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China bans weaponry-related exports to North Korea
by Staff Writers
Beijing (AFP) Sept 24, 2013


Ai Weiwei to join Stockholm Film Festival jury
Stockholm (AFP) Sept 23, 2013 - Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei was on Monday appointed to be on the jury of the Stockholm Film Festival even though he was unlikely to be allowed to attend in person, festival organisers said.

The artist, whose movements have been restricted by Chinese authorities, was chosen because he is a "symbol of the repression of artists and journalists," festival director Git Scheynius told AFP.

"He is one of the most interesting artists on the planet right now. He can't express himself and he has been in jail because of his regime-critical opinions," Scheynius said, adding it was unlikely Beijing would grant permission for him to attend the festival.

"But he was thrilled, he said he loves films and is looking forward to taking part."

The theme of the international festival this year is "freedom" and Scheynius said she hoped it would highlight the plight of journalists and artists unable to perform their work without the influence of censorship.

"We're doing this to put pressure on the Chinese authorities," said Scheynius.

It was unclear how Ai Weiwei would participate, as organisers said he currently has no Internet access and is difficult to reach, but Scheynius said she was "optimistic" about his involvement.

The annual festival will run from November 6-17 with more than 180 films from over 50 countries in competition.

China has banned exports to North Korea of technologies and goods that could be used to make missiles and nuclear, chemical and biological weapons, the government said, as it moves to comply with UN resolutions.

Beijing, the North's sole major ally and economic lifeline, has publicly supported sanctions against Pyongyang in the past, though it has come in for criticism from the US and other countries for alleged lax enforcement.

China, which has tended to prioritise regional stability in its relations with the North, regularly calls for the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula. But it has been reluctant to push North Korea too hard over fears it could result in a messy collapse of the regime.

Since North Korea conducted its third underground nuclear test in February, however, China has taken a harder stance, with President Xi Jinping telling an international forum in April there should be no tolerance for those who foster "chaos", remarks widely interpreted at the time as a criticism of North Korea.

The prohibition covers items including components for nuclear explosion devices, certain rocket systems and toxic gas monitoring and testing systems, according to a 236-page list released by the Ministry of Commerce and three other government agencies on Monday.

"(We) are prohibiting exports of the listed dual-use goods and technologies regarding weapons of mass destruction and their means of conveyance to North Korea according to China's Foreign Trade Law and in order to execute relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council," they said in a separate statement.

"Dual-use goods and technologies" refer to nuclear, chemical and biological as well as missile-related goods and technologies that can be used for both civilian and military purposes.

The statement also said that the ban took effect from the time it was announced, which was Monday.

Beijing cooperates with Washington in its attempts to forge a diplomatic solution on North Korea's nuclear weapons programme and has hosted numerous sessions of a six-nation forum aimed at convincing Pyongyang to abandon it.

The North has said for years it wants denuclearisation of the whole Korean peninsula and that it is developing an atomic arsenal to protect itself from the US military, which occasionally sends nuclear-powered warships and aircraft capable of carrying atomic weapons to South Korea, Washington's ally, for drills.

In February the North carried out its third underground nuclear test in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions, sending tensions soaring and raising fears of possible conflict. It also launched a rocket in December that Washington said was a disguised ballistic missile test.

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