|Foreign Ministry Spokesman Kong Quan's Press Conference on 17 May 2005|
On the afternoon of May 17, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Kong Quan held a regular press conference.
Kong: Good afternoon everyone!
First of all, I'd like to welcome some visitors, the diplomats of Latin-Caribbean countries and the friends from the training program for senior public servants of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. I will extend my warm welcome to your presence at the press conference today and wish you a happy stay in Beijing!
Now I will make three announcements:
At the invitation of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Korea Lee Hai Chan, Chinese State Councilor and Secretary-General of the State Council Hua Jianmin will attend the 6th Global Forum on Reinventing Government to be held in Seoul of ROK and visit the ROK at the invitation of the ROK Government from May 23rd to 26th .
At the invitation of the Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, Mustafa Osman Ismail, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Sudan, will pay an official visit to China from May 19th to 22nd .
At the invitation of the Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Latvia Artis Pabriks will pay a visit to China from May 22nd to 27th .
Now the floor is open.
Q: It is reported that the Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing advised the US State Secretary Rice to pay an official visit to the DPRK. Can you confirm the news? Did China put forward the proposal at the request of the DPRK? Recently some American diplomats said that the DPRK will pose a threat to all the parties of the Six-Party Talks including China if it held a nuclear test. Does China also think so?
A: Regarding your first question, the report is made of excessive imagination and is totally false. When the Six-Party Talks is facing a difficult situation, both the US and the DPRK have shown some positive gestures recently, to which we have repeatedly expressed our welcome. Meanwhile we also hope the US and the DPRK can further release goodwill and convey positive messages, so as to facilitate all parties to make joint efforts to create favorable conditions for the resumption of the Six-Party Talks.
As for your second question, the basic goal of the Six-Party Talks is a nuclear-free Peninsula. The goal is universally and fully recognized by all parties, all countries in the region and the international community as well. We hope to seek a peaceful solution to the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula and achieve the goal of a nuclear-free Peninsula through diplomatic negotiations with the Six-Party Talks and the efforts of all parties.
Q: Today the "Group of Four" made up of Japan and three other countries distributed among some countries a frame-work draft resolution on the reform of the UN Security Council. What's China's position?
A: China has always been supportive of the reform of the UN Security Council. We maintain that the reform of the Security Council should help to enhance its authority and efficiency, to give priority to increasing the representation of developing countries and to ensure more opportunities for the small and medium-sized countries to participate in the decision-making process of the Security Council. The reform should also follow the principle of geographical balance and take into consideration the representation of different cultures and civilizations. The reform of the Council bears on the future of the UN and the immediate interests of every country. Decisions should be made through democratic and thorough discussion and on the basis of consensus.
We have taken note of the draft resolution of the "Group of Four". A tentative review has shown a big gap between the core content of the draft resolution and the positions of many countries. When the parties concerned are still sharply divided on the specific reform proposals, a hasty submission of the draft will only intensify contradictions and undermine the process of the UN reform.
The Chinese side hopes that all parties will proceed from the overall and long-term interests of the UN and the vast number of its member states and conduct extensive and in-depth consultations in line with the spirit and provisions of the UN Charter, so as to reach a consensus.
Q: When President Hu Jintao met with the Chairman of the Kuomintang Party Lien Chan, the mainland expressed its willingness to assist Taiwan in participating in the World Health Organization, but Taiwan was rejected by the World Health Assembly yesterday. Does that conflict with President Hu's statement? If the mainland is willing to assist Taiwan in joining the WHA, what name does mainland think Taiwan should take in WHO? Does China accept the name of "Chinese Taipei"?
A: Regarding talks between President Hu Jintao and KMT Chairman Lien Chan as well as Chairman of People First Party James Soong, the press communiqués after their meetings have made a very accurate and all-round elaboration. I will stress that there are explicit provisions in the constitution of WHO and its rules of deliberation regarding accession to the WHO and WHA. It is prescribed that only sovereign states can be entitled to join the WHO as a formal member. As to who can become the observer of WHA, it must be determined by the WHA Chairman or the Director-General according to the Constitution and rules of deliberation in special cases. Some regions can be invited to attend some specific meetings and technical activities when the conditions are met.
At the meeting yesterday, the Chinese Health Minister Gao Qiang elaborated on relevant bills and specially stressed that the Central Government has much care for the well-being and health of all Chinese citizens including Taiwan compatriots. Over the past years, there are increasingly frequent exchanges and cooperation across the Taiwan Straits. The fact has fully proven that the Chinese people have the wisdom, ability and methods to deal with our own affairs well. Yesterday, some few countries provoked a debate on the "One China" principle again on such a solemn occasion, and even engaged in the activities of splitting China. We are firmly opposed to such activities, which are unhelpful to the exchanges and cooperation across the Straits in all fields including the public health.
