|Foreign Ministry Spokesman Kong Quan's Press Conference on 1 February 2005|
On the afternoon of February 1, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Kong Quan presided over a regular press conference.
Kong: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen! I don't have any statement today, and now the floor is open.
Q: Recently, Indian Minister of External Affairs said at the Asian Security Conference that the trust and cooperation between India and China was an important factor that ensures a vigorous regional economy in Asia, and that differences did not hinder the progress of bilateral relations in various fields. What comment do you have on this?
A: I have read the recent remarks of Indian officials on China-Indian relations, which gave a positive comment on China-Indian relations. We welcome and appreciate this. Over the recent years, China and India have maintained a sound momentum in the steady development of bilateral relations through joint efforts. Our relations have entered a entirely new stage. Not long ago, we successfully held the first round of strategic dialogue between us. China is willing to work with India to push forward the continuous, healthy and steady development of our good-neighborly friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation.
Q: Chinese State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan started his visit to Russia today. Please tell us what topics will be included in his talks with Russia?
A: You are right. Chinese State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan left Beijing this morning for Moscow, to exchange views with Russian leaders on bilateral relations and questions of common interest. His visit is an important part of the mechanism for dialogue and consultation between our two countries. He will meet with President Putin and Russian Prime Minister and hold talks with Secretary of Security Council Ivanov. Apart from bilateral relations, they will also look at the larger picture and discuss regional and international relations of common interest.
Q: A question on the policy dialogue between US Deputy Undersecretary Lawless and the Chinese side, held by the Chinese Defense Ministry and the US Defense Department. Please brief us on the agenda of the meeting? Did you touch upon the removal of the EU's arms embargo on China? What did you discuss on the Taiwan question?
A: The Policy Dialogue between the Chinese Defense Ministry and the US Defense Department is the first of its kind between the two militaries. Yesterday, the first round of talks took place. This morning, Deputy Chief of Army of the Chinese People's Liberation Army Xiong Guangkai met with Mr. Lawless. Spokesman of the Chinese Defense Ministry Tu Qiming gave a briefing to the press yesterday. He said the two sides focused their discussion on reviewing the military exchanges between the two countries and gave a briefing to each other on their own military forces. They also discussed the guideline, principle and measures for the development of relations between the military forces of the two countries as well as this year's plan of military exchanges. The two sides agreed that they attached importance to exchanges between the militaries of the two countries and believe candid, cooperative and constructive relations are in the shared interest of both sides as well as conducive to the peace, stability and development in the region and the world.
We have noticed the report saying that Mr. Tu denied that the removal of the EU's arms embargo was touched upon in the talks.
According to Mr. Tu's briefing, both the two sides believed to properly handle the Taiwan question was very important to the further development of the relations between the two militaries. The Chinese military will take this opportunity to give a full and complete account to the US military leader on China's principled position on the Taiwan question.
Q: Yesterday, it was widely reported that the Japanese Government and the US were prepared to further revise the guideline for their defense cooperation, mainly targeting the "contingencies" at the Taiwan Straits. What comment do you have on this? What's the position of the Chinese Government?
A: We have also read the report. What I want to remind you of is that the Japan-US security cooperation in the report, or the earlier joint declaration, was an arrangement made between Japan and the US during the Cold War, an arrangement within the bilateral scope. Now, against the background of a trend of relaxation, peace and development in Asia on the whole, we hope the relevant parties to behave with prudence when handling similar issues and make more efforts to benefit the stronger mutual trust, understanding and cooperation in the region.
Q: NSC Senior Director for Asian Affairs of the US Green is visiting Beijing. Did he meet with Chinese Foreign Minister? If so, what did they discuss? Did they talk about when to resume the Six-Party Talks?
A: You asked a very important question. I expect to give you a briefing at the press conference the day after tomorrow.
Q: Yesterday, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan mentioned possible sanction against Sudan. What's China's position on this question?
A: We have always been closely following the situation in Darfur and hope as all along that the Sudanese Government can ease the humanitarian situation in Darfur under the help of the international community as soon as possible. Now, positive signs occurred in the peace process of Sudan. At the African Union Summit just concluded yesterday, heads and leaders of various states reached basic consensus on this. We believe that it requires the joint efforts of the international community and the Sudanese Government to further resolve the question of Darfur. We do not wish for pressure and sanction under the current circumstances.
Q: What new progress has been made in pushing a new round of the Six-Party Talks? Did Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and US Secretary of State Rice talk about this in their telephone conversation last night? Was there any agreement reached? Can you offer details of their conversation? Did Lawless bring out this issue during his visit to Beijing? In addition, Japan threatened to impose sanction on the DPRK due to its improper handling of the abducted Japanese issue. What comment does China have on this?
