Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said Thursday
that China has decided to cut debts from Iraq and will reopen the
Chinese embassy in that country.
To support Iraq's post-war reconstruction, China has decided to
remit a large amount of the debts owed to China by the Middle East
nation out of humanitarian concerns, Zhang said at a regular news
conference in Beijing.
She noted the concrete amount to be reduced is now being
calculated and studied by the two sides.
As a developing country, China fully understands difficulties of
the reconstruction and the humanitarian situation in Iraq, she
explained, expressing the hope that the Iraqi people can quickly
step on the road of stable and peaceful development.
According to the spokeswoman, under the escort of Chinese armed
police dispatched from home, a group of Chinese diplomats will
leave for Baghdad on February 15 to make preparations for the
reopening of the Chinese Embassy. The group will be headed by
Chinese interim Charged' Affairs to Iraq Sun Bigan, and is composed
of officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry
Zhang said that upon their arrival in Iraq, these diplomats will
keep wide contact with officials from the temporary Governing
Council of Iraq, the US-led coalition and the United Nations, so as
to make further preparations for the reopening of the Chinese
Embassy in Iraq.
China has traditional friendly relations with Iraq, and holds
very positive attitude on Iraq's quick restoration of stability and
peace. With the efforts of this group of diplomats, China will
further develop the traditional friendship with the Iraqi people
and maintain its rights and interests in Iraq.
These diplomats will also assist Chinese people in Iraq in the
country's reconstruction work, she said.
Sun, who was former Chinese Ambassador to Iraq, and his staff
are temporarily in Jordan.
When asked to comment on the Iraq war since the weapons of
mass-destruction have not yet been found in Iraq, the spokeswoman
said China's stance on the Iraq issue remains unchanged and China
maintains that international conflicts should not be addressed
through military forces.
She stressed China has stated its stance on the Iraq issue even
before the Iraq war and such a stance has remained unchanged.
Despite of the complicated international situation,
international issues should be resolved peacefully by political
means, she added.
Also at yesterday's briefing, the spokeswoman said China, as the
rotating president of the United Nations Security Council in
February, will strive for positive progress in solving some major
issues of the world.
In this process, China will keep close contact with members of
the United Nations and the UN Secretariat for joint efforts on the
principle of "being pragmatic, efficient, fair and transparent," so
as to maintain the role and authority of the United Nations, Zhang
The UN council would hold consultations on issues concerning
Cote d'Ivoire, Liberia, the Democratic Republic of Congo, East
Timor, Kosovo and the Middle East in February, Zhang said.
The 15-member council will also closely track events in Iraq,
according to Council President Wang Guangya of China.
Turning to Indian-Pak relations, the spokeswoman said China
welcomes the recent announcement by India and Pakistan to start the
As a common neighbor and friend of both India and Pakistan,
China is willing to witness further relief of the Indian-Pakistani
ties, Zhang said.
Zhang said China hoped the two sides would maintain this good
momentum and solve all disputes through dialogue, so as to push
forward the all-around development of bilateral relations.
This was beneficial not only to South Asian countries including
India and Pakistan, but also to Asia and the world at large, Zhang
Pakistani Foreign Office spokesman Masood Khan said on Jan. 27
at a weekly press briefing that the two nations will start the
composite dialogue in Islamabad from Feb. 16 to Feb. 18.
In January this year on the sidelines of the 12th Summit of the
South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Pakistani
President Pervez Musharraf and Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari
Vajpayee held a meeting and decided to open dialogue in February
for peaceful settlement of all outstanding bilateral issues,
(Sources including Xinhua News Agency and China Daily, February