|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang's Press Conference on 12 April 2005|
On the afternoon of April 12, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang presided over a regular press conference.
Qin: Good afternoon! First, I have two announcements to make.
At the invitation of His Majesty Paduka Seri Baginda Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah of Negara Brunei Darussalam, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of the Republic of Indonesia and President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo of the Republic of the Philippines, President Hu Jintao will pay a state visit to the three countries from April 20 to 28. At the invitation of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono of the Republic of Indonesia and President Thabo Mbeki of the Republic of South Africa, President Hu Jintao will attend the Asia-Africa Summit 2005 on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Bandung Conference.
At the invitation of Premier Wen Jiabao, Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia John Howard will pay a working visit to China from April 18 to 19.
Now, the floor is open.
Q: A series of so-called "patriotic" actions took place in Beijing and other places in China recently. Were these actions approved by the Chinese Government or public security authorities? Or were they spontaneous? Second, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson's remarks on April 10, China should not be held responsible for the current state of China-Japan relations. What is the ground of your remarks? Third, some demonstrators threw stones and plastic bottles at the windows of the Japanese embassy, to which the policemen present turned a blind eye, resulting in serious damages of the embassy. What is the view of the Chinese Government on that? Why doesn't China condemn these illegal activities and make an apology accordingly?
A: Some citizens, dissatisfied with Japan's wrong attitudes and actions on issues concerning its history of aggression, took to the streets spontaneously to demonstrate and protest. The Chinese Government has been requiring demonstrators to remain calm and rational and express their attitudes in a lawful and orderly manner. We are not in favor of some individual incidents of extremist behavior in the protests. The relevant Chinese departments, the police included, have done a great deal to ensure the safety of Japanese organizations and citizens in China. Timely measures were taken so that the situation was quickly under control. The Japanese side is clear about the root causes of the current state of bilateral relations, which deserves serious reflection.
Q: The announcement made by Premier Wen during his visit to India suggests that China and India will speed up the negotiations on the border issue. What is China's position on Arunachal Pradesh on the Indian side of the line of actual control (LAC) in the east of Himalaya? Also there has been talk of the reopening of the Stilwell Road, which links Kunming in China and the northeast of India via Myanmar. Could you give any information on that? Will China be doing any of the roadwork or construction in the 1,000 kilometers that go through Myanmar? Will the city of Baoshan or Wanding be the terminus of the road? Finally, I have also noted that China is supporting India in its bid for UN Security Council seat. What's the position of China on the similar bids of Germany, Brazil and Japan?
A: From the media reports, you may have learned that Premier Wen's India tour is highly successful with fruitful results, an important one of which is the consensus and agreement with India on the political guiding principles for the settlement of the border issue. According to the agreement, the two sides will act under the five principles of peaceful coexistence, proceed from the political prospective of the overall situation of the bilateral relations and seek a fair and reasonable settlement of the issue acceptable to both sides through negotiations on an equal footing. The two countries believe that the final solution of the border disputes will greatly promote the good-neighborly friendship between China and India. Pending that, the two countries should respect and adhere to the LAC in real earnest and make joint efforts to maintain peace and tranquility in border areas.
As for the road you mentioned, the Chinese Government attaches importance to regional and sub-regional cooperation in various forms. I am convinced that convenient transport will lead to closer ties among countries in the region. We welcome the relevant plan and support continuous discussions and researches of the parties concerned in this regard. I am not familiar with some proper names you mentioned just now, but I can help you to find them out.
China's position on the reform of the UN Security Council has been consistent. We stand for the reform of the Security Council aimed at strengthening its capability of maintaining world peace and security, enhancing its effectiveness and safeguarding its authority. The priority of the Security Council expansion should be given to increasing the representation of the developing countries in the council. The reform of the Security Council is an important issue. There should be democratic consultation and broad consensus among the member states on the reform plan. Relative discussions should not be confined to the one or two council expansion formula. China is not in favor of setting an artificial time limit for the Council reform and still less of imposing a vote. Forcing through any immature proposal is neither conducive to the solidarity among member states, nor helpful for the maintenance of the Security Council's authority.
Q: A leading Cambodian genocide researcher is urging China to open up its archives that might contain evidence of Khmer Rouge's activities that could be used for the prosecution of former Khmer Rouge leaders. Is China willing to do so?
A: I have not read relevant reports, so I am not in the position to give you an answer.
Q: It is reported that Pakistan and some other countries oppose the expansion of the permanent membership of the UN Security Council, requiring instead, to increase non-permanent members. What is China's attitude towards that? Could China conduct consultations with Pakistan on that? Have the two countries a common position? As far as I am concerned, you have denied the report of China's support for India's bid for the Security Council seat. Is my understanding correct?
