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Rice Agenda: Nuclear Standoff, Taiwan

The nuclear standoff on the Korean Peninsula will top the agenda when US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pays her first visit to Beijing since taking her post in January.


The Taiwan issue is also likely to be discussed during her visit from March 20 to 21.


A Foreign Ministry spokesperson stressed the need for the US to safeguard healthy development of bilateral ties through its deeds as well as words.


Kong Quan said at Thursday's regular press conference that the government would be open to anything Rice wants to discuss, adding that China hopes the two countries can increase mutual understanding, expand consensus and reduce disputes.


Kong said, "Now the six-party talks are facing difficulties, efforts from all those concerned are needed in order to resume negotiations."


Currently, China's special envoy on the issue, Ning Fukui, is in Washington discussing what can be done to launch another round of talks at an early date.


He is scheduled to meet Michael Green, the US National Security Council's senior director for Asia, Joseph R. DeTrani, US State Department special envoy for Korean affairs, and Christopher Hill, the top US nuclear negotiator, said Kong.


In response to criticisms by the US White House and State Department of China's proposed Anti-Secession Law, Kong urged US officials not to make "irresponsible remarks" about China's legislative decisions.


The US said on Tuesday that the law was "unhelpful" for cross-Straits relations and urged Beijing to reconsider.


Kong said, "We call on the US to abide by the principles of international relations, understand and support China's law-making actions and not do anything that will foster Taiwan separatist activities and harm China-US relations."


Kong also voiced concerns over plans by Vietnam and the Philippines to conduct scientific research in the disputed South China Sea.


"We hope that the concerned parties carry out research cooperation in accordance with the principles of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea," he said.


The declaration, signed in 2003 between China and ASEAN members, calls for improving conditions for a peaceful and durable solution to territorial disputes and to prevent their escalation.


Vietnamese and Philippine scientists announced recently that they plan to survey 23 locations in the area for research.


With an international anti-terrorism conference underway in Madrid, Spain, Kong said China believes the summit is of great significance, expressing hope that the international community will work together to eliminate terrorism.


Kong announced that Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing will pay an official visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Luxemburg, Italy, Albania, and the EU headquarters in Brussels, Belgium.


Whilst in Italy, Li will co-preside the first Joint Meeting of the China-Italy Governmental Committee with the Italian foreign minister.


During his visit to Brussels, Li will also meet with Belgian leaders.


Kong also said that Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev will visit from March 17 to 19 at the invitation of President Hu Jintao.


(China Daily, CRI.com, Xinhua News Agency March 11, 2005)

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