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China, S Korea Pledge to Work Closely on Nuclear Issue
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China and South Korea agreed yesterday to work more closely on the Korean Peninsular nuclear issue, following the nuclear test by North Korea on Monday.


"China and South Korea share common interests and common understanding in maintaining peace and stability in Northeast Asia," Premier Wen Jiabao told visiting South Korean President Roh Moo-hyun.


As the region now faces "a very difficult situation," China and South Korea should work more closely to defuse the crisis, Wen said.


"It is still possible to resolve the Korean Peninsular nuclear issue through diplomatic means," Wen said. "The international community should not lose confidence."


He called for continued dialogue and consultation so as to avoid deterioration of the situation.


Echoing Wen's remarks, Roh said the parties concerned should work for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.


"South Korea and China should step up communication and coordination to resume the six-party talks," Roh said.


The six-party talks on Korean nuclear issue remained stalled since the last round of meeting was held in Beijing last November.


The last round of talks, involving China, the US, Russia, Japan, South and North Korea, ended up with a Chairman's Statement, in which the parties concerned agreed to resume the talks as soon as possible.


Following North Korea's nuclear test, China has been engaged in a string of diplomatic activities.


The members of the UN Security Council have been discussing a draft resolution circulated by the US, which tends to take punitive sanctions against North Korea.


Wen and Roh also exchanged views on starting the free trade area (FTA) negotiations and on revising the agreement on protecting the two-way trade.


The trade volume between the two countries hit US$100 billion last year, according to official statistics.


Wen and Roh discussed how to carry out medium and long-term trade cooperation, focusing on environmental protection, energy preservation and high-tech cooperation.


They pledged to promote trade facilitation, expand mutual investment and bring economic cooperation to a new level.


They also hailed the recent efforts to improve the relations between China, South Korea and Japan, saying the strong ties are in the common interests of the three countries.


This is Roh's second visit to China since he took office in 2003. During his one-day working visit, Roh also met with President Hu Jintao and top legislator Wu Bangguo.


Wu, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), said China is ready to work with South Korea to enhance inter-parliament cooperation.


The establishment of a regular exchange mechanism this year between the NPC and South Korea's National Assembly marked a new stage in inter-parliament relations between the two countries, he said.


As close neighbors, China and South Korea have a broad range of common interests, Wu said, adding that it is an unwavering policy of China to deepen the all-round cooperative partnership between the two nations.


Roh noted that South Korea and China held similar views on a number of key international or regional issues and bilateral cooperation was deepening.


The South Korean government will continue to support the cooperation between the parliaments of the two countries, as it is a very important part of the overall bilateral relations, said Roh.


(Xinhua News Agency October 14, 2006)

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