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Thursday, 13 September, 2001, 08:43 GMT 09:43 UK
China asks US to look beyond Nato
Chinese man reading newspaper
China has been shocked by the attack
By BBC Beijing correspondent Rupert Wingfield-Hayes

China has appealed to the United States to consult with countries beyond Europe before launching action following Tuesday's devastating terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.

China's deputy foreign minister made the appeal after Nato countries put their full support behind any action the US decides to take against the perpetrators of the attack.

Nato Secretary General George Robertson
Nato Secretary General George Robertson: Committed to helping US
It is China's first response to the decision by all 19 Nato member countries to support any US response to Tuesday's horrific attacks.

China's Deputy Foreign Minister, Wang Guangya, says any action taken by the United States will have implications for countries and regions far beyond Nato.

He said China supports resolute action against international terrorism, but appealed for the US to work through the United Nations Security Council instead.

Chinese dilemma

The Chinese Government is in a difficult position. On the one hand, it would very much like to see the destruction of terrorist networks run by the likes of Osama Bin Laden and other groups based inside Afghanistan, because Muslim separatists operating in China's far-western provinces are thought to be getting support from Afghan-based groups.

On the other hand, China is implacably opposed to the US or Nato intervening in what it calls the internal affairs of other countries. China, for example, strongly opposed Nato intervention in Kosovo two years ago, and refused to support the US-led coalition during the Gulf War.

The Chinese vice foreign minister meanwhile says President Bush has confirmed he will visit China next month, despite the attacks on the United States.

President Bush is due to go to Shanghai for a summit meeting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum and then to travel on to Beijing for a meeting with President Jiang Zemin.

It will be the first meeting between the two men.

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