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China Urges Restraint on Korean Peninsula Issue
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China on Tuesday urged North Korea to adopt a responsible attitude and take no further action to aggravate tensions caused by its recent nuclear test.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao made the remarks at a regular news briefing amid speculation that North Korea might be planning a second test.

"China resolutely opposes the nuclear test by North Korea, insists on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and opposes the proliferation of nuclear weapons," said Liu, calling for negotiations to resolve the nuclear issue on the peninsula.

The UN Security Council unanimously approved a resolution on Saturday against North Korea for its claimed nuclear test last week.

The North Korean Foreign Ministry lashed out at the sanctions on Tuesday, calling them "a declaration of war," and saying the country will "deal merciless blows" if its sovereignty is violated.

When asked to comment on North Korea's reaction, Liu said that the consensus reached by the international community should "get a positive response" from Pyongyang.

The UN resolution rules out military action against North Korea, but calls on all countries to inspect inbound and outbound cargo to prevent any illegal trafficking of weapons of mass destruction or ballistic missiles.

Chinese border officials started checking trucks at the North Korean border this week.

Liu said: "Sanctions are not the purpose. The purpose is to realize the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."

He urged all sides to "keep calm and be restrained" and take appropriate action to create favorable conditions for the resumption of the six-party talks that involve China, Russia, the US, Japan, and North and South Korea.

He said that China has always implemented Security Council measures seriously and in a responsible manner.

"This time is no exception."

The spokesman also announced visits by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice this Friday and Saturday, and French President Jacques Chirac from October 25 to 28.

Rice will meet Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and other leaders to "exchange views on Sino-US relations and the situation on the Korean Peninsula."

The North Korean nuclear issue will definitely be on the agenda during Chirac's visit as well, Liu said. China and France are both permanent members of the UN Security Council.

At the briefing, Liu denied any link between the wire fence being constructed on the China- North Korea border and the nuclear test.

He said that China started building the fence and other border-control facilities as early as 1990 to improve management and control of the borders, adding that the situation on the border is normal.

Liu did not confirm reports that some branches of the Bank of China have halted remittances to North Korea.

Japan's Asahi Shimbun quoted a bank official as saying the move was related to international sanctions on Pyongyang.

Responding to some Japanese lawmakers' suggestion to develop nuclear weapons following North Korea's nuclear test, Liu called for Japan to stick to its "Three Non-Nuclear Principles" and adopt a responsible attitude to safeguard regional peace and stability.

The principles, approved in 1971, state that Japan will not produce, possess or allow nuclear weapons on its territory.

Japan, as a signatory of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, must strictly fulfill its obligations, Liu said.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said last Tuesday that Japan would stick to its "Three Non-Nuclear Principles" and was not planning to acquire nuclear weapons.

(China Daily, Xinhua News Agency October 18, 2006)


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