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Positive APEC Role Pledged

China will positively participate in the upcoming 11th Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders Informal Meeting in line with the principle of benefiting regional security and stability, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said at a regular press conference in Beijing Thursday.

When asked to comment on the US-backed anti-terrorism plan which is supposed to be discussed at the meetings, Zhang said that the US plan includes some  "positive factors.''

Discussions on political security, no matter what they are based on, should be conducive to the maintenance of regional stability and security, the spokeswoman said, adding China will also participate in discussions abiding by such a principal.

Zhang stressed that the leaders of APEC members would exchange ideas on regional security issues such as anti-terrorism, but this would not change the nature of APEC as a regional vehicle for promoting open trade and practical economic and technical cooperation, she said.

Senior officials from 21 members of the APEC forum gathered in Bangkok on Tuesday, launching a set of annual APEC meetings, which include the 15th ministerial meeting on October 17-18 and culminate in the 11th Economic Leaders Meeting on October 20-21.

The purpose of the APEC meetings is to promote free trade and Asia-Pacific cooperation in the fields of economy, trade, investment and technology. However, since the September 11 terror attacks in the United States in 2001, and last year's devastating bombings in the Indonesian island of Bali, security and anti-terrorism have also become the dominant topics of the meetings. A string of terror attacks occurred this year in several APEC members, such as Russia and Indonesia.

Zhang also said that during the meeting, Chinese President Hu Jintao was scheduled to meet leaders from other APEC members, such as the United States, Russia, the Republic of Korea, Chile and Mexico.

The APEC forum now groups Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Chinese Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Russia, Singapore, Thailand, the United States and Viet Nam.

Currently, the APEC economies comprise some 2.5 billion people, and over 47 percent of world trade.

After the United Nations Security Council unanimously passed Resolution No. 1511 on the Iraqi issue, Zhang made a public announcement at yesterday's briefing that China has always supported passing a new UN resolution for the early realization of stability in Iraq.

China supported the resolution as it gives full play to the role of the United Nations in realizing the early stability in Iraq and the goal of "Iraqi people governing Iraq", Zhang said in the announcement.

China has consistently adopted a constructive attitude in this regard, actively participating in the consultation during the drafting period of the resolution and proposing suggestions for revision, she said.

After rounds of consultation and revision, the spokeswoman said, the resolution absorbed many rational suggestions from China and other parties, in particular in its contents on advancing the political process in Iraq, gradually enhancing the role of UN and increasing transparency in the Iraqi reconstruction.

After expressing that "there is still room for improvement", Zhang said, China voted in favor of the resolution in light of the realistic requirement and long-term interests of the Iraqi people.

China hopes the UN Security Council will maintain solidarity and cooperation, pay close attention to the Iraqi situation, pay high heed and fully consider the universal requirement of the international community for the early resumption of sovereignty in Iraq, she said.

She also called to give full play to the role of the United Nations in helping Iraq back to the track of peace, stability and development. China is willing to make unremitting efforts to that end, she said.
Also at yesterday's briefing, Zhang said China is willing to cooperate with other nations in exploring peaceful exploitation of outer space.

Zhang described China's first manned space mission of Shenzhou-5 as further great progress by mankind in exploring peaceful utilization of outer space.

The success was exciting not only for all Chinese, but also for people around the world, Zhang said.

It is a historic step taken by the Chinese people in their endeavor to get to the forefront in science and technology, she said.

Shenzhou-5 carried the flags of the United Nations and China, showing China's willingness to closely cooperate with the United Nations and to cooperate with other nations in the peaceful utilization of space, and to continue to support the principles and purposes of the UN Charter, Zhang said.

She said China is grateful for the congratulations offered by the leaders of many countries after the successful completion of the mission.
Turning to the nuclear standoff on the Korean Peninsula, the spokeswoman said China is making active efforts for the continuation of the six-party talks on this issue.

Zhang said the Beijing talks were an important step towards a peaceful solution of the issue, and all sides agreed to continue the mechanism of the six-party talks.

All sides were making efforts for the next round of talks, said Zhang.

China hoped the Korean Peninsula would maintain stability and peace, and the nuclear issue would be solved peacefully through dialogue, she said.

The first round of talks was held in Beijing in August with the participation of Russia, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the United States, China, Japan and the Republic of Korea.
Responding to a request for comment on the bomb attack Wednesday against a US diplomatic convoy in the north of Gaza Strip, the spokeswoman said China condemns the attack and called to stop the Mideast violence.

China called on all the parties concerned to cooperate actively with the international community's peace-making efforts, so as to ease the tension in the Middle East as soon as possible, Zhang said.
The spokeswoman announced at the briefing Joseph-Jacques Jean Chretien, Prime Minister of Canada, will pay an official visit to China from Oct. 21 to 24 at the invitation of Premier Wen Jiabao.

(Sources including China Daily and Xinhua News Agency, October 17, 2003)

3 UN Council Members Rule out Military Commitment to Iraq
World Leaders Congratulate China's Space Mission Success
Palestinians Dread America's Wrath After Bombing
President Hu to State China's Stance on Global, Regional Issues at APEC Meeting
China Calls for Continuation of Six-party Talks
Manned Space Program Aims to Use Space Resources
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