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Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao 's Press Conference on 7 June 2005

On the afternoon of June 7, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao held a regular press conference.

Liu: Good afternoon, everyone! Let me begin with an announcement.

At the invitation of Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, Foreign Minister of the Republic of Armenia Vartan Oskanyan will pay an official visit to China from June 12 to 14, 2005.

Now please raise your questions.

Q: When will Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing visit the Middle East?

A: Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing has the plan to visit the Middle East. We are still consulting with the relevant countries on the specific date. Once decided, we will release it. I think this visit is an important effort of China to develop the friendly cooperation with the relevant countries and its further endeavor to push forward the settlement of the conflict between Israel and Palestine.

Q: China said the proposal of the Group of Four is a dangerous move. Can you explain why it is a dangerous move? Zeng Peiyan will visit four countries including Russia and Qatar and attend the South Summit. What proposals will China put forward?

A: When talked over phone with African Union Commission Chairperson and Nigerian Foreign Minister not long ago, Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing made clear of China's position on the plan of the Group of Four. He said that the reform of the UN Security Council bears on the common interests of all the members and the immediate interest of all parties. We should give play to the role of democracy and conduct thorough consultation so as to reach a broad consensus. Without a broad consensus upon the reform plan among all parties, the Group of Four hastily proposed a draft resolution and tried to force a vote on it. Such a move is not conducive to the solidarity of UN members. It runs counter to the original intention of the UN reform and will undermine the interests of developing countries. When all parties are significantly divided on the plan proposed by the Group of Four, we urge all member countries to adhere to the principle of consultation and consensus and to continue to seek a plan which takes account of the interests of all parties and wins broad support through thorough, democratic and transparent discussions.

As to your second question, Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan has left Beijing at noon today to visit the countries you mentioned. He will exchange views with the leaders of those countries in an in-depth way over developing bilateral relations and cooperation in all fields. This visit will promote the cooperation between China and the countries. You also mentioned the South Summit. The Second South Summit will be held in the Qatari capital, Doha, from June 12 to 16. China attaches great importance to the summit, which is the top-level conference of developing countries. China is a member of developing countries. To strengthen the solidarity and cooperation with the large number of developing countries is an important part of China's foreign policy. China is willing to work with all parties to push for the success of this South Summit, and further promote the cooperation among developing countries.

Q: What's China's position on the proposal of Pakistan against the expansion of the permanent member seats?

A: The question you raised has proven again that there are various views and positions upon the reform plan of the UN Security Council in the international community. Under such circumstances it is necessary to conduct thorough, democratic, transparent and open consultations, in order to meet the original intention of the reform of the UN Security Council, enhance its efficiency and strengthen its role in safeguarding the peace of the world and promoting common development in the future, help unite all the UN member countries and increase the representation of developing countries. Only by conducting such consultations can all the parties narrow differences and reach consensus.

Q: The summit meeting of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO ) will be held next month in Kazakhstan. What does China expect the meeting to achieve? What's your consideration and propositions on the issue of Uzbekistan? Will there be any meeting between the heads of China and Russia in Moscow before or after the summit meeting of SCO? At the upcoming summit meeting of G8 in Britain, what talks will President Hu Jintao take part in and what propositions will he put forward?

A; Your question runs much ahead of time. Under the current situation, it is difficult for me to predict on your question. Regarding the SCO summit meeting, all member countries have reached a consensus. China is positively considering attending the meeting. We will release the news as soon as we get exact information.

As for the meeting between the heads of China and Russia, they have a mechanism of regular meeting. We will inform you when the specific date of the meeting is determined.

Regarding G8 Summit, China has received invitation from the relevant side. We are positively considering it and will release relevant news timely.

Q: US Defense Secretary Rumsfeld said in Singapore that China's military build-up will threaten the regional balance of Asia. What comment do you have? Japanese Foreign Minister Nobutaka Machimura said yesterday that China's persistent criticism of Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi's homage to the Yasukuni Shrine was "absurd ". What comment do you have? On 6th this month, American and DPRK officials held a meeting in New York on the resumption of Six-Party Talks. Does China approve of this meeting?

