|Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang's Press Conference on 8 September 2005|
On the afternoon of September 8, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang presided over a regular press conference.
Qin: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. First, I have three announcements:
At the invitation of Premier Wen Jiabao, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit of the Commonwealth of Dominica will pay an official visit to China from September 18 to 24.
Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing will head the Chinese delegation to attend the general debate of the 60th United Nations General Assembly from September 18 to 25. During the visit, Foreign Minister Li will deliver a speech at the general debate, stating the views and proposals of the Chinese Government on development, UN reforms, issues on Africa and so on. He will also take part in a number of multilateral and bilateral activities, including meeting UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, President of the UN General Assembly and some of his counterparts. Furthermore, he will hold consultations with Foreign Ministers from the Rio Group, Gulf Cooperation Council and EU 'Troika' Foreign Ministers.
The third announcement: After consultations among the relevant parties, the second phase of the fourth round of the Six-Party Talks will be held on September 13th in Beijing.
Now I would like to take up your questions.
Q: On which day will heads of China and the US meet in New York? What is the significance of the meeting between the heads of states of the two countries?
A: President Hu Jintao and President Bush have planned to meet during the High Level Plenary of the United Nations General Assembly. The two sides are yet to set a specific time for the meeting. The China-US relations is currently at a very important stage of development and the two countries maintain good cooperation on bilateral as well as international and regional issues. We hope this meeting will promote further development of the China-US constructive and cooperative relations. This is good to the benefits of the two countries.
Q: Yesterday Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing met with Admiral William Fallon, Commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific, who was visiting China at the moment. What is the stance of Chinese Foreign Ministry on enhancing China-US military exchanges? How to promote the transparency and equality of the military exchanges of the two countries?
A: Admiral William Fallon, Commander of U.S. forces in the Pacific, is now visiting China. During his visit, Chinese military leaders and Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing met with Admiral Fallon respectively. The Chinese side said that thanks to the joint efforts, China and the US have maintained good momentum in bilateral relations and military ties. The military ties are facing a precious opportunity of development. China and the US should take this opportunity to strengthen dialogues, enhance cooperation and further promote the development of their military ties. The Chinese side reiterated its stance on the Taiwan question. Admiral Fallon said US side attaches importance to friendly bilateral military cooperation and hopes the two sides can promote exchanges and strengthen dialogues. He reiterated that the US stance on Taiwan question remains unchanged. The US adheres to the One-China Policy and hopes to see Taiwan question resolved with peaceful means. We think Admiral Fallon's visit is important and conducive to promoting mutual understanding, enhancing mutual trust and developing friendship. We will further strengthen the China-US military exchanges and dialogues after consultations with the US.
Q: What is the reason for the postponement of the resumption of the 2nd stage of the 4th round of Six-Party Talks? Russian President Putin confirmed yesterday that Russian oil pipeline would first reach China. What's your reaction to this? European Union ratified yesterday the China-EU Textile Trade Agreement. What's your reaction?
A: I explained at the last two press conferences the reason for the failure of resuming the 2nd stage of the 4th round of Six-Party Talks. That means the relevant parties need sufficient consultations on relevant questions. According to the rule of the Six-Party Talks, anyone has the right to veto and any agreement should be based on consensus of the six parties. That is to say, even one party disagrees, we will need more coordination.
We have noted that President Putin stated clearly several times that to build the crude oil pipeline to China was their first priority. It is to the fundamental benefits of the two sides for China and Russia to have mutual cooperation in crude oil field. China and Russia are now currently speeding up their work and studying relevant questions. We hope to implement the relevant consensus that the heads of the two countries have reached at an early date.
As to your third question, you may have to turn to the Ministry of Commerce for more authoritative response. Generally speaking, we welcome the EU ratification of the agreement of China-EU textile trade. We think the agreement showed the spirit of properly resolving trade disputes between the two sides according to the principle of equal consultations.
Q: On September 6 US Deputy Secretary of State Zoellick warned that more conflicts will arise between China and the US if China continued to seek energy agreement with such countries as Iran. What is your comment on his statement? As I know, President of Iraq's interim government Talabani, a Kurd, will shortly visit China. In addition, Rotating Chairman of Iraqi Governing Council Uloom, a Shiite, and Foreign Minister Zebari, a Kurd, respectively visited China in March and December of 2004. The International Department of Central Committee of CPC also received a high-level delegation from an Iraqi Kurdish democratic party. Does that indicate that the Chinese Government and its Party hope to strengthen relations with some Iraqi parties while ignoring some others? We haven't seen any other parties such as a Sunni delegation visit China.
A: The purpose of China's diplomacy is to safeguard world peace and promote common development. China is always committed to developing friendly and cooperative relations with all other countries over the world on the basis of equality and mutual benefit, including mutually-beneficial cooperation in the energy field. The normal friendly relations between China and all other countries are not only in the interests of China itself and related countries, but are also conducive to regional and world peace, stability and prosperity.
I haven't heard of any news about President Talabani's visit to China. I can check it for you. On the Iraqi issue, we have noticed that the Iraqi interim government is making efforts to realize reconciliation, stability and reconstruction. China supports the Iraqi government's work, hope all parties of Iraq to enhance solidarity and jointly push forward the process of reconstruction. China is ready to continue our support for and assistance to Iraq's reconstruction, which is our consistent position. We hope Iraq can maintain a stable situation, realize national reconciliation and increasingly improve the living standard of its people.
