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China says dialogue is key on Iran and North Korea

Written by: Staff

BEIJING, Apr 14: China today insisted that dialogue was the key to resolving the West's nuclear standoffs with Iran and North Korea, two countries Washington has branded part of an ''axis of evil''.

Vice Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, briefing reporters on President Hu Jintao's visit to the United States next week, was asked whether Iran and North Korea would be raised.

Yang said all international issues of common concern would be discussed.

''We hope all parties will adopt a cool-headed approach,'' he told a news conference when asked about Iran. ''Dialogue is better than confrontation. We should work together toward this end.'' Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), yesterday said Iran had told him it would step up efforts to answer questions on its nuclear plans. Tehran, meanwhile, rejected calls to halt work the West says is designed to make weapons.

ElBaradei is due to report to the UN Security Council at the end of April.

North Korea yesterday said it might boost its nuclear deterrent if China-hosted six-country talks on ending its atomic programmes remained deadlocked, but said it would return to the table if Washington met a demand to unfreeze its assets.

''We hope the various parties will adopt a flexible and pragmatic approach and work towards resuming the talks,'' Yang, a former ambassador to Washington, told the news conference.

''Realisation of the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and safeguarding peace and stability on the Korean peninsula conforms to the interests of all parties.''


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