|Foreign Ministry Spokesman Kong Quan's Press Conference on 3 February 2005|
On the afternoon of February 3, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Kong Quan held a regular press conference.
Kong: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen! Today, I don't have any statement to make, and look forward to seeing your hands up. Glad to answer your questions.
Q: US President Bush gave his State of the Union address today. What comment do you have on that? He talked in particular about the intention for an international union to resolve the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula. Do you think his address opens a good opportunity for resuming the Six-Party Talks? In addition, President Bush sent his letter to President Hu Jintao via his special envoy. Can you brief on the content of the letter?
A: Four hours ago, President Bush made his first State of the Union address since his re-election. I won't give any comment on the part of the address involving American domestic politics, society and economic policy and measures. As for the foreign policy part, we believe the US is a country of important influence in the world, and hope the US to play a positive role in promoting world peace, stability and development.
Regarding the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, we believe that the mechanism of the Six-Party Talks founded with the joint efforts of the six parties is the best approach to solution of the nuclear issue on the Peninsula. China has all along been staying in close contact with other parties to strive for the early start of the next round of the Talks and favorable results thereof.
The NSC Senior Director for Asian Affairs of the US Green visited China on February 1 to 2. He respectively met with Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, Deputy Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo, Director of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council Chen Yunlin, Vice Minister of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee Liu Hongcai. Mr. He Yafei, Director-General of the Department of American and Oceanic Affairs of MFA, and the officials in charge of the Department of Asian Affairs held working consultations with Mr. Green on China-US relations and other issues of common interest. Through the meetings and consultations, China and the US agreed that the two sides would strengthen dialogue and expand cooperation in line with the consensus reached recently between the Chinese and American leaders at the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Santiago, so as to steadily move ahead China-US relations on the basis of the three joint communiqués between our two countries. Mr. Green conveyed the letter from President Bush to President Hu during his visit, but I have no idea of its content.
Q: How would China respond to President Bush's remarks on the international situation in the State of the Union address? In addition, what does China think of Bush labeling Iran as the biggest state sponsor of terrorism in his address? What's China's position on Iran's HEU and plutonium programs?
A: We believe that the international situation on the whole remains relaxed. All countries wish to maintain peace and stability in the long run, so as to better develop their own countries and continuously enhance international cooperation and exchange by utilizing the trend of globalization. Generally speaking, we deem peace, development and cooperation the foremost trend of our time. Meanwhile, some destabilizing factors still have their footholds, covering the security problems both in the traditional and non-traditional fields, including terrorism. Regional conflicts crop up here and there. We believe all countries should step up their cooperation on the basis of the UN Charter and the norms governing international relations, so as to jointly maintain world peace and stability and promote development of mankind.
The Chinese Government has consistently stood for resolving differences between countries through dialogue in accordance with the UN Charter and the norms governing international relations. IAEA is actively participating in the solution process of the Iranian nuclear issue in your question. We have been calling for the proper solution of the issue within the IAEA framework.
Q: The day before yesterday, the Russian Financial Minister said China offered 6 billion US dollars to a Russian oil company through China Import-Export Bank and other banks, in aid of purchasing Yukos Oil Company. Please confirm the report. Does China trade the loan for a guarantee for Russia's stable oil supply to China in the five or six years to come?
A: I can tell you loud and clear that China did not offer any fund to the "Russian oil company" to buy the shares of Yugansk. As to whether there were any loans in other forms, I don't have authoritative information available.
Q: A quartet summit on the Palestine-Israel issue will be held in Egypt next Tuesday, including Egypt, Palestine, Israel and Jordan. What message will China send to the summit? On the Darfur issue in Sudan, the US had close consultations within the UN Security Council, with an aim to seek sanctions on Sudan in certain forms. You have voiced China's opposition to sanction. Does this mean China will use veto on the issue?
A: We think positive signs occurred in the Middle East situation. We hope all parties to further their joint efforts and take measures to restart the process of peace talks. Egypt recently proposed a new summit to seek headway of the Middle East peace process. We appreciate and welcome the proposal and expect the summit to yield positive results, so as to promote mutual trust among the parties concerned and restart the peace talk.
The international community is much concerned about the Darfur issue, so is the Chinese Government. We have always hoped and urged the Sudanese Government to further relax the humanitarian situation in Darfur. We believe that the Sudanese Government's efforts have paid off in the region, and important agreements were signed recently in the peace process between the North and South. At the recent AU Summit, participant leaders also reached consensus among them on the issue. Under the current circumstances, we do not stand for pursuit of sanction or pressure. We hope the Sudanese Government can take further measures under the help of the international community, and meanwhile call for a more prominent and positive role of the AU on the issue.
