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Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao's Press Conference on 28 June 2005

On the afternoon of June 28, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao held a regular press conference.

Liu: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen! I'm ready to take up questions.

Q: According to today's reports of major Japanese media, when meeting the press on June 27, a senior official of Japanese Foreign Ministry said that the Japanese side hoped to speed up handling the incident that Japanese abandoned chemical weapons caused injuries in Guangzhou, but China responded slowly. What's China's comment?

A: We have taken note of the reports in Japanese media. China has made representations to Japan on the remarks made by the official of Japanese Foreign Ministry on handling Japanese abandoned chemical weapons(ACW), and required them to clarify.

I wish to point out that the ACWs testify to one of the serious crimes committed by Japanese militarism during their aggression in China, and have been posing major and real threats on the life and property of the people as well as the biological environment in relevant Chinese regions until today. The injuries in Guangzhou caused by Japanese ACWs once again proved the fact. The Japanese Government should strictly abide by the Chemical Weapons Convention and the Memorandum of Understanding between the Government of China and the Government of Japan on the Destruction of the Chemical Weapons in China Abandoned by Japan, faithfully honor its responsibility of the ACW destruction and completely destruct those weapons at an early date.

The Chinese Government has consistently attached high importance to handling Japanese ACWs, and made down-to-earth positive efforts to accelerate the process. Now it is up to the Japanese side to make concrete efforts helpful to the process of ACW handling.

Q: Shortly ago, the Customs Office of Dalian sequestered some of the textbooks mailed from Japan to a Japanese school in Dalian. It is said that the textbooks were sequestered because Chinese mainland and Taiwan were marked in different colors. What law did the textbooks violate? And what will China do next? What's China's general position on the textbooks of foreigners' schools? Must the books comply with the policies and views of the Chinese Government?

A: Your question is about a particular matter, the background of which might be unfamiliar to your colleagues. I'd like to brief on what has happened. On April 12, 1539 textbooks imported by Dalian Japanese School were transported by air to the Dalian Airport. On April 15, the Dalian Customs Office cleared 1411 of them and sequestered 128 temporarily. Customs inspection showed the maps of 15 geography textbooks marked Chinese mainland and Taiwan in different colors. We hold that it violated the Regulations on the Administration of Publication and the Rules of the Customs of the People's Republic of China on Control of Incoming and Outgoing Printed Matter and Audio and Video Products Carried or Posted by Individuals. The customs office will have the 15 geography textbooks retransported back to Japan in accordance with the Customs Law of the People's Republic of China and the Implementation Regulations on the Customs Administrative Penalties of the People's Republic of China. In the future, China will handle similar cases according to law.

As to whether the textbooks of foreigners' schools have to share identical views with China, distinction should be made at different levels or regarding different contents. On the whole, the customs entry of items has to be dealt with according to law. The question in Dalian is a matter of principle, and bears on Chinese sovereignty, the one China principle and the feeling of the Chinese people. Chinese customs office has sound legal basis to handle the matter according to law.

Q: Please brief us on the meeting arrangement and itinerary of President Hu Jintao's attending the G-8 Summit in Scotland and his visit to Russia. In addition, Assistant Minister Shen Guofang said recently that UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour would visit China to attend an Asian conference in August. Can you tell us the date of the conference?

A: It is a pity that you did not attend the briefing this morning held by Assistant Minister of Foreign Affairs Li Hui on President Hu Jintao's visit to Russia and Kazakhstan and his attending the SCO Summit Meeting in Astana and the G-8 Summit Outreach Session, when he released much information and answered the questions from the press. The details of the briefing have been put on our website, and it would be too much for me to repeat all of them here. As for the arrangement of President Hu's meetings with foreign leaders on the sideline of the G-8 Summit Outreach Session, as far as I know, he will have a very pressing schedule, and the arrangements are still under discussion. It has not been set yet who he will meet with.

