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Experts in N. Korea to Discuss Nuclear Issue
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A group of Chinese, Russian, and American experts flew to Pyongyang yesterday to discuss disabling nuclear facilities in North Korea, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said yesterday at a regular press conference.


The group, seven from the US and one each from China and Russia, was invited by the North Korean government and is likely to inspect five nuclear facilities in five days, she said. The visit will help develop specific measures for the next phase of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, analysts said.


North Korea will disable its nuclear facilities in exchange for 1 million tons of heavy fuel oil, according to an agreement reached at the six-party talks on February 13. The talks involve South and North Korea, the US, Russia, Japan, and China.


A specific date for the resumption of the second of the six-round six-party talks has yet to be decided, though China is working to coordinate a time with the attending countries, Jiang said.


Last week, US President George W. Bush offered a peace treaty to North Korea as an "incentive" for giving up its nuclear program.


Dalai Lama visits Portugal


In reference to a question on the Dalai Lama's visit to Portugal, Jiang said China firmly opposes any country allowing the Dalai Lama to conduct secessionist activities within its territory.


The Dalai Lama's words and actions over the past decades show he is not a purely religious figure, she said. He is a long-time political exile engaged in activities to split the country. "He represents a secessionist force that preaches Tibetan independence."


Former Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif deported


The deportation of former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Jiang said, is Pakistan's internal matter. "We believe the Pakistani government can continue to safeguard social stability and maintain its economic growth," she said.


Sharif was deported to Saudi Arabia after his return to Pakistan on Monday.


Sharif, twice elected as Prime Minister of Pakistan, served two non-consecutive terms. He was arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment in 2000 on charges of hijacking and terrorism after General Pervez Musharraf staged a bloodless coup in the country. The Pakistani government agreed to commute his sentence from life in prison to exile in Saudi Arabia for ten years.


Cooperatively fighting cyber crime


The government is willing to cooperate with other countries to combat cyber crime, Jiang said, reacting to a report published last weekend in Paris-based Le Monde newspaper, which said Chinese hackers had stolen data from French information systems.


"Hacking is an international problem, which has also affected China," Jiang said. "The government has always opposed and strictly forbidden any cyber crimes, including hacking."


The newspaper quoted Francis Delon, France's secretary-general of National Defense, on the allegation. But Delon did not link the incident with the Chinese government or the military in a later interview with AFP news agency.


No valid proof of any allegations has been provided so far.


"Up to last week, the authorities concerned had not received any requests (from other countries) for joint investigation (on alleged hacking incidents)," Jiang said.


Search for missing Russian tourists


Six Russian tourists failed to meet their Chinese interpreter in Hotan as scheduled on September 2 after they began canoeing on the Yurungkax River in mid-August.


Jiang said, "China has closely watched the issue and will work with the Russian experts to find the missing people."


Around 1,100 Chinese armed police, herdsmen, and farmers have been mobilized to search for them, but so far they have found no trace.


On Tuesday, a Chinese military helicopter with 12 rescuers aboard carried out a four-hour search but failed to locate the missing Russians after it flew about 500 km from the upper reaches to the lower reaches of the river, where they are believed to have gone missing.


A Russian cargo-transport plane arrived in northwest China's

Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region on Tuesday evening to join the search.


The IL-76 cargo plane carried 40 Russian search and rescue crew, three Chinese experts, a light rescue helicopter, an off-road vehicle, and other equipment.


The six Russians were identified as Vladimir Smetannikov, Sergey Chernik, Andrey Pautov, Dmitry Tishchenko, Ivan Chernik, and Alexander Zverev, with the youngest aged 25 and the oldest 47.


Serbian FM to visit


Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic will pay an official visit to China from September 12 to 14 at the invitation of Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, Jiang announced.


(China Daily, Xinhua News Agency September 12, 2007)


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