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China, Russia Urge US to Honor N. Korea Weapons Deal

The presidents of Russia and China are calling on the United States and North Korea to renew contacts and stick to an agreement that was supposed to stop Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program. The comments follow a summit meeting in Beijing.

In a joint statement, Russian President Vladimir Putin and China's President Jiang Zemin called for a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.

They urged Washington and Pyongyang to honor the Agreed Framework. Under that 1994 agreement, North Korea promised to stop trying to develop nuclear bombs in return for foreign energy aid from the United States and its allies.

Pyongyang angered Washington in October when it said it had started a new atomic weapons project.

It is unclear what impact the appeal by China and Russia will have on Pyongyang, but the two nations are North Korea's isolated neighbors and traditional allies.

The joint statement also urged North and South Korea to reconcile and for Pyongyang to improve relations with Japan.

President Jiang said the international environment is chaotic, so it is very important for China to maintain peace.

The two leaders found common ground on the Iraq issue. They have been urging a diplomatic solution to the dispute between Washington and Baghdad. The United States accuses of Iraq of breaking its surrender agreement ending the 1991 Gulf War by trying to create weapons of mass destruction. Washington has threatened military action to enforce the agreement.

China and Russia also agreed to support each other's struggles against terrorism. Moscow is fighting Muslim rebels in Chechnya, and Beijing says it is threatened by armed Uighur separatists in its western Xinjiang region.

Both leaders said relations between China and Russia are particularly good right now. Mr. Putin met with Mr. Jiang's successor, Chinese Communist Party chief Hu Jintao, and said Mr. Hu helped build a "very solid and strong foundation" for their relationship. Mr. Hu becomes China's president next March after Mr. Jiang retires.

President Putin is scheduled to give a speech at Beijing University before leaving Beijing Tuesday.