Follow-up: It is reported Vatican and China are conducting close consultations on the establishment of bilateral relations. What progress has been made on the bilateral consultations?
A: Regarding China's relationship with Vatican, I want to emphasize three points: first, the Chinese Government is sincere about developing relations with Vatican; second, we think Vatican must follow the spirit of UN Charter and UN resolutions, recognize the "One China" principle and recognize Taiwan as a part of China, in stead of engaging in activities of "One China, One Taiwan" or "Two Chinas"; third, Vatican must and should be careful not to interfere in China's internal affairs with the pretext of religious affairs.
Now it is known to all that a new pope is inaugurated in Vatican. We hope under the leadership of the new pope, Vatican can make efforts and create favorable conditions for the normalization of China-Vatican relationship.
Q: The Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi recently made remarks on his homage to the Yasukuni Shrine. What comments does China have on it? Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi will visit Japan today. Please introduce her specific agenda. Some reports said Vice Premier Wu's visit is aimed at repairing the China-Japan relations. Can you confirm it?
A: The Vice Premier Wu Yi's activities in Japan are divided into two parts. The first part is to attend the Aichi World Exposition, including attending the Forum of 21st Century Urban Development, meeting major members of the forum and people of the Japanese side in charge of Aichi World Expo, and attending the opening ceremony of China Pavilion. Besides, she will also visit China Pavilion, South Korea Pavilion, Japan Pavilion and specially designed sites by some other countries or companies.
The second part is her visit to Japan. The detailed agenda is under discussion. Right now, the agenda has covered the meetings with Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi and Japanese Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Shoichi Nakagawa. Besides, Vice Premier Wu Yi will attend the ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of China-Japan Trade Center and give a speech at the international symposium on the future of Asia hosted by Nihon Keizai Shimbun.
Regarding the issue of the Yasukuni Shrine, we have elaborated on our stern position more than once. In short words, the Yasukuni Shrine is not simply a matter of paying homage to the dead, but how to treat the past history correctly. The Yasukuni Shrine worships 14 "Class A" war criminals whose hands were stained with the blood of Chinese people and other Asian people. Their crimes got the verdict by the international community long ago. The Japanese leaders should not express regret and deep remorse on the one hand, while paying homage to the Shrine on the other hand. We hope the Japanese leaders can truly translate their remorse into actions and take concrete actions to win the trust of the Chinese people, people from other Asian countries and the international community as well.
Q: Please introduce the upcoming visit of President of Palestinian National Authority Abbas to China.
A: The President of Palestinian National Authority Abbas will visit China from May 17th to 19th. Chinese President Hu Jintao will talk with him, and Premier Wen Jiabao will meet with him. As far as I know, Abbas hopes to use this opportunity to brief the Chinese leaders on the latest developments in the Middle-East and Palestinian side's consideration for its policy on the next stage. The two sides will also explore how to further enhance mutually-beneficial cooperation in all fields.
After the meeting and talks, the two sides may sign some agreements on bilateral cooperation including economic and cooperative technological agreement. President Abbas will visit no places other than Beijing.
Q: During Abbas' visit in Japan yesterday, the Japanese Government promised to provide him with an aid of 100 million dollars. What's China's comment?
A: The international community has expressed concern to the situation of the Palestinian people. We welcome it and hope the international community to exert greater efforts to help the people of Palestine and other Middle East countries so as to start the political and economic construction in the peaceful environment as soon as possible.
Q: What kind of role does China play in the Middle East peace process? You just expressed China's interest in helping the people of Palestine and other Middle East countries. Please brief on the specific method of the help.
A: The Middle East peace process has been stuck in some kind of impasse. However, we should see the positive elements despite the impasse, especially the Sharm El-sheikh agreement reached by Palestine, Israel and some Arabic countries. China hopes all parties to make further efforts under the current situation to enhance mutual understanding, so as to resolve the Middle East Issue by way of political negotiation according to the UN resolutions and the principle of "land for peace", and realize lasting peace in the Middle East region.
As a permanent member of the Security Council, China has always been paying great attention to the process of achieving long-standing peace in the Middle East region. At the end of last year, State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan brought forward a four-point proposal during his visit to the Middle East. Earlier this year, Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo attended the London Meeting on Supporting the Palestinian Authority in Britain, during which he made active contacts with all parties. Besides, the Chinese Special Envoy on the Middle East Issue paid frequent visits to the relevant countries, and maintained close contacts with the "Road Map" four parties. The Chinese side will, as always, maintain contact, communication and cooperation with all parties, and advance the Middle East peace process with concerted efforts.
