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Support for Early Negotiations on Fissile Treaty
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The Foreign Ministry said yesterday that China supports early negotiations on the signing of the Fissile Material Cutoff Treaty (FMCT).


China has taken positive action toward this end based on the comprehensive and balanced work program of the disarmament conference, the ministry's spokesman Qin Gang said at yesterday's regular press conference.


"We believe this is an important step in promoting multi-lateral nuclear disarmament," he said.


Qin said the international community is working to safeguard and strengthen the international non-proliferation mechanism, and it is of great importance that negotiations are started early so that an agreement on the FMCT can be reached as early as possible to reduce the risk of nuclear material spreading.


Commenting on the recent visit made by three US senators, Qin said China maintains the trade frictions and problems between China and the US should not be politicized. Instead, they should be handled through consultation according to the principle of common development and mutual benefit, he noted.


Qin said China believes the visit by the three US senators will help increase their knowledge of the conditions of the China-US relationship, bilateral economic and trade cooperation and China's positions and measures in these respects.


He said China believes the visit will also help the three senators take a more rational, just and objective attitude in handling problems between China and the US.


With regard to the RMB exchange rate, Qin said that China insists on choosing a reasonable currency rate system that is in accordance with China's actual conditions and takes into account the influence of any adjustments on international and regional economies.


Three US senators visited China from March 20 to 26. Key points on the discussion agenda included the US-China trade imbalance, the RMB exchange rate and intellectual property rights protection.


A delegation from the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) is now visiting the US.


Qin said China hopes the visit will increase mutual understanding between the legislative organs of the two countries and have a positive effect on China-US relations.


He said as various circles of the US and especially the US Congress pay close attention to China-US relations, it is necessary for the two sides to maintain dialogue.


Turning to the Iranian nuclear issue, Qin said it is still possible to ease the standoff within the framework of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).


China maintains its stand that the international system of non-proliferation of nuclear weapons should be safeguarded, and the nuclear issue should be resolved through negotiations.


As to the upcoming meeting of foreign ministers from the UK, France, Germany, the US, Russia and China in Berlin tomorrow, Qin said China received the invitation to attend and is considering it.


The meeting is an important part of the effort of the international community to resolve the issue through negotiation, he said.


Turning to China-Japan relations, Qin said heads of seven Japan-China friendship organizations based in Japan will visit China at the end of this month as guests of the China-Japan Friendship Association.


He said discussions will focus on how to increase non-governmental exchanges and promote the development of bilateral relations.


"This is a significant visit," Qin said.


The non-governmental exchanges between China and Japan are of great importance to the enhancement of friendship between the two peoples and to the improvement and development of China-Japan relations, he said.


In another development, Qin said the Falun Gong group had made an "absurd lie" by claiming its followers were being killed at a prison in northeast China.


"This lie is not worth refuting and no one will buy it," he said.


Some Falun Gong groups in the US reportedly alleged there was a Sujiatun "concentration camp" near Shenyang, capital city of Liaoning Province, where they said some 6,000 Falun Gong practitioners were being imprisoned.


They claimed two-thirds had been killed and cremated.


"The lie began to circulate on March 8, but we disregarded it because it was far too absurd," Qin said.


The Falun Gong group later changed its earlier statement and claimed the camp was set up in a small hospital.


"How can 6,000 people be accommodated at a small hospital?" Qin asked.


He invited reporters to visit the area to see for themselves that there was no such camp operating.


He said the Falun Gong cult enjoyed spreading false accusations in the public arena.


For example, Falun Gong started a rumor that about 9 million members of the Communist Party of China had quit their membership, and membership numbers were steadily falling.


"Were that the case, the Party would have already fallen," Qin said.


(Xinhua News Agency, China Daily March 29, 2006)

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