Tuesday, Aug 12, 2003
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By P. S. Suryanarayana
While Japan indicated that the two countries had now agreed to cooperate in resolving the nuclear issue by peaceful means, Mr. Li affirmed that China "wants to maintain a nuclear (weapons)-free Korean peninsula''. He underlined that China, like other countries in the region, wanted "peace and stability'' to prevail. Mr. Koizumi is quoted by the Japanese side as having told Mr. Li that their two countries shared a desire for the peaceful settlement. Mr. Li is understood to have told him that China would expect Japan to play an active and constructive role. Besides China and Japan, those expected to participate are the two Koreas as also the United States and Russia. China's Vice-Foreign Minister and a key trouble-shooter as regards the nuclear issue, Dai Bingguo, expressed the hope that the talks would produce "positive results''.
Aside from the ongoing Sino-Japanese discussions and Mr. Dai's recent talks in Russia as also the DPRK and the U.S. on the nuclear issue, a three-way dialogue among Washington, Tokyo and Seoul is planned for later this week as part of the preparations for the six-party discussions. Mr. Li's visit to Japan has another dimension. With China and Japan marking the 25th anniversary of their bilateral treaty of peace and friendship, the two sides are updating ties to a level of greater interactive exchanges.
On Tokyo's eagerness to utilise the six-party talks to raise the issue of the DPRK's abduction of some Japanese nationals in the past, China indicated that the matter should be seen as a bilateral dispute between Tokyo and Pyongyang.
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