|Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang's Press Conference on 5 April 2005|
On the afternoon of April 5, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang presided over a regular press conference.
Qin: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. First, I'd like to introduce myself to you. My name is Qin Gang. Not long ago I was appointed as spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry. Recently, I have met many of you on different occasions. Your high interest in China, Chinese diplomacy in particular, makes me feel more obliged to give you a comprehensive and precise introduction on Chinese diplomacy and China's position on international affairs. I'm also looking forward to entering good working relations with you. I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you all success and happiness.
First, I have an announcement to make. At the invitation of Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, Foreign Minister of the Kingdom of the Netherlands Bernard Rudolf Bot will pay an official visit to China from April 9 to 14.
Now, the floor is open.
Q: First, I'd like to, on behalf of myself and my colleagues here, congratulate you on your appointment. Premier Wen Jiabao will attend the opening ceremony of the 4th Asian Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) Foreign Ministers' Meeting tomorrow and deliver a speech. Could you brief us on the ACD mechanism and the 4th ACD Foreign Ministers' Meeting? What is China's attitude towards ACD?
A: Thanks for your congratulations. At present, ACD is the only official dialogue and cooperation mechanism open to the entire Asia. Since its establishment in 2002, it has conducted effective cooperation in some specific areas, promoting the formation of Asia awareness. So far three foreign ministers' meetings have been convened by ACD. The 4th will be held in Pakistan on April 6, 2005. Premier Wen Jiabao will attend the opening ceremony of the meeting and make a keynote speech. Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing will also be present.
There are no fixed topics at the meeting. Foreign ministers will exchange views mainly on international and regional affairs, explore the development orientation of Asian cooperation and exchange ideas on ACD cooperation in specific fields, ACD institutional building and other issues. During the meeting, Islamabad Declaration and Islamabad Initiative on Asian Economic Cooperation will be issued. The meeting will reaffirm the political will of Asian countries to strengthen dialogues and cooperation and map out plans for further development of specific ACD cooperation, economic cooperation in particular.
The Chinese side attaches importance to and takes an active part in regional cooperation mechanisms of various types, ACD included. We are ready to join the other parties to move ahead regional cooperation in Asia.
Q: The bishop in Hong Kong said that Vatican is considering severing the so-called "diplomatic relations" with Taiwan and establishing diplomatic relations with the mainland of China. What's your comment? Would you please also comment on Japan's revision of history textbooks and distortion of the history of Japan's invasion of China?
A: We have noticed relative reports. Here I want to emphasize that the Chinese government consistently adheres to two basic principles in handling China-Vatican relations. Based on those principles, we are ready to improve our relations with Vatican.
The essence of history textbook issue is whether the Japanese government could treat the history of militarist aggression in the right way and educate the younger generation of Japanese with a correct outlook on history. We have not seen the result of the Japanese government's examination of the revised textbooks. Seeing it, we will voice our view.
Q: China has expressed its opposition to punitive measures against Sudan for many times. Now that the UN Security Council has passed a resolution to impose sanctions against Sudan, could you introduce China's position on Sudan' s rejection to cooperate with relevant UN resolutions? Egypt called on five other African countries for concerted efforts to relax the tension in Sudan. What's your comment on that?
A: The Chinese side has been all along following the situation in Sudanese Darfur region. We stand for an early conclusion of an agreement on the political settlement of Darfur crisis through negotiations under the auspices of the African Union. Meanwhile, like the international community, we are deeply regretted for the serious violations of International Humanitarian Law and International Human Rights Law in the region. Doubtless, relevant perpetrators must be brought to justice, but the problem is what will be the most effective and feasible means to this end.
We are of the view that in bringing to justice the perpetrators at large, we must bear in mind not only legal justice, but also avoiding negative influence on the political negotiations on Darfur issue. We must not only mete out punishment to the perpetrators, but also promote national reconciliation. We must not only strive for the settlement of the Darfur issue, but also help to safeguard the hard-won north-south peace process in Sudan.
Based on this position and our respect for judicial sovereignty, we think it would be better for those perpetrators to be tried by the Sudanese judicial authorities. At the same time, we are not a party to the Rome Statute of International Criminal Court and have significant reservations on some of its provisions. It would be unacceptable if the International Criminal Court exercises its power of jurisdiction against the will of non-signatory states. Nor could we agree that the UN Security Council authorizes the International Criminal Court to exercise that power.
