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Foreign Ministry Spokesman Kong Quan's Press Conference on 20 January 2005

On the afternoon of January 20, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Kong Quan held a regular press conference.

Kong: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I wish to begin with two statements:

From January 28 to 30, Mr. Huang Ju, Standing Member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and Vice Premier of the State Council, will attend the 2005 Annual Meeting of World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland on invitation, and will deliver a special address at the plenary meeting.

At the invitation of Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, Singaporean Minister for Foreign Affairs George Yong-Boon Yeo, will pay a visit to China from January 28 to February 3.

Now, the floor is open.

Q: The Xinhua News Agency released the news today that China and Grenada signed a communiqué on the establishment of diplomatic relations. Please brief us on that and tell us how the two countries plan to conduct political and economic cooperation?

A: This noon, Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing held political talks with the visiting Grenadian Foreign Minister Elvin Nimrod. Afterwards, the two sides officially signed the joint communiqué on restoration of the diplomatic relations on behalf of their respective governments, deciding that our diplomatic relations are restored on 20 January 2005. Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing appreciated the decision of the Grenadian Government on restoring diplomatic relations with China. He emphasized in particular that the restoration of diplomatic relations marked a new stage of our bilateral relations and paved the way to our friendly cooperation that is all-embracing and mutually beneficial in various fields. The normalization of China-Grenada relations serves the long-term interests of our two peoples and demonstrates again that the one China principle is recognized by the entire international community.

China and Grenada have a broad scope for cooperation on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, including not only politics, trade and economy, but also culture and education. The two sides will also make early appointments of ambassadors to each other and facilitate each other's efforts to build up embassies.

Q: What progress has been made on the Chinese citizens seized by Iraqi terrorists? Do you think other countries, including the agencies of Pakistan and Iraq can be of help?

A: Over the past days, the Chinese Government, leaders, relevant departments and people of all communities were all gravely concerned about the 8 Chinese citizens in Iraq. Considering the safety of the seized people, the Chinese Government and all relevant departments will go all out and do what it takes to rescue them and seek their freedom as soon as possible. As to what Pakistan can do, thank you for your offer first of all. In fact, we have always resorted to various channels through friendly countries. We hope the issue can be resolved at an early date, the earlier, the better, so that the seized Chinese citizens can return to their homeland and their families soon.

Q: How much assistance will China provide Grenada? Meanwhile, will China demand entire severance of relations with Taiwan?

A: I said just now that it is an important decision, in the first place a political one, that the Chinese and Grenadian Government made to restore diplomatic relations. The one China principle has been universally recognized and the Chinese side appreciates that Grenada confirms the principle. We are ready to start friendly and mutually beneficial cooperation with Grenada in all fields on the basis of the one China principle and the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence.

We have also said clearly on many occasions here that we don't challenge the purely people-to-people trade and economic exchanges between Taiwan and the countries in diplomatic ties with us. However, the one China principle has to be fully implemented, which is the fundamental political foundations for the establishment of diplomatic relations with China.

Follow-up: I want to follow up the question on economic assistances.

A: After the restoration of diplomatic relations, China and Grenada will carry out mutually beneficial cooperation in such fields as politics, trade, economy, culture and education. We should say our two sides have a large room for cooperation to tap, with a realistic prospect awaiting. We will make earnest efforts to bring tangible benefits to our two peoples.

Q: Now, only five hours is left by the deadline given by the abductors. Does China have the cards up to its sleeves on resolving the incident?

A: Thank you for your concern. The Chinese Government and all the relevant departments, especially our people on the frontline, namely, the entire staff of the Chinese embassy in Iraq, are working around the clock to strive for the early safe release of our citizens and their family reunion with all necessary measures and efforts through various channels.

Q: Two questions on the 8 Chinese citizens seized in Iraq. First, you have mentioned that Chinese diplomats are working to solve this issue. Have they made any progress? Could this issue be solved before the deadline of 48 hours? Second, could you introduce to us the China's general policy on the negotiation with terrorists?

A: Thank you again for your concern on this issue. I have also noted that both you and I earnestly hope to see progress on this issue. At present, I have no further details to disclose. But I want to reiterate that the Chinese Government, departments concerned, our embassy in Iraq and embassies in the surrounding countries of Iraq are making unremitting efforts to make headways.

