|Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang's Press Conference on 27 September 2005|
On the afternoon of September 27, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang held a regular press conference.
Qin: Good afternoon, everyone! I have no announcement to make today. Now I am ready to take up your questions.
Q: Today is the last day for Sino-Indian border talks. Are there any fruits coming out of the talks? Can you provide more details?
A: On September 26th and 27th, Chinese Special Representative for the Sino-Indian Border Issue and Deputy Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo and his Indian counterpart, National Security Advisor M. K. Narayanan held their sixth meeting in Beijing. I can tell you that the meeting was conducted in a friendly, cooperative and constructive atmosphere. The two sides reviewed with satisfaction the positive progress made by Special Representative Meetings, and agreed that both sides would proceed from the political perspective of the overall bilateral relations and explore the framework for a fair, reasonable solution to the border issue. The two sides agreed that next meeting between the two Special Representatives would take place in New Delhi, and the date would be set by consultation through diplomatic channels.
This morning, Chairman Jia Qinglin of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference met with Mr. M. K. Narayanan. Chairman Jia highly appraised the sound development of the Sino-Indian relations in recent years, and stressed that the two sides should actively develop mutually-beneficial cooperation in various fields with a long-term and strategic vision, and continuously enrich the content of the strategic partnership of cooperation between the two countries.
Chairman Jia pointed out that the Chinese side sincerely hopes that a fair and reasonable resolution to the Sino-Indian border issue left over from history could be achieved at an early date, thus turning the border into a bond of eternal peace and friendly cooperation between China and India. He expressed his hope that the two Special Representatives would, proceeding from the perspective of overall situation of the bilateral relations, continue to make progress in seeking for a framework to solve the border issue. Mr. M. K. Narayanan agreed on Chairman Jia's view. He said that India-China relations are facing with a rare historical opportunity. India is willing to join hands with China to push forward the strategic partnership of cooperation between the two countries, and solve the border issue as early as possible.
Q: You mentioned just now that the Sino-Indian border talks are continuously making positive progress. Could you elaborate a little on those specific achievements? In addition, does China recognize that Sikkim is part of India? What stance does the Chinese side take on the ongoing US-India joint military exercise?
A: With the marked improvement of Sino-Indian relations, there has been a great improvement in the atmosphere for the solution of the border issue. In 2003, Prime Minister Vajpayee paid a successful visit to China and in last April, Premier Wen Jiabao paid a successful visit to India. Not long ago, President Hu Jintao held an important meeting with Prime Minister Singh in New York. Both sides have made it very clear in the above visits and meeting that Sino-Indian relations have been developing very well and the two countries have established a strategic partnership of cooperation oriented towards peace and prosperity. The two countries should, proceeding from the perspective of overall situation of the bilateral relations, in the spirit of the strategic partnership of cooperation, solve the Sino-Indian border issue left over from history of both countries by means of peaceful dialogue and friendly consultation. This is a positive progress itself-that both sides have the sincerity to push for the solution of the issue. In addition, as far as specific achievements are concerned, the two sides reached an agreement on the political guiding principles for solving the border issue during Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to India in last April. It is in light of the principles and spirit set by the agreement that the two Special Representatives are now discussing on the framework of the border issue and trying to seek a fair, reasonable and mutually acceptable solution to the issue. Of course, it is an issue left over from history which involves many specific issues. That is exactly the reason that it requires both sides to continue contact and consultation to seek an appropriate solution. However, we believe that as long as the two sides would proceed in light of the overall situation of the bilateral relations and from the perspective of safeguarding regional peace and stability, we would be able to push the border talks to make progress after progress in a spirit of mutual respect and through friendly consultation.
On the Sikkim issue. With the steady improvement of the Sino-Indian relations, it is no longer a question between the two countries.
The joint US-India maritime military exercise is a matter of the two countries. We hope that relevant activities will be conducive to regional peace, stability and security.
Q: Does China think that Sikkim is part of India? Second question, I heard that Premier Wen had planned to visit Russia, France and some other European countries and that this plan had now been postponed. What are the reasons? A third question. You told us in last press conference that you would try to help us in inquiring whether foreign diplomats would be allowed to watch the launch of the space flight Shenzhou VI. What is your response now?
