|Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao's Press Conference on 24 March 2005|
On the afternoon of March 24, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao held a regular press conference.
Liu: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I'd like to begin with an announcement.
At the invitation of the Prime Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Shauka Aziz, Prime Minister of the People's Republic of Bangladesh Begum Khaleda Zia, President of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga and Prime Minister of the Republic of India Manmohan Singh, Premier Wen Jiabao will pay official visits to the above four countries from April 5 to 12, and will attend the opening ceremony of the Fourth Foreign Ministers' Meeting of Asia Cooperation Dialogue held in Islamabad on April 6 and make a key note speech.
Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to the four South Asian countries, as an important diplomatic activity of Chinese leaders in the neighboring area this year, aims to enhance mutual trust with South Asian countries, deepen friendship, expand cooperation and plan the future in the spirit of 'being a good neighbor and good partner'. During his visit, Premier Wen will meet and talk with leaders of the four countries and have an in-depth exchange of views on how to strengthen the friendly cooperation with those four countries as well as issues of common interests.
South Asia and China both belong to Asia. China enjoys longstanding good-neighborly relations with South Asian countries. China and South Asian countries are all developing countries. Both sides share broad consensus on safeguarding world peace and promoting common development. I believe this visit will push forward China's friendly cooperation with the four South Asian countries to a new stage.
By the way, a friend from the press asked about the arrangement of Mr. Zhou Wenzhong at the press conference this Tuesday. I can tell you that Mr. Zhou has been appointed as Ambassador to the US. He will go to the US to take his post very soon.
Q: It's reported that the US set this June as the deadline of resuming the Six-Party Talks. Was that mentioned during the visit of DPRK Premier Pak Bong Ju? What response does the DPRK have on the nuclear issue? Through Premier Pak Bong Ju's visit to China, does China believe that the Six-Party Talks can resume in a short time?
A: During the DPRK Premier Pak Bong Ju's visit to China, the Chinese leaders had an in-depth exchange of views with him on the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula. The Chinese side elaborated on its position on the nuclear issue, and informed him of the consultations with relevant countries including the US and others' positions on the issue. Premier Pak attached great importance to Chinese position as well as the information from China. He said that the DPRK appreciated China's efforts to realize a nuclear-free Peninsula and maintain the peace and stability on the Peninsula. In the mean time, he pointed out that the DPRK adhered to its position on a nuclear-free Peninsula and a peaceful solution to the nuclear issue through dialogue and the DPRK would continue to make efforts to achieve that goal. He also reiterated that the DPRK was not opposed to the Six-Party Talks and didn't give up the Talks either. The DPRK was willing to return to the Talks at any time, as long as the time was mature. Judging from the visit, there is no breakthrough on the issue of resuming the Talks. Nevertheless, I believe that relevant meetings and exchange of views are conducive to the process of the Talks. At present, there exist a lot of differences on the resumption of Talks among relevant parties and between the DPRK and the US in particular. The differences brought some obstacles to the resumption of the Talks. The crux is that there lack mutual trust and necessary positive actions between the two sides. We hope parties concerned can do more in the benefit of enhancing trust and make joint efforts to the early resumption of the Talks when being patient and self-restraint.
Q: The EU had some arguments with the US on lifting its arms embargo on China. What impact will the removal of the embargo pose on Sino-US relations?
A: EU's lifting its arms embargo on China is conducive to the healthy and stable development of Sino-EU relations. The earlier the EU removes the embargo, the more helpful it would be to the Sino-EU relations. Recently, we noticed that France, German and other EU members reiterated their positions on lifting the embargo. We appreciated their attitudes and hope that the EU can proceed from the general interests of Sino-EU relations and make their decision to remove the embargo at an earlier time. At the same time, we think it's totally unreasonable that certain countries make some excuses to hinder the removal of the embargo. We are firmly opposed to that. We hope those countries can stop similar actions. The removal of the embargo is not directed at the third party and should not harm the Sino-US relations.
Q: Premier Wen Jiabao is to pay a visit to the four South Asian countries. What's the specific date of his visit to Pakistan? What activities will be on his agenda in Pakistan? What issues will be discussed between him and the Pakistani leaders?
