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China Urges 'Coolheaded' Response to North Korea


China says it is firmly opposed to North Korea's nuclear test, but is repeating its call on the international community to remain calm in formulating a response.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said China firmly opposes the North Korean nuclear test on Monday. He says Beijing has two main objectives - a nuclear-free Korean peninsula, as well as safeguarding peace and stability in Northeast Asia.

Ma says China calls on what he described as "relevant parties" to respond in a "coolheaded and appropriate way." He says the Chinese government would like to see all sides resolve the issue peacefully, through consultation and dialogue.

He repeated his government's earlier calls for North Korea to return to its commitment of denuclearization. And said China has directly expressed its position to North Korea. He also urged Pyongyang to return to the six party talks, which include the United States, North Korea, China, South Korea, Japan and Russia. The six party process began in 2003, but has been stalled since the end of last year.

The Chinese spokesman did not directly say whether his country will support any United Nations Security Council resolution against North Korea that includes sanctions. He said only that China hopes any UN Security Council action will help denuclearization efforts and will help maintain stability.

China is North Korea's closest ally in the world. In the past, observers described the relationship "as close as lips and teeth."

Although China is North Korea's main international benefactor, Ma rejected suggestions that Beijing has any special influence over Pyongyang.

The spokesman says the word "influence" does not exist in China's diplomacy. He says his country's foreign affairs policy is conducted on what Beijing terms the five principles of peaceful co-existence.

These principles emphasize sovereign equality, respecting diverse civilizations, promoting mutually-beneficial economic cooperation, maintaining peace through dialogue and placing importance on the United Nations.

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