Last updated at: (Beijing Time) Friday, July 04, 2003

Nuclear Issue to be 'Key Topic' of China-South Korea Talks

Chinese President Hu Jintao and President of the Republic of Korea (ROK) Roh Moo-hyun are set to hold talks on July 7, and this is the first meeting between the two leaders since their assuming office, said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan here Thursday at a press conference.


China affirmed Thursday that the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula will be one of the key topics of discussion during Republic of Korea (ROK) President Roh Moo-hyun's visit to China next week.

"I do think it will be a focus of the meeting because of the current situation on the peninsula and the reappearance of the nuclear issue,'' said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan in Beijing at a regular briefing.

Kong said that a peaceful resolution of the issue was of great importance to peace and stability of the peninsula, Northeast Asia and the whole of Asia.

Roh's visit to China, from July 7 to 10, is the first since his election in last December. President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao will meet and have talks with Roh on Monday.

Referring to the ongoing three-day visit by Chinese Vice-Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo to Russia, Kong said that Dai would have an exchange of views with the Russian side on the situation on the Korean Peninsula.

Kong said that Dai's visit shows that China and Russia maintain close co-ordination and co-operation on the major international issues, adding that the two countries agreed to solve the DPRK nuclear issues through peaceful means.

"We welcome the opinions from various parties on the peaceful resolution of issue,'' the spokesman said, noting that China was open and flexible to the type of the dialogue.

When asked to comment on the demonstration in Hong Kong on Tuesday, Kong said that the government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) has said it welcomes various opinions on governmental work and the development of Hong Kong, adding that Hong Kong compatriots shared the same position on the stability and economic revival in Hong Kong.

A large number of Hong Kong residents took to the streets on Tuesday to express their concerns on the proposed legislation on the National Security Bill, which will be drafted based on Article 23 of the Basic Law of the Hong Kong SAR.

Hong Kong Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa said in a press release on the same day that his government fully understood the importance the community attached to their rights and freedoms.

"We shall continue to take active steps to maintain and safeguard rights and freedoms and develop democracy in a gradual and orderly manner according to the blueprint laid down in the Basic Law,'' Tung was quoted as saying in the press release.

Tung pointed out that the legislation on the National Security Bill was a constitutional duty of the Hong Kong SAR. Just like nationals of other places, Hong Kong citizens have a duty to protect national security. In discharging this obligation, the government has pledged that the rights and freedoms which have been enjoyed by the people of Hong Kong will not be affected by the legislation.

Kong said yesterday that while examining the draft ordinance concerning national security, the Hong Kong SAR Legislative Council had listened to public opinion in an in-depth way.

Palestinian high official to visit China
The Foreign Ministry spokesman also announced Thurday that Palestinian National Authority Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath will visit China from July 10 to 12, describing it "a very significant event'' for both sides.

The Foreign Ministry said yesterday in a press release that up to yesterday, 77 countries have unfrozen entry restrictions from China and some countries said they would lift their restrictions soon.

At least 127 countries and regions took measures to restrict personnel entrance from China in April and May, and at least 14 countries warned their people not to travel to China.

But now the foreign exchanges are gradually returning to normal since the World Health Organization lifted travel adversary against Beijing on June 24, according to the press release.

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