We enjoy positive attitudes towards the efforts and role of Egypt and five other African countries for peace and stability in Africa. We believe that the role of African countries and the African Union should be brought to full play in solving the Darfur issue and other issues concerning peace and stability of African countries including Sudan.
Q: As for the normalization of China-Vatican relations, the Vatican side once mentioned that its core concern and also the biggest obstacle is that Beijing does not allow Vatican to appoint bishops in China, which is permitted in other countries. Is China willing to negotiate with Vatican on that and will China permit the appointment of bishops in China by Vatican?
A: Just now, when answering the question of Reuters' journalist, I have made clear that the two principles the Chinese government abides by in handling China-Vatican relations are consistent. We are ready to improve our relations with Vatican on that basis.
Follow-up: Would you please explain once again these two principles?
A: Sure. They are: First, Vatican must sever the so-called "diplomatic relations" with Taiwan, recognize that the Government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole China and Taiwan is an inalienable part of China. Second, Vatican must not interfere with the internal affairs of China in the name of religion.
Q: Will China dispatch official representatives to attend the funeral of Pope? If so, who will be sent? In official capacity or not? During the visit of Kang Sok Chu, DPRK's Deputy Foreign Minister to China, whom has he met with? Did he indicate to the Chinese side that DPRK would return to the Six-Party Talk? The United States is considering re-imposing quota on Chinese textile import. What comment does China have on that?
A: After the death of Pope John Paul II, China has expressed its condolences. The Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association and Chinese Catholic Bishops College have, on behalf of the Chinese Catholic priests and believers, sent a message of condolences to Vatican.
As for whether China will dispatch anyone to take part in memorial activities, I have no clue yet and have to consult relevant departments for information.
From April 2 to 5, Kang Sok Chu, Deputy Foreign Minister of DPRK paid a working visit to China at invitation. During his visit, he held talks with Dai Bingguo, Deputy Foreign Minister of China. They carried out an in-depth exchange of views on questions of common interest such as bilateral relations, the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula and other issues.
Currently, the textile trade frictions are caused largely by the irrational arrangements and overprotection in the integration process of textile trade by main importers in US and Europe. It is totally groundless to attribute those trade frictions just to exporters, especially the export of China. The Chinese side has always stood for strengthened dialogue and cooperation so as to complement each other and achieve common development. This is an effective means to resolve trade frictions. I need to point out that the quota systems of the US and Europe is an unfair protectionist practice, and have caused deep sufferings to China for years. It is unfair, from which China has suffered a lot. The Chinese government advocates trade facilitation and liberalization while opposing trade protectionism and unfair and discriminative practices against Chinese products including textile.
Q: Does President Hu Jintao's visit to DPRK be talked about during Kang Sok Chu's visit to China?
A: I have no more information to offer on Deputy Foreign Minister Kang Sok chu's visit to China.
Q: Did the DPRK Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan visit China one week ago? Will the talk between DPRK Deputy Foreign Minister Kang Sok Chu and Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo be helpful to the early resumption of the six-party talks?
A: I have no more information to offer besides what I have just briefed.
Q: Chinese Special Envoy on the Middle East issue Wang Shijie is visiting the Middle East. Please brief us on the relevant information. Who of the leaders has he met with and what consensus has been reached?
A: Chinese Special Envoy on the Middle East issue Wang Shijie began to visit Palestine, Israel and Egypt on March 30th. He has made extensive contact and in-depth exchange of views with relevant parties on the present Middle East situation, the Middle East peace process as well as other issues. Mr. Wang met with leaders and government officials from Palestine and Israel. His visit to Egypt is under way.
During his visit, Special Envoy Wang Shijie spoke highly of efforts made by Palestine and Israel to promote the peace process and hopes the two parties to seize the opportunity and resume the talks as soon as possible. He reiterated China's support to the efforts by the Palestinians to resume their legal national rights including the founding of an independent state. He also emphasized that the principle of "land for peace" is still a realistic guidance for the solution of the Middle East issue. Palestine and Israel expressed appreciation for China's consistent efforts to promote peace talks and hope China to continue its active role.
