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China Seeks Non-proliferation Group Status

Building on recent efforts to demonstrate its non-proliferation credentials, China has reiterated its desire to join an influential export control group, the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR).

The 33-nation group, founded in 1987 by the G7 countries in Rome, held a second round of talks with China this week in Beijing, Liu said at Thursday's regular news briefing.


Liu said the meeting was co-chaired by Liu Jieyi, director of the Department of Arms Control and Disarmament under the Chinese Foreign Ministry, and Carlos Sersale, chairman of the MTCR and an ambassador from Argentina, and attended by officials and experts from MTCR member nations including Britain, France, Russia, Canada, the Republic of Korea, Ukraine and Japan.


"Both sides believe that the two rounds of talks are of great significance to promoting mutual trust and understanding between China and the MTCR and international cooperation in the field of non-proliferation," said Liu.


Carlos Sersale said the regime will actively consider China's application, according to Liu.


China had a first round of consultations on its joining the regime with representatives of MTCR in Paris in January.


The MTCR includes major nations such as the United States, Britain, Russia, Japan, Italy, France and the Ukraine. Two more rounds of talks are scheduled this year between the group and China to clear up "old differences" and to evaluate Chinese export controls to see if they conform with MTCR standards, sources said.


All current regime members would need to approve China's accession into the regime.


During his term as the MTCR's rotating chairman from September 2002 to September 2003, Mariusz Handzlik invited Beijing's participation in the group.


China sent a letter to the MTCR chairman last September indicating it was "ready to positively consider applying for joining the MTCR."


There were some clear public indications earlier this year of China's decision to formally join when Chinese President Hu Jintao was in Paris in January. A joint statement released after the meeting noted that France supports China's entry into the body "at the earliest possible date."


China released a white paper on its non-proliferation policies and measures last December in which it outlined its attitude and measures taken on the export of missiles and related technologies.


In response to news that New Delhi announced on Tuesday that the new National Security Advisor Jyotindra Nath Dixit will be India's new special representative for ongoing talks with China on border issues, Liu did not give exact dates for discussions between Dixit and China's Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo.


However, External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh said the next meeting of the two special representatives would be held soon.


Dixit replaces Brajesh Mishra, who, as the Vajpayee government's security advisor and special representative, has already conducted two rounds of talks with Dai Bingguo.


The Sino-Indian boundary question was left over by Britain colonialists.


China and India share a 2,000-kilometer border, with disputed areas of about 125,000 square kilometers.


The two countries fought a brief war over the border in 1962, which greatly impaired relations.


When asked to comment on the issue of nine female Chinese students in Japan being watched by a hidden camera, which happened on May 9, Liu said the Chinese Foreign Ministry and the Chinese Consulate General in Osaka will pay close attention to the event.


Liu said that the nine Chinese girls had reported to the police after finding the camera in their dressing room, and the Chinese Foreign Ministry had asked the Chinese Consulate General in Osaka to dispatch officials to the spot.


The consulate officials met the nine Chinese students and lodged representation for the local police, noting that this event severely infringed on Chinese students' human rights, Liu said.


The Chinese side demanded the Japanese police to carefully investigate the event and to deal with the event fairly in line with the Japanese law, Liu said.


Turning to the Iraq issue, the spokesman welcomed the revised UN draft resolution on Iraq submitted by the United States and Britain, which had accommodated the views of some other countries, including China.


"The Chinese side welcomes the revision of the United States and Britain on the UN Security Council draft resolution on the Iraq issue," said Liu. "It reflects some views and concerns of China and some other nations."


Liu acknowledged that China is carefully studying the draft, and will maintain contacts and consultations with the relevant sides.


"We hope the UN Security Council will reach consensus over the draft resolution, so as to stabilize the security situation in Iraq and promote the reconstruction process as soon as possible," he said.


"We also hope the Security Council will extensively listen to the views of Iraq, other Arabian nations and UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan," the spokesman said.


In another development, Liu said the Chinese government expressed deep concern over the clashes happened in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).


When asked to comment on the recent conflicts in the eastern DRC town of Bukavu, Liu said the clashes had caused civilian casualty and threatened the security of the peace keeping personnel of the United Nations (UN).


The Chinese side condemned the clashes and violent activities in the DRC and urged concerned parties to immediately stop the hostility action, to follow the agreement on ceasing fire, and to ensure the security of the UN peace keeping personnel and institutions, including the Chinese peace keeping personnel.


As to the current situation of the Chinese peace keeping personnel, Liu said China had dispatched some 200 personnel in Bukavu including sappers and medical groups, and they were all safe.


Liu said the Chinese Embassy to the DRC and China's Ambassador to the DRC Cui Yongqian attached great importance to the security of the Chinese peace keeping personnel and kept 24-hour contact with them for emergency.


"To our gratification, no casualty happened in the Chinese personnel", Liu said.


Also at yesterday's briefing, Liu confirmed the Shanghai company offering US visa counseling services that was suspended from operation April 23 for failing to implement required legal procedures, has resumed operation Thursday.


Liu said the company became aware its problems and readjusted its charging standard, and the Chinese authority therefore issued the license to the company as an exception based on the company's application.


China made the decision not to let family visits and business and tourist travel of Chinese citizens to the United States be affected by the event, said Liu, and the Chinese authority also demanded the company to strictly implement the relevant legal procedures and adopt a fair charging standard.


According to the information from the US Embassy in China, the company is authorized by the US State Department to provide charged counseling for US visa information and appointment reservation services. The company is registered in Shanghai and the charging standard is decided by the US State Department.


(Sources including China Daily and Xinhua News Agency, June 4, 2004)

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