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China Welcomes Efforts Towards Peace on Korean Peninsula


China is welcoming renewed U.S. and South Korean commitments to peacefully end the North Korean nuclear crisis. Beijing says it is working to help defuse the dispute. A Foreign Ministry spokeswoman says Beijing is pleased that President Bush and South Korea's President Roh Moo-hyun are calling for a diplomatic solution to the dispute over North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

The two presidents met Wednesday in Washington.

Zhang Qiyue says Beijing is working to get the United States and North Korea to resume talks, following their meeting in Beijing last month.

Those talks ended with no clear progress, but China calls them a good start and says all three countries are considering another round of talks.

China also supports a role for South Korea and Japan in future talks between the United States and North Korea.

In Washington, South Korea and the United States used a joint statement to call for a verifiable and irreversible end to North Korea's nuclear programs.

The crisis flared last October when a U.S. envoy confronted Pyongyang with evidence it was breaking international agreements not to produce nuclear weapons. Since then, the United States cut promised oil deliveries and North Korea expelled international nuclear monitors, left the global nuclear non-proliferation treaty, and claimed it moved to make fuel for nuclear bombs.

At the Beijing talks, North Korean negotiators also reportedly said their country does have nuclear weapons.

China plays a role in resolving the dispute because it is communist North Korea's closest ally and its major source of food and fuel. It also has said it does not want to see nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula.