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Sino-US Disarmament Conference to Start Next Week

The fifth Sino-US conference on arms control, disarmament and nonproliferation will be held in Beijing from July 20 to 21, said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue in Beijing Thursday at a regular press conference.

Over 50 scholars, experts and government officials from China and the United States will attend the conference, she said. Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui also will be present at the opening ceremony.

The representative for the US side is Susan Burk, acting Assistant Secretary of  State, and the representative for the Chinese side is Liu Jieyi, director of the Department of Disarmament and Arms Control with the Foreign Ministry, she said.

Major topics of the conference include the construction of Sino-US strategic security framework, challenges facing the international nonproliferation system and strategies to deal with them, Sino-US cooperation on nonproliferation and the development of international nonproliferation, Zhang said.

China holds that its government and the United States share common interests in arms control, disarmament and nonproliferation. The two sides have undertaken frequent consultations in these fields in recent years, including the Sino-US conferences in both countries and three rounds of consultations at vice ministerial level.

Also on Thursday's press conference, Zhang Qiyue said that China advocates to expand the United Nations Security Council "at appropriate time and with appropriate means."

Zhang said after 60 years of development and changes since the United Nations was founded, the members states of the United Nations have greatly increased.

China believes it is necessary for the United Nations to have some reforms and the UN Security Council to properly expand, she said.

But the expansion should proceed through broad discussions and consultations of all of the UN members, she added.

In response to a question on whether China supports Germany to attain the status of the permanent member of the UN Security Council, Zhang said Germany plays an important role in Europe and the world at large so China hopes to see Germany play bigger role in the international arena.

The UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan set up a panel of important leaders to deal with UN reform in November, 2003. Former Chinese Vice-Premier Qian Qichen was among the members of the panel.

Zhang said China supports the work of the panel and has kept in touch with other UN members on the UN reform.

On the European Union's weapons embargo to China, Zhang reiterated the embargo is a product of the Cold War so it is obsolete and detrimental to the growth of the Sino-EU comprehensive and strategic partnership.

"China hopes the EU members to have serious study on the issue and lift the embargo at an early date," she said.

(Sources including China Daily and Xinhua News Agency, July 16, 2004)


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