Restraint is 'best way to ease tension'

By Sun Shangwu (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-10-18 07:17

China yesterday urged the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) to adopt a responsible attitude and take no further action to aggravate tensions caused by its recent nuclear test.

Vehicles wait to be checked at the China-DPRK border in Dandong yesterday.
Vehicles wait to be checked at the China-DPRK border in Dandong yesterday. [China Daily]
Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao made the remarks at a regular news briefing amid speculation that the DPRK may be planning a second nuclear test.

"China resolutely opposes the nuclear test by the DPRK, insists on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and opposes the proliferation of nuclear weapons," said Liu, calling for negotiations to resolve the nuclear issue on the peninsula.

The UN Security Council unanimously approved a resolution on Saturday against the DPRK for its claimed nuclear test last week.

The DPRK's Foreign Ministry lashed out at the sanctions yesterday, calling them "a declaration of war," and saying the country will "deal merciless blows" if its sovereignty is violated.

When asked to comment on the DPRK's reaction, Liu said that the consensus reached by the international community should "get a positive response" from Pyongyang.

The UN resolution rules out military action against the DPRK, but calls on all countries to inspect inbound and outbound cargo to prevent any illegal trafficking in weapons of mass destruction or ballistic missiles.

Chinese border officials started checking trucks at the DPRK border this week.

Liu said that "sanctions are not the purpose. The purpose is to realize the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."

He urged all sides to "keep calm and be restrained" and take appropriate action to create favourable conditions for the resumption of the Six-Party Talks.

He said that China has always implemented Security Council measures seriously and in a responsible manner.

"This time is no exception."

The spokesman also announced visits by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (Friday-Saturday) and French President Jacques Chirac (October 25-28).

Rice will meet Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and other leaders to "exchange views on Sino-US relations and the situation on the Korean Peninsula."

The DPRK nuclear issue will definitely be on the agenda during Chirac's visit, Liu said. China and France are both permanent members of the UN Security Council.

At the briefing, Liu denied any link between the wire fence being constructed on the China-DPRK border and the nuclear test.

He said that China started building the fence and other border-control facilities as early as in 1990 to improve management and control of the borders, adding that the situation on the border is normal.

Liu did not confirm reports that some branches of the Bank of China have halted remittances to the DPRK.

Japan's Asahi Shimbun quoted a bank official as saying the move was related to international sanctions on Pyongyang.

Responding to some Japanese lawmakers' suggestion to develop nuclear weapons following the DPRK's nuclear test, Liu called for Japan to stick to its "Three Non-Nuclear Principles" and adopt a responsible attitude to safeguard regional peace and stability.

The principles, approved in 1971, state that Japan will not produce, possess or allow nuclear weapons on its territory.

Japan, as a signatory of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, must strictly fulfil its obligations, said Liu.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said last Tuesday that Japan would stick to its "Three Non-Nuclear Principles" and was not planning to possess nuclear weapons.