Q: Now the price of iron ore is undergoing some adjustment in the international market. BHP in Australia demands a double price. The Chinese Iron and Steel Association has made response. Sixteen large steel and iron companies in China deem such a sharp hike unreasonable. What's your comment on this? Because it is related to the bilateral relations between China and Brazil and between China and Australia, especially in the context of upcoming visit of Australian Prime Minster to China in the middle of this month.
A: I have noticed relevant report. This is the commercial arrangement between companies. We hope the companies concerned can appropriately handle the question through consultation. You may refer your specific question to the competent authorities of the Chinese side.
Q: On last Saturday and Sunday, there were some activities against Japan's bidding for the permanent membership of the UN Security Council. Some people destroyed the windows and billboards of some Japanese enterprises. Would you like to comment on this? On the textbook question, what is the view of the Chinese side on the textbooks currently used in Japan?
A: We briefed on our position concerning the UN Security Council reform yesterday. I have noticed the information you mentioned. The activities constantly taken by Japan that undermine China's interests and hurt the feelings of the Chinese people have aroused strong dissatisfaction of the Chinese people. We hope the Japanese side can take seriously the concerns of the Chinese people and properly handle history and other sensitive issues concerning the feelings of the Chinese people. At the same time, we also hope the general public can express their wills in a rational manner. The Chinese government always acts with a responsible attitude and protect in accordance with law the lives and property of all the foreigners in China and the normal business activities of foreign enterprises, Japan's included.
It is the common aspiration of both the Chinese people and the Japanese people to develop China-Japan friendship. Recently, the Chinese general public expressed dissatisfaction with Japanese side in some activities. These sentiments are not against Japanese people, but against the fact that the Japanese side does not adopt a correct attitude on the historical issue. We hope the Japanese side attaches importance to and seriously hears the call from its neighbours in Asia. Japan should take history as a mirror and be forward-looking in dealing with China-Japan relations and, in particular, should adopt a correct and responsible attitude on the history issue. This will be conducive to the enhancement of mutual understanding and friendship between our two peoples and the development of China-Japan relations.
On the Japanese textbook question, the Japanese side knows our position clearly.
Q: Today, the Defense Minister of ROK said the ROK would enhance military cooperation with China. Will you confirm that and does the Chinese side agree? What does china want to get from this?
A: Over the past days, the Defense Minister of ROK visited China. My colleague Mr. Liu Jianchao briefed on relevant information at the last press conference. China and ROK maintain a sound relationship which can be seen from the close exchanges and cooperation in various fields between the two countries. We attach importance to better cooperation with ROK which is conducive to safeguarding regional peace and stability and promoting common development.
Q: Recently from April 1, some stores in China began to stop selling Japanese commodities according to an enterprise name list which are supportive of the new textbooks in Japan. Actually this list is totally incorrect. The spokesperson once said that the Chinese government would protect the activities of Japanese enterprises. What will the Chinese government do in this regard?
A: The Chinese general public express their dissatisfaction with the Japanese side in different ways because of the outstanding issues, the history issue in particular, that affect China-Japan relations. The incorrect attitude taken by the Japanese side on the history issue has aroused strong dissatisfaction of the Chinese people. We are of the view that the bilateral trade and economic cooperation serve the interests of both sides. We hope the Japanese side can appropriately handle history and other issues involving the feelings of the Chinese people. We stand for lasting friendship between China and Japan and development of bilateral good-neighbourly and friendly relations in the spirit of "taking history as a mirror and being forward-looking". But the improvement and development of China-Japan relations need the common efforts from both sides and from different social sectors and communities of the two countries. We hope the Japanese people of all walks of life can do more in the benefit of better mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples and the promotion of bilateral relations.
Follow-up: I agree that the two sides should make joint efforts, but the above-mentioned activities have brought about negative effects on those Japanese enterprises which have no connection with history issue. What's your comment on this?
A: We attach importance to the development of economic relations and trade with Japan and we also hope the China-Japan trade and economic relations can constantly develop in the atmosphere of friendly cooperation.
If there are no more questions, let's call it a day.