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Chinese FM, British Foreign Secretary Talk over Phone
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Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing had a phone conversation Sunday with British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw, during which the two officials exchanged views on issues including Iraq, the Mideast and the nuclear issue of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

On the Iraq issue, Straw said that a government elected by the Iraqi people should be established as soon as possible, and the United Nations should play a role to this end.

Li said the international community shares the common wish that Iraq's post-war arrangements and reconstruction should be resolved within the UN framework.

The Chinese side holds that related arrangements should be conducive to the long-term interests of the Iraqi people and to lasting peace and stability in the Mideast and the Gulf region, said Li, adding that China remains open to any proposals that would facilitate the realization of the above-mentioned goals.

On the Mideast issue, Straw said that the "Road Map" peace plan constitutes a good opportunity for the Mideast peace process, and the international community should continue urging the parties concerned, including Palestine and Israel, to take active and constructive steps to push forward this process.

Li said China welcomes the unveiling of the "Road Map" for Mideast peace and hopes that Israel and Palestine would seize the current favorable opportunity and cooperate with the international community's efforts to ensure the resumption of peace talks as soon as possible.

China is ready to cooperate with the international community, including the British side, to push for a settlement of the Mideast issue, said Li, adding that China's special envoy, Wang Shijie, will visit the Mideast again in the near future.

Straw spoke highly of the Beijing talks on the DPRK nuclear issue held between China, the United States and the DPRK.

Li reiterated that the DPRK nuclear issue should be resolved peacefully through dialogue.

He said there are still many uncertain factors regarding this issue at present, however, talks are better than no talks.

He said the key is that the parties concerned must have the political will to resolve this issue, keep the momentum for dialogue and avoid any moves that could lead to an escalation of the situation so as to keep the Beijing talks process going to facilitate the realization of the non-nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and peace and stability in the region.

Li reiterated his thanks for the British government's support for the Chinese people's fight against severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).

(Xinhua News Agency May 12, 2003)

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