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China Urges US to Stick with 1994 North Korea Arms Control Agreement - 2002-11-12

The Chinese government is urging the United States not to back away from a 1994 arms control agreement with North Korea. A senior U.S. diplomat is in Beijing to discuss North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

China says Washington should abide by an agreement reached with North Korea in 1994. The deal required North Korea to halt its nuclear weapons program. In return, the United States and other countries would provide North Korea with two nuclear reactors, plus fuel oil for heating and electricity.

Last month, the United States revealed Pyongyang admitted to having a nuclear weapons program. Since then, Washington has held a series of talks with China, South Korea and Japan to form a response to the North's violation of the 1994 agreement.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Kong Quan urged the United States to uphold the deal. Mr. Kong said the nuclear issue in North Korea is a major concern, and should be settled peacefully through dialogue. He said both parties should abide by the agreement, including the U.S. agreement to supply oil to North Korea.

The nations that supply the oil meet Thursday in New York, and could vote to halt oil shipments already en route to Pyongyang.

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State James Kelly is in Beijing to discuss North Korea's nuclear program with senior officials. It is Mr. Kelly's second trip to China this month, and follows visits to Japan and South Korea, with whom Washington is working to end Pyongyang's weapons program.

Meanwhile, China said it will not join a new missile non-proliferation code. The International Code of Conduct Against Missile Proliferation is intended to curb missile sales by countries such as Iran, Syria, India, Pakistan and China.

China says despite its refusal to join the agreement, it maintains strict missile controls. Mr. Kong said that since last September, China has passed a number of laws to curb weapons of mass destruction, and has cooperated with other countries to halt missile exports. He said whether or not China signs the non-proliferation agreement, Beijing will work to prevent the spread of ballistic missiles.