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FM: Renewed Call for Timely Six-Party Cooperation
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China Thursday is pressing for all countries involved in the six-party talks to overcome obstacles preventing them from moving forward with the February 13 agreement.

Should it abide by this agreement, North Korea would shut down its Yongbyon nuclear facility.

Qin Gang expressed China's hope that Pyongyang would shut down the facility by the mid-April deadline, a move that would be beneficial to all involved.

Qin noted China, including the government of the Macao Special Administrative Region, will continue active discussion with all parties on resolving any obstacles to the six-party talks process.

"We hope that all the parties will show flexibility and work hard to find common ground and broker a solution," he said.

US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack, too, expressed confidence in Pyongyang's commitment to the February accord despite the delay in the transfer of North Korea's US$ 25 million from Banco Delta Asia to Bank of China in Beijing. Things are still on track and there is certainly good faith on all sides, he said.

The sixth round of the six-party talks, which started on March 19, came to a recess on March 22. This was due to the North Korean delegation installing a boycott until the frozen funds are wholly transferred out of Macao's Banco Delta Asia.

The final call came from a chairman's statement issued on March 22 which said the parties would resume the talks as soon as possible.

Turning to Chinese navy chief Wu Shengli's ongoing eight-day trip to the US, Qin Gang said this journey would help lift pragmatic cooperation and promote mutual understanding and trust between the two navies.

After being invited by US chief of naval operations Admiral Michael Mullen, Wu is on a visit to the United States lasting from April 1 to 8.

Qin said Wu had just ended a trip to Hawaii and Washington during which he had met with high-ranking officials, such as Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon R. England, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Peter Pace and US Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Michael Mullen.

These meetings allowed Wu to enjoy candid and thorough exchanges with the US officers, with the two sides finding much to agree upon, Qin said.

Prior to returning to Beijing on Sunday, Wu's tour will take him to some US navy bases and academies.

Admiral Michael Mullen briefed Wu on the US' desire to see China join international maritime security efforts, according to reports. China would thus take part in the  "1,000-ship navy" concept, an international network of navies, shipping industries and law enforcement agencies which would pool their resources to form a rapid response team to tackle emergencies at sea.

Also on Thursday, Qin announced that Wu Bangguo, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), would attend the annual conference of the Bo'ao Forum for Asia (BFA) from April 20 to 22.

Wu will be a keynote speaker at the conference, also meeting with assembled leaders.

The BFA first started in 2001, aiming to bring prosperity to Asia. Its annual conference convenes government officials, business leaders and academics whose remits all help shape the continent.

Qin also announced that Sun Bigan, China's special envoy on Middle East issues, will tour Saudi Arabia, Palestine and Israel from April 9 to 18, before moving on to the European Union.

Sun will be exchanging views with parties relevant to the Middle-East peace process, focusing on Israel and Palestine.

At the invitation of Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, Foreign Minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan will pay an official visit to China from April 8 to 15.

(Xinhua News Agency, China Daily April 6, 2007)

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