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China: US Dropping of Soldier Immunity Bid 'Wise'

The United States made a "wise" decisions to withdraw its new draft resolution on seeking a renewal of the immunity of its peacekeepers from prosecution by the International Criminal Court (ICC), said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswomen Zhang Qiyue in Beijing Thursday.


Under the new draft, Washington promised to seek the renewal of the immunity for its peacekeeping personnel for only one more year. But the draft, circulated in the Security Council Tuesday night, did not win enough support.


Zhang said at a regular press conference that China agrees with UN Secretary General Kofi Annan that it was improper for the UN Security Council to pass the US draft resolution due to worldwide repercussions caused by prisoner abuses by the US military in Iraq, and China also found it difficult to support the draft.


The US withdrawal of the draft resolution on Wednesday was conducive for the unity of the Security Council, and China was willing to continue keeping contacts and coordination with the concerned parties on relevant issues, she said.


Turning to the current round of six-party talks on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, Zhang pointed out that the six parties are all in a serious, pragmatic, positive and looking-forward spirit and have shown the strong political will to resolve the issue.


"In this sense, the talks have made achievements already," she said.


Zhang said the six-party talks would focus on two key aspects, one of which is how to achieve a nuclear weapon-free status on the Korean Peninsula, including the extent and method of the nuclear program dismantlement and how to solve the concerns of relevant parties.


The other aspect is how to make the first step of the denuclearization process, which includes the freezing of the nuclear program, and what corresponding approaches the relevant parties should take, Zhang added.


According to Zhang, during the second plenary session of the talks, China, Japan and Russia raised their own proposals and ideas and discussed the detailed plans with other participants including the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the United States and the Republic of Korea (ROK).


Wang Yi, head of the Chinese delegation and vice foreign minister, enunciated China's principled proposition on the Korean nuclear issue and its idea on how to kick off the first stage of action.


The third round of six-party talks has had a sound and relatively stable start, Wang said, as all sides have reaffirmed the existing important consensus, "which has become the basis for us to move forward."


"All sides raised detailed plans or proposals in the talks, which indicated the political intention of pushing the talks toward progress," noted Wang. "All sides treated other counterparts' plans conscientiously and in a spirit of looking forward, which embodied mutual respect and equal consultation."


China is very glad that the participating parties set forth proposals with substantial content, Zhang said, citing this itself as the progress.


However, she acknowledged that the Korean peninsula nuclear issue concerns numerous aspects and is very complicated, warning that the differences and conflicts may stand out as the discussions on substantial topics further proceed and the parties should get themselves prepared psychologically.


The relevant parties have expressed their welcome to the proposals, but it is still not the time to predict what final outcome the third-round talks could bear, Zhang said.


"Will there be a final agreement? Or what kind of document will the participating parties sign at the end of the talks? It's still very hard to predict now," the spokeswoman said.


Zhang told the press conference that at the invitation of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Fijian Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase will pay a working visit to China from June 28 to July 3. Also, former President of the Republic of Korea (ROK) Kim Dae-jung will visit China later this month or early next month. He is at the invitation of the Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs. At present, the two sides are in contacts on the specific date of the visit.


(Xinhua News Agency June 25, 2004)


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