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China opposes N. Korea nuclear test, says army chief

  |   April 23, 2013 at 12:45 AM
BEIJING, April 23 (UPI) -- China is "thoroughly opposed" to North Korea's nuclear test and asked all sides to urge that country to stop such tests, China's army chief said.

Gen. Fang Fenghui, speaking to reporters in Beijing along with visiting Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he has always maintained the Korea Peninsula should be free of nuclear weapons, a U.S. Defense Department transcript reported.

"We are thoroughly opposed to the nuclear test conducted by the [North Korean government]," he said. "We support the U.N. Security Council in appropriate and reasonable sanctions against North Korea."

Fang said peaceful dialogue is the most desirable approach to resolving multinational concerns about North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

"We ask all sides to work actively ... [to persuade] the North Koreans to stop the nuclear tests and to stop producing nuclear weapons," Fang said.

Dempsey said talks with his hosts included U.S. arms sales to Taiwan and reconnaissance by U.S. ships and aircraft.

"It's our desire, both of us, that we maintain dialogue at the strategic level ... We are committed to building a better, deeper, more enduring relationship," he said.

The general, who arrived Sunday on a five-day visit, said the United States considers its relationship with China in the context of historic and enduring alliances in the region.

"This isn't about choosing any one or the other," he said. "We have some treaty obligations, but we will build this relationship by increasing our contact at the strategic level and recognizing [those alliances]."

The general, in reference to the U.S. pivot to the Asia-Pacific, reminded that United States is and has been a Pacific power, and while its military has been particularly active and busy in the Middle East, it has never left and will not leave the Asia-Pacific.

He said the United States seeks to be a stabilizing influence in the region.

China Daily quoted General Fang as saying: "China and the United States should enhance coordination and cooperation to appropriately handle hot issues and deal with potential crises in the region."

The report said the Fang-Dempsey meeting was the first high-level military meeting since U.S. President Barack Obama began his second term and China completed its leadership transition.

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