|Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao's Press Conference on 12 July 2005|
On the afternoon of the July 12, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao held a regular press conference.
Liu: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen! I would like to begin with two announcements:
At the invitation of President Hu Jintao, President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam Tran Duc Luong will pay a state visit to China from July 18th to 22nd.
At the invitation of the Chinese Government, Prime Minister of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana Samuel Hinds will pay a working visit to China from July 20th to 27th.
Now I'm ready to take up your questions.
Q: What did State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan and State Secretary Condoleezza Rice talk about during their meeting on Sunday? Will Mr. Tang bring any message from President Hu Jintao with him on his trip to the DPRK? Who will he meet with while he is in Pyongyang? How long will he stay there? Has any specific date been set for the restart of the Six-Party Talks? Will there be any meeting of the working group before the Six-Party Talks?
A: On the afternoon of July 10th, State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan met with the US State Secretary Condoleezza Rice. The two mainly exchanged views on nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula. Mr. Tang stated that the Chinese side was pleased to see that, thanks to the joint efforts from all parties concerned, the Six-Party Talks would reopen soon; that the Chinese side had all along maintained that the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula should be resolved peacefully through dialogue, and that China would work with other parties concerned to push forward the fourth round of the Six-Party Talks for a substantial results. Ms. Rice said that the new round of the talks was very important, and that the US side would make positive efforts to push forward the Six-Party Talks.
As to your second question, State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan left this morning for a visit to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea as the special representative of President Hu Jintao. During his visit in DPRK, Mr. Tang will exchange views with the DPRK side on China-DPRK relations and other important issues of common interest, including the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula. The visit has just started, and we will brief you promptly on the specific arrangements for those meetings and talks. He will stay in Pyongyang for three days and return to China on 14th.
As the host of the fourth round of the Six-Party Talks, the Chinese side will, after consulting with relevant parties, set the agenda, topics and other specific arrangements. The specific date you mentioned just now has not been set up to now. We should choose a date which suites all parties concerned through consultation. What has been decided is that the fourth round of the Six-Party Talks will be held on the week beginning on July 25th. As to whether there will be any working group meeting before the Six-Party Talks, it is also something that should be decided through consultation by China and other parties.
Q: The People's Daily run a commentary today, saying the future of the Six-Party Talks is bright, while the way is zigzag. Does China's Foreign Ministry agree to that view?
A: I think the view of the commentary on The People's Daily you mentioned is reasonable. We believe that no matter how complicated the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula is, and how zigzag the course might be, we will be able to resolve it through dialogue and diplomatic means. In this sense, the future on the peaceful solution of the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula is bright. Of course, the nuclear issue on the Peninsula is a very complicated one. There are varied kinds of differences or even serious disputes between relevant parties. Patience is necessary for the solution of such an issue. In addition, we also need full understanding and preparation for the complicacy and tortuousness of the issue, and make hard endeavor for it.
Q: Representatives from the US, Japan and ROK will coordinate their stance on the new round of Six-Party Talks. Is the Chinese side concerned on that? Does China like seeing the three parties' coordination of stance?
A: As a matter of fact, there is not only discussion on the plenary session but also bilateral and multilateral consultations between all concerned parties during the process of the Six-Party Talks. We hope that all parties concerned would enhance their mutual understanding and broaden their consensus by means of communication. In fact, the process of the Six-Party Talks itself is a consensus-seeking and consensus-broadening course. We hope that all parties concerned would, with a view to safeguarding the overall situation of the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and materializing a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula, display sincerity and flexibility, put forward practical and feasible suggestions and plans, so that the Six-Party Talks could make progress continuously.
Q: Will State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan meet with Kim Jong-Il?
A: As to the specific arrangement you mentioned, we will brief you promptly as Mr. Tang's visit goes on.
Q: Please brief us on the itinerary of the Vietnamese President Tran Duc Luong's visit to China. Could you comment on the recent development of the China-Vietnam relations?
A: President Tran Duc Luong will pay a state visit to China from July 18th to 22nd. During his visit to China, leaders of both countries will exchange views on the issues including how to deepen China-Vietnam relations and strengthen mutually-beneficial cooperation as well as international and regional issues of common interest. The two sides will also sign some documents on economic and trade cooperation. We believe that this visit will play a positive role in promoting the good-neighborly and friendly cooperation relations between China and Vietnam.
China and Vietnam are friendly neighbors. In recent years, relations between the two countries have made great progress. The political mutual trust between the two sides has been deepened continuously, and great achievements have been made in terms of economic and trade cooperation. Last year, the bilateral trade volume reached $6.47 billion, which was the highest level in history. China has become the largest trade partner of Vietnam. The trade volume of the two countries in the first 4 months of this year almost goes to $2.5 billion, a 32% increase from the same period last year. A number of projects of economic cooperation set by the two sides are being implemented smoothly, and the two sides are on the process of discussing new projects. The exchange and cooperation of the two countries in the fields such as science, technology, education, culture and tourism are becoming more and more vibrant.
