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Statement by Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan of China at the UN Security Council Open Meeting on the Iraqi Issue(02/14/03)
Mr. President,

Let me begin by thanking Mr. Blix and Mr. ElBaradei for reporting to the Security Council their inspection work in Iraq.  Last November this Council adopted Resolution 1441 by consensus, reiterating the firm determination of the international community to verify and destroy weapons of mass destruction in Iraq's possession.  Now the Iraqi issue is at the most important moment, where the international community universally hopes to see a political resolution of this issue within the UN framework and places tremendous expectations on the inspection work of the UNMOVIC and the IAEA.  Here I wish to share with you some of my views.

First, Iraq must implement the relevant Security Council resolutions strictly, comprehensively and earnestly.  We urge the Iraqi side to fully recognize the importance and urgency of the inspections and provide more cooperation in a more proactive way.  The latest visit to Baghdad by the two chief UN inspectors has achieved some positive results.  The Iraqi side has made some commitments.  We request the Iraqi side to make good on those promises as soon as possible.

Second, it is necessary for the inspection work in Iraq to continue.  The Council Resolution 1441 provides explicit authorization and specific requirements for the inspections.  It remains our important task to continue with the implementation of this resolution.  In this respect, a great deal of work still needs to be done by the Security Council and the two inspection bodies.  Judging from what has been done in the recent past, the inspection work has made progress and clarified quite a number of issues.  However, new developments have also been discovered in that process.  The two bodies are duty-bound and justified to further the inspections with the aim of finding out the truth and fulfilling the mission conferred on them by the Security Council.  Therefore, in agreement with the majority opinion among the Council members, China believes that the inspection process is working and that the inspectors should continue to be given the time they need so as to carry out Resolution 1441.

Third, the Security Council has to step up its support for the inspections.  The Iraqi issue bears on the peace and stability in the Gulf region and bears on the credibility and authority of the Council.  The Council should deal with the complex situation appropriately and in a responsible fashion, in accordance with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, so as to fulfill its important task of maintaining international peace and security.  The first priority now is to strengthen its guidance to and support for the inspection work and to facilitate a productive political settlement.  To intensify inspections is for the purpose of seeking a peaceful solution to the Iraqi issue.  The Chinese side stands ready to continue to provide the two bodies with personnel assistance and necessary technical aid, thereby continuing our efforts towards the political settlement of the Iraqi issue.

Mr. President,

Peace and development are common aspirations of all peoples around the world.  Sitting on the Security Council, we simply have no reason not to make our utmost efforts towards that goal, and we are obliged to try our best and use all possible means to avert war.  Only when we go along the line of political settlement can we truly live up to the trust and hope the international community places in the Security Council.

Thank you, Mr. President.
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