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China affirms role in Korean peace process
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China on Tuesday said it will continue to play an "important and constructive" role in the peace process on the Korean Peninsula.

"Establishing a peaceful mechanism on the peninsula meets the interests of Korean people and is also conducive to peace, stability and development on the peninsula," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao at a regular news briefing.

"China, as an important nation in northeast Asia and also a contracting party to an armistice agreement of the Korean War, will go on playing an active role in the process," Liu said.

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) and the Republic of Korea (ROK) are still technically at war as the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.

The ROK President Roh Moo-hyun traveled to the DPRK's capital of Pyongyang on Oct. 2 for an inter-Korean summit, after which Roh and the DPRK top leader Kim Jong Il signed a joint declaration, reaffirming their commitment to promoting peace on the peninsula.

The two sides also agreed to work together to advance the matter of having the leaders of the three or four parties directly concerned to convene on the Peninsula and declare an end to the war, according to the declaration.

Relevant parties just proposed the three or four parties summit, which still calls for further detailed consultations through diplomatic channels, Liu said.

The first step of the peace process is the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, which tops the current agenda of the six-party talks on the nuclear issue, according to the spokesman.

"China will surely play an important and constructive role in the issues concerning peace and stability on Korean Peninsula and northeast Asia," Liu said.

Liu also called on parties involved in the six-party talks to implement the joint document yielded in their latest discussion in a "comprehensive" and "balanced" manner.

"The joint document is a very important document for the six-party talks process," he said at a routine press conference, noting that China appreciates the efforts generated by the involved parties to promote the talks process.

He told reporters that the relevant implementation work was underway and confirmed that the United States would send an expert group to the DPRK to carry out work related to the disablement of the nuclear facilities.

The second phase of the sixth round of six-party talks ended last Wednesday in Beijing with the release of a joint document on the second phase of action towards the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

In the joint document, the DPRK agreed to disable its existing nuclear facilities and provide a declaration of all its nuclear programs by the end of this year.

The document also said the DPRK and the United States remain committed to improving their bilateral relations and moving towards a full diplomatic relationship.

The work on the next phase of the six-party talks "will be decided through consultation among the involved parties", Liu said, noting that the involved parties already demonstrated their sense of responsibility, flexibility and sincerity based on which China hopes to continue to promote the talks as well as the denuclearization process on the Korean Peninsula.

The six-party talks involve China, the United States, the DPRK, South Korea, Japan and Russia.

Sanctions against Myanmar opposed

Liu Jianchao said that China "resolutely opposed" sanctions against Myanmar as they would not help resolve the country's problems. "Any move by the United Nations Security Council should be prudent and responsible and be conducive to the mediation efforts of the UN secretary-general, and conducive to achieving stability, reconciliation, democracy and the development of Myanmar."

He said that China had noticed the situation in Myanmar was returning to calm and attributed it to the common efforts of the international community and all sides.

He said China hoped the situation would move in a positive direction.

"China hopes all relevant sides of Myanmar will maintain restraint and achieve reconciliation, democracy and development and improve the living standards of the people by peaceful means," he said.

He also said China praised the recent visit to Myanmar by Ibrahim Gambari, special advisor on Myanmar of the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, adding China had taken an active part in the discussion in the UN on the Myanmar issue. Gambari, who just ended a four-day mission to Myanmar, exchanged views with Myanmar leaders on the domestic situation and made widespread contacts with local people.

(Xinhua News Agency October 9, 2007)

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