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Japan Urged to Solve Chemical Weapon Issue

Chinese government demands the Japanese government settle follow-up issues of the abandoned chemical weapons incident in Qiqihar, a city of northeast China's Helongjiang province as quickly as possible.

Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing summoned the Japanese ambassador to China Koreshige Anami on Friday.

With regard to the case of Japan's chemical weapons abandoned in China, it constitutes a major historical issue between China and Japan left over by history, and it is also a practical issue that calls for immediate solution, Li said, and the Qiqihar incident again gave an eloquent proof of this point.

On handling the follow-up issues of the incident, the Japanese side acts slowly and is inconsistent with public statements made by Japanese leaders, Li noted. This has drawn strong discontent and resentment from general public as well as victims in China.

"The settlement of follow-up issue and provision of humanitarian relief is a matter of prime urgency," said Li, adding that "we solemnly demand the Japanese side take it seriously and resolve it as promptly as possible.

A fatal toxic gas leakage from abandoned Japanese chemical weapons killed one person and injured 42 others when barrels of mustard gas were dug up at a construction site in Qiqihar on August 4.

The Chinese government puts it a primary position to safeguard the fundamental interests of the masses of people, and it is firm and steadfast in this stance, Li underlined. The Qiqihar incident once again shows both urgency and importance for the settlement of the chemical weapons issue to safeguard the Chinese people's fundamental interests, life security and personal health.

The Chinese government hoped that the Japanese government would undertake the responsibility of destroying all chemical weapons abandoned in China, in compliance with international fundamental principles and agreements reached by the two governments, said the foreign minister.

(Xinhua News Agency October 3, 2003)

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