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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

New lights on six-party talks

PLA Daily 2004-01-07

BEIJING, Jan. 7 (Xinhuanet) -- China and Russia want the second round of six-party talks to take place soon, but a Chinese diplomat said Tuesday China has proposed better preparation for the next meeting so as to lay a foundation for further progress.

"The two sides have expressed their hope to jointly push forward the multilateral negotiation process, so that the second round would be held early this year,'' Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan said at tuesday's regular press briefing.

A Chinese foreign ministry delegation, headed by special envoy Ning Fukui, held two days of talks in Moscow on Sunday and Monday, with a Russian team headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov. The goal of the meeting was to organize a second round of six-party talks on the nuclear issue in the Korean Peninsula.

Ning, who served as the Chinese foreign ministry's vice director of Korean affairs from 1995 until 2000, was appointed last month as a special ambassador to co-ordinate the stalled talks.

The talks between the two sides, which Kong said were "positive," come as an unofficial US delegation is headed for Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in the hope of visiting the nuclear plant in Yongbyon.

There has been no outside access granted to the site since UN inspectors were expelled during a visit at the end of 2002.

"We hope the visit of this (US) delegation will be conducive to settling the dispute,'' said Kong.

The US delegation, which includes a former government official and a retired academic, flew to the DPRK yesterday for its five-day stay.

A first round of discussions involving the DPRK, the Republic of Korea (ROK), the United States, China, Russia, and Japan took place in Beijing last August, but ended without an exact date for a second round of talks.

Kong expressed China's desire to draft a statement to be agreed on at a second round of the talks, adding that sufficient preparation is a foundation for progress in the second round.

Kong said that all the concerned parties have been maintaining close contacts, and agreed to resolve the nuclear standoff through peaceful means.

Pyongyang said yesterday it is willing to refrain from testing and producing nuclear weapons and stop nuclear activities.

"The DPRK is set to refrain from the testing and production of nuclear weapons and stop even operating its nuclear power industry for a peaceful purpose, such as first-phase measures of the package solution,'' the official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said in a commentary, saying it "cannot but be one more bold concession.''

Also at yesterday's briefing, Kong confirmed that the second round of high-level talks to resolve the border dispute between China and India will be held in January in China, saying that specific items including an exact date are under discussion.

"We hope that the two sides can actively explore ways to resolve border disputes on the basis of further Sino-Indian relations, and from the overall situation of bilateral ties,'' Kong said.

China and India had discussed a formula for swapping disputed border territory during the first round of talks last October.

The Sino-Indian boundary question was left over by British colonialists from the history.

China and India share a border of about 2,000 kilometres. The disputed areas cover about 125,000 square kilometres.

In 1914, Britain concocted the unlawful McMahon Line, which has never been recognized by successive Chinese governments.

The two countries fought a brief war over the border in 1962, which greatly impaired bilateral ties.

Turning to Afghanistan's historic new constitution, Kong said it was another significant step towards peace and would lay the foundations for lasting stability and development.

Divided ethnic and political factions ratified the Constitution on January 4, with the active encouragement of the transitional government and other parties, Kong said.

"As a friendly neighbour of Afghanistan, China will continue to support Afghanistan's development toward peace, and would support peace and stability in Afghanistan with the international community,'' Kong said.

The loya jirga on Sunday adopted the country's first post-Taliban constitution, with the majority of the 502 delegates approving a presidential system for the Islamic republic, paving the way for democratic elections later this year.

(China Daily)



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