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China, US talk on ways to halt weapons spread
(China Daily)
Updated: 2004-02-17 23:46

China Tuesday voiced its stance against the spread of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

"China will carefully study the recent speech by US President George W. Bush on non-proliferation, thinking there are some positive suggestions in it," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said Tuesday.

As part of the ministry's regular briefing, Zhang touched on recent raids by Russian police on Chinese merchants, an upcoming visit by the Danish prime minister as well as talks on WMD with US officials.

She told reporters that Vice-Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui met on Monday with John Bolton, US Under-Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security Affairs, who visited China for the third round of Sino-US consultations on strategic security, multilateral disarmament and proliferation prevention.

"Proliferation prevention was the core issue of this round of... consultations," Zhang said.

The US side elaborated on Bush's February 11 address, explained the proposed Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI) and hoped to gain China's understanding and support on the issue, the spokeswoman said.

China expressed understanding for the concern of PSI participant countries on the spread of WMD and means of delivery, said Zhang, adding that China agreed on the PSI principles and objectives on proliferation prevention.

Meanwhile, China emphasized the importance of resolving proliferation issues through political and diplomatic means, she said.

The two sides agreed to continue dialogues on the PSI, Zhang said.

Looking closer to home, the Foreign Ministry has also been paying attention to reports that the goods of many Chinese merchants were seized in police raids in Moscow, Zhang said China hopes the Russian side will fully consider the historical development of Sino-Russian trade and work with China to find a positive way out.

In raids that were carried out from February 9 to 12, Russian Interior Ministry agents carted away large amounts of goods from more than 300 stalls rented by Chinese merchants in a city market, citing lack of legal entry papers for the items, reports said.

After the seizures, Zhang said, the Chinese Embassy in Moscow sent officials to the site to deal with the problem.

The embassy and officials from the Chinese Foreign Ministry also talked with the Russian authorities through different channels, demanding they refrain from extreme actions, said the spokeswoman.

China called on the Russian side to return the goods and protect the legal rights of the Chinese citizens to maintain friendly bilateral ties, Zhang said.

Moving on to bilateral ties, she also hailed the upcoming visit by Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen as "important" in the history of Sino-Danish bilateral relations.

At the invitation of Premier Wen Jiabao, Rasmussen will make a working visit to China from February 24 to 28, Zhang said. The Danish Prime Minister is expected to meet with Wen and other Chinese leaders.

The two sides will likely sign co-operation contracts on travel, environmental protection and shipbuilding, she said.

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