A: Pakistan is the first leg of Premier Wen's visit to South Asia. The visit will last from April 5 to 7. During his visit, he will meet with the Pakistani leaders including the President and the Prime Minister, and exchange views with them on China-Pakistan comprehensive cooperation as well as the all-weather friendship between us. I believe that his visit will promote the development of China-Pakistan good-neighborly and friendly relations.
Q: It's reported that during his visit to China, the DPRK Premier Pak Bong Ju invited President Hu Jintao to visit the DPRK and continue the discussion on Six-Party Talks. Please confirm that. The US hopes the DPRK to completely dismantle its nuclear weapons, while the DPRK only expressed the willingness to postpone relevant activities. What comment does China have on that?
A: During his visit, Premier Pak Bong Ju, on behalf of General Secretary Kim Jong-Il, invited President Hu Jintao to visit the DPRK. President Hu expressed his gratitude for the invitation. Both China and the DPRK attach great importance to high-level exchanges.
As to your second question, there still exist differences between the US and the DPRK on the Korean nuclear issue. For example, the DPRK is still suspicious of the US policy and hopes the US to take back the expression of 'outpost of tyranny' and give up its hostility to the DPRK. At the same time, the US also doubts whether the DPRK is truly willing to give up nuclear weapons. Recalling the former 3 rounds of Talks, we can see that an important consensus reached is that all parties agree that the process of Six-Party Talks should be pushed forward by quid for quo in word and act. And the first step is to freeze the nuclear program, which didn't make any progress due to the failure in smoothly holding the Talks. We hope that all parties, proceeding from the general interests of a nuclear-free Peninsula and the peace and stability on the Peninsula, can show sincerity and flexibility so as to resume the Six-Party Talks as early as possible.
Q: What's China's position on Japan's effort to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council? How will China cooperate with the US representative to the UN John Bolton? China is one of the largest recipients of loans from the World Bank. How will China cooperate with Wolfowitz, the president-hopeful of the World Bank?
A: As to your first question, I have elaborated on our position at the press conference this Tuesday. China supports the UN reforms. The key is to increase the representation of developing countries in the UN, to strengthen the Security Council's capability of dealing with new threats and challenges and to increase its work efficiency. The reform of the UN Security Council is of great importance, on which all member countries should reach broad consensus on the basis of full negotiation.
As to your second question, China and US enjoy a good cooperation within the framework of UN. We hope both sides can continue to conduct effective negotiations and cooperation.
Regarding your last question, China pays great attention to the role of the World Bank and has been cooperating well with the World Bank. China received a lot assistance from the World Bank and won the praise of World Bank in terms of paying off debts. We are expecting to carry out good cooperation with whoever becomes the next president of the World Bank. We will stay in contact and coordination with all parties on the issue of candidates for next president of the Bank.
Q: It's reported that an assemblyman of Ishigaki city in Japan's Okinawa Prefecture planned to submit to the city assembly a so-called 'Senkaku Islands Day' proposal. What comment does China have?
A: we are deeply concerned about this and have expressed our solemn stand to the Japanese side through diplomatic channel. I hereon reiterate that Diaoyu Island and its affiliated islands have long been china's territory since ancient time and China has irrefutable evidences in terms of history and law. Any unilateral action by Japan towards Diaoyu Island severely infringes upon China's territory and sovereignty and thus is illegal and invalid. China strongly opposes this.
Q: The United States supports Japan in its permanent membership at the UN Security Council. What's China's position on Japan's permanent membership?
A: we understand that Japan hopes to play a bigger role in international affairs. Meanwhile we hope that Japan adopts a correct and responsible attitude towards history issues. You may have also noticed Chinese public recently commented a lot on Japan's efforts to become a permanent member of the UN Security Council. We do hope that the Japanese side will deal with the history issues properly in order to win trust from others.
Q: The Premier of DPRK Pak Pong Ju said that DPRK would return the Six-Party Talks, as long as conditions become ripe. My question is if the ripe conditions are always elusive, will China resort to other measures to solve the nuclear issue? China appears much patient up to this point, but is there a limit to your patience? Has China ever held consultations with other parties on this issue at the working level? Are there other ways to solve the problem, if the Six-Party Talks cannot be held on schedule?
