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Tuesday, May 11, 1999 Published at 20:00 GMT 21:00 UK

World: Asia-Pacific

China demands embassy attack inquiry

Anti-Nato demonstrations continue in China

China has demanded a full investigation into the Nato bombing of its Belgrade embassy and severe punishment for those responsible for the attack.

Kosovo: Special Report
And Beijing stressed it would not consider any peace plan until the Nato bombing of Yugoslavia stops.

In the aftermath of the embassy assault last Friday, China has become central to diplomatic moves to end the conflict.

Russia's Balkans envoy, Viktor Chernomyrdin, and German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder have led the diplomatic initiative.

Mr Chernomyrdin outlined a plan drawn up by the G-8 industrialised countries to Chinese leaders.

As he returned to Moscow to brief President Boris Yeltsin he told reporters he had "new proposals" to make to the United States but did not elaborate on any details.

Earlier, he said that China agreed the G-8 plan could be the basis of a future settlement.

Chinese veto

Moscow and the Western allies are seeking a UN Security Council resolution authorising the deployment of an international peacekeeping force in Kosovo.

Jill McGivering in Beijing: "Riot police are out in force"
But a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman said halting the bombing was a precondition for negotiations.

China is a permanent member of the Security Council with a right of veto over any council decisions.

China has said it is not satisfied with the apologies offered by US President Bill Clinton and other western leaders over the Nato bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhu Bangzhou said his country wanted not just an apology but a thorough investigation and severe punishment for those responsible.

Visit curtailed

Demonstrations have continued outside the British and American embassies, although on a smaller scale than the past three days.

[ image: Gerhard Schröder heads for China]
Gerhard Schröder heads for China
The German Chancellor, who is travelling to China, will be the first Nato leader in Beijing since the embassy bombing.

His visit has been cut back from four days to 16 hours because of the embassy attack.

But German officials say Mr Schröder will try to persuade China to accept the peace proposals.

US Defence Secretary William Cohen has blamed the attack on an out of date map.

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