At the same time, the border issue between China and Vietnam left over by history is also being resolved gradually. The two sides are pressing on with the demarcation and mere stone installation on the land border. The Demarcation Agreement and the Fisheries Cooperation Agreement in the Beibu Bay between China and Vietnam have also been implemented smoothly. In March this year, the petroleum companies of China, Vietnam and the Philippines signed the Tripartite Agreement for Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking in the Agreement Area in the South China Sea. The agreement has been approved by the three governments not long ago and is now about to be carried out. It was an important step taken towards the direction of resolving the South China Sea issue by concerned parties. China and Vietnam are also positively discussing the mode and areas for joint exploration on the South China Sea.
We are satisfied with the positive momentum of the development of China-Vietnam relations in recent years. We hope that President Tran Duc Luong's visit will further promote the development of the good-neighborly and friendly cooperation relations between China and Vietnam.
Q: During US State Secretary Rice's visit to China, did the Chinese side talked with her on the upgrading of the pilotless aircraft sold to China by the Israeli side?
A: I didn't heard that the two sides have discussed the issue you mentioned. But the US side should be clear about China's position on the relevant issue.
Q: On July 9, Sudan's transitional constitution formally took effect. The new leaders including President Bashir, First Vice President Garang and Second Vice President Taha took their positions at a sworn-in ceremony. What's China's comment on that?
A: This is a major step taken by the North and South of Sudan to implement the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, which symbolizes a new period of peace and development in Sudan. China expresses congratulations on this. We sincerely wish that the Sudanese people would continue to score new progresses in the cause of national reconciliation and nation-building.
Q: It is reported that Japanese Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Minister Nariaki Nakayama once again made a lot of absurd remarks during a recent speech. Citing an E-mail message from a female Japanese studying in Canada, he said "the victimized women in Asia should be proud of being comfort women", and the message was a rare and "encouraging" comment to him, which made him rather moved. What's the comment on the Chinese side?
A: The Japanese cabinet member has once again made such utterly shameless remarks, which we feel indignant and strongly condemn. Such comments have hurt the feelings of the people in the victimized countries. The Japanese government should take the responsibility to strictly restrain the words and deeds of relevant persons.
Forced conscription of "comfort women" was one of the severe crimes committed by Japanese militarism during the World War II against the people of all victimized countries, including China. This is a historical fact that cannot be brazenly denied by anybody.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the victory of the world anti-Fascist war. The Japanese Government should face up to the history with an honest attitude, make deep reflection and properly handle the issues left over by history, including the issue of "comfort women".
Q: The ROK is about to put forward a new aid plan to the DPRK on the upcoming round of Six-Party Talks. Has China been notified on that? What's China's position over it? The Indonesian President Susilo has put off his visit to China. When will he visit China?
A: As to your first question, the Chinese and the ROK side have maintained close consultation on the issues including the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula and the Six-Party Talks. As to what plan the ROK side is going to bring forward during the Six-Party Talks, it will be made known to all after the talks reopens.
As to the second question, President Susilo yesterday delivered a speech on postponing his visit to China and other two countries. We understand that he has postponed his China trip due to domestic urgency. He is welcome to visit China later at a time convenient to him.
Q: The US Secretary of Commerce Gutierrez said yesterday that China is hoped to fully open its market as the US did. Considering that China is still a developing country, do you think his comment is fair to China? Is China making efforts toward this direction?
A: You may have noticed that a meeting of the China-US Joint Commission on Commerce and Trade (JCCT) was held in Beijing on July 12th. The two sides reached a lot of consensus. On the economic and trade issue between China and the US, we should follow the mainstream of the China-US economic and trade cooperation. During these years, the economic and trade cooperation between China and the US have developed greatly both in scale and level, which has brought real benefits to the people of the two countries. Indeed, the bilateral economic and trade cooperation have some problems. We stand for properly handling the problems between China and the US basing on the principles of development, equality and mutual benefit. China will continue to keep to the road of reform and opening up. China's socialist market economy will also be continuously improved. We hold that as long as China and the US could hold discussions on the issues of common interest on the principle basis of development, equality and mutual benefit, the relevant issues will be gradually resolved in a proper way.
Q: Generally speaking, the visit paid by Rice to China has been very successful, which made the Six-Party Talks resume. However, when she met with Chinese leaders, including President Hu Jintao, it was obvious that the two sides still had some differences. On what aspects are China and the US divided? Rice said at a press conference that the US will not withdraw its troops from Afghanistan. But the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) has expressed the hope before that the US troops should withdraw. It was reported by Xinhua News Agency that President Hu also told Rice China will always be a country pursuing peaceful rise and will pose no threat to the US. Why did he mention this?
