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China Calls for Stronger Diplomacy to Resolve Iraq Crisis, N. Korean Standoff

China is calling for stronger international diplomacy to resolve the Iraq crisis and the North Korean standoff. China's comments follow President Bush's warning that time for discussion is running out for Baghdad.

Zhang Qiyue, speaking for China's Foreign Ministry, says the international community should intensify efforts to get a peaceful solution to the standoff between the United States and Iraq over Baghdad's alleged arsenal of weapons of mass destruction.

Ms. Zhang says the international community has made many efforts… to get a diplomatic solution to the Iraq crisis.

She repeated China's long-standing position that Iraq should comply with U.N. demands and allow U.N. weapons inspectors to search for evidence of the nuclear, chemical, and deadly germ weapons Baghdad promised to give up after the Gulf War.

In a major speech Tuesday, President Bush accused Iraq of lying, hiding banned weapons of mass destruction, and threatening peace. The United States, Britain, and other nations say Iraq has failed to disarm and must be compelled to do so.

Wednesday, the U.N. Security Council met about extending the inspection process. China is one of the U.N. Security Council members who favors giving inspectors more time.

China praised South Korea's diplomacy aimed at ending the standoff with North Korea, and urged other countries to support diplomacy. North Korea recently exited the treaty intended to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, sparking deep concern in capitals throughout the world. The foreign ministry spokesperson repeated China's call for a nuclear-free Korean peninsula. China is North Korea's most important ally and supplies it with critically needed imports of food and fuel.