China, France united on Iran, N. Korean nukes

26th October 2006, Comments 0 comments

BEIJING, Oct 26, 2006 (AFP) - United Nations Security Council members China and France presented a united front on Thursday against the separate nuclear ambitions of North Korea and Iran.

BEIJING, Oct 26, 2006 (AFP) - United Nations Security Council members China and France presented a united front on Thursday against the separate nuclear ambitions of North Korea and Iran.

A joint communiqué released by Chinese President Hu Jintao and visiting French President Jacques Chirac expressed "grave concern" over North Korea's October 9 atomic bomb test and called on Iran to heed UN mandates over its  nuclear program.

It called the North Korean test "contrary to the goal of the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and the efforts of the international community to strengthen the non-proliferation regime."

North Korea caused a global uproar with the test blast, triggering a UN Security Council resolution imposing economic sanctions aimed at curbing the reclusive state's weapons program.

The two leaders also called on Tehran to finally abide by a Security Council resolution that had set an August 31 deadline for Iran to abandon its uranium enrichment program or face sanctions.

Iran has ignored the deadline.

"The two sides call for respect of Security Council resolution 1696 and agree to pursue their joint efforts for a resolution of the nuclear issue to maintain a close permanent contact on this matter," the statement said.

The Security Council's five permanent members — China, France, Russia, Britain and the United States — were expected on Thursday to begin discussing a new draft resolution that spells out possible Iran sanctions.

The draft urges UN member states to take steps to prevent Iran from transferring any materials or knowledge related to those programs to other parties and to deny Tehran any financial, technical or other assistance that could aid them.

The draft warns that the council would "consider further measures" if Iran still refuses to comply with a demand that it freeze uranium enrichment, which can provide the raw material for nuclear weapons.

The support of China — which has historically strong links to its North Korean neighbor and extensive energy interests in Iran — is seen as crucial in achieving UN objectives on both issues.

However, China has so far shown an unwillingness to push Iran and North Korea too hard and on Thursday gave no indication on whether it was willing to support the new draft resolution.

"We are currently researching this resolution," foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said.

"We are opposed to the proliferation of nuclear weapons. We don't want to see new tensions in the Middle East," Liu said. "China hopes the Iranian nuclear must be settled peacefully through dialogue."

Chirac is on a four-day visit to China ending on Saturday.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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