|Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang's Press Conference on 20 September 2005|
On the afternoon of September 20 Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang held a regular press conference.
Qin: Good afternoon, everyone! I would like to begin with an announcement.
At the invitation of President Hu Jintao, President Denis Sassou-Nguesso of the Republic of Congo will pay a state visit to China from September 26 to 30.
Now, I'm ready to take up questions.
Q: China began to extract oil and gas today in the East China Sea without notifying Japan. The Japanese side has expressed its dissatisfaction. What comment does China have on this?
A: China has clearly expressed its position on the question on many occasions. I would like to reiterate that China explores gas field in the waters near its coast that is not disputed by Japan. We are ready to continue our dialogue with the Japanese side for the proper solution of the issue, so as to maintain the stability of the East China Sea. Our position has not changed.
Q: In a statement this morning, the DPRK said that it was willing to return to the Non-Proliferation Treaty immediately if the US provided it with a light water reactor. It alleged that this had been clarified in the joint statement of the Six-Party Talks. Does China agree on that?
A: In the joint statement issued at the Six-Party Talks, all parties concerned made solemn political commitments, which demonstrated their political will to resolve the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula through peaceful dialogue. We believe that all parties will honor their commitments with a responsible and serious attitude, for the sake of realizing the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and maintaining the peace and stability on the Peninsula and in Northeast Asia.
Q: The Six-Party Talks has issued a joint statement. But one of the six parties altered the term of the statement today. It seems that the Six-Party Talks may have become meaningless. Will China stick to its effort to hold the next round of Talks in November?
A: The fourth round of the Six-Party Talks has scored an important achievement for the current stage, and the parties concerned have reached consensus on the general goal of the Six-Party Talks. Difficulties and problems may come up in the future consultation. But we are confident that as long as all parties proceed from the overall interest of maintaining the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and this region and resolve the nuclear issue on the Peninsula through dialogue and peaceful means, no difficulties or obstacles will be insurmountable on our way ahead. We hope that all parties will continue to seek progress at the Six-Party Talks in line with the principle of mutual respect and equal consultation. For the time being, it is an agreement among the parties concerned that the fifth round of the Six-Party Talks will be held in Beijing in the early November. I have not heard of any change on the agreement.
Q: The joint statement issued yesterday states that the provision of light water reactor to the DPRK will be discussed at an appropriate time. When will be an "appropriate time" in China's opinion? Now or in the future?
A: In the joint statement adopted yesterday, all parties agreed to discuss the issue of providing the DPRK with light water reactor at an appropriate time. It requires further consultation among the six parties to define when will be the appropriate time.
Q: The DPRK Foreign Ministry put up a statement on its website today, alleging that the DPRK would not abandon nuclear weapons before the US provided a light water reactor. What is China's comment?
A: I have answered your question when taking up the second journalist's question. Please refer to the record of the press conference.
Q: Will China and Japan hold a consultation on the question of oil and gas in the East China Sea in the near future?
A: On the question of oil and gas in the East China Sea, China's position is to resolve the dispute between China and Japan on the East China Sea issue through dialogue and consultation. It requires discussion between the two sides to fix a time for the next round of consultation.
Q: You said the joint statement demonstrated the DPRK was willing to resolve the nuclear issue. My question is that all parties signed a joint statement yesterday, agreeing to discuss the issue of light water reactor at an appropriate time, while the DPRK agreed to abandon nuclear weapons. But last night or this morning, the DPRK claimed that it would not abandon nuclear programs if the US did not provide light water reactor in the first place. Do you deem the DPRK's statement consistent with the spirit of yesterday's joint statement?
A: At the fourth round of the Six-Party Talks, the parties concerned reached an agreement on the general goal, that is, to realize verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula through peaceful means. This is a general framework. As to what steps are to be taken by the six parties within the framework or what questions are to be resolved, it is up to further consultation among the parties concerned. I want to remind you that the joint statement announced all parties should take coordinated steps to implement the afore-mentioned consensus in a phased manner in line with the principle of "commitment for commitment, action for action". We hope that all parties will faithfully honor their commitment in joint statement with a responsible attitude, and make joint efforts to eventually realize the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and maintain the peace and stability of the Peninsula. This will serve the fundamental interest of all parties.
Q: A question on discussing the subject of light water reactor. Your answer left me an impression that the DPRK misunderstood the joint statement. Is that what you meant?
A: What I was saying is that the joint statement was adopted unanimously by the six parties, and I don't think the DPRK misunderstood the joint statement. The current questions, concerns and interest of the parties concerned are exactly what should be gradually resolved in the process of the Six-Party Talks.
If no more questions are to be raised, the press conference is over. Thank you!