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Bush, Chinese Official Agree On Strong Measures On North Korea

US President George W. Bush (R) meets with Chinese State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan (C) in the Oval Office of the White House 12 October 2006 in Washington, DC. Photo courtesy of Kimberlee Hewitt, The White House and AFP.
by Staff Writers
Aboard Air Force One (AFP) Oct 12, 2006
US President George W. Bush met Thursday with a top Chinese official who agreed on the need for "strong measures" against North Korea following Pyongyang's nuclear test announcement, US officials said.

Traveling with the president, deputy national security adviser JD Crouch said the Chinese agreed "strong measures" are needed in dealing with North Korea.

"I think it's a positive sign that we all agree that we need a resolution and we need to go forward with strong measures," Crouch said following Bush's meeting with Chinese State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan.

While there was no discussion of specific details of a resolution on North Korea's nuclear program and declared arms test, there was "a broad understanding that there needed to be a strong response," Crouch told reporters.

"There's a possibility of differences ... but I think it's a very major step and a positive step, that all the major players in this are arguing for a strong resolution," Crouch said.

China and Russia had signaled earlier that they would oppose a US bid to force an early vote in the UN Security Council on mandatory tough sanctions against North Korea for its nuclear test.

Tang also met with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to discuss the issue of strong sanctions on Pyongyang.

"I think the Chinese clearly understand the gravity of the situation, they clearly understand that the North Koreans, doing this, have made the environment much less stable, much less secure," Rice said.

"And they are working very hard (at the United Nations) in New York, but I believe we'll get a very good resolution that will demonstrate to the North Koreans that the international community is very much united in its condemnation of this test," she said.

She said she did not know if a UN Security Council vote on sanctions would take place Friday, "but I think it will be soon."

As US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton formally introduced a revised sanctions draft in the council "in preparation for a vote tomorrow (Friday)", his Chinese and Russian colleagues made it clear they were not happy with the text as it stood.

Asked about prospects for a vote Friday, Chinese Ambassador Wang Guangya replied: "I'm not sure. We have to see the final text, because there are many common grounds, but there are some disagreements."

While stressing that Monday's announced North Korean test was "an irresponsible action" that must be "firmly opposed and condemned", Wang said a response by the council should be "firm, forceful and also appropriate".

"It should be helpful for leading to a solution of this issue by peaceful means, and it should also create conditions for the parties to once again, in negotiations, to settle this issue," he added.

Russia's UN envoy Vitaly Churkin also said a vote Friday was unlikely.

"We think there should be a strong (council) reaction, but it has to be a cool-headed reaction," he noted.

"In this part of the world (Northeast Asia), some strong statements made by others in the Security Council have aggravated matters, so we do not want to repeat this on the level of the Security Council," he added.

North Korea said Wednesday that full-scale sanctions by the Security Council would be tantamount to a "declaration of war".

Pyongyang says its nuclear weapons program is needed to deter an attack by the United States, which lumped the North in with Iran and pre-war Iraq as an "axis of evil".

It said Monday's test was an attempt to get the United States back to the bargaining table, an apparent call for one-on-one talks instead of the stalled six-nation negotiations on its nuclear ambitions.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Asian Poll Foresees US Losing Superpower Status To China
Washington (AFP) Oct 12, 2006
Asians see the United States losing its undisputed superpower status in 50 years to possibly China amid waning trust in Washington to act responsibly in the world, a poll showed Wednesday. But most Asians felt the growth of Chinese military power would be a potential source of conflict between major powers in the region, according to the study by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs (CCGA), an independent US think tank.

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