A: You mentioned the proposition of Pakistan and some other countries on the Security Council reform. It is true that there are different propositions and suggestions in the international community on the issue. That is why extensive consultations and full democracy are needed for the international community to reach broad consensus.
What I stated just now is our principled position on the expansion of the Security Council.
Q: Last week, the UK Prime Minister Tony Blair and Premier Wen Jiabao had a telephone conversation, talking about the merger of Shanghai Automotive with MG Rover. Are the Chinese officials in touch with their British counterparts on the issue? Second question, Governors of the Central Banks from China, Japan and the Republic of Korea will meet next month. Will they hold discussions about cooperation? What agenda will China bring forth?
A: I have taken note of the relevant reports on the negotiations between the carmaker MG Rover of the UK and the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. of China. The Chinese Government takes a positive attitude toward trade and economic cooperation in various forms between China and the UK. The problems of the particular commercial project have to be appropriately settled through commercial negotiations between the two sides.
As for your second question, I have no specific information on it. I can help you to find it out.
Q: It is reported that Japanese Foreign Minister Machimura will visit China next Sunday. Could you confirm it? Who will meet with him?
A: The relevant arrangements of Japanese Foreign Minister Machimura's visit are under consultation by the diplomatic departments of the two countries.
Q: Some overreactions in Saturday's anti-Japan demonstrations are illegal in China. How will the Chinese police handle this? Will they carry out investigations? How will China respond to Japan's demands of apology and compensation? According to your remarks, China should not be held responsible for that. Could you further explain your view on that? Despite the mobilization of a huge police force, they failed to prevent violent activities. Will the similar situation occur again when Beijing hosts 2008 Olympic Games?
A: Dissatisfied with the recent wrong attitudes and actions of the Japanese side on issues concerning its history of militarist aggression, some people in Beijing gathered spontaneously to protest and demonstrate. The Chinese Government has been urging the demonstrators to remain calm and rational, and express their views in a lawful and orderly manner. During the two latest press conferences, I have made it clear that we hope people to voice their wishes and opinions in a rational manner. You must have seen the great deal of work done by relevant Chinese departments, the police in particular, to protect the safety of Japanese citizens and organizations in China. You can imagine what will happen without the timely mobilization of police force and other measures. I'd like to reaffirm that we are not in favor of some individual overreactions in the process of the protest.
We have taken note of the request of the Japanese side and have made clear our attitude.
The entire Chinese people are looking forward to and making active preparations for the 2008 Olympic Games. We are confident that the 2008 Olympic Games in China will be a successful and excellent one. The Olympic spirit will be well carried forward and promoted in China. The Chinese Government will continue to protect the legitimate rights and interests of the foreign organizations and citizens in China, including Japanese ones, according to law.
Q: What measures will the Chinese side take to improve China-Japan relations? What does China want Japan to do? In the past years, there were large-scale protests and demonstrations in China against its two important trade partners --- US and Japan. Has China considered what impact it will impose on China's international image?
A: The Chinese Government has not changed and will not change its policy of developing long-term stable good-neighborly and friendly relations between China and Japan based on the principle of "taking history as a mirror and looking into the future". The Japanese side is clear about the issues in China-Japan relations, especially the major issues bearing on the feelings of the Chinese people. The future development of China-Japan relations needs the common efforts from both sides.
The Chinese are peace-loving people. We'd like to develop friendly cooperation with all the countries. No one wants to demonstrate in the street every day. Every one hopes to enjoy a state-to-state relationship featuring equality, friendly coexistence and common development. As for the two demonstrations you mentioned, I don't know whether you have referred to the relevant history materials. If you know the background of the two parades, I believe that you will find the answer.
Q: Will Foreign Minster Li Zhaoxing attend the ASEM meeting in Japan this May? Will he discuss the worsening China-Japan relations with Junichiro Koizumi? Will President Hu Jintao meet with Prime Minster Junichiro Koizumi during the Bandung Conference? If he will, what questions will be talked about? What achievements does China want to get from this conference?
A: Regarding the arrangement of the ASEM Foreign Ministers Meeting, we are consulting with the relevant countries. Now I have no information to offer.
Nor do I have anything to release on whether President Hu will meet with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi at the Bandung Conference.
