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China, Japan to Discuss E. China Sea Issue
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China and Japan will hold a fourth round of consultations on the East China Sea issue on March 6 and 7 in Beijing, according to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Qin Gang, at a regular press conference yesterday.


The Chinese delegation will be headed by Hu Zhengyao, director of the Foreign Ministry's Department of Asian Affairs, while the Japanese delegation will be led by Kenichiro Sasae, head of the Japanese Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanic Affairs Bureau.


Qin added that China and Japan have held three rounds of talks on the issue since October 2004.


In other developments, India and the US signed a civilian nuclear cooperation pact yesterday. Qin said China hopes the US-Indian nuclear cooperation conforms to the requirements and provisions of the international Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty and the obligations undertaken by all signatory countries.


He said the international community is working hard to strengthen the authority and efficacy of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime. "We hope relevant countries' cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy can contribute to such efforts."


Turning to Taiwan, Qin said that Chen Shui-bian's recent decisions to cease the functions of the "National Unification Council" and the application of the "National Unification Guidelines" are a grave affront to the one-China principle.


"I believe Chen's secessionist policies will be widely condemned by the international community," he said.


Asked whether China is satisfied with the US' response to Chen's move, Qin urged Washington to stick to its commitments on the Taiwan issue and be aware of the seriousness and potential threat secessionist activities pose to cross-Straits peace and stability.


Moving on to the Iranian nuclear issue, Qin said there is still a chance to resolve it within the framework of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).


"China hopes Iran will cooperate in a comprehensive way with the IAEA and clarify the open questions in its nuclear program, to create the conditions necessary for the proper resolution of the issue through negotiation," he said.


The IAEA is scheduled to hold a board meeting on March 6.


(Xinhua News Agency, China Daily March 3, 2006)

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