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Leaders to Meet at Shanghai Summit
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The Shanghai Co-operation Organization (SCO) member states will meet in Shanghai next week where President Hu Jintao will be host. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will join the summit as an observer. Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao gave these details at a regular press conference Thursday in Beijing.

Liu said Hu and Ahmadinejad would hold talks on the sidelines of the regional summit to discuss the Iranian nuclear dispute.

China called for a positive response to the proposals agreed by the five UN Security Council permanent members and Germany on a solution to Iran's nuclear issue.

"We hope the proposals will receive a positive response from all the parties concerned so that negotiations will be resumed soon," said Liu. He described the proposals as an "important foundation" to resolve the issue.

China and Iran would continue to be in contact, enhance mutual understanding and reach a peaceful solution to the Iranian nuclear issue, he said. Liu also revealed that Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi had arrived in Beijing and met Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing Thursday.

On Wednesday evening Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing discussed the Iran nuclear issue with EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana by phone. The Foreign Ministry said Solana briefed Li on his visit to Iran and the two agreed to maintain close contact.

Details of the proposals are unknown but EU diplomats said they included a light-water nuclear reactor and a foreign supply of atomic fuel for Iran as well as an offer to suspend sanctions against Iran in the UN Security Council.

According to earlier reports the proposals also carry penalties which can be applied by the United Nations Security Council if Tehran does not cooperate, said the diplomats.

According to Liu the presidents of Mongolia and Pakistan and India's Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Murli Deora, will all attend the summit as observers.

Liu also confirmed that Afghan President Hamid Karzai and representatives from the Commonwealth of Independent States and Association of Southeast Asian Nations would also be guests. 

Liu took yesterday's conference as an opportunity to strongly rebuke Japanese claims that the Tokyo war crimes trial was "one-sided." He said the claims would be severely condemned by the international community.

The Yasukuni Shrine, which honors convicted war criminals, has issued a pamphlet in Chinese and Korean in which it refers to the trial as "one sided."

Liu said the International Military Tribunal for the Far East was convened to try the chief culprits who'd waged a war of aggression and whose hands were stained with blood.

"The trial upheld justice and maintained human dignity," he said. "Any challenge to it will not succeed. Instead, it will be strongly condemned by the international community and the majority of the Japanese people."

On US President George W. Bush's comments on Sino-US relations, Liu said China was willing to join hands with the US to implement the important consensus reached by the two heads of state and promote China-US constructive cooperative ties for the 21st century in broad terms.

US President George W. Bush has stressed his government's commitment to cement constructive cooperative ties with China during his meeting with a Chinese delegation on Monday at the White House.

The Chinese delegation of senior public servants was led by Zhou Qiang, first secretary of the Chinese Communist Youth League and president of China Youth University for Political Sciences. During the meeting Bush spoke positively of President Hu Jintao's US trip in April and said China was an important country with huge potential.

The US was committed to developing constructive cooperative ties with China and further strengthening the bilateral cooperation in military, energy, education and youth exchanges, Bush was quoted as saying. 

Also on Thursday, Liu said China appreciated the "active stance" and "important efforts" Pakistan had been taking in the international fight against terrorism.

Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai held a third round of anti-terrorism consultations with Pakistan on June 6 to discuss the international and regional position on the war on terror, China's anti-terror measures and the role of the UN in the fight against terrorism. Liu acknowledged that such consultations were helpful.

China supported and was actively participating in the international anti-terror campaign. As well as Pakistan, China had also held regular consultations on the fight against terrorism with the US, Russia, France, Britain and India.

In another development, China welcomed the agreement between the UN Security Council and the African Union (AU) on handing over the peacekeeping mission in Sudan's western Darfur region.

The UN Security Council and the AU said Wednesday they agreed on a timetable to hand over the AU peacekeeping mission in Darfur to a UN force by January.

Liu said the UN should respect the views of the AU and the Sudanese government on the issue of the peacekeeping mission.

China took great interest in the situation in Darfur hoping that all concerned parties would continue their efforts to promote the implementation of the peace agreement and to achieve peace in the region at an early date.

Also on Thursday, Liu announced that China has accepted the offer to observe the exercise with the code name of 'Valiant Shield 2006' in Guam this month. This is the  first invitation of this kind extended by the US and came during the visit of Commander of US Forces in the Pacific William Fallon last month.

China and the US on Thursday held their eighth annual round of defense consultations on building closer military ties. "The China-US military exchanges like Thursday's defense consultations will help boost the mutual trust and promote China-US constructive and cooperative relations," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao.

On state visits Liu announced Chinese President Hu Jintao would attend the second summit of the member states of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) to be held in Almaty of Kazakhstan on June 17. Hu has been invited by Kazakhstan President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

The CICA, a forum aimed at increasing security in Asia, was first proposed by Nazarbayev at the 47th UN general assembly in 1992. Its 17 members include China, Russia, Egypt, Afghanistan, Israel, Iran, Turkey, Pakistan, India and Palestine.The first ever summit of heads of states of the CICA member countries took place on June 4, 2002, resulting in the creation of a new security forum for Asia.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will pay official visits to Egypt, Ghana, the Republic of Congo, Angola, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda from June 17 to 24.

His visits are at the invitation of Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Mahmoud Mohamed Nazef, Ghanaian President John Agyekum Kufuor, President of the Republic of Congo Denis Sassou-nguesso, Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, South African President Thabo Mvuyelwa Mbeki, Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni.

This will be Premier Wen's second visit to Africa, said Liu. He added that Wen would  hold talks with leaders of the seven countries and exchange in depth views on promoting bilateral relations, Sino-African ties and other issues of common concern, based on the spirit of deepening friendship, enhancing mutual trust, expanding cooperation and common development.

"Wen's visit will be another important act by China in its diplomacy toward Africa following the publication of African policy documents earlier this year and a successful visit by Chinese President Hu Jintao to three African nations in April," said Liu.

He said Wen's visit was aimed at further consolidating and developing the traditional China-Africa friendship, expanding cooperation of mutual benefit and establishing and developing a new strategic partnership between the countries. 

"I believe the visits will further strengthen the friendship and cooperation between China and the seven African countries and promote the development of Sino-African friendly and cooperative ties," said Liu.

President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai will pay a state visit to China from June 18 to 21 at the invitation of Chinese President Hu Jintao, Liu also announced on Thursday.

(China Daily, Xinhua News Agency June 9, 2006)

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