LiPeng accuses Nato, US of threatening world stability

BELGRADE, Jun 12, 2000 -- (AFP) Influential Chinese leader Li Peng, who ranks second in the country's hierarchy, accused NATO and the United States on Monday of having threatened European and world stability in last year's strikes against Yugoslavia.

"NATO, led by the United States," by launching air strikes, "crudely interfered in the internal affairs of the sovereign state of Yugoslavia," Li told the federal parliament at a joint session of both chambers.

"That represents a violation of the UN Charter... and a serious threat to stability both in Europe and in the world," he added, referring to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization's air campaign in March-June 1999 over the conflict about the Yugoslav region of Kosovo.

Li, chairman of the National People's Congress, arrived in Belgrade on Sunday for a three-day official visit, during which he is expected to meet top Yugoslav officials, including President Slobodan Milosevic.

China and Yugoslavia have boosted bilateral ties since NATO's intervention during the Kosovo crisis last year, which Beijing strongly opposed.

After he leaves Yugoslavia, Li will travel on to Slovakia, Croatia, Slovenia, Azerbaijan and Ukraine.

On Sunday, he praised the Yugoslav people for resisting against the "barbaric aggression" of NATO forces last year.

"In order to preserve the sovereignty and territorial integrity of your country, you resisted, with indomitable spirit, the barbaric aggression of the biggest military bloc in the world," Li was reported as saying.

In comments made at a dinner held in his honor by the speakers of Yugoslavia's two chambers of parliament, Milomir Minic and Srdja Bozovic, he said China "favors a political solution to the Kosovo question, under the auspices of the United Nations."

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