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Chinese, US FMs Discuss DPRK Issue over Telephone
China appreciates the United States' willingness to open dialogue with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) on the nuclear issue, Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan told his US counterpart Colin Powell Thursday.

Tang and Powell exchanged views on the DPRK's nuclear issue and Sino-US relations in a telephone conversation, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue told a regular press briefing.

China hopes the United States will take a flexible attitude in conducting dialogue with the DPRK, Tang said.

US Secretary of State Powell told Tang that his country holds no hostility towards the DPRK and hopes to find a solution to the nuclear issue and realize a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula through constructive dialogue.

Tang said the reduction of the tension on the Korean Peninsula which has arisen from the nuclear issue and the peace, stability and denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula will not only benefit Northeast Asian peace, stability and development but suits the interests of all parties, including the United States.

This can only be realized through dialogue, the spokeswoman quoted Tang as saying.

On bilateral ties, Zhang said both sides look forward to new improvement and development this year.

In other matters, Zhang said the Chinese foreign minister will visit Mauritius, Botswana, the Republic of Congo, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Italy between January 16-25.

This will be Tang's first overseas trip this year and the seventh African visit since he took office in 1998.

"It indicates that China has always based its foreign policy on developing friendly co-operation with all developing nations, including African countries, and the continued priority given to solidarity and co-operation with African countries by the new Chinese leadership,'' Zhang said.

She said China has been making constant progress in bilateral ties and in expanding co-operation with the majority of African countries.

In particular, Zhang said China and African countries have established the China-Africa Co-operation Forum, a group dialogue mechanism.

The concrete progress made in the follow-up actions of the forum fully reflects the strong aspirations of both China and the African countries to follow historical trends, seek expansion of co-operation and realize common development, Zhang said.

The second ministerial meeting of the forum will be held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at the end of this year. The two sides will conduct group consultations on how to deepen Sino-African co-operation in a comprehensive way within the framework of the forum, she said.

China will continue to offer economic aide to African countries within its capability and make contributions for the economic and social development of Africa, she added.

When asked to comment on the Iraqi issue, Zhang said Chinese experts are still making a serious and in-depth analysis of the report Iraq submitted to the UN Security Council.

"The Chinese experts think that the contents of the report need to be evaluated and judged through on-the-spot inspections by the United Nations (UN) arms inspectors, although they have come up with some initial ideas regarding the report,'' Zhang said.

(People's Daily January 10, 2003)

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