During his visit to Russia, President Hu Jintao will meet with President Putin, Russian Prime Minister and legislature leaders. President Hu will also visit New Siberia, where he will hold talks with local leaders and exchange views with them on cooperation between the two sides. His visit has diverse purposes and significance. First, it is aimed to deepen the strategic partnership of cooperation between our two countries. Second, efforts will be made to promote the practical cooperation between us in trade, economy and other fields. Third, the two sides will exchange views on some specific issues of cooperation, push forward our mutually beneficial cooperation in culture and other fields and enhance our mutual understanding. For instance, the two sides will discuss how to hold the "China year" and the "Russia year" respectively in Russia and China. Fourth, the two sides will exchange views on major international and regional issues. As two countries with important influence in the world, China and Russia will step up their cooperation and coordination on international issues, which will have great significance on maintaining world peace and stability and promoting development. Heads of the two states will sign a very important document. I will release its content during the visit.

Turn to your question on the visit to China by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. The Chinese Government attaches importance to the role of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and takes a positive attitude towards cooperation with the UNHCHR Office. At the invitation of Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Arbour will visit China from August 29 to September 2, and attend the 13th Symposium on Human Rights in the Asia-Pacific.

Q: On the sideline of the Sixth ASEM Financial Ministers' Meeting, Chinese and Japanese Financial Ministers held talks. Please brief us on the talks and the outcome?

A: The Sixth ASEM Financial Ministers' Meeting held in Tianjin several days ago is an important meeting. Premier Wen Jiabao attended the meeting and delivered a speech, stating China's position on the relevant issues. On the sideline of the meeting, Chinese Financial Minister Jin Renqing met with Japanese Financial Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki. The meeting was mainly aimed to implement the "five-point proposal" made by President Hu Jintao on promoting the healthy and stable development of China-Japan relations when meeting the Japanese leader in Jakarta. During the meeting, the two sides emphasized that when the economic globalization is increasingly deepening, China and Japan have become more and more economically interdependent, and both the two economies are confronted with some opportunities and challenges. To further strengthen bilateral cooperation on financial issues and promote the economic prosperity of Asia and the world, the two financial ministers decided to enhance cooperation between the two ministries of finance and actively explore the establishment of China-Japan financial dialogue mechanism. Both the two sides hoped that the first ministerial dialogue would be held as soon as possible. The two countries will have further discussions on detailed arrangements at working level after the meeting.

Q: Has China congratulated the newly elected Iranian president? US President Bush criticized Iranian nuclear program. What's your comment on this? The Spokesman of Japanese Defence Agency said that China's actual expenditure on national defence was 2 to 3 times higher than the announced figure. What's your comment on this?

A: The election of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is the choice of the Iranian people and we congratulate him. We believe that China-Iran friendly relations and cooperation will further develop during his term. We hope that under the leadership of the new Government, the Iranian people will build their country into a more beautiful land.

China has been supporting and keeping a close eye on the negotiation between Iran and EU on the Iranian nuclear issue. We noticed that Iran and the EU had reached some consensus on the issue, including the commitment of two sides to solving the issues of common concern properly through negotiation. China appreciates the constructive attitude and diplomatic efforts by the relevant parties. In the meantime, we hope the two sides will find a long-term solution, which is in the common interest of international community.

As to the third question, the criticism by the official of Japanese Defense agency is totally unreasonable and groundless. I don't know what he specifically meant by saying China's national defense expenditure was not transparent and what made him say that China's national defense expenditure was two to three times higher than the announced figure. We have reiterated many times that China pursues a defensive national defense policy. In recent years, there has been some increase in China's national defense expenditure, but that's mainly for improving the living conditions of military staff. To meet the changed situation and the needs of China's national defense, it is only natural that we have to elevate the level and capability of our national defense to some extent, which gives no cause for criticism. With a huge military expenditure, Japan should do more to promote mutual understanding instead of launching groundless accusation at China on this matter.

