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Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji on Sunday expressed support for a nuclear weapons-free Northeast Asia, a plan proposed by Japan’s Social Democratic Party.

In a meeting with SDP leader Takako Doi, Zhu said he fully supports her call for the nuclear powers to cooperate with the plan, in which Japan, Mongolia and North and South Korea would sign a nonnuclear agreement.

Her proposal, however, excludes China and Russia, two of the world’s five major nuclear powers.

The Chinese premier is on a six-day tour of Japan that ends Tuesday.

In expressing his support, Zhu cited China’s three key positions of calling for the elimination of nuclear weapons, that they not be used pre-emptively, and that they not be used against nonnuclear powers, the officials said.

Doi also expressed her wish to visit Beijing to discuss her proposal by the end of the year, and Zhu welcomed it, according to the officials.

On official development assistance to China, Doi indicated that Japan may have to review its policy, given budgetary constraints and rising economic development in China, the officials said.

Zhu showed some understanding of Doi’s idea, they said.

Zhu also met Tetsuzo Fuwa, leader of the Japanese Communist Party. Fuwa touched on the issue of Chinese research vessels plying Japan’s exclusive economic zone, the latest source of friction between the two countries.

Fuwa suggested that a practical solution be found to the problem and that China and Japan not politicize the issue, to which Zhu agreed, the officials said.

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