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Pakistan Urged To Show Restraint

May 29, 1998

BEIJING (AP) _ At President Clinton’s urging, Chinese leader Jiang Zemin appealed to Pakistan not to carry out a nuclear test just days before Islamabad exploded five nuclear bombs, sources in Beijing said today.

Clinton and Jiang spoke Monday and the Chinese leader then sent the Pakistani government a letter urging restraint, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The letter, a rare act by China’s normally secretive leaders, indicates Beijing’s willingness to find ways to cooperate with Washington on international security issues.

Since India’s explosive arrival as a nuclear power two weeks ago, China has publicly denounced Delhi and called on Pakistan, a staunch ally, to take note of international trends to halt the testing and spread of nuclear weapons.

At the same time, however, Beijing has noted that India’s nuclear prowess aggravated Pakistan’s unease about its security. Never a supporter of sanctions, Beijing has also apparently assured Pakistan no punishment would be forthcoming if Islamabad launched a nuclear test.

U.S. officials did not see Jiang’s letter, but were assured it called for restraint, the sources said.

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