|Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang's Press Conference on 7 April 2005|
On the afternoon of April 7th, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang presided over a regular press conference.
Qin: Good afternoon. I am very pleased to meet you again. First, I have two announcements to make.
At the invitation of President Hu Jintao, President Olusegun Obasanjo of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, will pay a state visit to China from April 14th to 17th.
At the invitation of Boao Forum for Asia, Chairman of the National Committee of the CPPCC Jia Qinglin will attend the BFA annual conference 2005 from April 23rd to 24th in Boao, Hainan Province, and make a keynote speech. During the annual conference, Chairman Jia Qinlin will meet with relevant state leaders and other delegates.
Now the floor is open.
Q: What's your view on the recent approval of the new history textbook? What's your comment on the "attack" against the Japanese enterprises?
A: On April 5th, Chinese Foreign Ministry official Qiao Zonghuai lodged solemn representations with the Japanese ambassador to China on the approval of the new right-wing textbook issue. The Chinese ambassador to Japan also made representations with the Japanese side.
The essence of the textbook is whether Japan can correctly understand and treat the invasion history of Japanese militarism and educate its younger generation with a correct view of history. We request the Japanese side to handle the textbook issue with an attitude correct and responsible for history. We strongly demand that the Japanese government should faithfully honor its commitment to remorse for its aggression history and immediately take effective measures to remove the odious impact arising thereof.
The actions taken by the Japanese side on history and other issues have undermined China's interests, hurt the feelings of the Chinese people, and aroused strong dissatisfaction among the Chinese people. We hope the Japanese side can take the concerns of the Chinese people seriously and properly handle history and other issues bearing on the feelings of the Chinese people.
Q: Premier Wen Jiabao is visiting Pakistan, how do you evaluate the achievements of his visit?
A: This is a very successful visit. During his visit, Premier Wen Jiabao had an in-depth exchange of views with Pakistani leaders on the further development of China-Pakistan friendly and cooperative relations. In the light of The Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation between China and Pakistan, we shall further develop closer strategic partnership. Pakistan completely agrees with that. According to the report of the press, we know this visit has rich achievements. China and Pakistan signed the Treaty of Good-Neighborliness and Friendly Cooperation and 21 cooperation agreements in such fields as anti-terrorism, customs, trade and economic cooperation.
Premier Wen's visit will surely have significant impact on the further promotion of China-Pakistan good-neighbourly and friendly relations.
Q: Today, China got the last food assistance from the World Food Program (WFP). Is it possible that China becomes a WFP donor? Given the grain production short of demands in China, what level of assistance can China offer to other countries?
A: China is still a developing country, a less rich one. There are 29 million Chinese people living in poverty now. Considering the 850 million impoverished people in the world, we will gradually increase our assistances to the WFP according to our own capacity. Our assistances will be mainly in cash. We would like to make joint efforts with the WPF to make contribution to the eradication of world poverty.
Q: Does China's comment on the Japanese textbook constitute an interference in Japan's internal affairs?
A: The right-wing forces in Japan deliberately compiled the history book in order to plead for the Japanese militarism, gloss over aggression, and even overtly preach the "feat" of aggression. This is a provocation against human justice and conscience. This act goes beyond the limit of Japan's internal affairs. It hurts the feelings of the people in the victimized countries and affects Japan's relations with China and other Asian neighbours. It could not be more justified for the people of the victimized countries, including China, to strongly condemn it. We seriously demand that Japanese government should honor its commitment to remorse for its aggression history with earnest actions and immediately take effective measures to remove the odious impact arising thereof so as to win the trust of the Asian people.
Q: Japan and US said during DPRK Deputy Prime Minister Kang Sok Chu's visit to China, the DPRK side did not have a gesture to return to the six-party talks. Do you agree on that? Will Chinese President Hu Jintao pay a visit to the DPRK recently? Why doesn't China consider sending senior officials to attend the G-7 meeting in Washington?
