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Russia-Iran Nuclear Talks Come to Nought
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The Foreign Ministry said yesterday that China supports the negotiations on the Iranian nuclear issue between Russia and Iran and hopes for a positive outcome.


"Given current developments, China hopes Iran will suspend all activities relating to uranium enrichment and create the conditions necessary for resolving the issue through negotiations," the ministry's spokesperson Liu Jianchao said at yesterday's regular press conference.


His remarks were made after two days of talks between Russian and Iranian nuclear negotiators on the issue ended in Moscow without a deal.


"China will, as always, communicate with the parties concerned, and continue to make diplomatic efforts to properly handle the issue within the framework of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)," he added.


Referring to Japanese Economy, Trade and Industry Minister Toshihiro Nikai's visit that began yesterday, Liu confirmed that Premier Wen Jiabao and State councilor Tang Jiaxuan will meet with him.


He said bilateral economic cooperation is generally good at present, "but we hope the Japanese side adopts a sincere attitude to resolving the existing political difficulties."


He said that Japanese leaders' repeated visits to the Yasukuni Shrine honoring 14 Class-A WWII war criminals along with the nation's war dead have strained China-Japan relations.


China has always taken a clear and firm attitude on the issue, which is also stated clearly in the three political documents signed by the two countries.


"We hope that the Japanese side will cast away illusions and stop seeking excuses to whitewash history, or even shift any responsibility to the Chinese side," Liu said.


When asked to comment on Pakistan's intention to become a full member of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), Liu said China will convey the message to every member country of the organization.


The SCO has an open membership policy, Liu said, adding that the member states are now discussing to determine the status of the four observer countries so as to better promote cooperation within the organization framework.


The member states of SCO have reached a consensus to further build up the organization and deepen cooperation in various fields, Liu said.


Liu also announced that Kazakhstan's Foreign Minister Kasymzhomart Tokayev will visit China from February 26 to March 1 at the invitation of Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing.


He said that Wen and Tang will meet with him respectively and the two foreign ministers will hold talks.


He said the two sides will exchange views on the development of bilateral relations, and strengthening cooperation between member states of the SCO will be an important topic as the next SCO summit is to be held in Shanghai this year.


"The Chinese side attaches great importance to Tokayev's forthcoming visit and hopes it will further promote bilateral friendship and cooperation," Liu said.


He said Kazakhstan is one of China's very important neighbors and the two countries enjoy sound cooperation in various fields such as politics, economy, trade, anti-terrorism, and fighting against the "three forces," namely, separatism, extremism and terrorism.


The two countries have also enjoyed good relations within the framework of the SCO, Liu said, and have strengthened their economic and trade ties.


(Xinhua News Agency, China Daily February 22, 2006)

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