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China Will Not Attend New Talks On North Korea Nuclear Program

File photo: North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il with Chinese President Hu.
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Sep 19, 2006
China said Tuesday it did not plan to attend a 10-nation meeting in New York on how to draw North Korea back to talks on its nuclear program, and reiterated its opposition to sanctions against Pyongyang.

"China has no plan to attend such a meeting," foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang told a regular briefing when asked about the 10-nation conference, scheduled for Thursday in New York.

US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said Monday China's participation at the 10-way meeting of foreign ministers would "send an important signal to the North Koreans."

The meeting will come almost a year to the day since a breakthrough agreement on September 19, 2005, that brought North Korea into multinational talks on nuclear disarmament.

Washington and its partners in those talks -- South Korea, China, Japan and Russia -- offered economic and diplomatic incentives to North Korea in exchange for giving up its drive to develop nuclear weapons.

But Pyongyang began boycotting the six-nation process two months later in protest at US financial sanctions aimed at halting alleged money-laundering and other practices by the cash-strapped government.

In July, Washington expanded the moribund diplomatic effort to include Australia, Canada, Indonesia, Malaysia and New Zealand, creating the five-plus-five forum.

Qin, the foreign ministry spokesman, also criticized a move Tuesday by Japan to slap financial sanctions on North Korea.

"The Chinese government has always advocated that this issue should be resolved by dialogue and we are opposed to sanctions," he said.

"All parties concerned should focus on how to resume the talks as soon as possible and avoid any actions that may further complicate the situation."

Japan, along with Australia, blacklisted companies and an individual for alleged links to weapons programs in North Korea.

Last year, North Korea said it had a nuclear bomb and has hinted that it may be preparing to test one.

earlier related report
US Urges China To Attend New Talks On North Korea Nuclear Program
The United States urged China on Monday to attend a 10-nation meeting here this week about how to draw North Korea back into multilateral negotiations on dismantling its nuclear weapons program. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said China's participation at Thursday's 10-way meeting of foreign ministers would "send an important signal to the North Koreans."

"We think it would be a good idea to have such a meeting," he said.

"The Chinese delegation will have to make up their own minds whether or not they attend such a meeting; we would encourage them to attend," he said.

McCormack would not speculate on why the Chinese were reticent to attend the so called "five-plus-five" talks or comment on suggestions Beijing objected to holding such meetings in the absence of North Korea.

The meeting will come almost a year to the day since a breakthrough agreement on September 19, 2005, that brought North Korea into multinational talks on nuclear disarmament.

Washington and its five partners in those talks -- South Korea, China, Japan and Russia -- offered an array of economic and diplomatic incentives to North Korea in exchange for the reclusive regime giving up its drive to develop nuclear weapons.

But Pyongyang began boycotting the talks two months later in protest at US financial sanctions aimed at halting alleged money laundering and other practices by the cash-strapped government.

In July, Washington expanded the moribund diplomatic effort to include Australia, Canada, Indonesia, Malaysia and New Zealand, creating the five-plus-five forum.

Tensions with North Korea rose a notch in July when Pyongyang test-fired seven missiles. There have also been unconfirmed reports in the US that North Korea was preparing to conduct its first test of a nuclear weapon.

McCormack said last week that Washington's point man on the North Korea issue, Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill, was ready at any time to join a new round of six-party negotiations with Pyongyang.

But Washington has rejected North Korean demands for bilateral talks on the nuclear standoff.

Source: Agence France-Presse

Related Links
Learn about nuclear weapons doctrine and defense at SpaceWar.com

Chinese premier warns against sanctions on Iran
Berlin, Sept 14, 2006
Visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao warned on Thursday that imposing sanctions on Iran over its nuclear programme could achieve the opposite of what the international community wanted.







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