Chinese people have freedom of speech: Envoy

Last Updated: Thursday, March 3, 2011 - 12:51

United Nations: Chinese nationals have
freedom of speech, the country`s UN envoy said as he sought to
play down reports of crackdown on protesters in the communist
nation.

"In China, people have freedom of speech and freedom
of assembly," Li Baodong, China`s ambassador to the UN, told
reporters here.
Li said economic reforms in 1978 had brought a great
deal of stability in the country, and the reform process is
still continuing.

"Stability has brought about fundamental changes in
China," he said. "No-one is perfect in the world...there are a
lot of things...we have to continue the reform."

The diplomat was responding to query on Beijing`s
stance on human rights as it supported tough resolutions
against Libya`s crackdown on protesters, but reportedly not
allowed protests at home.

The Chinese government is preventing foreign reporters
from covering potential protests by establishing "no
reporting" zones in Shanghai and Beijing, a New York Times
report said on Tuesday.
On Sunday, Chinese police dressed in plain clothes
harassed and assaulted foreign journalists, the report
claimed.

The top diplomat was holding a press conference to
discuss agenda for the Security Council, which will be chaired
by China in March.

Li also underlined China`s "three principles" on
Libya.

"We respect the sovereignty, independence and
territorial integrity of Libya," he said. "We believe that the
political crisis should be resolved through peaceful means
through dialogue."

Li also said that foreign nationals in Libya should be
protected, and since the situation there would impact the
region it was important to respect the opinion of Arab and
African countries in seeking a solution.

Li added that there had been no official discussion on
creating a no-fly zone over Libya. "The idea is floating
around in the lobby," he said.

"Different countries have different opinion."

China urges resumption of North Korea talks

China`s UN ambassador has
called for the speedy resumption of six-party talks aimed at
persuading North Korea to abandon its nuclear program.

Li Baodong told a news conference that the talks
involving North and South Korea, China, the US, Japan and
Russia are the only way to achieve progress.

The talks began in 2003 but stalled in December 2008.
Washington and Seoul have said North Korea must fulfill past
nuclear disarmament commitments before talks can resume.

But Li called for talks to resume "as soon as
possible," saying that when talks stall the situation on the
Korean peninsula is "mostly unstable and dangerous."

Tensions between the two Koreas have been at their
highest level in years since North Korea showered artillery on
a South Korean-held island near their disputed maritime border
in November, killing four South Koreans. The attack was the
first on a civilian area since the 1950-53 Korean War, and
occurred in waters not far from the spot where a South Korean
warship sank eight months earlier, killing 46 sailors.

Friction mounted this week following Monday`s start of
the annual South Korean-US military drills, which North Korea
has called a rehearsal for invasion that could trigger a
nuclear war. The North`s military has also warned that it
would attack South Korean border towns if Seoul allows
activists to send balloons carrying leaflets critical of
Pyongyang.

Li said China`s priorities are maintaining peace and
security on the Korean peninsula, safeguarding the
International Atomic Energy Agency`s nuclear non-proliferation
regime, and promoting solutions to outstanding issues through
dialogue.

PTI



First Published: Thursday, March 3, 2011 - 12:51

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