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China Says Unaware Of Plans For Repeat North Korea Nuke Test

The site of the last North Korean nuclear test. Photo courtesy AFP.
by Staff Writers
Cebu (AFP) Jan 11, 2007
China's foreign minister said Thursday he did not know of any North Korean plans to conduct a second nuclear weapons test but reiterated Beijing's opposition to any such move. Asked about media reports of a preparations for a possible repeat test, Li Zhaoxing told journalists: "Reports should be based on fact, but I have not heard of it."

He added: "Our position is very clear."

"We are very firm about the safeguarding of the (nuclear) Non-Proliferation Treaty and we hope that all countries will act according to the spirit of the UN charter."

Li, visiting Cebu for a meeting of Southeast Asian ministers with regional partner nations, did not elaborate.

China, North Korea's main economic lifeline, reacted angrily to the first test on October 9 and backed a UN Security Council resolution that imposed sanctions on Pyongyang.

There have been recent reports that North Korea is preparing for a possible second nuclear test at the same site. But most analysts expect it to await the outcome of six-nation negotiations on its nuclear programme, and of separate talks on lifting US financial sanctions.

South Korean Foreign Minister Song Min-Soon said separately there was no "imminent indication" of a planned second test.

The six-nation talks resumed in Beijing last month after a 13-month break but ended without apparent progress or a date to meet again.

However Li said the resumption was significant in itself.

He said all sides "re-emphasised that they would stick to the consensus reached on September 19, 2005, including that all sides should have denuclearisation and the peace and stability of the Korean peninsula as a goal, and that all sides should solve problems through the six-party talks framework."

At a six-party session in September 2005, the North agreed in principle to scrap its nuclear programmes in exchange for economic and energy benefits and security guarantees.

But it boycotted the forum two months later in protest at the US financial sanctions imposed for alleged money-laundering and counterfeiting.

Song and Li later held talks on regional security and other issues.

"We discussed in depth the North Korean nuclear issue, the way to resume the next round of (six-party) talks and how to approach the agenda to get productive results," Song told reporters.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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US Stealth Fighters Arrive In South Korea
Seoul N Korea (AFP) Jan 11, 2007
US Stealth fighters arrived in South Korea on Thursday, the American military said, amid continuing speculation over a second North Korean nuclear test. A squadron of radar-evading F-117 Nighthawk Stealth fighters and 300 airmen arrived at Gunsan, 270 kilometers (167 miles) southwest of Seoul, for a "routine" training deployment, said a US Air Force statement released here.

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