A: Regarding the Six-Party Talks, China has all along been staying close contact and communication with other five parties. We have been exchanging views with them on how to make joint efforts to create favorable conditions, so that the next round of the Talks can be held as soon as possible. China has been making unremitting efforts in this regard and we expect active response to our efforts by other parties, so as to form a good atmosphere and conditions for the early start of the next round of the Six-Party Talks. The telephone conversation between Li Zhaoxing and Rice is the first between the two countries' top officials in charge of foreign affairs since Dr. Rice took the office of Secretary of State. Both the two sides agreed to work together to overcome difficulties on the basis of the consensus reached between heads of our two states at the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Santiago, so that China-US constructive and cooperative relations continue to march ahead.
As to whether Lawless and Chinese military leaders touched upon the Six-Party Talks, I'm willing to check up for you. I believe their talks are focused on the relations between the two militaries.
The DPRK and Japan have some problems between them left by history, which are complicated and have long remained unresolved. We have all along stood for the proper solution of the problems between them left by history through dialogue and negotiation. By so doing, they can play a constructive and positive role in maintaining the stability in Northeast Asia and moving ahead the Six-Party Talks.
Q: The Iraqi election has just ended. What comment do you have on this? In addition, the Nepalese King just dismissed his government. What's your comment on this?
A: Iraq held its election on 30th. We are pleased to see and welcome the election's being held as scheduled. Now the international community is looking forward to the results of the election. We deem the election an important step in the process of Iraq's reconstruction. We hope the election would be genuinely helpful to restore stability in Iraq, grant the wishes of the Iraqi people to master their own fate and promote the political and economic reconstruction in the country.
In essence, your second question falls within the internal affairs of Nepal. Nepal is a friendly neighbor of China. We sincerely hope they could realize social stability, economic development and national reconciliation. Meanwhile, we respect the choice of the Nepalese people on their path of development in line with their own national realities.
Q: Recently, China and the US had a lot of positive contacts, including military dialogues. At the same time, I noticed that the US impeded Europe from selling weapons to China and Israel from helping China to upgrade its un-manned plane. Could you please tell whether there is more cooperation or more confrontation in the Sino-US relations? Could China and the US build a strategic partnership proposed by Clinton in his presidency? In addition, it's reported that Nepal recently closed an office of Dalai Lama. What's your comment on that?
A: Over the past 4 years the Sino-US relations have seen great progress through our joint efforts. The leaders of the two countries have stayed in close contact and dialogue, and have reached important consensus on further development of the Sino-US constructive and cooperative relations. Now, the key issue is to make the Sino-US constructive and cooperative relation continuously yield fruits in various fields. We believe that the development in Sino-US relations is in the fundamental interests of our two people, and conducive to the maintenance of .peace, stability and development in Northeast Asia, Asia and the world as a whole.
Of course, there exist some differences between China and the US, including the matter you just mentioned. The US is opposed to EU's efforts to remove its arms embargo against China. We don't think the US opposition is reasonable. The EU's arm embargo against China is the outcome of the Cold War and a political discrimination, and should be removed as a hurdle in the way of the development of the Sino-EU. The solution of this issue will not affect or harm the interests of any third party. Therefore, we hope the US can follow the tide of history instead of hindering in this issue.
As to your second question, we think it's the correct choice of the Nepalese Government to safeguard their sovereignty. We welcome their choice.
Q: It's reported that the Chinese side suggested resuming the Working Group Meeting of the Six-Party Talk. Can you confirm that report? When do you think the next round of the Six-Party Talk will be held?
A: The Working Group Meeting of the Six-Party Talk is a component and a form of the Six-Party Talks. No doubt, it's helpful to hold a fresh round of the Six-Party Talks and to yield fruits that a Working Group Meeting is held before the formal dialogue so as to elaborate positions, narrow differences and reach more agreement. We will take into consideration and actively push forward any arrangement that is conducive to promoting the Six-Party Talks and making achievements. As for the accurate time when the next round of the Six-Party Talks can be held, the international community and the six parties all hope that the Talks can be held in an earlier date, and can yield fruits.
Q: It's reported that President Hu Jintao may visit Russia in May. Please confirm that report.
A: It's the 60th anniversary of the victory of the War against Fascism this year. A lot of celebration activities are going to be held across the world. We positively evaluated these activities, for we think these activities have positive meaning to safeguard both the regional and global peace and stability. China will vigorously take part in relevant activities, including a grand activity celebrating the 60th anniversary of the victory of the War against Fascism held at the Red Square in Moscow on May 8.
If no more questions are to be raised, let's call it a day.