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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang's Press Conference on 1 September 2005

On the afternoon of September 1, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang presided over a regular press conference.


Qin: Welcome to the first press conference after the summer break! During the recess, there were altogether 8 foreign press agencies opening their offices in China, with 29 new correspondents accredited in this country. Let me extend our welcome to them.


Today is the beginning of September, marking the end of the hot summer days and the arrival of the golden fall. Chinese people like to apply such phrase as clear and crisp to the lovely season. I would like to wish everyone pleasant work and happy life here.


First, I have several announcements to make:


At the invitation of Premier Wen Jiabao, Prime Minister Tony Blair of the United Kingdom which holds the Presidency of the EU, and the President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso will attend the 8th China-EU Summit in Beijing on September 5.


At the invitation of Premier Wen Jiabao, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Tony Blair will pay a visit to China on September 6.


At the invitation of Premier Wen Jiabao, Prime Minister of the Republic of Hungary Gyurcsany Ferenc will pay a working visit to China on 8 to 9 of September.


Now, the floor is open.


Q: President Hu Jintao will visit the US next week. Please brief on the major topics between the Heads of States of the US and China. Will the Taiwan issue be discussed again?


A: At the invitation of President Bush, President Hu Jintao will pay a state visit to the US from September 5 to 8. Both China and the US are important countries of the world, sharing extensive common interests in many fields of bilateral relations and international and regional affairs. During their meeting, the two sides will fully exchange views over the further development of the China-US constructive and cooperative relations and international and regional issues of common interest. The Taiwan question is the most sensitive and important core question between China and the US. The two leaders will discuss the Taiwan question during their talks. We hope the US to honor their promises of adhering to the one China policy, observing the three Sino-US Joint Communiqués, and opposing Taiwan independence.


Q: Please brief on the visit to China by Ms Arbour, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.


A: At the invitation of Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, Ms Arbour, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights visits China from August 29 to September 2. She will also attend the commemoration conference of the 10th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women and the 13th Asia-Pacific Human Rights Workshop. During her visit, she met with Vice Chairwoman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress Gu Xiulian and State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan. Yesterday, Assistant Foreign Minister Shen Guofang held working talks with Ms Arbour, and signed a cooperation memorandum of understanding. This morning, Xiao Yang, President of the Supreme People's Court of China held a courtesy meeting with her. She also met with Vice-President of the People's Supreme Court Shen Deyong. Insofar as I can see, Ms Arbour will hold informal discussions with the experts and scholars from the Institute of Law of Chinese Academy of Social Science. Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing will also meet with her tomorrow morning. Besides, Vice Minister of Public Security Liu Jinguo will also hold a courtesy meeting with Ms Arbour.


Q: Beside the Taiwan question, what specific question will be discussed during the meeting between the Chinese and US leaders, for instance, textile or human rights? Who will President Hu Jintao meet among the US business leaders and people?


A: As I mentioned just now, the topics between President Hu Jintao and President Bush during their meeting will be very extensive. Beside bilateral relations and the Taiwan Issue, they will also discuss the issues of common interest. For the details, you will see after the meeting.


The purpose of the visit by President Hu Jintao is to deepen understanding, enhance mutual trust and promote cooperation. When visiting Seattle, Washington as well as University of Yale, President Hu Jintao will have the opportunity to contact people from all walks of life, so as to make them better understand China's peaceful development, the importance we have attached to the China-US relations, and China's positions and opinions on important international issues. The details of the activities are still under arrangement.


Q: I have three questions regarding the August joint military exercise between China and Russia. First, what's the purpose of the military exercise? Some people believe the exercise is aimed at Taiwan. Is that correct? Secondly, will the exercise build up the military tension in the surrounding region? Thirdly, it is reported that Russia, India and China will stage a joint military exercise this year. Is that true? If so, what's its purpose?


A: The purpose of the China-Russia joint military exercise is to respond to the new challenges and threats facing the regional security, especially international terrorist, extremist and splittist threats, and enhance the mutual trust between China and Russia in the military and security fields. The exercise is conducive to the peace and stability of the region. It undergoes according to the purpose of the UN Charter, the widely-acknowledged international laws as well as the principle of respecting other countries' sovereignty and territorial integrity. The exercise is not targeted at any third party or affects its interests, posing no threat to any country.


You all know that the "Taiwan independence" splittist force is the biggest obstacle to the cross-strait relations, and the gravest existing threat to the peace and stability of the Taiwan Strait region. We adhere to the principles of peaceful unification and "one China, two systems", and will achieve the prospect of peaceful reunification with the utmost sincerity and efforts. However, we will never tolerate "Taiwan independence", never tolerate any one to separate Taiwan from China in any means. 


As for the joint military exercise by China, Russia and India, I don't have any information at hand. 


Q: The DPRK said that the second phase of the fourth round of the Six Party Talks could be held in the week beginning on September 12. The U S side also said that they are ready for the resumption of the Talks. What comments does the Chinese side have on that? The Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei said on August 29 that "the date of resumption does not matter". Does that mean that the date for the resumption of the second phase Talks has yet to be determined?


