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China urges calm and restraint in DPRK nuke issue
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China hopes that relevant parties of Korean nuclear issue stay calm and restraint, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said Sunday.

When asked to comment on the reports that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) had fired several ballistic missiles on Saturday, Qin said the Chinese side noticed such a matter, and hopes that related parties should stay calm and restraint and work together to maintain regional peace and stability.

According to Joint Forces of the Republic of Korea, the DPRK fired seven missiles on Saturday, starting with two scud-type missiles between 08:00 and 08:30 a.m. (23:00-23:30 GMT Friday), after which shot four more at around 10:45 a.m. (01:45 GMT), noon (03:00 GMT), 02:50 p.m. (05:50 GMT), and 04:10 p.m. (07:10 GMT). The last one was fired at around 05:40 p.m. (08:40 GMT).

All the seven missiles were fired off the eastern coast from a base near Wonsan, Gangwon Province, and are estimated to have a range of 400- 500 km, it said.

The DPRK's launching of ballistic missiles has raised international concerns over regional security.

Shortly after the DPRK's missile launch on Saturday, the Foreign Ministry of the Republic of Korea (ROK) expressed deep regrets over the DPRK continuing to attempt actions that increase tensions in northeast Asia.

The ministry called the launch a "provocative action" which violates UN Security Council Resolutions 1695, 1718, and 1874, which banned the DPRK from any activity related to ballistic missiles.

The Japanese government lodged a protest against the DPRK through diplomatic channels in Beijing over its launching of multiple ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan on Saturday, according to a report by Kyodo News.

Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Takeo Kawamura said in a statement, "It is a serious act of provocation against the security of neighboring countries, including Japan, and is against the resolution of the UN Security Council."

The United States also called for the DPRK not to "aggravate tensions" hours after the latter fired another seven missiles on Saturday.

"North Korea (DPRK) should refrain from actions that aggravate tensions and focus on denuclearization talks and the implementation of its commitments from the Sept. 19, 2005 joint statement," State Department spokesman Karl Duckworth said.

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei is paying a visit to Russia to discuss the Korean nuclear crisis. He will later visit the United States, Japan and ROK.

Wu and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexei Borodavkin agreed that the situation in Northeast Asia had become a major concern as escalating tensions there could trigger a new arms race, threatening regional security.

They said all parties concerned should remain calm and refrain from taking any actions that might further aggravate the situation. The two countries called for a return to six-party talks.

The DPRK, since May, has been spotted with actions in preparation for firing a new mid-range missile, as well as scud missiles, ROK media Yonhap said.

The UN Security Council adopted on June 12 resolution 1874 that allowed wider sanctions against the DPRK on the issue of its May 25 nuclear test. The DPRK has rejected the resolution and announced it has quit the ceasefire agreement of the Korean War and the six-party talks.

(Xinhua News Agency July 5, 2009)

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