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Foreign Ministry Spokesman Kong Quan's Press Conference on 27 January 2005

On the afternoon of January 27, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Kong Quan held a regular press conference.

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

At the invitation of Secretary of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Igor Sergeyevich Ivanov, State Councilor of the People's Republic of China Tang Jiaxuan will pay an official visit to Russia from February 1 to 4, 2005. And hold consultations with the Russian side on bilateral relations and major issues of common interest.

At the invitation of Minister of Foreign Affairs Li Zhaoxing, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey Abdullah Gul will pay an official visit to China from February 1 to 5, 2005.

Now I am ready to take up your questions.

Q: Today, greater improvement has been made on the direct charter flights across the straits than before, what are your comment?

A: Is it your first time to attend the regular press conference?

Reporter: The third time.

A: Thank you for your asking questions in Chinese. But your question is about the relations across the straits, which should be answered by the department in charge of it, namely, the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council. It held a press conference yesterday, and gave a full account on this issue. If you did not attend the conference, I suggest that you should surf the internet and read the news. Thank for your question. I hope you to ask more questions about China's diplomacy in the future, including China-Korea relations.

Q: at present, the rate of electorates' registration is much low, only twenty-five percent, what is China's expectation about the Iraqi election? Besides, does China hold the view that the US soldiers in Iraq should withdraw from Iraq after the election?

A: The whole international community is closely following the upcoming election in Iraq. We consider the election an important part of the Iraqi political reconstruction. The election should be conducive to maintaining Iraq's independence, sovereignty and the territorial integrity. It should also help establish a government of broad representation and authority and safeguard the fundamental interest of the Iraqi people.

At present, the international community's top concern is when the Iraqi people could genuinely asminister their country, master their own fate and realize their ambition on safe-guarding their national independence, sovereignty and territorial intergrity. Meanwhile, with the participation of the United Nations, the process of political and economical reconstruction should be soon started in stability.

Follow-up: When does China think US should pull their troops out of Iraq? Should it be right after the election?

A: Iraq's independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity should be genuinely realized. At the same time, we have repeatedly reiterated that, on the Iraq issue, we should respect and understand the Iraqi people's will and proposition. In this process, the first step is to realize "administering Iraq by the Iraqi people", which means Iraq should be governed by its own citizens.

Q: The 8 Chinese citizens seized in Iraq returned to China yesterday. Has China found out how they entered Iraq? Are they illegal migrants entering Iraq arranged by "snakehead"? Will they face any legal action from the Chinese side?

A: The 8 Chinese citizens seized in Iraq arrived in Fuzhou last night. Journalists from home and abroad interviewed on the spot. As for the issue of illegal migration you mentioned, I feel it necessary to reiterate again, that we are firmly opposed to any form of illegal migration. We have been consistently standing for fighting against illegal migration through international cooperation. As to how they went to Iraq, according to our preliminary investigation, we found that they went to Iraq for work on their own accord through an intermediary agency. The relevant departments have given great attention to whether there are other factors involved other than the intermediary agency. Should anything illegal be found, we would handle it according to the law.

Q: US President Bush said yesterday that RMB exchange rate was to be a major subject of the G7 meeting. What's your comment on that? Another question, a US commission on foreign investment is going to investigate the case of Lenovo Group's acquisition of IBM Personal Computing Division. What's your opinion?

A: G7 is preparing for the meeting to be held in London, which Chinese Financial Minister Jin Renqing and Governor of the People's Bank of China Zhou Xiaochuan will attend. In fact, they have attended a similar dialogue in the US in an earlier time. The theme of the meeting is to exchange views on the major world economic issues and other issues of common interest so as to deepen mutual understanding. As to the RMB exchange rate, China and the US have been stayed in contact and communication on that issue over the past year or even longer. If this issue is mentioned again at the dialogue among G7 and the Chinese Financial Minister and China's central bank governor, Mr. Jin Renqing and Mr. Zhou Xiaochuan will offer further information to the international community on China's current economic situation, problems facing China and the Chinese Government's views and propositions on this issue.

Lenovo Group and IBM are respectively a big Chinese IT company and a big international IT company. But no matter how large these two companies are, it seems a foreign ministry spokesman is not in the position to make any comments on this issue.

Q: US President Bush indicated on Wednesday that he would constantly remind the Chinese leaders of improving China's Human Rights during their meetings in the future. What's your comment? It is reported that the new US State Secretary will address on the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, the Six-Party Talks and the Taiwan Question. What's your view on that?

