Diplomacy sought over nuclear test
By Le Tian (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-10-11 07:20

Firm, prudent response needed, UN envoy says

'We see eye to eye on nuke danger'

China called yesterday for diplomatic efforts to resolve the crisis caused by a nuclear test conducted by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), and ruled out military action as punishment.

North Korean women perform in a North Korean restaurant in a hotel in Shanghai October 10, 2006.
North Korean women perform in a North Korean restaurant in a hotel in Shanghai October 10, 2006. [Reuters]
"The international community and the United Nations should take positive and appropriate measures that will help the process of denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula," Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao told a news briefing.

"Any action towards the DPRK should be beneficial to the denuclearization of the peninsula, peace and stability in Northeast Asia and the resumption of the Six-Party Talks."

He said China does not endorse any military action against the DPRK, calling it "unimaginable."

"We are firmly against that."

Liu said China was conferring with other UN Security Council members over possible next steps.

He defended the Six-Party Talks, aimed at making the Korean Peninsula free of nuclear weapons, saying Monday's nuclear test "should not be regarded as a failure of China's foreign policy or a failure of the Six-Party mechanism."

"Facts have proved that the Six-Party Talks are the best way to resolve the issue," Liu said.

"The concerned parties should continue to generate efforts to keep the mechanism on track."

The test came after five rounds of the Six-Party Talks, which China hosted between 2003 and 2005.

The talks involving China, the DPRK, the United States, the Republic of Korea, Russia and Japan stalled last November after Pyongyang criticized Washington for imposing economic sanctions.

China calls on all parties to stick to consultation and dialogue and seek a peaceful solution of the nuclear issue, Liu said. He reiterated China's opposition against the nuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. "This stance has not changed."

Liu admitted that the nuclear test would undoubtedly "exert a negative impact" on ties with the DPRK.

But he said China would continue to develop good-neighbourly and friendly co-operation with the DPRK and this policy is "unshakable."

"In dealing with the bilateral ties, we stick to two principles: First, they should serve the common interests of both sides; second, they should be conducive to peace, stability and development of Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia," Liu said.

He urged the DPRK to stop taking any action that may worsen the current situation.

He added that the humanitarian needs of the DPRK people should be taken into full consideration when any action is taken.

He also said that China has kept a close eye on the aftermath of the nuclear test, but so far no atmospheric pollution has been detected.

In a related development, Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing yesterday held separate telephone talks with European Union Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana and Canadian Foreign Minister Peter MacKay. Li reaffirmed China's stance on the nuclear test.