A: Since the recess of the fourth round of the Six Party Talks began, in order to enlarge consensus and reduce differences, the parties concerned have maintained close dialogue and consultations, so that progress might be made when the Talks resumes. That is also an important part of the process of the Talks, very important to enhancing mutual understanding. As for a specific date for the resumption of the second phase Talks, the Chinese side is coordinating with other parties concerned on that issue. We would make an official announcement at a due time.


Q: What's China's opinion and expectation on the ongoing election of the Japanese House of Representatives? Besides, it is reported by Japanese media that Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi implied in a Debate between Leaders of Different Parties on August 29 that he would once again pay homage to the Yasukuni Shrine within this year. What comments does the Chinese side have on that?


A: The Japanese election falls within the internal affairs of Japan. Do you think it right for me to make any comment on that here? No matter what would come out of the election, we hope that the Sino-Japanese relations would be improved and developed, in light of the spirit of "taking history as a mirror and facing towards the future" and on the basis of the principles set by the three political documents between China and Japan. Our stance on developing the long-term good-neighborly friendship between the two countries has been consistent.


As to the Yasukuni Shrine issue, Japanese leaders' paying homage to the Yasukuni Shrine, which worships the Class A War Criminals, is the sticking point of the difficulties in the Sino-Japanese relations. We hope that the Japanese leaders would size up the situation and make a correct and prompt decision in accordance with the interests of both countries and the will of both peoples.


Q: A question on the Yasukuni Shrine. Prime Minister Koizumi did not visit the Shrine on August 15. What comment does China have on his decision?


A: We have taken note of Prime Minister Koizumi's remarks on August 15 on Japanese militarist aggression during World War ?. We hope that the Japanese Government and Japanese leaders will honor their words and commitments with earnest practices.



Q: Please brief on the details of the China-EU Summit next week. Which EU leaders will meet with Chinese leaders? What main topics are on the agenda? How do you describe the current China-EU relations?


A: I have briefed in my announcement on the EU leaders who will attend the China-EU Summit.


Follow-up: I wish to know more.


A: President of the European Commission Barroso will attend the 8th China-EU Summit with Prime Minister Blair. In addition, as far as I know, Mr. Solana, Secretary-General of the Council of the European Union and High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy and EU Commissioner for Trade Mandelson will accompany them.


This year marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and the EU. Over the past three decades, China-EU relations have made remarkable progress. In recent years, our bilateral relations have maintained a sound momentum of development. In 2003, China and the EU decided to develop an comprehensive strategic partnership, which pushed China-EU relations to a new height in history. China and the EU share broad common ground on many major international and regional issues, with smooth communication and cooperation between the two sides. Strongly complementary in economy, the two sides have developed their trade and economic relations rapidly in recent years. EU became China's top trade partner last year, with our two-way trade volume reaching 177 billion US dollars. China is the second largest trade partner of the European Union. Moreover, China and EU have steadily expanded and scored marked achievements in cooperation in culture, education, science, technology, environment and other fields.


During the upcoming 8th China-EU Summit, the two sides will exchange views on how to further develop their comprehensive strategic partnership and other international and regional issues of common interest. During the summit, President Hu Jintao will meet with the EU delegation. The two sides will also sign a number of cooperation agreements on maritime transportation, environmental protection, biological diversity and other fields. The second China-EU Business Summit will be held. We believe this summit will be much fruitful.


Q:Japan and China have not completed their consultation on the East China Sea. But recently, the Chinese company said that they would begin to explore and transport oil and gas in the East China Sea. If the company did so, would China continue consultation on the East China Sea with Japan? When will this consultation be resumed?


A: I'd like to point it out that China's ongoing exploration of oil and gas is conducted within the undisputed waters nears Chinese coast, which is a normal exercise of sovereignty. However, we have noted that the Japanese Government announced granting Japanese companies the right to trial exploration of natural gas and oil in the disputed area of East China Sea. We express grave concern over it. It's a fact that the Chinese and Japanese sides have disputes on demarcation of the East China Sea. China believes a proper solution should be found through negotiation. The time of next round of consultation is still under discussion.


Q: Before her visit to China, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Arbour said she might sign with China a letter of intent on China's ratification of International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights during her visit. Can you confirm that? EU President Barrozo said it was difficult for the EU to lift the arms embargo, since China hadn't yet ratified the covenant. It is highly possible that the EU will lift the embargo once China ratifies it. Is this a topic of the China- EU Summit? This afternoon, the US and China concluded the negotiation on textile trade without any deal. Can you explain the reason?


A: As I mentioned just now, during the visit of Ms Arbour, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Chinese Foreign Ministry and the Office of the UN High Commission for Human Rights signed Memorandum of Understanding on the Mutual Agreement to Cooperation and Implementation of Technical Cooperation Programs. I can tell you unequivocally that the two sides haven't signed any letter of intent as you mentioned.


As for the EU's lifting arms embargo, we have stated our position on many occasions, including our regular press conference. I'd rather not repeat. We oppose linking human rights issues with the lifting of arms embargo, and the unreasonable obstruction by any third party in the process of lifting the embargo. The EU side has made commitment on the issue of lifting the embargo. We hope the EU side will honor its commitment as soon as possible, which is required by the development of the Sino-EU relations.


About the negotiation of textile trade, it's carried out by the Chinese Ministry of Commerce and the US side. I suggest you referring your question to the Ministry of Commerce.


If there are no more questions, the conference is over. Thanks!


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