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Chinese, French Leaders Express Concern Over North Korean Nuclear Test


The leaders of China and France have jointly expressed concern over North Korea's October 9 nuclear test. Presidents Hu Jintao and Jacques Chirac issued their statement on the second day of the French leader's visit to China to discuss security and trade.

Chinese leaders treated French President Jacques Chirac to a lavish welcome that included a military display on Beijing's Tiananmen Square Thursday. In his welcoming remarks, President Hu Jintao spoke of the importance of cooperating in the face of threats such as that posed by North Korea when it tested a nuclear device this month.

"We will face the global challenge and we will [together work to] build a prosperous and harmonious world," he said.

Both China and France are permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, which has passed a resolution imposing sanctions on the North in response to the test.

President Chirac praised China for voting to take action against its longtime ally.

"We congratulate the unanimous passage of Resolution 1718, and take note of the sense of responsibility that China has demonstrated on this occasion," he said.

While security has been a major topic on the French president's agenda, expanding business has also taken a prominent role.

Accompanying Mr. Chirac on this visit are about 30 French business executives, who came ready to sign deals with the Chinese, all part of France's bid to boost its share of the China market.

The head of the Toulouse-based European airplane manufacturing consortium, Airbus, on Thursday announced China had signed an order to buy 150 of Airbus's A-320 aircraft. He did not say how much the deal is worth.

The head of another French company, engineering firm Alstom, announced the sale to China of 500 locomotives at a cost of $1.28 billion.

The French and Chinese leaders' joint statement Thursday said both sides agreed to "promote and protect human rights," but did not elaborate.

The two leaders also called for a lifting of the European Union embargo on weapons sales to China.

Mr. Chirac has long opposed retaining the EU ban on arms sales to China, which was imposed after the 1989 attack by Chinese troops on unarmed pro-democracy demonstrators.

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