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FM: Sober-mindedness on Iran Nuclear Issue
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China has called for the international community to remain sober-minded, patient and flexible in the resolution of the Iran nuclear issue, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Liu Jianchao said at a regular press conference in Beijing on Tuesday. 


China encourages all parties to do more to increase trust and avoid any actions that may worsen the issue, Liu said. 


There is still enough room to resolve the matter within the framework of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and the international community should not abandon diplomatic efforts, he said. 


Regarding the scheduled nuclear talks between Russia and Iran on February 16, Liu said China hopes the talks will be held on time and achieve a positive result. 


Iranian government spokesman Gholam-Hossein Elham told reporters on Monday that a new round of talks between Iran and Russia, previously scheduled on Thursday in Moscow, had been delayed and that Iran would resume industrial enrichment ahead of the IAEA's meeting on March 6. 


Alaeddin Boroujerdi, head of the Iranian National Security and Foreign Relations Committee, said on Iranian state television on Tuesday that Iran had resumed "peaceful" uranium enrichment at the Natanz plant in the presence of inspectors from the IAEA. 


The resumption was the final step of Iran's reaction to a recent decision by the IAEA to report their nuclear activities to the UN Security Council.


President Hu's visit to the US    


Liu said that both China and the US are actively preparing for the planned visit in the first half of 2006. 


Liu said dates have yet to be confirmed.


Exchange rate reform


Liu said China will continue to promote its exchange rate reform in the spirit of serving the global and Chinese economy.


"China's determination to promote exchange rate reform is unchanged," Liu said.


Liu made the remarks after the Bush administration on Monday urged China to further liberalize its currency policy in its annual summary of economic policies and goals.


"China has never deliberately sought a trade surplus or an increase in its foreign exchange reserves," Liu said. "China's goal is to maintain balanced international payments, especially a basic balance in the trade of goods and services."


Earlier government figures show China's trade surplus came to US$100 billion in 2005 amid increasing trade disputes.


As a result, the country's foreign exchange reserves surged to US$818.9 billion by the end of last year, second only to Japan.


Liu said: "All countries should adjust economic structures in line with their conditions and adapt themselves to influences brought about by globalization."


UN Secretary-General candidate     


China hopes that Asian countries can reach a consensus on a candidate to put forward as the next UN Secretary-General, Liu said. 


Liu said that the post should be filled by an Asian because it's been 34 years since Asia last assumed that role. 


The last Asian UN Secretary-General was U Thant from Myanmar, who served from 1961 to 1971. 


The incumbent UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan will finish his second term this December. Under the UN Charter, a new secretary-general is nominated by the 15 member states of the UN Security Council and confirmed by the 191-nation General Assembly.


Six-party Korean nuclear talks 


Liu told the regular news conference that "the financial problem has exerted a negative impact on the talks". 


To date, five rounds of talks aimed at resolving the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula have been held by China, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), the US, the Republic of Korea, Russia and Japan. 


The talks were first held in Beijing on August 2003. The first phase of the fifth round of six-party talks was held from November 9 to 11. Talks have been suspended since.


According to Liu, a meeting "beneficial to the process of the talks" was held among China, the DPRK and the US in Beijing on January 18. 


China-Kazakhstan border river issue 


Liu said that China will solve any cross-border issue through diplomatic means, and adopt reasonable policies that do not infringe upon the rights of its neighbors.


Liu said China has always attached great importance to the reasonable use of cross-border rivers and the protection of water resources.


Japanese firm's nuclear-related export 


Liu said that China has no connection with the Japanese company that allegedly exported nuclear-related machinery to China. 


Liu said that China's is opposed to nuclear proliferation in any form.


According to Japanese media, Tokyo police on Monday raided Japan's Mitutoyo Corporation, a precision instruments maker.   


The police alleged that the company was illegally exporting machinery that could be used in uranium enrichment, a key process in making a nuclear bomb. 


"In fact, the Japanese police said the company exported such machines to Japanese companies in China. We have looked into the matter and believe that China has nothing to do with it," Liu said. 


(Xinhua News Agency February 15, 2006)

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