A: All parties are making efforts to restart the Six-Party Talks to solve the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsular. The Six-Party Talks is the best feasible and realistic way of solving the nuclear issue. All parties concerned should display adequate patience, goodwill, and political wisdom and courage so as to create atmosphere and condition for the resumption of the Six-Party Talks. With regard to the patience, all parties concerned including China, realized at the very beginning of the nuclear issue on the Peninsular that this issue, as an intractable one, could by no means be resolved at one go. All parties should not only be patient but also be prepared in mind in order to solve this hard and complex issue. It will be a long-term process, but all parties still should make efforts to solve this issue as soon as possible. It requires all parties to display sincerity and flexibility. In particular, the parties directly concerned should make greater effort.
Q: It's reported that the United States set this June as the deadline for the resumption of the Six-Party Talks. What information did the United States convey to China? What is China's comment on the deadline?
A: I didn't read the news about the deadline, and the United States did not inform us of the so-called time limit. Our common aspiration is that the Six-Party Talks could be resumed as soon as possible. We hope all parties to create atmosphere and condition for resuming the Six-Party Talks.
Q: How much oil and gas does the Chinese Government believe reserved in the disputed area between China and Japan? Is China satisfied with the number of visas issued to China for the World Exposition?
A: I cannot predict or answer how much oil and gas exist under the East Sea. Regarding the delimitation of the East Sea, we propose to gradually resolve the existing differences in the sprit of 'shelving differences and seeking common development'.
The World Exposition is a grand event for all countries from the world to display themselves and strengthen communication and cooperation. The Chinese side attaches great importance to the event, and will participate in relevant activities of the Exposition with a positive attitude. We wish the World Exposition a success. And we hope Japan can facilitate China's participation in relevant activities of the World Exposition.
Q: The DPRK Premier said if the conditions were ripe, they were willing to return to the Six-Party Talks. What are the ripe conditions? Can you be a little more specific on that?
A: In the '2·10'annoucement of its Foreign Ministry as well as a number of statements later, the DPRK has made it clear that what conditions are required for them to return to the Talks. We hope that its requirement can get the attention of relevant parties, and more importantly, we hope that relevant parties can release goodwill, sincerity and flexibility.
Q: China is in favor of giving priority to greater representation of the developing countries in the UN Security Council. Will China use its veto power on this issue? The Germany International Human Rights Association delivered a public letter to Taiwan people, in which it pointed out that the Anti-Secession Law is a war bill aiming at Taiwan, and asked China to take it back unconditionally. What's China's comment on that?
A: I have reiterated many times that China supported the UN Security Council's reform. In the reform, we hope a broad consensus could be reached through democratic negotiation, on the basis of consultation. As to the issue of the veto power owned by permanent members of the UN Security Council, I suggest you to do some homework, to find out how the veto power is used.
As to your second question, it's my first time to hear that news. It could only indicate that the organization you have mentioned has no knowledge of the Anti-Secession Law at all, if what you said is true. The view they expressed in the letter is totally calling white black, which is simply a wrong conclusion due to lack of careful study of the Anti-Secession Law. We have made a very clear explanation to the purpose of the legislation. We hope they can draw a right conclusion through careful study.
Q: When Premier Wen met with Premier Pak the day before yesterday, two agreements were signed, which respectively concerned environment and investment. Could you introduce the detailed items or contents of the agreements?
A: As you said, after the talk between Premier Wen and Premier Pak, the two sides signed two documents. One is an agreement to promote and protect investment, and the other is a cooperation agreement to protect the environment. I'm sorry to say that I haven't read the agreements, therefore I cannot give you the details. But I think you can see what kind of agreement they are from the title.
Q: Vice Chairman of the Nationalist Party Jiang Bingkun will visit China next week. Could you brief us on his agenda and the topics to be discussed? Will he talk about the Anti-Secession Law?
A: First of all, this question is not within the range of the Foreign Ministry's Spokesman's response. Then, I need to point out, that your saying that "he will visit China" is not right. Actually he cannot visit China since he is right in China now, in China's Taiwan province. If I'm allowed to correct your sentence, it should be "he will visit the mainland".
Q: This month marks the 80th anniversary of Sun Yat-sen's passing away. Will there be any memorial ceremony? The DPRK delivered a declaration recently, claiming it has nuclear weapons. Does China believe DPRK has nuclear weapons or not? During DPRK Premier's visit to China, was this issue discussed?
A: Sun Yat-sen is a deeply respected pioneer of democracy. Chinese people have always commemorated him. His portrait is erected in Tiananmen Square each National Day. As to what ceremony is to be held this year, I'll gather some information for you.