Q: What comment does the Chinese side have on the current situation in Uzbekistan? The deputy prime minister of Uzbekistan visited China recently, preparing for the visit to China by their President Karimov. Will President Karimov visit China as planned despite the turmoil in his country?
A: Uzbekistan is a close neighbor as well as a friendly cooperation partner of China. Over the past days, we have been closely following the developments in Uzbekistan. Now, the international community, including China, has learned from the official release of the Uzbek Government and media coverage that the situation in Andizhan is moving towards stability and the normal social order and people's lives are being restored. We are pleased to see that and welcome that the situation continues to move along this good direction. The Chinese side has repeated on many occasions that we are firmly opposed to terrorist, separatist and extremist activities in any form in Central Asia. Undoubtedly, we will as always continue to support the efforts of the Uzbek Government to combat the three forces and the efforts of Uzbekistan and the rest of the region to maintain the security, stability, peace and development of their countries as well as the whole region.
The visit of the Uzbek deputy prime minister is a successful one. The talks are productive, during which our two sides made an in-depth exchange of views and reached consensus on a wide range of issues, especially on further strengthening the mutually-beneficial, friendly and all-round cooperation between our two countries. This has made a solid preparation for Uzbek president's visit to China this month. We believe that the Uzbek president will visit China as planned.
Q: How does the Chinese side comment on the proposal to hold a five-party talk excluding the DPRK? Do you believe the framework proposal will help resolve the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula?
A: I don't think it's a good idea. Facts have proven that the Six-Party Talks is a realistic and feasible way to peacefully resolve the nuclear issue on the Peninsula. I believe the most urgent task now is to seize the opportunity, especially when the process of the Six-Party Talks encounters difficulties. This opportunity refers to the positive signs recently conveyed by the US and the DPRK in their respective statements. We hope the two parties to show further goodwill and play constructive roles with joint positive efforts, so as to create conditions for the resumption of the Six-Party Talks.
Q: As the hosting party of the Six-Party Talks, what actions does China really hope relevant countries to take? Does China demand holding a direct bilateral talk? The US has taken protective measures against the import of Chinese textiles. Indonesia is worried that China may smuggle textiles to Indonesia before selling to the US, so as to evade relevant American measures. How will China assure Indonesia and other countries such similar smuggling will not occur? The third question, the Chinese Government has called off a meeting on political and democratic reform scheduled to be held in Beijing this weekend. Can you explain the situation? This meeting is jointly hosted by the China University of Politics and Law and New York Fordham University.
A: Regarding the Six-Party Talks, you mentioned the direct contact. Although you didn't point out clearly which the two countries are, friends at present are all very clear, so is the international community. The Chinese side hopes the two countries can have contacts so that they can enhance mutual trust and understanding. We welcome and encourage such contacts conducted anywhere and anytime. Of course, the Chinese side also maintains close communications and connections with all other parties of the Six-Party Talks. We hope all parties of the Six-Party Talks can make joint efforts to create favorable conditions for an early resumption of the Talks.
The second question is actually not a question to be answered by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman. But I will remind you that yesterday Premier Wen Jiabao met with Chairman of US Chamber of Commerce Donohue and his delegation which consisted of over a dozen of heads and chief executive managers of big American companies. In the meeting, Premier Wen elaborated on China's principled position on the issue. Prior to this meeting, you should also have seen on 14th of this month, Chong Quan, Spokesperson of the Ministry of Commerce, made clear our firm opposition to American side's unilateral restrictions on Chinese textiles. I hope you can read their statements.
In your third question, you mentioned that the Chinese Government called off some meeting. I don't know where you got the news. Regarding the reform of political structure, China has always been steadily advancing its reform on political structure. I hope you can put your question more specifically, thus I can help you check it. The cooperation between the China University of Politics and Law and New York Fordham University as you mentioned, I don't know the specific situation, but I want to point out that when we conduct all-round exchanges with the international community at multi-levels and in many fields, we hope such cooperation is based on mutual benefit and drawing upon each other's strength rather than any other motives; such exchanges and cooperation should help to enhance mutual understanding, to facilitate both sides to learn more beneficial things from each other and to achieve common development.
Q: US officials said that the DPRK is preparing a nuclear test. Does China believe that? If so, how will China react to it?
A: The goal of a nuclear-free Peninsula is confirmed at the Six-Party Talks. It is a goal expected by all countries of this region as well as the international community. We hope all parties to adhere to this goal and peacefully resolve the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula through the Six-Party Talks and diplomatic negotiations.
Q: Vice Premier Wu Yi will visit Tokyo. Will she talk about the issue of the East China Sea and the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula when meeting with Prime Minister Koizumi and the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry? The second question, according to WTO rules, if the US is going to adopt restrictions on the textile imports from China, it should notify the Chinese side 90 days in advance. Has China received such notice? If so, will China express its position to the US side soon?