A: I have already answered your first question just now. And I would rather not repeat it.
On Premier Wen's visit abroad, it would need consultations between the Chinese side and countries concerned to find a convenient time to both sides.
On your third question, you know that I am not an expert in this field; nevertheless, I still tried in earnest to make the inquiry for you. Preliminary response might seem disappointing to you. I will make further effort to convey your requirement.
Q: It is reported by the Asahi Shimbun today that Japanese Foreign Ministry officials said Japan is going to strengthen its national defense to counter the threat from China, especially on the issue of East China Sea. What's China's comment? Do you think China is a threat to Japan on the issue of East China Sea? It is said China and Japan will hold consultation on the issue of East China Sea in Tokyo on September 30th. Please confirm.
A: China adheres to the road of peaceful development and has no intention to threaten any country. The move you just mentioned is completely out of ulterior motives, intentionally playing up the China Threat. We have also taken note of the issue of Diaoyu Island in the report. On the issue of Diaoyu Island, China's position has been clear and consistent. Diaoyu Island and its adjacent islets have always been China's territory. China and Japan have disputes on this issue. We insist on resolving the issue properly through negotiations.
I can confirm that the third round of the China-Japan consultation on the issue of East China Sea will be held in Tokyo on September 30th. China hopes the two sides to properly resolve the issues concerned through negotiations.
Q: The Xinhua News Agency reported on 26th that China has established a reserve vessel squadron on the East China Sea. Currently China has disputes with Japan on the issue of the gas field in the East China Sea. Is the establishment of the squadron aimed at dealing with the antagonism? During the talks between the foreign ministers of China and Japan in April this year, the Japanese Government invited Premier Wen to visit Japan during the Aichi Expo. However, this was not achieved until the end of the Expo. The Japanese side believes the reason was Prime Minister Koizumi's paying homage to the Yasukuni Shrine. What do you think of it? If Prime Minister Koizumi publicly announces stopping visiting the Shrine, will the Chinese Government immediately resume the exchange of visits between the leaders of the two countries?
A: As to the first question, I didn't see the report and have to check it later. As a principle though, it is fair and reasonable for any sovereign country to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity within the range of its territorial land and sea.
With regard to the high-level exchange of visits between China and Japan, we always hold that China and Japan should develop the good-neighborly relations of cooperation in the spirit of taking history as a mirror and facing toward the future in accordance with the principles set by the three political documents between the two countries. You must remember President Hu Jintao's five important propositions put forward during the meeting with Prime Minister Koizumi in Jakarta, Indonesia this April. Among the five propositions, one is to further enhance the exchanges and cooperation in wide-ranging fields. Meanwhile, we believe that a favorable atmosphere is necessary for the high-level exchanges between the two countries, and hope the Japanese side could exert active efforts for the improvement of the atmosphere for the high-level exchanges and dialogue between the two sides.
As for the question of the Yasukuni Shrine, we have said on many occasions including on this stage by myself that our position remains unchanged. Prime Minister Koizumi has just been reelected. We hope he will make a wise and correct decision after calm and sufficient meditation on the overall relations between China and Japan.
Q: This morning the RAND Corporation issued a report saying that China is not doing enough to enforce export controls on technologies used to produce weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and this has expedited the proliferation of WMDs. What's the comment of the Chinese side?
A: China is a responsible country. The Chinese Government is firmly opposed to the proliferation of WMD and their means of delivery. During the recent years, we have made great unremitting efforts for the improvement of the laws and regulations on management and control over exports, the awareness campaign on enterprises, the investigation and handling of individual cases of illegal export as well as the participation into international non-proliferation exchanges and cooperation. These efforts have produced remarkable effects, and won broad recognition and praises from the international community. The organizations concerned should treat the Chinese Government's solemn commitment and unremitting efforts on the issue of non-proliferation with an objective and fair attitude. This report is irresponsible and goes against the facts.
Q: It is reported Japan is going to translate China's history textbooks into Japanese for the sake of study. What's your comment?
