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China's Special Envoy to the Middle East
China's special envoy to the Middle East Wang Shijie left on his first mission to the region yesterday to try and push for an easing of tension between Israel and Palestine.

According to Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan, Wang will also visit other countries during his dispatch.

"The most important task of his first mission is to establish a broad and in-depth relationship with the parties in the Middle East," Kong said yesterday.

"He will exchange views with them on the situation in the Middle East, particularly the Middle East peace process that has long been at a stalemate."

Kong said Wang will have the opportunity to express China's concern over the deadlocked peace process and speak with the parties involved to try and promote peace in the region.

Wang, a veteran diplomat, was assigned to the post in September and his trip comes at a time when China starts to hold the monthly rotating chair of the 15-member United Nations (UN) Security Council.

According to Kong, the focus of the Security Council this month will be the deliberation of the Iraqi issue.

Kong said China will keep close contact with all groups involved in the situation and push council members to reach a consensus on the issue through consultation so UN weapons inspectors can return to Iraq, allowing a political resolution at an early date.

Council members are still conferring over the draft resolution submitted by the United States and no consensus has been reached.

Other topics to be discussed this month include on-going issues in Africa, Afghanistan and the Middle East.

Kong said China will chair the consultations in a just and objective manner while listening to the opinions of all sides, increasing transparency and resolving issues on the agenda.

Also yesterday, Kong commented on the Dalai Lama's visit to Mongolia, urging the Mongolian Government not to provide him with opportunities for separatist activities.

"China opposes the Dalai Lama going to whichever country under the disguise of religion to engage in activities aimed at splitting China," Kong said.

The Dalai Lama is scheduled to leave Mongolia later this week.

(China Daily November 6, 2002)

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