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China Calls for Restraint Over North Korea


China has appealed for "calm and restraint" from all sides after North Korea said it was pulling out of six nation talks on its nuclear weapons program.

Most of the questions at Tuesday's regular Chinese Foreign Ministry briefing were about North Korea. Chinese spokeswoman Jiang Yu had no critical words for Pyongyang and basically repeated what her government has said in the past.

Jiang says Beijing hopes the relevant parties can proceed from the overall interest, to exert calmness and restraint, so as to work together to safeguard the six party talks process.

China is a veto-wielding member of the UN Security Council, so its support was crucial for a presidential statement the council issued Monday that condemns North Korea's long-range rocket launch nearly two weeks ago.

The statement orders a UN sanctions committee to begin activating financial sanctions, and an arms and limited trade embargo, as called for in an already existing Security Council resolution passed two and a half years ago.

Jiang acknowledged her country's support for the statement, but pointed out that it was not as harsh as it could have been.

Jiang says the Security Council's presidential statement is a compromise agreement that was reached through negotiations and consultations. She says China did not support calls for a new Security Council resolution that would levy even more sanctions on North Korea.

She stressed that China and North Korea are friendly neighbors. She said Beijing will continue to develop friendship and cooperation with Pyongyang.

China has been the host country of the six party talks, which began in 2003 and also include North Korea, the United States, South Korea, Japan and Russia.

The Chinese spokeswoman praised the meetings for, in her words, "playing an important role in promoting the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, enhancing mutual trust among various nations and establishing a security mechanism in Northeast Asia."

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