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China to Attend 1st Meeting of UN Human Rights Council
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A Chinese delegation led by Sha Zukang, top Chinese diplomat to the UN office in Geneva, will attend the first meeting of the UN Human Rights Council to be held in Geneva from June 19 to 30, and Vice Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi will address the meeting, the Foreign Ministry said yesterday.
China considers the meeting to be extremely important and will put forward its views on the future development of the newly established council and participate in discussions in a positive and constructive manner, the ministry's newly appointed spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a regular news briefing.
"We are ready to make joint efforts with all parties to make the meeting a success and a good starting point for the council," she added.
The UN General Assembly established the Human Rights Council in May to replace the much criticized and now defunct Human Rights Commission. Forty-seven members, including China, were elected; China received 146 votes.
This first meeting will outline the councils' rules of operation, and include a discussion of problems in relation to international human rights issues, Jiang said.
She urged all parties concerned to further the cause of the council to actively improve and protect human rights, and to avoid the previous practice of political confrontation and double standards.
US resolution on China's religious affairs
Referring to US lawmakers' latest criticisms of China "allegedly stepping up religious persecution," Jiang said "it was a groundless accusation that interfered in China's internal affairs."
The US House of Representatives on Monday approved a resolution condemning China for "rising persecution" of religious believers.
The resolution "constitutes a gross interference in China's internal affairs," Jiang said. "We express strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition."
"We advise US lawmakers to care more about their own issues and do more to address the human rights violations in their own country," she said. "They should stop interfering in other countries' internal affairs under the pretext of religious affairs and human rights."
Iran nuclear standoff
Jiang urged all the key players to be patient and restrained as Iran's leaders analyze an international proposal aimed at solving the Iranian nuclear standoff.
EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana went to Tehran last Tuesday to present a package of incentives in exchange for Iran's suspension of uranium enrichment. The incentives were developed by the five UN Security Council permanent members -- Britain, China, France, Russia, the US -- and Germany.
"Now, there's a new opportunity for a peaceful solution to the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomacy and negotiation," Jiang said.
"China appreciates Iran's offer to seriously study the proposal, and hopes Tehran will respond actively to create favorable conditions for the resumption of talks," she said.
The proposal includes both incentives aimed at persuading Iran to suspend uranium enrichment and possible sanctions if it decides not to comply.
Iran has reiterated that it is ready for unconditional talks, but insists that it will not negotiate on its right to the peaceful use of nuclear technology.
China will continue to play a "constructive role" in the debate, and work with other parties to help solve the standoff, Jiang said.
Military exports
Jiang also rejected London-based human rights group Amnesty International's report accusing China of selling arms to an array of alleged human rights abusers.
"China takes a responsible attitude toward military exports," she said.
In a report released on Sunday, Amnesty claimed that China was selling arms to countries such as Sudan and Myanmar, in a bid to extend its trade and diplomatic reach.
"These accusations are groundless and do not square with the facts," Jiang said.
She said China takes a cautious and responsible attitude to military exports and adheres to the three principles in arms trade.
According to the three principles, military exports "should help enhance the self-defense capability of importing countries, should not impair regional and global peace, security and stability, and should not be used to interfere with other countries' internal affairs."
Statistics from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute show that between 2000 and 2004, the US exported US$25.9 billion worth of weaponry, or 48 percent of the world's total arms trade volume. Weaponry exported by China in the same period was valued at only US$1.4 billion, a mere 5 percent of US exports.
(China Daily, Xinhua News Agency June 14, 2006)


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