A: Before answering your question, I want to show sympathy to you. Last time you asked me about the question on the RMB exchange rate, and I told you to check the remarks of Premier Wen during the NPC and CPPCC sessions. Yesterday afternoon, in a meeting with the delegation of the US Chamber of Commerce, Premier Wen made a comprehensive elaboration on the RMB exchange rate. Do you want it?
Reporter: I've already seen it.
The international community is closely interested in the RMB rate and the reform of its formation mechanism as well as its next steps. There are also different views and explanations. I think Premier Wen's words represent the official position of the Chinese Government. It is conducive for the international community to see and understand the responsible attitude of the Chinese Government on the question of the RMB exchange rate. China is responsible not only for the development of China' economy, but also for the economy of the region and the world at large.
As for the topics between Vice Premier Wu Yi and Japanese Prime Minister or the Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry during her visit in Japan, now I don't have the information in this regard. However, I believe the leaders of the two countries will take this opportunity to exchange views over the issues of common interest in an in-depth way.
As to whether the US notified China on the import restrictions, I suggest you consult the Ministry of Commerce. What I want to say is that the economic and trade ties between China and the US are essentially conducive to both sides. You might have known that during the past 26 years since the establishment of the diplomatic relations between China and the US, the bilateral trade volume has increased by 60 times. Without a mutual-beneficial and win-win foundation, how to achieve such a great growth? In such a rapid development, some problems and frictions are inevitable. To correctly resolve and appropriately handle these questions is a necessary basis for the continuous development of the economic and trade cooperation between the two countries on a healthy and mutual-beneficial basis. We hope the US side to correct its wrong conduct and handle the relevant issues appropriately with the Chinese side through equal consultations.
Q: After the DPRK declaring its removal of 8000 spent fuel rods last week, has China shown its concern about it to the DPRK side?
A: We have taken note of the relevant reports and the reactions of the relevant parties. On the last press conference, I also particularly said that at the moment when the Six-Party Talks is faced with difficulties, the key is to seize the positive signs shown by principal parties, encourage and support them to move toward the right direction and cooperate with other parties in their joint efforts, so as to create the condition for the resumption of the Six-Party Talks. We have said for many times that the Six-Party Talks is a realistic and effective way to resolve the nuclear issue on the Peninsula. We hope to achieve the goal of a nuclear-free Peninsula through this mechanism and safeguard its peace and stability.
Q: It is reported by Indian media that last week PLA entered India's territory. What's your comment?
A: I believe it is absolutely impossible that the PLA entered India's territory. Currently China and India are maintaining a good momentum of development. Recently, Premier Wen paid a successful visit to India, during which the Chinese and Indian Government settled the political guiding principles on the solution of the border issue. This is a consensus reached by the two sides through joint efforts. We hope that the two sides, with the political guiding principles as their basis and direction, begin the negotiation on the border issue which is based on mutual understanding and accommodation, so as to find a solution to the disputed border issue , which is acceptable to both sides.
Q: China and Japan will hold the second round of talks late this month. Will China provide the information demanded by the Japanese side all the while? The Chinese side stands for joint exploration of the oil and gas resources of the East China Sea. Will it come out with the concrete plan of the joint exploration? Recently China frequently indicated that if the Japanese side agrees on the joint exploration, China may start to discuss the issues of Japan's concern. What specific issues are concerned by Japan here?
A: The working talks to be held by China and Japan on the issue of East China Sea recently is an important follow-up action of the meeting between the two state leaders in Jakarta. Here I give you a short briefing. When meeting with Prime Minister Koizumi, President Hu Jintao put forward five propositions for the further improvement and development of China-Japan relations, of which an important one was to appropriately address the differences between China and Japan through dialogues and consultations on an equal footing. China attaches importance to the upcoming talks on the East China Sea. We hope the Japanese side to attach sufficient importance, and that the two sides actively explore the methods to settle the difference through equal dialogues and consultations. As for the specifics you just mentioned, I think both sides need to seek for the approaches to narrow the difference through this kind of equal dialogues.
Q: You just mentioned both the DPRK and the US side revealed some positive signs. By using these positive elements, what will China do to work for peace and facilitate talks?
A: China will undoubtedly make use of these positive signs showed by the principal parties to do its facilitating work. Our work covers various aspects. We do not necessarily have to brief on every piece of work we did to the international community on this occasion. However, I believe the international community and the relevant parties could feel that China reserves no self-interest in resolving the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula. What we do is to safeguard regional peace and security; what we do is to appropriately resolve the nuclear issue on the Peninsula through peaceful means. During this process, China has never ceased its efforts.
If there are no more questions, thank you for your presence today!