Q: The United States, especially the US congress have voiced their concerns over the announcement of China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) to acquire US Unocal Corp. What's your reaction to this?

A: The economic and trade cooperation between China and US serves the interest of the two sides. CNOOC's bid to acquire the Unocal Corp. is a commercial activity between enterprises and should not be interfered by politics.

Q: The reason some people in the US do not like to see CNOOC's acquisition of Unocal is that the possibility for Unocal to acquire CNOOC is even lower because the Chinese Government will not allow such acquisition. What's your comment on this?

A: These are two different matters. But surely, the commercial activities between different countries should be subject to the laws and regulations of the relevant countries. At present, some people worry about the cooperation between CNOOC and Unocal because they see this matter more from a political perspective. In my opinion, this is a normal commercial activity. The relevant people should not make a fuss over this, not to mention interfering the mutual cooperation with political factors. We have consistently taken an active attitude towards China-US normal economic and trade activities, which conform to the common interest of our two countries.

Q:On June 27th, the UN high Commissioner for Refugees criticized China of repatriating North Korean "refugees". What's your comment?

A: We have stated our position on the illegal DPRK trespassers for many times. They are not refugees, and therefore the Geneva Convention on the Status of Refugees can not be applied to them. The Chinese Government has a very explicit position on the issue, that is, China always proceeds from the peace and stability of the Korea Peninsula and handle the issue prudently in line with our domestic law, international law and humanitarian principle. Facts have proven our measures to be appropriate and effective.

Q:I heard Prime Minister of Spain will visit China this July. Will you please introduce the date and agenda of his visit?

A: According to my knowledge, at the invitation of Premier Wen Jiabao, Prime Minister of Spain will pay an official visit to China. I have to check the date of his visit. We attach importance to and welcome his visit. We are discussing the agenda of this visit with the Spanish side. I will brief you on the details at due time.

Q: Recently, flood in China caused major losses of life and property in the region. Does China accept international aids? Has China received some international aids? This afternoon, the World Health Organization finished the investigation on bird flu in Qinghai. Maybe they will hold a news conference. What's your comment on the cooperation between China and WHO?

A: Recently, severe flood in southern China caused huge losses of life and property in the stricken areas. The Chinese Government attaches much importance to disaster-relief work and assigned lots of personnel, material and financial resources to help out the residents of flood-ravaged areas. We have also received assistances from international friends. As far as I know, the former King of Cambodia Mr. Sihanouk made donations to support Chinese people's relief work. We welcome their kindness and appreciate their support for the Chinese people.

As for your second question, I haven't got much information on the bird flu meeting between the World Health Organization and relevant Chinese departments. Bird flu is a non-traditional security problem faced by China and many other countries of this region. It requires joint efforts of the international community to solve this problem. The power of only one country is not enough. We are willing to develop efficient cooperation with the countries concerned and the WHO on epidemic prevention of animals, including bird flu,.

Q: Japanese Emperor Akihito recently attended a memorial ceremony for Japanese and South Korean soldiers dead in World War II in Saipan. What's your position on his visit? Does China take it as a positive move by the Japanese side to promote the Sino-Japanese relations or still focuses on Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visit to the Yasukuni Shrine?

A: We have noticed the reports. We believe that these arrangements should be based on a correct view on and a responsible attitude towards the history issue. The Japanese side should take the feelings of the people in Asian countries, including China, with all seriousness, properly handle the relevant issues and honor its commitment to remorse on and respect for history.

Q: The Nepalese side said they were willing to become a transit spot of trade between China and India. What's your comment? I heard the foreign ministers of China and Nepal would meet in Beijing. Please confirm.

A: I have to make a check on the specific matter. The Chinese side takes a positive attitude towards developing and expanding economic and trade exchanges with Nepal, India and other countries in South Asia on the basis of equality and mutual benefit. We are ready to have discussions on reasonable and convenient economic and trade arrangements with all parties concerned.

If there are no more questions, the conference is over. Thank you.

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