50 years ago, the Bandung Conference set ten principles on the peaceful coexistence and friendly cooperation between countries, including mutual respect, no infringement on state sovereignty, non-interference in each other's internal affairs, peaceful settlement of international disputes, mutually-beneficial cooperation, and peaceful coexistence. To sum up, that is what we called Bandung Conference principle characterized by solidarity, equality and cooperation. It is the call of the day to seek peace, stability and development. The population in Asia and Africa accounts for 70% of the world total while the acreage takes up half of the globe. Half of the members of the UN come from Asia and Africa. In the face of opportunities and challenges, these countries need to strengthen solidarity, cooperation and coordination. Fifty years ago, China actively attended the Bandung Conference and made historic contribution to its success. Today, as the largest developing country in the world and a permanent member of the Security Council, China will continue to work together with all the other countries in the world, the vast number of developing countries in particular, to further promote Bandung Conference Principle, safeguard world peace, and promote common development.
Q: Has the Chinese Foreign Ministry designated officials to attend the China-US irregular high-level meeting? What is the position of Yang Jiechi, the former Chinese ambassador to the US?
A: When the heads of China and the US met in Chile last year, the two sides reached important consensus on the further development of China-US strategic cooperative relations and agreed to strengthen China-US high-level strategic dialogue. China and the US are two big countries with important influence on the international affairs. To conduct dialogue on major issues concerning the interests of both countries can deepen understanding, increase mutual trust, expand cooperation and properly handle mutual concerns. This is conducive not only to the promotion of stable and healthy development of China-US relations, but also to the maintenance of peace and stability in the region and the world at large. China attaches importance to conducting the dialogue with the US side. At present, our two sides are consulting on the specific arrangement.
Mr. Yang Jiechi now is the vice Foreign Minister in charge of the affairs of America, Oceania, Latin America, Hong Kong, Macao, Taiwan, translation and interpretation, and external security.
Q: Will the King of Nepal visit China this month?
A: I have not heard the specific news on King of Nepal's visit to China. I can try to find it out.
Q: Are the non-governmental activities in China and Japan out of control? Facing the tension between China and Japan, what measures will China take to improve the relationship between the two countries?
A: How to keep the situation under control is a question that demands Japan's serious reflection as well. Each party, including Japan itself, knows quite well the cause of the current situation of China-Japan relations, and the improvement of the two countries' relationship is not completely up to China's efforts.
Q: Today, Premier Wen Jiabao said on TV that the demonstrations in Beijing and other cities should provoke Japan's reflection on its bid for the permanent membership at the UN Security Council. What did he mean? Did he mean Japan should give up its effort or should take measures to make its wish acceptable to others? The number of online signatures against Japan's permanent membership at the UN Security Council has exceeded 30 million. Will that affect the Chinese Government's stance on this issue?
A: I've made China's stance clear on the issue of UN reform.
Chinese citizens have expressed their opinions on the problems in China-Japan relations through various ways, not only on the website, but through other means as well. Actually, instead of only in China, people in other countries also share similar feelings and opinions. Why? Isn't that worthy of some country's careful reflection?
What I want to emphasize is that the Chinese Government and many other countries in the world pay much attention to the UN Security Council's reform. In an effort to handle the issue of UN Security Reform carefully and properly, the Chinese Government will proceed from the perspective of maintaining world peace and promoting common development, and take an attitude highly responsible for the country and the nation.
Q: Can you clearly define what the Chinese Government and people want Japan to do? Do you want Japan's to correctly reflect the history of world war ? in its textbook or Japanese officials to stop paying homage to the Yasukuni Shrine? Will China be satisfied if the tablets of the war criminals are moved out of the Yasukuni shrine? Does China demand Japan's apology? If so, who does China hope to make such an apology, emperor or other officials? Does the Chinese side want Japan to make compensation to China and the Chinese people? Under what conditions will the problems between the two countries be resolved?
A: On what Chinese people want, don't you know it clearly? Doesn't Japan know it clearly? Over the recent years, Chinese people has voiced their strong dissatisfaction on the relevant issues, and the Chinese Government has also made clear its solemn and just position. Instead of apology or other expressions, what we do care is the actions Japan takes. We do not wish to see any more actions that hurt all Chinese people's feelings. Besides, we advocate developing good-neighborly and friendly relations between China and Japan in the light of "taking history as a mirror and looking into the future", and expect to enhance understanding and friendship between our two peoples, so as to continuously move ahead the relations between our two countries. This, however, is not solely determined by the wish of Chinese side.
Q: What is China's comment on Chinese people's boycotting Japanese goods?
A: China and Japan have maintained close trade and economic relations, and made great achievements in trade and economic cooperation, the bilateral trade volume amounted to 170 billion US dollars last year. Our trade and economic cooperation is in the interests of our two countries, and we hope Japan to properly handle the history issue and other issues bearing on hurting feelings of the Chinese people. The improvement of relations between China and Japan requires joint efforts made by the two countries, and a good atmosphere between us will benefit the development of our trade and economic cooperation.
If there are no other questions, let us call it a day! Thank you!