Q: During his stay in New York, who else will President Hu Jintao meet with besides President Bush? Will he meet with representatives from the US Chamber of Commerce?
A: As to President Hu Jintao's agenda during the UN Summit in New York, we are still finalizing the arrangements. I can't disclose any specifics right now.
Q: Is there a closing date for the second phase of the fourth round of Six-Party Talks? As we see now, there are still many differences between the US and the DPRK. Does China have confidence to resolve these differences?
A: There is no closing date for this meeting, since all parties need to conduct sufficient consultations and exchanges of views over the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free Korean Peninsula, how to achieve the goal and other related issues. As for when to close the meeting, it requires the six parties to make a concerted decision through consultations.
Regarding how confident China is, as I said repeatedly before, the Six-Party Talks is a process; the road towards a nuclear-weapon-free Korean Peninsula is both complicated and tortuous. We can't count on several rounds of Talks to solve all the problems. But we shouldn't be pessimistic either. As long as all parties can proceed from the overall interests of realizing a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula and safeguarding peace and stability on the Peninsula, fully display flexibility and sincerity and discuss related issues in a pragmatic attitude, we can make progress step by step on the way to a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula.
Q: US Deputy Secretary of State Zoellick claimed that if the Chinese companies attempted to lock energy sources by seeking continued energy supply from such "troublesome countries" as Iran, Myanmar and Zimbabwe, it would be difficult to guarantee the security of energy supply. China must make a choice. What comment does China have on it?
A: There is nothing wrong for China to develop normal friendship and cooperation with other countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. We are developing constructive and cooperative relations with the US, enhancing bilateral cooperation in all fields. We conduct, in the same spirit, mutually-beneficial cooperation with other countries. In the energy field, China is not only a huge consumer, but also a huge producer. We conduct normal energy cooperation with many countries including the US. Such cooperation is mutually-beneficial. China has no intention to grab or control oil resources. We maintain that cooperation should be conducted on the basis of equality and mutual benefit in order to seek common development.
Q: During the US Congressman Lantos's visit to the DPRK, the DPRK side mentioned the issue of peaceful use of nuclear energy, on which the US and the DPRK are widely divided. As the host state, how will China handle this issue? Secondly, the Japanese side will still bring forward the issue of abduction of Japanese. How will China coordinate on this issue between Japan and the DPRK?
A: The second phase of the fourth round of the Six-Party Talks will open shortly. We hope that all relevant parties seize the opportunity, find a solution which is acceptable to all parties and take account of their concerns and interest through dialogue and consultation in the spirit of mutual respect, equal consultation and mutual accommodation. As one of the six parties and the host state, China will make unremitting efforts for the progress of the Talks. I want to stress that the Six-Party Talks are attended by all the six parties. Therefore, it needs all the six parties to show a pragmatic attitude and flexibility, so as to jointly facilitate the Talks and make positive progress.
As to the issue of abduction of Japanese, I already stated our position on the press conference last time.
Follow-up: Could you please say it again?
We hope Japan and the DPRK could properly handle this issue through bilateral channel.
Q: It will be the fourth anniversary of the September·11 Incident three days later. In retrospect of the past four years, do you think the international anti-terrorism war is still on the right track? Do you think the world has become more secure and peaceful after four years of international anti-terrorism war?
A: Four years have passed since the September·11 Incident. Over the four years, the international community has reached a consensus that terrorism is a common enemy of the human beings, and that the international community should make joint efforts in combating terrorism. We can see that over the past four years terrorism is still rampant. Turkey, Britain, Kenya, and many other places suffered from the evil of terrorism in succession. China is also a victim of international terrorism.
Currently, the world is still faced with the threat and challenge of terrorism. The international community needs to step up cooperation in response. China is consistent on the issue of anti-terrorism. We oppose terrorism in any forms, and hold that the fight against terrorism should not be have double standards. It should be conducive to safeguarding peace and safety of the human beings, and promoting the advancement and prosperity of social civilization. Anti-terrorism should be conducted according to the UN Charter and the fundamental principles of international law. We oppose the practice of linking the issue of anti-terrorism with specific religion or nation. Besides, to completely eradicate terrorism requires the elimination of its root causes. We need to treat the symptoms and causes of terrorism.
Q: Just now you announced that the next phase of the Six-Party Talks will start from the 13th. Could you brief us the details of the arrangement such as when it will resume, in the morning or afternoon? You also mentioned that the Six-Party Talks are a process to denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. This process is a complex one with twists and turns. Then, to this round of the Talks, what kind of result could be counted as an achievement?
A: The detailed agenda of the second phase of the fourth round of the Six-Party Talks is still under discussion among the six parties. So I can not give you a definite answer yet. As to the results, we should see that realizing a nuclear-weapon-free Korean Peninsula is our general goal, and we have to earnestly proceed step by step along the road towards the goal.
Q: It is reported that during his stay in the US President Hu Jintao will visit Boeing. Is this arrangement still there? Who will he meet among the business leaders?
A: The state visit to the US by President Hu Jintao has been postponed. He is heading for New York to attend the UN Summit on the 60th anniversary of the founding of the UN. I haven't heard of the arrangement you just mentioned.
If there are no questions, the press conference is over. Thank you!