China has vowed to persist in its efforts to push the six-party talks on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue ahead, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao at a regular press conference on Thursday.
Liu said that the fourth round of talks has been stalled for political and external reasons, but all participating nations -- China, the US, Russia, Japan, south and north Korea -- have expressed their support for negotiations to resume.
The two rounds earlier in the year allowed negotiations to begin on substantial questions and reaffirmed commitments to developing a solution through peaceful negotiations.
The parties have presented proposals and plans on the issues and "reached consensus in principle on an early adoption of first-stage measures to achieve the goal of a denuclearized Korean Peninsula," stated Liu.
In reference to former Taiwan leader Lee Teng-hui's trip to Japan, Liu said the Japanese government made a "wrong decision" to issue Lee a visa, and China is closely following the ongoing visit.
China hopes that Japan will adhere to its promise not to let Lee become involved in any political activities and that it will "take measures to disallow any vile impacts of his visit."
Two Chinese nationals have been confirmed killed and 13 others injured in the catastrophic tsunami that hit South and Southeast Asia last Sunday.
Liu said that one of the dead was from the Hong Kong Special Administration Region and the other from Taiwan. Three of the injured are from Hong Kong, four from Beijing, three from Zhejiang Province, two from Shanghai, and one from Yunnan Province.
Liu said the Chinese government is exerting the utmost effort to rescue Chinese citizens stranded in the tsunami-hit regions.
"The Chinese government expresses condolences to the Chinese compatriots who fell victim to the disaster and wishes to help people in disaster-hit countries to rebuild their homes as soon as possible," Liu said.
Although China is a developing country with a relatively low per capita GDP, it will not stint in providing assistance for the disaster-hit neighbors, Liu said.
Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing held an emergency interdepartmental meeting on December 29 and decided to greatly increase the amount of aid in terms of both goods and monetary donations. It has already donated 21.6 million yuan (US$2.6 million) worth of relief goods.
China will send a medical team comprising more than 100 members to tsunami-ravaged Indonesia, as well as a 35-member rescue team headed by Zhao Heping, deputy director-general of the State Seismological Bureau.
The Ministry of Health is preparing other medical teams to travel to the region, including 15 experts in epidemiology and infection going to Phuket, Thailand. Twelve surgeons from south China's Guangdong Province will also head for Thailand on Friday. Five DNA experts from the Chinese Academy of Sciences will help Thai officials identify bodies.
(China Daily, Xinhua News Agency December 31, 2004)