A: Any a careful observer of China's changes can come to a conclusion that China has taken steady steps in the development of democracy and the legal system. For example, on January 1, 2005, 88 laws and regulations came into effect, including 47 national laws and 41 local laws. Thus it can be seen that China is making gradual and sure-footed progress towards greater democracy and a better legal system, remarkable in both efforts and results. We are firmly confident in our own approaches in the process and don't need others to remind us what to do. We are open to equal exchanges with the US on our differences on human rights to deepen our mutual understanding.

Although your question on State Secretary Rice's address on Six-Party Talks and the Taiwan Question is ambiguous, I am willing to take this opportunity to make the following statement. After the US Senate approved Rice's appointment of State Secretary, Chinese Ambassador to America Yang Jiechi conveyed Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing's congratulations and hoped to push forward the Sino-US relations in the next 4 years through their joint efforts.

Follow-up: It is reported that Rice will possibly visit Japan, China and South Korea in March. Can you confirm? And will the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula and the Taiwan Question be mentioned during her visit?

A: I didn't read the news you mentioned. But I can inform you that China and the US have mechanisms of dialogue, communication and exchange of visits at all levels. It is not necessary that such issues be discussed only during the visit. We can exchange our views on issues of common interest at any time through our mechanisms of dialogue and communication.

Q: Japan and the North Korea once had a fury argument on the issue of the kidnapped Japanese. North Korea wants to push Japan out of the Six-Party Talks while Japan is thinking about posing an economic sanction on the North Korea. What's your view on their attitudes towards each other? My second question is about the 8 Chinese citizens seized in Iraq. It is reported that these people were seized because they were mistaken for Japanese. Is that true?

A: China always hopes that Japan and the DPRK can solve their differences and the problems left by history through dialogue and communication. We also hope that all parties can make concerted efforts to create a positive atmosphere and favorable condition for a new round of the Six-Party Talks. And we hope that all parties can display their sincerity and flexibility so as to facilitate the early start of the Six-Party Talks.

As for your second question, I cannot confirm its source. But from the perspective of a Foreign Ministry Spokesman, I think it's most important that these 8 Chinese citizens were released in safety in a rather short time and went back home to reunite with their families.

Q: A question about the IBM-Lenovo deal. The US Congress worried that the proposed sale of American company to a Chinese company may pose a threat to US's national security. So I think this question could be answered by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Could you please answer it? And a question about the China-ASEAN Workshop on Tsunami Warning, could you tell us the outcome of the conference? What concrete assistance will China provide?

A: I think the IBM issue is one between two companies. The outsiders cannot possibly know the details of cooperation projects and the acquisition plan between the two companies. If you insist on finding out Chinese Government's opinion over this issue, I advise you to inquire the Chinese Ministry of Information Industry. Maybe they could give you an accurate answer.

The China-ASEAN Workshop on Tsunami Warning was held from 25 to 26 in Beijing. I've given a general briefing on this meeting. This is a successful meeting during which experts from China, ASEAN countries and international organizations sat together and made active and in-depth discussions on establishing a tsunami warning system in this region.

At the end of the meeting, an "Action Plan of Establishing Earthquake-generated Tsunami Early Warning System" was adopted, which mainly contains 5 points: First, to establish the tsunami warning system in Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia; Second, to establish an Asian Regional Seismographic Network (ARSN); Third, to speed up the exchange of technologies and information sharing; Fourth, to hold a meeting on disaster reduction in Asia proposed by China; Fifth, to provide some important parameters obtained by China's national Seismographic Network on the request of the tsunami-stricken countries.

According to this plan, China will make its own contribution to the establishment of ARSN and to the warning of similar disasters in the future, in terms of technical support, personnel training, disaster forecasting and etc.

Q: Is Mr. Huang Ju attending the World Economic Forum in Davos now? Who will he meet with? And where will he deliver his speech? And what's the content?

A: Vice Premier Huang Ju haven't started off yet. He is set to leave for the Forum in Davos tomorrow. The Forum has already begun and more than 200 activities will be held. Vice Premier Huang Ju will attend the Annual Meeting and deliver a speech. I think at that time he will offer an overall picture of the economic and social development in China. At the same time, some Chinese Government officials will contact in the meeting and make discussions centering on the theme of this annual meeting so as to work out how to jointly cope with the opportunities and challenges brought about by the globalization.

If no more questions are to be raised, let's call it a day.

Thank you!

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