A: To educate its citizens, especially the youth with correct view of history, is the due responsibility of any government. What makes us confused is that there are some people in Japan who always want to pick holes in China's textbooks. This will only show their troubled understanding of history and unwillingness to face up to the history of aggression. The aggression war launched by Japanese militarism caused grave calamities to Asian countries. This conclusion has been drawn by the international community for a long time. We hope Japan to focus on how to carry out its own commitments to remorse on the history and respect for the feeling of the people of the victimized countries, face up to its own problems and resolve them properly.
Q: It is reported there were military observers from 24 countries invited to watch the "North Sword 2005" military exercise which is launched today. Please tell us which countries are invited? What's the purpose of the exercise? The report also said it is the military exercise which invites the largest number of observer countries since 1949. Please confirm that.
A: As for the "North Sword 2005" military exercise, please refer to the Ministry of Defense for details. I can offer you the information at my hand. The People's Liberation Army (PLA) launched the "North Sword 2005" military exercise of the Beijing Military Area Command in Zhurihe drill base which locates in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region. Over 40 military observers and attachés from 24 countries including the US, Britain, France, Germany, and Australia were invited to watch the exercise. The "North Sword-2005" military exercise is the PLA-held military drill with largest number of foreign observer countries invited so far. This is positive to strengthening the practical exchanges between the Chinese and foreign armies in the military training field, enhancing mutual understanding and trust, and deepening friendship and cooperation.
Q: It is reported that the Japanese rightist who drove to collide into the Chinese Consulate General in Osaka last year was sentenced in prison. Is the Chinese side satisfied with the result? China has opened the consulate in Nagoya. How many people are working in it? When will it officially start working? What's the purpose of its establishment? The third question, I don't know if it is proper to raise it to the Foreign Ministry. An international disaster relief conference will open from today in Beijing. What's the difference of the agenda between it and the international disaster conference held by the UN in Kobe, Japan this January?
A: As to your first question, immediately after the incident made by the Japanese rightists, China lodged representations with Japan, asking the Japanese side to look into the case promptly and completely, and arrest the culprit. We have taken note of the report.
As for your second question, Chinese Consulate in Nagoya held the opening ceremony on 26th. As far I know, Chinese Ambassador to Japan Wang Yi attended the ceremony. Located in the central area of Japan, Nagoya is an important industrial and economic city which maintains close and active exchanges with China. A large number of Chinese citizens are studying, working and living there. The purpose of establishing a consulate in Nagoya is to further promote China's friendly exchanges and cooperation with Nagoya and its neighboring region, and better protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese citizens there.
As to the international disaster relief conference, I suggest you refer to China's department of civil affairs which hosts the conference. The Chinese Government attaches great importance to the issue of disaster relief, and is ready to join the cooperation with the international community. In practice, China has also been doing in the same way. At the end of last year, the Chinese Government and people provided aid to the governments and people hit by the tsunami of the Indian Ocean. Recently, the southern part of the US suffered from the Hurricane Katrina. The Chinese Government and people also offered their help. China itself is a country suffering from frequent natural disasters. When under natural disasters, we also got the generous help and support from the international community. The Chinese Government and people appreciate that. Currently, disaster relief and rescue is becoming a very important and urgent topic of the international community, and the common threat of the human beings. We hope to facilitate the cooperation in the field of international disaster relief and score more achievements through close cooperation with the relevant international organizations and other countries. I believe the theme of this conference is cooperation.
Q: Will China discuss with the US on holding a joint navy rescue and search exercise during the visit to China by US Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld next month? What impact will the 10-billion-dollar-worth plan on arms sale to Taiwan have on China ?US relations?
A: US Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld has the intention to visit China within this year. Now, the two sides are having contact and consultation on the arrangements. I have no idea of the joint rescue and search exercise you mentioned.
On the question of US arms sale to Taiwan, China has consistently opposed US arms sale to Taiwan, and has made solemn representations to the US side on many occasions. Such arms sale severely violates the three joint communiqués between China and the US, in particular the August 17 Communiqué, and constitutes a gross interference in China's internal affairs, which boosts the arrogance of splittist force of "Taiwan independence", undermines China's cause of reunification and national security and causes damage to China-US relations. We are firmly opposed to the sale and will by no means accept it. We urge the US to be aware of the severe harm of arms sale to Taiwan and proceed from the overall interest of China-US relations by faithfully pursuing the one China policy, observing the three Sino-US joint communiqués, honoring its commitment to opposing Taiwan independence and stop arms sale to Taiwan. The US should neither send wrong signals to the "Taiwan independence" force nor create obstacles to China's peaceful reunification.