A: As for your first question, I have quite a lot to say. China is a peace-loving developing country. We pursue an independent foreign policy of peace, implement a defensive policy for our national defense and adhere to the road of peaceful development. China is an important force for safeguarding peace of Asia-Pacific region and the world at large, which is a truth well-recognized by the international community. With the economic development in recent years, China's military expenditure has witnessed a slight increase, the bulk of which is used for improving living conditions of military officials and soldiers. China has neither intention nor capability to drastically develop a military build-up. In fact, compared with other big countries, China's defense expenditure always remains at a fairly low level. Last year, China's defense expenditure was 211.7 billion RMB, while the American defense expenditure topped 455.9 billion US dollars. Calculated with the same currency, American military expenditure is 17.8 times that of China. Even more, the US per capita defense expenditure was 77 times that of China. The so-called claims that China's military spending has ranked first in Asia and third in the world are totally groundless. Meanwhile, in order to face up volatile international situations and safeguard state sovereignty, national security and territorial integrity, China's armed forces need to upgrade some weapons and equipment. It is nothing unreasonable. Any words or actions that fabricate and drum up the China's military threat are detrimental to regional peace and stability. We hope the US side to respect facts and do more to benefit the healthy development of China-US relations, to facilitate enhancing mutual trust between Asia-Pacific countries and to contribute to the regional peace and stability.

Regarding your second question, the Yasukuni Shrine worships the A-Class war criminals who had received a final verdict by the Far-east International Military Tribunal. These war criminals are prime Japanese militarist culprits. Their hands are stained with blood of the people of victim countries. Japanese leader's homage to this place has obviously denied the history of Japan's militarist aggression. This simple fact is known to all and also crystal-clear to insightful people in Japan. Those who fear to face up the history and rack their brains to cover up the truth with various excuses can do nothing but make the truth more evident.

Regarding your third question, the Chinese side always welcomes, encourages and actively promotes the meeting between the US and DPRK. It is helpful that the two sides manage to hold this meeting. Right now, the Chinese side hasn't got relevant information on the content and result of this meeting. We will keep in touch with other sides for relevant information, so as to continue constructive efforts for an early resumption of the Six-Party Talks.

Q: Will the Bolivian Foreign Minister's visit to China be affected by its president's resignation? Is China interested in investing in Bolivia's natural resources such as natural gas and so on? It has been nearly one year since the last round of Six-Party Talks on the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula. Does China still think the resumption of the Talks hopeful? What expectation do you have on the negotiation of the nuclear issue on the Peninsula.

A: As for your first two questions, China and Bolivia are friendly countries. We have always been following the changes in Bolivia. We hope Bolivia's situation can return to calmness as soon as possible. As to whether Bolivian Foreign Minister Siles can visit China as scheduled, we haven't received any notice from the Bolivian side to change the date of his visit up to now. As to whether the two sides will conduct cooperation on natural resources, China and Bolivia, as friendly and cooperative countries, have good cooperation in many fields. We take an open attitude towards the mutually-beneficial cooperation with Bolivia.

As to whether there is still hope for the resumption of the Six-Party talks, the Chinese side thinks that we shouldn't lose hope for the peaceful settlement of the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula at any time. Since the end of the third round of Six-Party Talks last year, all parties have continued their efforts for the resumption of the Six-Party Talks and the peaceful settlement of the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula. Although all parties still have differences now, they all hold that Six-Party Talks should be continued. Therefore, we think we still should keep patient and promote the peaceful settlement of the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula with a constructive, pragmatic and sincere attitude.

Q: It is reported that Chinese Finance Minister Jin Renqing will leave for Britain to attend the G8 finance ministers' meeting this week. Can you confirm? Will President Hu Jintao attend the G8 summit meeting to be held in Britain in July?

A: As for your first question, I don't have details at hand. There is an exchange mechanism between Chinese finance minister and G8 financial ministers' meeting. I advise you to check the news with the Ministry of Finance. As for your second question, I still can't tell you an exact date. But the Chinese side is positively considering President Hu's attendance of "8+5" meeting in England.

Q: Japanese Foreign Minister Machimura underscored the great contributions that Japan made to the development of many countries through economic assistances. Therefore, it is wrong for other countries to criticize Japan as militarist or non-peace-loving country. What comment do you have?

A: We should make distinction between the two questions. I believe neither China nor other victimized countries in Asia have ever accused Japan of taking the militarist road because of its assistances to other countries. What we are opposed to is Japanese leaders' paying homage to the Yasukuni Shrine and Japan's absurd attitude on the history issue. The history when Japan brought scourges to other countries can not be glossed over or denied just because Japan provided those countries with assistances. We regard Japan's assistances to the countries concerned and its trade and economic cooperation with them as positive efforts. But it has to be pointed out that the cooperation is mutually beneficial, instead of any unilateral charity.

Q: The traditional communist view believes that countries with different ideologies, communism and capitalism, are fundamentally antagonistic and conflictive. Can this explain why China has been criticizing Japan of hurting it over the past?

