one-China' principle laid out in its three joint communiques with Beijing 'instead of turning the question of Taiwan into an explosive issue'. The comments from Foreign Ministry spokesman Shen Guofang were apparently in response to Senator Helms reiterating a day earlier his 'long-standing' invitation for Mr Lee to visit the US. Mr Shen said: 'We have noted the US Government has on many occasions indicated that it does not hope to see [negative] effects on the development of Sino-US relations brought on by such things as an invitation to Taiwan leaders to visit the US.' Senator Helms has clarified that his controversial invitation to Mr Lee is long-standing and depends on the Taiwan leader making the first move. 'When President Lee indicates his desire and willingness to make such a visit, I will take the lead in organising a congressional invitation, and the red carpet will be rolled out for him,' said Senator Helms, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. 'The State Department has indicated this is 'not the right time' for such a visit,' he said. Mr Lee is said to have given tacit agreement to Washington's request not to ask for another US visa this year. But according to a Taiwan source in Washington: 'If he wants to keep good relations with the US, Lee probably should decline the invitation - but politically, it would be difficult to decline for domestic reasons.' In Taipei, several Taiwanese lawmakers urged Mr Lee to accept the invitation. But a Foreign Ministry spokesman said the President would not consider a visit unless the invitation came from an agreement between President Bill Clinton and Congress.