President Hu Jintao and Vice President Zeng Qinghong sent congratulatory messages to newly reelected US President George W. Bush and Vice President Richard Cheney, said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue at a routine news briefing in Beijing on Thursday.
In the past four years, relations between China and the US have advanced through joint efforts, said Zhang. China is willing to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with the United States, address each other's concerns and continue developing cooperative ties.
The spokeswoman said that China will continue to keep in close contact with the United States and other parties to the talks on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue. China hopes a new round of six-party talks or a working group meeting will be held as quickly as possible in the wake of the US presidential election.
China, North and South Korea, the United States, Russia and Japan have held three rounds of talks in Beijing. However, the fourth round of talks, tentatively scheduled to be held in late September, was postponed.
The spokeswoman announced that Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing will pay an official visit to Iran on November 6 and 7 at the invitation of Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi. Li will discuss international issues of mutual concern with Iranian leaders as well as the Iran nuclear issue.
China hopes the Iran nuclear issue can be solved under the framework of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The spokeswoman said China consistently opposes the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. It has enacted numerous laws and established policies with regard to nuclear, biological and chemical weapons, as well as missiles and other conventional weapons. The country is enhancing its ability to enforce these laws and implement other measures in accordance with international regulations.
China supports the Proliferation Security Initiative and maintains that any activity in this regard should accord with the principles of the UN Charter.
Turning to the Middle East conflict, the spokeswoman said China will push for resumption of negotiations between Israel and Palestine. Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom is due to arrive in Beijing on Friday, where he will discuss the Middle East situation with government leaders.
Zhang stated that the Chinese government and leaders are concerned about the health of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
Arafat is in a coma and in an "extremely bad state," AFP reported Thursday. He is in the Percy Military Hospital near Paris.
"President Arafat is an old friend of the Chinese people. Being very concerned about his physical condition, the Chinese government and leaders have extended their regards to him and expressed their hope that he will recover soon," said Zhang.
The spokeswoman said China is glad to note that Afghan presidential election has concluded successfully, demonstrating the significant progress the Afghan people have made on their way toward political stability and national development.
President Hu Jintao sent a congratulatory message to Hamid Karzai on his election as president.
The Chinese government believes that Afghanistan, under the leadership of Karzai and through the efforts of the Afghan government and people, will continue to make progress in maintaining public security and boosting economic development, Zhang said.
President Hu has sent messages of condolence on the death of United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al-Nahayan, expressing sympathy for the UAE people and especially for Sheikh Zayed's family.
State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan went to the UAE Embassy in Beijing on Wednesday and delivered words of condolence, and China's ambassador to the UAE attended the funeral of Sheikh Zayed on behalf of the government, Zhang said.
Sheikh Zayed, who passed away on Tuesday at the age of 86, was elected the first president of the UAE in 1971 and reelected at five-year intervals in 1976, 1981, 1986, 1991 and 2001. He enjoyed a good reputation in the international community, Zhang said, and had always considered relations with China to be important. Zayed visited China once, in 1990.
Sheik Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Sheik Zayed's eldest son, was appointed on Wednesday to succeed his father. President Hu sent a message to congratulate him, Zhang said.
Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing is leaving on Friday as special envoy of the Chinese government to offer condolences for the loss of Sheikh Zayed and to deliver congratulations to the new president on his accession.
Turning to Asia-Pacific, Zhang reported that senior Vanuatuan officials said the island country will not establish "diplomatic relations" with Taiwan and will adhere to the nation's one-China stance.
Taiwan reported earlier this week that it had established formal diplomatic relations with Vanuatu.
When China's Ambassador to Vanuatu Wu Zurong requested that the government clarify the issue, Vanuatuan Acting Prime Minister Ham Lini and Foreign Minister Barak Sope said that the Vanuatuan government will not change its one-China policy nor will it establish "diplomatic relations" with Taiwan.
(Xinhua News Agency, CRI.com November 5, 2004)