We will take every possible methods and measures to ensure the security of Chinese citizens in the first place, and then to realize their early release and reunion with their families

Q: On January 20, the Ukrainian Supreme Court made the final adjudication that the result of Ukrainian presidential election on December 26 was valid. What comment does China have on this?

A: China and Ukraine are friendly countries. We respect the Ukrainian people's choice. The Chinese side attaches importance to developing the comprehensively friendly relations and cooperation with Ukraine featuring lasting stability, trust at a high-level and mutual coordination. The Chinese side is willing to consolidate traditional friendship on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit, between our two countries and promote our cooperation in all fields so as to benefit both the Chinese and Ukrainian people.

Q: It is reported that 4 Chinese have been arrested because of conducting terrorist actions in America. Can you identify them? Do you have any idea about what they are up to?

A: I remind you that the present reports are all unconfirmed. I think it's necessary to reiterate that China is also a victim of terrorism, and we always firmly support the international community's joint efforts to combat terrorism in all forms and manifestations. That is our explicit and firm stand.

Q: The Japanese Minister of Transport said his visit to China is successful and meaningful. He invited Vice Premier Wu Yi to visit Japan in March. Did Vice Premier Wu Yi accept his invitation? My second question, it is reported that the kidnappers holding the Chinese hostages demanded that China should make clear its stand on Iraq issue. Will the Chinese side accept it? The third question, some media reported that some "snakeheads" organized the illegal migration of the eight Chinese. Please confirm this news.

A: As to the Japanese Minister's visit to China, I am very glad to hear that you said his visit is successful. I have no official news about Vice Premier Wu Yi's visit to Japan. Japan's invitation must be referring to the activities during the 2005 Aichi Exposition. The World Exposition is an important activity for international exchange, in which every country has a place and chance to display itself. China will hold the 2010 World Exposition in Shanghai. The Chinese side will actively take part in the activities of the Aichi Exposition.

After learning the news of Chinese workers being taken hostage, I answered relevant questions from journalists at 10:30 that night. I stressed that on the Iraq issue, China has always been proceeding from safeguarding the fundamental and long-term interests of the Iraqi people. We have lasting traditional friendly cooperation with the Iraqi people. We call on the early release of Chinese citizens.

As to the third question, I have not come across any of such ideas. The Chinese Government is firmly opposed to illegal migration. Over these years, we have strengthened legislation and law enforcement and deepened our cooperation on combating illegal migration with other countries in the world.

Q: I also have a question about the Chinese hostages. Could you tell me whether the 48-hour time limit has been reached?

A: We got the news at 8:10 last night. Every competent department in the Chinese government, including the Chinese embassy in Iraq and our embassies in other surrounding countries, spares no efforts in taking all measures to organize rescue work through various channels and methods.

Follow-up: Has the deadline been extended?

A: You must share the same feeling of mine. We hope they are secure, and will be released and reunite with their families as early as possible.

Q: Chen Shui-bian is going to make a transit stop at Guam of the United States. Could you tell me whether the Chinese side is going to make representations to the US side on this issue?

A: We have time and again made our stand clear to the international community and relevant countries. The Taiwan authorities take advantage of every chance to promote their proposition of "Taiwan independence", including conducting the so-called transit diplomacy. We firmly oppose that any country, especially those with diplomatic relations with China, provides a rostrum for the Taiwan authorities to preach "Taiwan independence".

Q: I didn't hear your answer very clearly just now. Do you know the identities of those four Chinese arrested in US?

A: What I want to remind you is that the news agencies and media concerned have all indicated that the news is unconfirmed. Who are those 4 Chinese, what do they do and where are they? No definite information at all. The Chinese Government consistently support the fight against terrorism in all forms. China itself is also a victim of terrorism.

Q: Is Vanuatuan Vice Premier and Foreign Minister visiting China? Whom has he met with? Did he explain to the relevant Chinese departments the whole story of establishing diplomatic relations between Vanuatu and Taiwan?

A: The visit to China by Vanuatuan Vice Premier and Foreign Minister is important and successful as well. Both sides exchanged in-depth views on bilateral relations, particularly on further developing friendly and reciprocal cooperation.

Q: Mr. Zeng Qinghong is going to visit Latin America next week. Please tell us the schedule and purposes of this visit.

