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China Hopes the ROK Staying Stable

China hopes the political situation in the Republic of Korea (ROK) remains stable, said Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao in Beijing on Friday.

The ROK National Assembly stripped President Roh Moo-hyun of power on Friday by passing the first ever impeachment bill against a president.

In response to a related question, Liu said this is an internal matter for the ROK.

Amid loud shouting by opposition and heavy clashes between lawmakers, National Assembly Speaker Park Kwan-yong announced the result at around 03:00 GMT.

He said 195 lawmakers of the total 271-member parliament attended the ballot, 193 voted for, while the other two voted against. Opposition parties take majority numbers in parliament.

According to rules, the bill was affirmed when two thirds of the 271 lawmakers voted for it.

With the passage of the bill, Roh has been suspended as the head of state, supreme commander of the army, president of cabinet meetings and coordinator of state affairs.

However, Roh will be allowed to reside in the presidential residence under the protection of the presidential secret service until the Constitutional Court issues a final ruling.

When hearing the news of the impeachment bill approved by the parliament, Roh was in a provincial city to conduct an inspection of a factory.

"I hope the outcome will be different at the Constitutional Court because it will make a legal judgment, which is different from a political judgment," Roh said while meeting workers at the factory in Changwon, South Gyeongsang Province, about 400 kilometers southeast of Seoul.

A former human rights lawyer, Roh was elected in December 2002 to a five-year term on a pledge of clean politics, but several of his key aides have been arrested on charges of receiving illegal funds to finance his campaign.

With parliamentary elections less than five weeks away, the confrontation burst into the open with the impeachment motion.

Roh's supporters protested in Seoul.

(China Daily March 13, 2004)

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Ministry of Foreign Affairs
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