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Jiang: Words, Not weapons, the Answer
The nuclear issue in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) would be best resolved through direct dialogue between the United States and the DPRK, Chinese President Jiang Zemin said Thursday in Beijing.

Jiang said during a meeting with visiting French foreign minister Dominique de Villepin that China advocated the non-nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and maintenance of its peace and stability.

The French foreign minister also met separately with Chinese Vice-Premier Wen Jiabao and Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan.

Tang indicated the best way to resolve the DPRK nuclear issue was for the United States and the DPRK to have direct dialogue.

He also said the agreement reached by the US and the DPRK in 1994 should be maintained and implemented.

Under the agreement, the DPRK agreed to freeze its graphite-moderated reactors and related facilities in exchange for 500,000 tons of fuel oil a year.

Tang said the key to preventing a further escalation of the situation or even a loss of control was to break the stalemate between the two sides.

De Villepin said France was happy to see the International Atomic Energy Agency had passed a relevant resolution and the United States had expressed its willingness to talk with the DPRK.

The nuclear non-proliferation principle should be safeguarded, he said.

And the DPRK should fulfill its relevant obligations, and the international community should consider meeting the security concerns of the DPRK.

The French foreign minister said the international community should spare no efforts in urging a dialogue between the United States and the DPRK.

De Villepin arrived in Beijing Thursday morning after a stopover in Moscow where he met with his Russian counterpart Igor Ivanov.

De Villepin's Asian tour will also take him to the Republic of Korea.

On the Iraq issue, Jiang indicated that Iraq had been generally cooperative since the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1441, noting that weapons inspection in Iraq should continue.

The work of UN inspectors should be supported, Jiang stressed.

The next move on the Iraq issue should be decided by the UN Security Council on the basis of opinions from all parties, Jiang said.

While stressing that Iraq should abide by Resolution 1441, de Villepin also said the authority of UN Security Council should be maintained.

On bilateral relations, he said he was happy to see that economic and trade relations between China and France had maintained good momentum.

France hopes to boost co-operation with China in energy, environmental protection and aviation, de Villepin said.

President Jacques Chirac hoped to strengthen strategic dialogue with China so that the two sides could coordinate their stances on a series of major issues, de Villepin said.

(China Daily January 10, 2003)

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