Q: China will attend the G7 meeting of financial ministers and central bank governors as a special guest. What is China going to say at the meeting, especially on the convertibility between RMB and US dollar? The US Senate yesterday expressed strong opposition to the EU's plan to remove its arms embargo on China. What comment do you have on this?
A: On your first question, I think we'd better wait for a couple of days. The meeting will be held 48 hours later, Chinese Financial Minister and central bank governor will be glad to have an in-depth exchange of views with their counterparts from the seven countries on all the issues of common interest, including China's macro economic policy, economic trend, and our control measures and effects. You will get the information at the earliest time.
On US opposition to EU's removal of arms embargo on China, we have said on many occasions that the EU's arms embargo, as an outcome of the Cold War, has become outdated for long. Under the current circumstances, especially in the general context of the all-round development of China ?EU strategic partnership, it is out of time to hold to the outcome of the Cold War that is full of Cold War mentality. The embargo is a factor detrimental to the further development of our bilateral relations, and we require the EU side to lift it at an early date. But this does not mean China will import a large amount of weapons from the EU. Premier Wen Jiabao reaffirmed this position in unequivocal expressions at last year's China-EU Summit. We believe it completely unnecessary for the US to stand in the way.
Q: President Bush said in today's State of the Union that he would work with his allies of liberty to support the democratic movement in the Middle East and beyond. Do you think he included China by so saying?
A: The Middle East has its unique historic and cultural characteristics. Now some conflicts and problems are plaguing the region. The following principles have to be followed to resolve these conflicts: first, the Middle East affairs have to be determined by the people of the Middle East countries. Any resolution and initiative on the region raised by the international community should fully consider the characteristics of the region and respect the will of the people in the region. Second and more importantly, any move should be conducive to the peace and development in the region.
China continuously forges ahead in the development of democracy and legal system, and has made remarkable progress in all fields. The Chinese people will unswervingly stride along the road chosen by themselves. We are fully confident in the brilliant future of China and the Chinese nation. Our country will steadily march ahead, providing more opportunity for cooperation to various countries in the world and making greater contribution to mankind.
Q: How is China's cooperation with South Asian countries on the whole? What cooperation did China and such SAARC members as Pakistan conduct on anti-terrorism and other issues of common interest?
A: As is known to all, the South Asian countries have an association among them, an important organization of regional cooperation for all countries in the region. We actively support the role of the SAARC in the regional affairs and believe it has made efforts and made achievements in the regional development on all fronts, including economy, culture and society. China is willing to explore a multitude of ways to strengthen our cooperation with SAARC. The fields you listed out are all important ones for us to further enhance our cooperation.
Q: UN Secretary General Kofi Annan's spokesperson said this week that Mr. Annan was much concerned about Nepalese King's announcement of government dismissal and state of emergency on Tuesday, which restricted citizens' freedom of speech. He believed it would not bring about lasting peace and stability to Nepal. In China's view, do you think the criticisms of Nepalese King's behavior made by Secretary General and other people interfered with the internal affairs of a country or miscalculated the situation of Nepal?
A: Different parties made comments on the latest development in Nepal, expressing their views and opinions. That's what we have also noticed. But as a close neighbor of Nepal or South Asian countries, we believe the current peace, stability and development are of great significance. We sincerely hope the Nepalese people can develop their own country with national reconciliation and social stability. In essence, these matters should be decided by the Nepalese people themselves. What we can do is to sincerely wish them social stability, economic development, national reconciliation and steady progress of their nation.
Q: Now, China is hit by meningitis. Will China exercise restrictions on foreign tourists to China and require them to take preventive measures?
A: I deem it totally unnecessary to worry. On January 31, Chinese Ministry of Health issued a notice, requiring all provinces to step up prevention and control given the meningitis cases in some of them. As far as I learned from medical experts, meningitis generally does not pose threat to adults. I hope more foreign tourists to come and enjoy the pleasure of Chinese Spring Festival. The Chinese Government and medical agencies at all levels will definitely ensure their health in China. Meanwhile, Chinese departments concerned have strengthened inspection and quarantine of the outbound people at all the ports, including temperature taking, medical inspection, etc. I hope you to consult the competent authorities for details. They will give you an authoritative and comprehensive answer.
Q: Does Ambassador Ning Fukui or others plan to visit Pyongyang?
A: I have not heard of any such plans. But I'd like to express our position here that China has been in close contact with other five parties and making unremitting positive efforts for the early realization of the next round of Six-Party Talks.
Q: The US Senate is considering putting forward a bill setting a 6-month deadline for China to adjust its RMB exchange rate, abide by the international trade agreement and stop manipulating RMB exchange rate. What's your comment on this? Does the DPRK have a new position on the Six-Party Talks? After the US general election, the DPRK is waiting for the new US government's signals on this issue. Over the past weeks, the US government has made its stand clear. Will the Six-Party Talks be resumed in a few weeks or months?