As to your second question, I cannot give you a yes or no answer. China firmly maintains a nuclear-free Korean Peninsular, and we will steadily carry on this stance, and make our efforts to achieve the goal of a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.
Q: Millions of internet users signed an online petition opposing Japan's bid for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council on many main websites. What's your view to this kind of non-governmental anti-Japan sentiments?
A: I don't regard it as anti-Japan sentiments; on the contrary, I think this is a request for Japan to adopt a right and responsible attitude on some history issues. As to the Chinese Government's stance on UN's reform, I have clarified many times.
Q: Is China satisfied with the number of visas that Japan has given China to the World Expo?
A: I'm not sure of the number of visas that Japan has given China to the World Expo, but I can gather some information for you. We will ask Japan to provide more conveniences as the host country if necessary.
Q: Vice Chairman of the Nationalist Party Jiang Bingkun will visit China on 31of this month. Will he meet the important officials in the central government? It's described by some Beijing media, that this visit marks the first meeting between the Communist Party and the Nationalist Party after some decades. What's your comment on such description?
A: I don't know when the spokesman of Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council will hold their press conference. I think you'd better raise this question to him.
Q: You said China hoped the DPRK and the US should do more things to enhance the trust and dissolve the suspicion on the issue of the Six-Party Talks. During China's respective talks with Rice and Pak Bong Ju, did China make any suggestion besides exchanging information and opinions? It's said Foreign Minister Li suggested that a bilateral dialogue could be held first between the US and DPRK, during his talks with Rice. Could you confirm this?
A: China talked about the nuclear issue on Korean Peninsula during its meetings with both Secretary of the State Rice and Prime Minister Pak Bong Ju, and made efforts to promote the talks. China also hopes the US could agree to start direct contact with DPRK in a proper form. The US also showed its willingness to make contact with DPRK within the framework of the Six-Party Talks.
Q: Prime Minister Pak Bong Ju is visiting the industrial and agricultural projects in Shanghai, Shenyang and Anshan. Will he learn China's experience on the economic reform?
A: Premier Pak Bong Ju's visiting agenda is made through diplomatic consultation by the two countries. We have taken the DPRK guest's request into full consideration. Prime Minister Pak Bong Ju said many times that DPRK was willing to use China's experience for reference, in the fields of reform; opening up to the outside world and its modernization drive during his visit. He hopes to cover more and see more in China. According to this, we arranged his agenda, and hopes he is satisfied.
Q: How do you characterize the consultation between China and the US on the Anti-Secession Law during Secretary of the State Rice's visit to China? It's mentioned in the Anti-Secession Law that the Taiwan Straits problem could be solved through non-peaceful means. Is it mentioned in the consultation what kind of means to use to make Taiwan embrace its motherland? Is there any hotline between China and the US?
A: During Secretary of the State Rice's visit to China, China and the US exchanged opinions on the Anti-Secession Law. China has elaborated on the purpose and relevant concerns of the legislation to Secretary of the State Rice. China explained that, according to the Anti-Secession Law, under some certain conditions, the State could adopt non-peaceful means and other necessary measures to maintain the national sovereignty and territory integrity. But it's the last choice in case of all the efforts and possibilities of striving for a peaceful reunification and preventing the nation from being splitted are lost. It is also a stance that any sovereign country will adopt. This illustrate that the Anti-Secession Law is a law to maintain the peace and stability across Taiwan Straits, a law to oppose and contain the 'Taiwan Independence', and a law conducive to the peace and stability of this region from another perspective. Our proposal of 'Peaceful reunification, one country two systems' has not changed. We hope the US could perceive and understand the purpose of this law correctly. All in all, it's a peace law rather than a war bill, and by no means a war mobilization order.
The leaders and Foreign Ministries of China and the US often communicate through telephone. The two sides have talked about a series of issues by this means. The communicating channel is unblocked.
Q: Does China adopt any specific measures to promote EU to lift its Arms Embargo against China?
A: China has expressed its stance on many occasions on the issue of EU lifting its Arms Embargo against China. China sees this issue from the perspective of the current strategic cooperative partnership between China and EU. Under such a condition, maintaining the political discrimination is malapropos and obstructive to the normal development of China-EU relation. EU should be clear about China's stance. We hope EU could make the right decision as soon as possible.
If no questions are to be raised, let's call it a day. Thank you!