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China Calls for End to Iraq Attacks

December 18, 1998

BEIJING (AP) _ Chinese President Jiang Zemin has sent a personal message to President Clinton urging an end to U.S. and British air strikes on Iraq, China’s state media reported today.

Jiang argued that diplomacy still could convince Iraq to resume cooperating with U.N. weapons inspectors, the Communist Party newspaper People’s Daily and other state-run news media reported.

Jiang was responding Thursday to a message from Clinton explaining the U.S. position.

The United States wants Iraq to prove it has dismantled nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs _ a condition accepted by Iraq at the end of the 1991 Gulf War.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Sun Yuxi, on Thursday accused the United States of ignoring the will of the U.N. Security Council and violating principles of international law when it unilaterally began the attacks.

China also accused the chief U.N. weapons inspector, Richard Butler, of withholding information showing Iraqi progress in a report he gave to the Security Council. Butler has strongly denied such accusations.

The state-run China Daily newspaper, in a commentary titled ``Real Threat,″ argued: ``A world run by big powers acting outside the framework of international relations has subjected itself to a clear threat of power politics.″

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