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cautious asian reaction to u.s. evidence

  1. UNITED NATIONS -- Asian reaction to the U.S. case against Iraq has been cautious with major ally Japan stopping short of openly backing military action without United Nations endorsement and China stressing that a political solution is still the best strategy.

    Speaking after U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell's address to the U.N. Security Council, Chinese Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan said the latest information would help weapons inspectors complete their task and that evidence should be handed over to them immediately.

    Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi meanwhile told a parliamentary panel Thursday that suspicions about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction had now increased.

    "Whether the situation can be resolved peacefully depends on Iraq," Reuters reports Koizumi saying.

    "Japan must respond as a responsible member of international society and an ally of the United States."

    Analysts suggest Japan will lend symbolic moral support to any U.S. moves against Iraq but its constitution -- plus public opinion -- would prevent it providing practical military assistance.

    America's case

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