A: As to the exchange rate, you must agree that Mr. Jin Renqing and Mr. Zhou Xiaochuan can give a reply more authoritative than mine. 48 hours later, they will exchange views with their G7 counterparts on relevant issues in London. I don't think the problem can be solved by the resolution of the senate of a certain country. Every country's fiscal policy is worked out and implemented according to their specific national condition. Its ultimate goal is to be conducive to the economic development of the country. The Chinese leaders and Government have stated our position on many occasions that to maintain a rapid, healthy and stable economic development is not only in the fundamental interests of the Chinese people, but also helpful to our reciprocal cooperation with countries from Asia and the world.
The Six-Party Talks is faced with some difficulties. Since the very beginning, all parties have known the hardship, and actually have been prepared for overcoming difficulties to make the Six-Party Talks yield fruits. At present, all parties should further gesture sincerity, pragmatism and flexibility to create good conditions and atmosphere for a fresh round of the Six-Party Talks. China has been making energetic efforts and staying in close contact with all the other parties. We also expect China's efforts can win positive responses from all the other parties so the next round Six-Party Talks can be held at an earlier date through our joint efforts.
Q: In Beijing, Mr. Green met with Chen Yunlin, Director of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council. Can you brief on their meeting? In addition, Chen Yunlin discussed the Taiwan question during his recent visit to the US. Green met with Chen Yunlin again during his current visit to China. So does it mean that China and the US have formed a new pattern of exchange on the Taiwan question?
A: Mr. Green met a lot of people during his visit to Beijing. I have no details to offer on their talks. But on the Taiwan question, the US fully understands the Chinese Government's principled positions. We hope the US can appropriately handle this question. The basis are the three Sino-US communiqués, is the one China policy reaffirmed by successive US administrations, and opposition to "Taiwan Independency". We expect the Sino-US constructive and cooperative relations can continue to make headways in President Bush's second term. A key factor is to appropriately handle the Taiwan question.
Q: What's China's view on the insurgency in Nepal? Does China regard the insurgent group in Nepal as terrorists, for they caused a lot of instabilities? What's the content of China-Russian strategic partnership of cooperation? Does it differ from China's cooperative relations with other countries? China and Russia plan to hold a military exercise in this August. Can you tell us where the exercise is to be held, in China, or in Russia or both?
A: No country is willing to see social disturbance at home. So I said just now, as a friendly neighbor, we hope Nepal can achieve its national reconciliation, social progress and economic development.
Follow-up: The insurgent groups in Nepal are called Maoists. Mao Zedong is a great Chinese leader. Does China feel uncomfortable to know that an insurgent group believing Mao Zedong Thoughts causes social instability in Nepal?
A: When this question was asked last year and the year before last, I said that this group had nothing to do with China, and we felt indignant that they usurped the name of Mao Zedong, the great leader of the Chinese people.
China and Russia are the biggest neighbors to each other with a long history of bilateral relations. Since the establishment of the strategic partnership of cooperation between China and Russia, the bilateral relations have seen rapid progress in various aspects. The cooperation between the two countries covers all the fields in the bilateral relations, including such fields of broad common interest as to maintain world peace and promote common development. At present, the international situation is undergoing profound and complex changes. China and Russia face some common challenges, which demand us to enhance our mutual trust, dialogue, communication and cooperation. That is helpful to safeguard our common interests and the peace, stability and development in the region and the world as a whole.
China and Russia are going to launch a joint military exercise in the second half of this year. This military exercise is a concrete representation of the all-round strategic partnership of cooperation between the two countries. The day before yesterday a military expert group led by a senior officer of the Russian army came to Beijing to hold consultations and discussions with senior officers of the Chinese General Staff Department. The two parties will make further contacts to confirm the details of this exercise.
Q: The US State Secretary Rice said this Tuesday that the DPRK can cooperate with other countries if it abandons its nuclear program. What's China's view on this suggestion?
A: Usually, we don't make comments on Rice's remarks on the Six-Party Talks as well as suggestions, propositions and plans put forward by the US, for all these issues should be discussed within the framework of the Six-Party Talks. China has been making vigorous efforts through various forms to urge all the other parties to strengthen communication and contacts. For example, the working group, meeting which was asked about last Tuesday, is also a form to push forward the Six-Party Talks as I said at that time. In fact, there are many other forms. The most important thing is that the Six-Party Talks can move on and the next round of the Talks can be held at an early date and yield fruits through the joint efforts of all parties.
This is the last press conference before the Chinese Spring Festival. Because of the long holiday, the regular press conference on Februay 8, 10 and 15 are canceled. Our next press conference will be held on February 17. During this period, the Spokesperson's Office is willing to answer your questions via telephone. I'd like to take this opportunity to wish all the friends from the press a happy new year.