Q: The small-range meeting between President Hu Jintao and State Secretary Rice lasted for a relatively long period of time, about 40 to 50 minutes. The two sides touched upon many issues, including the China-US bilateral relations, as well as the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula. During her visit, President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan met with her. Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing held talks with her. The two sides exchanged views on a number of issues. There were both consensuses and differences in these talks. We think that it is nothing terrible to have differences. What is important is that the two sides could exchange views in an in-depth way, so as to broaden consensus and promote understanding.
With respect to your question on the US's refusal to withdraw its troops from the relevant SCO member states, China holds the position that relevant SCO member states has worked in active collaboration with the international anti-terrorist coalition in its operation in Afghanistan since the "9-11" attack and has made important efforts in stabilizing the Afghan situation. Meanwhile, believing that the current situation has undergone major changes, relevant SCO countries have suggested that the deadline for the use of ground facilities and the stationing of troops in their territory should be identified. China understands their wishes, and believes that their wishes merit our attention and respect. It is out of this reason that relevant contents have been enshrined in the Joint Declaration of Heads of SCO Member Countries. The specific arrangements are yet to be discussed by relevant SCO member states and relevant countries of the anti-terrorist coalition.
You linked this issue of the withdrawal of troops with China's peaceful development in your second question. I can hardly see any reason of the linkage. China is taking the road of peaceful development and will pose no threat to anyone.
Q:About the fishery negotiation between Japan and Taiwan, has the Chinese Foreign Ministry recently lodged representations to Japan on its dispelling of Taiwanese fishermen? You once stated that China is opposed to the fishery negotiation between Japan and Taiwan. Why do you oppose it? Does the mainland have concrete measures on protecting Taiwan fishermen's interests?
A: The Chinese Government attaches great importance to safeguarding the legitimate rights of Chinese fishermen including those in Taiwan. We have raised our strong concern to the Japanese side. China and Japan have signed fishery agreement, in which proper arrangement has been made for the fishery issues concerning Taiwan, which is part of China. The Japanese side should therefore act in accordance with the agreement. The Chinese side is strongly opposed to the Japanese side's violation of the one-China principle in name of fishery disputes with Taiwan.
Q: The Japanese Government hopes to meet the DPRK side during the upcoming Six-Party Talks to settle down the issue of abduction of Japanese people. However, the DPRK will not accept Japan's demand. What's your comment?
A: The issue of abduction of Japanese you mentioned is the issue between Japan and the DPRK. We hope the two sides can hold bilateral discussions on the relevant issue in order to resolve it.
Q: The DPRK wishes to include the US deployment of nuclear weapons in ROK and around the Korea Peninsula into the topics of the upcoming Six-Party Talks. If the DPRK raises this demand, will China accept it? The DPRK hopes to have direct contact with the US side in the framework of Six-Party Talks. Will China create opportunities for the direct contact between DPRK and the US during the Six-Party Talks?
A: As for your first question, we have noted relevant reports, too. We don' know whether the DPRK will put forward this issue. Your question is based on an assumption. The aim of the Six-Party Talks is to realize denuclearization of the Korea Peninsula. Therefore, all issues concerning this aim could be discussed during the Six-Party Talks. The relevant parties can raise their concerns during the talks in order that all parties can fully understand one another and make efforts toward the direction of properly resolving the issues.
As to your second question, judging from the experiences of the first three rounds of the talks, all parties can exchange views both through the plenary meetings and other forms of contact during the Six-Party Talks. There is only one goal -- all parties can further understand one another's position and reach broader consensus.
Q: Has China decided the appointment of the head of the Chinese delegation to the Six-Party Talks?
A: For sure, the Chinese side will send a delegation to the upcoming Six-Party Talks. As for who will be the head of this delegation, we will announce it in due time.
Q: Were Chinese officials present at the talks between the US and the DPRK officials last week?
A: I don't know the details of the talks. But I'm sure it's a very important contact with positive achivements, which confirmed that the next round of Six-Party Talks would be held in the week beginning on July 25th.
Q: It's very unusual that recently many US senior officials paid visits to China. What kind of state of the China-US relations does it reflect? On one hand, the US hopes to cooperate with China; on the other hand, it strengthened the restriction on Chinese textile export. What's your comment?
A: Recently, China and the US have frequent exchanges, of which the levels are also very high. This is related to the firm development momentum of the China-US relations. Leaders of both countries have reached important consensuses on promoting the China-US Constructive and Cooperative Relations. The consensuses are gradually implemented. The contacts and exchanges you mentioned are just the concrete manifestation of the implementation. Both the Chinese and the US side are aware that the development of the China-US relations to today's extent, which meets interests of the people of two countries, does not come easily. Meanwhile, it is also difficult to avoid some problems and disputes while the bilateral relations are developing to today's extent. Therefore, the Chinese side stands for continuously broadening consensus while eliminating disputes on the basis of equality, mutual-benefit and mutual-respect, so as to properly resolve the problems between the two countries, including trade issue. We believe that these problems can be resolved step by step through equal consultation.
If there are no more questions, the press conference is over. Thank you for your presence!