Q: The Worker's Party of Korea will celebrate its 60th anniversary on October 10th. Will the Chinese Government or Chinese Communist Party send delegations to Pyongyang? If you will, who will be sent there?
A: China and the DPRK share friendly relations and a tradition of exchange of high-level visits. As to which Chinese leader will visit the DPRK in the coming days, we will announce at an appropriate time.
Q: What is the current status of opening border port between China and India? Has any port been opened and realized free traffic of vehicles? It is said by Indian press that China and India are negotiating on opening a port between Sikkim and Tibet. How does the negotiation get along now?
A: China and India share a stable border. We hope that the two sides can resolve the outstanding border issue in the spirit of mutual respect and equal consultation, so as to make our border a bond of mutually beneficial cooperation between our two countries and friendly exchanges between our people.
I think your second question involves Nathula. China takes a positive attitude towards the expansion of border trade. In 2003, China and India signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Opening Border Trade at Nathula. Now, China is making earnest effort to plan and build border trade market. The date of opening has to be set through consultation between the two countries.
Q: Why didn't Hill show up in the press conference at the end of the fourth round of the Six-Party Talks? Why did China cast an abstention vote on the resolution of the IAEA Council on referring Iran's incompliance with NPT to the Security Council? When will China ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty? Is China willing to hold talks with the parties to the Iranian nuclear issue in a form similar to the Six-Party Talks?
A: I noticed that you had been absent from our press conference for quite some days. You must have pondered a lot and then come up with a number of questions today, covering a wide range of issues, even including such a question on episode. In my opinion, there is a misunderstanding regarding the question why Head of Delegation Hill did not show up at the beginning of the press conference of heads of Delegations to the Six-Party Talks. Please note that he did show up at last, and the press shot pictures and photos. A recent People's Daily has put up news in this regard. I recommend you to take a look and find your answer there.
On the Iranian nuclear issue, I have repeatedly said on this occasion that China has always stood for a solution of the issue through diplomatic negotiation within the IAEA framework at an early date. We support the effort of Iran and the three EU countries to seek a long term solution through negotiation. This will benefit peace and stability of the region, help maintain the international non-proliferation regime and serve the fundamental interest of all parties.
The resolution on the Iranian nuclear issue passed by the IAEA Council on 24th may exceed the framework of IAEA and did not reflect the progress of IAEA's inspection in Iran in a balanced way. In addition, the way of voting did not help enhance the unity of the council. On the other hand, the resolution still focused on urging Iran to take more transparent measures to fully cooperate with IAEA, clarify the outstanding issues related to Iran's nuclear activities and return to the negotiation table. Given the above facts, China cast an abstention vote.
Now, there is still room for the solution of the Iranian nuclear issue within the framework of IAEA. China hopes that Iran, the EU and other parties concerned will keep patience, demonstrate flexibility and take concrete steps to break the impasse and restore talks as soon as possible. China is willing to play a positive role in the peaceful solution of the Iranian nuclear issue through dialogue.
China supports the CTBT and believes that the treaty will help prevent proliferation of nuclear weapons and promote the process of nuclear disarmament. We hope the treaty will take effect at an early date. The Chinese Government has submitted the treaty to the National People's Congress and is actively promoting the early ratification of the treaty by the NPC.
Q: Is there any deadline for the border talks between China and India? Can you announce the date?
A: As far as I am concerned, there is no deadline for the talks. The two sides have to promote the solution of the issue through continuous consultation. Of course, both sides hope to find a fair and reasonable solution acceptable to both at an early date.
If there are no more questions, I have a notice to announce. Ambassador Wang Shijie, Chinese Special Envoy on the Middle East Issue, visited Palestine, Israel, Jordan, Egypt and Morocco from September 12 to 22. Ambassador Wang accepted the invitation of the International Press Center with pleasure and will brief on his visit to the friends from the press at home and abroad as well as information officers of foreign embassies in China. The time is 2:30 pm, September 28, and venue the International Press Center, Room 1915, Prime Tower. You are welcome to attend the briefing.
The press conference is over. Thank you!