A: At the beginning of a new year, Mr. Zeng Qinghong, as our Vice President, is going to visit Latin American countries, including Mexico, Peru, Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica, which will be a very important diplomatic activity. Over these years, the bilateral relations with these five countries have gained rapid progress in the fields of politics, trade and economy, science and technology, culture and education. The visit by Vice President Zeng Qinghong is sure to further promote the friendly and reciprocal cooperation in wider fields with these Latin American countries. His retinue mainly includes Li Changjiang, Director General of General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, Zhou Wenzhong, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ma Xiuhong, Vice Minister of Commerce, Yang Zilin, President of the Export-Import Bank of China, etc. The main subjects of this visit include maintaining high-level exchanges and contacts, exchanging views on major bilateral, regional and international issues. In addition, further strengthening the mutually beneficial cooperation on trade, economy and other fields is no doubt a very important subject. Some documents on bilateral cooperation will be signed during this visit, which will be a driving force to the reciprocal economical relations between China and relevant countries.

Q: The China-ASEAN Workshop on Tsunami Warning will be held in China next week. Could you tell us something about that?

A: The China-ASEAN Workshop on Tsunami Warning will be held in Beijing from January 25 to 26. We mainly invited 30 experts and managers from the ASEAN countries, officials from the ASEAN Secretariat and experts from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, America, Japan, Korea, the United Nations and etc. The theme of this workshop is to sum up the experience and lessons from this earthquake and tsunami, to investigate the hardware and technology in this region, to negotiate how to further strengthen cooperations, to discuss the work plan for early warning tsunami caused by earthquake through forecasting earthquake. That's why this workshop is sponsored by China Seismological Bureau and Mr. Chen Jianmin, Director General of China Seismological Bureau will be present at the time. There are active responses from all sides who enthusiastically apply for participation. We wish this workshop great success, and hope that solid development will be made in enhancing technical cooperation and effectively preventing similar disasters from damaging this region.

Q: I want to follow up the question I raised on Tuesday. The U.S sanctioned eight Chinese companies for their suspected military technology export to Iran. You gave a long answer but were not sure if this sanction was exactly an earlier similar case. Could you provide more information now? The second question is about the EU's arms sale to China. According to an "Amnesty International" report, although EU maintains its arms embargo against China, its arms sale has doubled this year. Does China regard this embargo as outdated, or should it be lifted?

A: About U.S. sanctioning Chinese companies, I have already expressed our position last week, and I can reaffirm China's stand. I would like to give you a full account of our position since you asked again.

China resolutely opposes the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery means. The Chinese Government has already established a complete system of laws and regulations on non-proliferation and strictly enforced them. No organizations or individuals are allowed to engage in proliferation activities. Any activities against the laws and regulations would be punished by Chinese government according to the law. The U.S. sanctioned Chinese company for many times based on its domestic law, which we deem extremely irresponsible and not helpful to our bilateral cooperation on non-proliferation. We express our strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition to it and require the U.S. to cancel the sanction immediately.

On the second question, I have also read the report, but doubt whether it's telling the truth. As for the embargo, we have expressed Chinese Government's position on many occasions. The arms embargo should be cancelled since it's the outcome of the Cold War, and incompatible with the overall trend of the development of China-EU relations. Removing the embargo will certainly not lead to China's torrential arms import. We have reiterated that China pursues a national defense policy that has defensive nature and we mainly rely on ourselves for arm equipment. The essence of the arms embargo removal is to eliminate political discrimination, which would be beneficial to the all-round development of China-EU relations.

Q: Since it is reported that those four Chinese mentioned just now came from Mexico, has the Chinese side found any evidence indicating that terrorists from Xinjiang are hiding in North and Middle America?

A: Above all, I have not come across any of such reports. Second, I would like to reiterate that the Chinese side is firmly opposed to terrorist activities in any form and support the international cooperation on fighting against them.

Q: Can you brief us on Canadian Prime Minister's visit to China? What agreement will the two countries sign on economic cooperation?

A: Canadian Prime Minister Martin's visit with a big "Team Canada" is his first visit to China since he took office. At the end of 2003, he had a good meeting with the visiting Premier Wen Jiabao as the Prime Minister elected. The two sides expressed their strong desire to further promote our friendly relations and mutually beneficial cooperation. In the context of a smooth development of China-Canada relations and a rapid growth of our two-way trade and economic cooperation, we believe that Prime Minister Martin's visit to China, along with his big delegation, will yield concrete results, enhance our mutual understanding, and move ahead our mutually beneficial cooperation in a greater scope.

Thank you for your presence!

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