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China Urges Diplomatic Solution in Iraq - 2003-01-09

China again is urging a diplomatic solution to the crisis over Iraq's suspected weapons of mass destruction. The appeal was made during meetings between the French foreign minister and Chinese officials in Beijing. China repeated calls Thursday for tensions with Iraq to be resolved through the United Nations rather than by force. Chinese spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue says that Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan discussed the Iraq issue with visiting French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin.

She says Mr. Tang told his French counterpart that Iraq has complied with U.N. Security Council demands, by submitting a statement on its suspected weapons of mass destruction and cooperating with U.N. weapons inspectors.

The chief U.N. weapons inspector is expected to tell the U.N. Security Council Thursday that Iraq may have omitted information when it declared it has no biological, chemical or nuclear weapons and that more time is needed to investigate.

China, France and Russia - Security Council members - favor U.N. diplomacy over force to resolve the Iraq issue. Whereas the United States and Britain are preparing for war, if necessary.