China has maintained close contacts with the participants of the six-party talks in an effort to create conditions for the initiation of the second round of talks, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said in Beijing Tuesday.
Liu told a routine news conference that the Chinese government is currently working to converge the views and stances of the six parties and striving to find the common grounds accepted by all sides so as to make the meeting touch the substantial topics.
All six parties favor the advancement of a peaceful settlement of the Korean nuclear issue and have attached importance to the second round of six-party talks, he noted.
He said the parties all hope that the meeting would be crowned with a success and were willing to make relevant preparations for it.
Liu acknowledged that the settlement of the Korean nuclear issue is a complex process, and could not be achieved overnight.
China will continue to safeguard peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula, promote peace and urge on talks, and conduct mediation with a just and fair stance, said Liu.
The spokesman also said China appreciates the role the European Union is playing in the Korean nuclear issue.
According to Liu, during a meeting with a delegation from the EU Troika Monday, Fu Ying, director of the Asian Affairs Department of the Foreign Ministry, voiced China's support for the EU's efforts to advance the peaceful solution of the Korean nuclear issue.
During the meeting, according to the spokesman, the EU delegation had informed the purpose of their visit to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), and Fu Ying also briefed them on the work China has done for the second round of the six-party talks.
The delegation of the EU Troika, which left for the DPRK Tuesday morning for a three-day visit to discuss the peaceful solution of the Korean nuclear issue, had a stopover in Beijing before their departure for the DPRK.
Also at yesterday’s briefing, the spokesman reiterated that the proposed purchase of a mixed oxide fuel (MOX) production facility from Germany's Siemens is strictly for civilian, not military purposes.
Liu said MOX fuel, which is composed of uranium and plutonium, can be used in nuclear generation of electricity.
However, the proposed deal has caused an uproar in Germany, where several legislators have expressed fears that the equipment could help China's nuclear weapons program.
"These worries are over-sensitive," Liu said. "This fuel in China will be used for peaceful purposes. I would like to emphasize that."
Liu said as far as he knew, MOX is used in more than 30 light-water reactors and over 20 fast neutron reactors in countries such as France, Japan and the United States.
He told reporters that China is still negotiating the deal with the German side.
Details of the plan emerged last week when Schroeder, visiting China, said the Chinese had expressed interest in buying equipment from Germany that can convert plutonium and uranium to so-called mixed-oxide, or MOX, fuel for nuclear power plants.
The spokesman also announced President Moshe Katsav of Israel will pay a state visit to China from Dec. 14 to 20 at the invitation of Chinese President Hu Jintao.
(Sources including Xinhua News Agency and China Daily, December 10, 2003)