A: China's position on the DPRK nuclear issue is clear-cut. We adhere to the goal of a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. We remain devoted to safeguarding peace and stability of the Peninsula and solve the nuclear issue on the Peninsula through negotiations and consultation. Our stance on this will not change. The Chinese side has been making unremitting efforts for the peaceful solution of the DPRK nuclear issue. During Kang Sok Chu's visit to China, the Chinese side had in-depth discussions with him, for the purpose of promoting peace talks and pushing for DPRK's early return to the talks. Under the current circumstances, we hope the relevant parties, the major parties involved in particular, to make efforts and show flexibility and sincerity, so as to create favorable conditions for the early resumption of the six-party talks.
Up to now, China and seven western countries have held two rounds of informal dialogues of the Financial Ministers and Central Bank Governors. Both sides agree that the dialogue is conducive to better mutual exchanges of ideas and the stable development of world economy. The Chinese Minister of Finance and Governor of the Central Bank will attend relevant meetings according to the agenda set through consultations with the Financial Ministers and Central Bank Governors.
Q: There were incidents in Chengdu at the weekend that the Japanese stores were attacked. You introduced clearly on Tuesday and today the background that the Chinese people expressed there strong sentiments. Does China think this act right or not, and whether it should be criticized and condemned?
A: The Chinese general public expressed their strong dissatisfaction with Japan's incorrect position on history and other issues. We hope the general public can express their sentiments and will in a rational manner.
Q: What is the reaction of the Chinese Foreign Ministry to EU's quota on China's textile products? China's Permanent Representative to the UN Wang Guangya stressed that the reform of the UN should be conducted with the consensus of various parties. Can you tell us the view of China in detail on the UN Security Reform Program A and B?
A: On your first question, the spokesperson of the Ministry of Commerce has already made a statement on it.
On the reform of the UN Security Council, just as what Ambassador Wang Guangya has pointed out, that China supports the reform of the UN Security Council. The enlargement of the Security Council should give priority to the better representation of developing countries. The reform is of great significance. It should serve the solidarity of the member states of the UN. The countries should make decisions through extensive and patient discussions and consultation. I want to emphasize that consultation and consensus are the important principles of the UN Charter and the important cornerstone for the UN to continue to demonstrate vitality. When dealing with major issues, we have to stick to this point. To forcefully promote immature programs is not good for the solidarity of member states nor is it helpful to safeguarding the authorities of the UN Security Council. The Chinese government will proceed from the large picture of maintaining world peace and promoting common development, and seriously and appropriately handle the issue with an attitude responsible for our nation and country.
Q: The United States Senate has passed a resolution, requiring China to reform its current exchange rate regime. Otherwise, the US will launch restrictive measures against Chinese textile exports. What is China's position on that? During his visit to India, will Premier Wen talk about the establishment of China-India free trade zone? Will China continue to allow Chinese companies to exploit oil and gas fields in the East China Sea?
A: Is your first question about textile products or exchange rate?
Follow-up: About textile products.
A: I have answered that question Tuesday. A spokesman of the Ministry of Commerce also made remarks on this today.
As developing countries with great potential, both China and India are committed to economic development. With respective industrial advantages, Chinese and Indian economies are highly complementary to each other. In many areas, we can draw upon each other's strengths and pursue common development. We hope to carry out multi-level trade and economic cooperation in a multitude of fields, including setting up a free trade zone, on the basis of equality and mutual benefit, so as to achieve a win-win result.
China and Japan have not reached any agreement on the delimitation of the East China Sea and still have disputes in this regard. It is our consistent view that relative issues should be resolved through dialogue and negotiations. We urge the Japanese side to act prudently and refrain from imposing unilateral proposition on China.
Q: What will be the agenda in Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura's meeting with Chinese counterpart in Beijing on April 17? Will the textbook issue be on the top of their agenda? How does China comment on the visit of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe to China?
A: The arrangements of Machimura's visit are still under consultation through diplomatic channels by the two sides.