A: We have different parties as well as people without any party affiliation in China. However, the entire Chinese people share the same view on the issue of the history of Japan's aggression. All of them unanimously condemn the history when Japan invaded other Asian countries. It has nothing to do with ideology at all. I want to point out that what Japan should do now is not to cover up, deny or glorify history with this or that excuse. Only by correctly treating history, can Japan win the trust of people in other Asian countries, including the Chinese people. The trust will also benefit the development of Japan itself.

Q: The SCO Foreign Ministers' Meeting decided to grant Pakistan, India and Iran observer status. How will this impact on SCO's efforts in striking terrorism and maintaining peace and security in the region?

A: Pakistan, India and Iran are all countries with important influence in the region. We welcome and support granting them the observer status of SCO. On June 4, when the SCO Foreign Ministers' Meeting was held in Astana, all parties agreed in principle to grant the three countries observer status, and a formal decision will be made at the SCO Summit in Astana in the early July. China believes that accepting Pakistan, Iran and India as SCO observers will further promote the mutually beneficial cooperation between SCO and the three countries.

Q: On June 1, former Japanese Prime Ministers met the Speaker of House of Representatives and unanimously agreed that Prime Minister Koizumi should treat the issue of Yasukuni visit prudently. What's China's comment? On the evening of June 3, Chairman of Japan-China Society Takeshi Noda said that Vice Premier Wu Yi's cancellation of her meeting with Koizumi during her visit in May was not an improvised decision. Chinese and Japanese foreign ministries had known it in advance. Foreign Minister Machimura denied the statement. Whose statement on earth is true?

A: Regarding the first question, China has expressed on many occasions its position on Japanese leaders' visit to the Yasukuni Shrine, and I have nothing to add. I noticed that Japan itself is also divided on the issue, with different opinions out there. The Japanese Government and leaders should attach importance to the opinions that are conducive to the improvement and development of China-Japan relations.

Your second question is actually on an issue many days ago. You should be clear about what happened. My colleague Kong Quan has briefed on the issue for the press, and I have nothing more to share.

Q:It's reported that North Korea and the US met through the New York channel partly because the US side set a one year deadline for restarting the Six-Party Talks. Do you believe the US side has the deadline? Does the deadline play a constructive role? Later this week, leaders of South Korea and the US will meet in Washington. What do you expect the meeting to do on the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula?

A: I haven't heard about such kind of deadline. I have noted the US side said they had no intention to set a deadline. At the current situation, all sides need to maintain patience, release good-will, and promote in a constructive way the resumption of the Six-Party Talks at an early time.

Q: Which Chinese official did US Defense Minister Rumsfeld meet in Singapore? Rumsfeld is the only senior official in the Bush Administration who hasn't been to China. Has he been invited to China? Why didn't he come to China? France and Netherlands successively rejected the Constitutional Treaty on Europe in their referendum. What's your comment? What impact does it have on the Sino-EU relations? The last question is about views on history. Obviously, Japan's atrocities during aggression in China are still a wound, clearly engraved on Chinese minds. Why can China forget or forgive the Mongolia troop's atrocities 800 years ago, while it can't forgive Japan's agression?

A: I'd like to answer your last question first. We can discuss the question for three days and three nights while having coffee. On the historical questions you mentioned, we have different views. Today I won't refute your views that I don't agree with. I suggest you should study the history of China and Japan carefully. I think the core of your question is about the history issue between the two countries. We require the Japanese side to take a responsible and right attitude towards history, which will benefit both the development of the Sino-Japanese relations and development of Japan itself. The Japanese side should do more to win the trust of Asian people rather than the opposite.

Director-General of Asian Department of the Chinese Foreign Ministry Cui Tiankai headed Chinese delegation to attend the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore. I don't know whether he met Mr. Rumsfeld in Singapore. But I knew they had some conversations.

As for the recent referenda of Constitutional Treaty on Europe in some countries, the Chinese side has no intention to interfere in the EU's internal affairs. However, the Chinese side supports the EU integration process, and hopes to see that EU will play a greater role in the international affairs. China and the EU share common views on many major international issues. For example, both of us support multilateralism. We hope the enlargement and integration of the EU would be conducive to the prosperity and stability of Europe and the development of Sino-EU relations as well.

Q: Has the Chinese side decided on President Hu Jintao's visit to North Korea this year?

A: I have got nothing in this regard.

If no more questions are to be raised, the conference is over. Thank you.

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