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FM: Hu to visit Japan next year
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Foreign Ministry spokesperson Qin Gang said at a routine press conference on Tuesday that President Hu Jintao will visit Japan next year, the first visit by a Chinese head of state in a decade.


The date for the visit will be set by the two sides through diplomatic consultations, he explained, adding that China and Japan share a common understanding on maintaining and enhancing high-level visits and exchanges.


In a meeting with Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in Singapore last month, Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda expressed his wish to visit China in the near future, possibly within this year or at the beginning of next year.


British PM to visit China


Qin said British Prime Minister Gordon Brown hopes to visit China in the near future. The specific date for the visit has yet to be decided by the two sides, and would be Brown's first visit to China since he took office in June this year.


He said China highly values Sino-British relations and the prime minister's visit.


"The Chinese side is willing to take the visit as an opportunity to have full-fledged and profound discussions with the prime minister on matters of mutual interest and on current international and regional issues," he said.


He also professed hopes for Brown's visit to be successful and conducive to the further development of Sino-British relations.


Sino-US Strategic Economic Dialogue


China would like to work closely with the United States in preparation for the upcoming Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED), and strive for positive progress, Qin said.


"To set up the SED mechanism is an important consensus reached by the two state leaders, and it has played an increasingly important role in strengthening bilateral ties," he added.


Regarding SED as an important mechanism and platform for bilateral cooperation, the US side has spoken highly and positively of the dialogue, he said.


The third China-US Strategic Economic Dialogue will be held in Beijing on Dec. 12-13. Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi and US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson will co-chair the meeting as special representatives of the state leaders of the two countries.


Ministers and other senior officials from related departments of the two governments will also attend the dialogue.


The dialogue was launched by President George W. Bush and President Hu Jintao in September 2006, serving as a platform to discuss long-term, strategic, and comprehensive issues in the bilateral trade relationship.


New leadership of Russia's State Duma


China expects the new leadership of Russia's State Duma to make new and important contributions to further push forward a bilateral strategic partnership of coordination.


Qin said the victory of United Russia, President Vladimir Putin's party, is a choice made by the Russian people that is conducive to the country's political stability and economic development as well as regional and world peace and stability.


On Monday the United Russia Party won 64.1 percent of the votes in the elections to the State Duma, the lower house of parliament. The party will receive 315 seats in the State Duma, topping the constitutional majority of 300 seats, according to Russia's Central Elections Commission.


Iran nuclear issue


China on Tuesday called for continued all-round cooperation between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in a bid to clarify disputed issues. Qin made the remarks in response to a question concerning a phone conversation Tuesday between Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.


According to Qin, Yang reiterated China's consistent position on the Iranian nuclear issue, stressing China always advocates maintaining the international non-proliferation system.


To solve the Iranian nuclear standoff through peaceful means meets the common interests of the international community including China and the United States, Yang told Rice. He added China would continue to coordinate with the United States and other parties concerned to participate in relevant discussions.


The conversation came one day after US National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley urged the world community to "turn up the pressure" on Iran despite the latest National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) indicating the Islamic republic appears less determined to develop nuclear weapons.


Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Monday that the country's disputed nuclear issue was "closed" from Iran's perspective.


Reiterating the legitimacy of Iran's nuclear program, Ahmadinejad asserted the Iranian people would not abandon their right to produce new, clean, and cheap energy.


"China is to continue its efforts on pushing forward peaceful settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue," Qin said, calling on parties concerned to promote diplomatic negotiation for a long-term, comprehensive, and appropriate settlement of the standoff.


China denies 'Internet spy' accusations


China refuted allegations in the British media of organizing so-called "Internet spies," calling them "irresponsible" rumors.


"The Chinese government has always opposed any Internet crimes including hacking, which is an international problem," Qin said.


His remarks came in response to a question concerning a British media report. It said officials of Britain's Security Service (MI5) sent letters to 300 executives and security chiefs of banks, accountants, and legal firms, warning them the Chinese government had hacked into their computer systems and was stealing confidential information.


"We express strong dissatisfaction. It is a very irresponsible act," Qin said, referring to the report.


He said China had introduced several laws regarding the protection of Internet security, and the country's computer networks had also been targeted by hackers.


Qin added Chinese and British authorities were currently cooperating on combating cyber attacks. He said China hoped the cooperation was based on facts and mutual respect.


Germany's one-China stance


China appreciates German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier's recent remarks that Germany rejects Taiwan's inclusion in the United Nations and sticks to the one-China policy, Qin said.


In dealing with China-Germany relations, China has always advocated developing friendly cooperation between the two countries on the basis of mutual respect and equality, Qin said.


"We expect more efforts from the German side to this end," Qin added.


US nuclear envoy


US chief nuclear negotiator Christopher Hill will visit China from Wednesday, said Qin. Hill, a US assistant secretary of state, will confer with Chinese officials on the six-party talks and other related issues.


On Monday he began a visit to Pyongyang to negotiate the issue of nuclear declaration. During his stay there, Hill and his North Korean counterpart, Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan, would discuss their responsibilities to fulfill the joint document of the six-party talks.


Hill said he would go to Yongbyon to see how the disablement is progressing.


S Korean PM's visit


South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo will pay an official visit to China from Dec. 10 to 11 at the invitation of his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao, Qin announced.


(Xinhua News Agency December 5, 2007)

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