At the invitation of President Hu Jintao, Alvaro Uribe, President of the Republic of Colombia is paying a state visit to China. President Hu held talks with him yesterday. The two of them agreed to further expand bilateral exchanges and cooperation in various fields and to strive for a new situation in China-Colombia friendship and cooperation in the new century. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Colombia, which has been developing smoothly ever since. The bilateral friendly ties and cooperation have enjoyed a momentum of stable development and the two countries have maintained sound cooperation in international affairs. Both the Chinese and Colombian government attaches importance to strengthening bilateral relations. I am convinced that through President Uribe's visit, the friendly cooperative relations between the two countries will be further developed and deepened.
Q: UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan indicates that he will send a special envoy to China to discuss about UN Security Council reform. What is China's response to that?
A: I have not heard about such arrangements. Reform of the Security Council is an important issue, surrounding which are different opinions and propositions. It is our hope that member states could reach consensus on it through extensive consultation.
Q: What is your comment on Talabani's election as the new president of Iraq?
A: On April 6, the interim president and deputy presidents were elected by Iraqi transitional national assembly. The transitional government will go on to complete the formation of a new government as scheduled. The Chinese side is glad to see the progress in Iraqi political transitional process. We are ready to work with the Iraqi transitional government for further development of our friendly cooperative relations and to continue our support for the reconstruction of Iraq.
Q: Whom will China dispatch to attend G7 Meeting? How big will the delegation be?
A: As for this question, I have no specific information. I will help you to find it out.
Q: The US Senate threatened yesterday that if China does not take measures to revamp its RMB exchange rate system in six months, the US will resort to trade retaliation. What is the Chinese government's comment on this? Will President Hu Jintao attend the Asia-Africa Summit in Indonesia?
A: We have noted the recent discussions on Chinese economy within the United States Congress, as well as America's growing trade and fiscal deficits. It is known to all that if one country's fiscal deficit could not be made up by its own private savings, it has to go to foreign savings, which usually causes deficit problem in current account. Therefore, the US should look more into domestic means to restore its economic balance. A recent analysis by the International Monetary Fund suggests that the exchange rate of RMB has not been undervalued. A judgment on whether the currency has been undervalued should be made on the basis of multilateral trade status rather than bilateral trade surplus. China has big trade deficit with its Asian trading partners despite trade surplus from the US. Actually China registered a rough trade balance last year with import outpacing export. In recent years, China has made remarkable efforts to reform and improve the RMB exchange rate formation mechanism, including the acceleration of the reform of state-owned commercial banks, realization of convertibility of RMB under current account, less restrictions on capital accounts, a capital market opened wider to the outside world, a greater access to a financial market with less business restrictions, a more diversified portfolio of financial products, and the gradual marketization of the interest rates.
China and the United States are important trade partners. The disputes and differences in trade, in our view, should be resolved through consultations on an equal footing. This will contribute to sound and stable development of trade and economic cooperation between the two countries and serve the fundamental interests of us.
As for your second question, the Chinese side will take an active part in the Asia-Africa Summit.
Q: During Premier Wen's visit to India, will he put forth a proposal on the establishment of a free trade zone between China and India? Will the two sides sign relative agreements?
A: Closer trade and economic cooperation is in the fundamental interests of both China and India. As the scale of bilateral trade grows continuously, the establishment of a free trade zone will naturally move onto agenda. I am convinced that during Premier Wen's visit, the two sides will have helpful discussions to this regard. As for whether they can come to agreement, it depends upon the consultation between the two sides.
Q: My question is about the East China Sea. The Japanese government requires China to stop exploitation of oil and gas immediately and give a reply within a week. How will China respond? When will China have consultation with Japan on that?
A: We stand for a settlement of the issue through dialogue and consultation. Our proposal of shelving the dispute for joint development of resources in the region displays our sincerity on the settlement of this issue. We believe that this will be a correct choice that conforms to the common interests of the two sides. We call for Japan to refrain from taking unilateral action, so as to avoid a further complicated situation.
If there is no other question, let's call it a day. Thank you!