A senior Chinese diplomat will visit Iran and Russia from April 14 to 18, a tour aimed at helping to defuse the Iran nuclear crisis, the Foreign Ministry said yesterday.
During his visit, Assistant Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai "will exchange views with Iranian and Russian diplomats on the nuclear issue and other issues of common concern," the ministry's spokesman Liu Jianchao told a regular news briefing in Beijing.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced on Tuesday that Iran had successfully produced low-grade enriched uranium and "joined the nuclear club."
China "is concerned about" this statement and "is worried about the way in which things are developing," Liu said.
He appealed to all parties concerned to show restraint and not to take any action that might aggravate the situation. He added that the matter should be settled through negotiations and diplomatic efforts.
His comments coincided with International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei's arrival in Teheran yesterday, who is trying to find a solution to the crisis.
Turning to ties with Japan, Liu called for the Japanese government to show sincerity and wisdom in handling the history issue.
He said China has repeatedly stated its stance on Japanese leaders' visits to the Yasukuni Shrine, which honors 14 WWII Class-A war criminals.
"Our stance is firm and clear," Liu said, stressing that the history issue is a major issue of principle between the two countries, which constitutes the political foundation for bilateral relations and cannot be bypassed.
Leaders of the two neighboring countries have halted exchanges of visits for over four years, ever since Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi started his shrine pilgrimages soon after he took office in 2001.
Turning to the Korean Peninsular nuclear issue, Liu urged all parties concerned to show flexibility in the dispute over financial issue, which stands in the way of the stalled six-party talks.
"The denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is much more important than the financial issue," Liu said, acknowledging the US and North Korea have not sought an acceptable solution to their financial dispute.
"We hope that relevant parties will remove obstacles and focus on the denuclearization issue so that the talks, which have been stalled since last November, can resume as soon as possible," he said.
The six-party talks involve China, the US, Russia, Japan, North and South Korea.
On state visits, Liu said State Councilor Hua Jianmin will visit Egypt, Turkey and Russia from April 18 to 25.
(Xinhua News Agency, China Daily April 14, 2006)