|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Kong Quan's Press Conference on 11 October 2005|
On the afternoon of October 11th, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Kong Quan held a regular press conference.
Kong Quan: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Four months has passed since my last press conference on June 2. I am quite delighted to see so many new faces here today. I have noted that more and more questions raised here are beyond China's foreign affairs, demonstrating your keen and broad interest in China, which will be appreciated. I will be very happy to provide information and help you have an objective and full understanding of China. Again, I am glad to meet your all after four months.
Now, I have two announcements to make.
At the invitation of Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Iran Manouchehr Mottaki will pay an official visit to China from October 13th to 14th.
The third round of China-Japan Strategic Dialogue will be held in Beijing from October 14th to 17th. Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Dai Binguo and Japanese Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Shotaro Yachi will be the heads of the delegations. China and Japan already held two rounds of strategic dialogues this year, one in Beijing in May and the other in Tokyo in June.
With that, I would like to take your questions.
Q: Sever earth quake attacked Pakistan, causing tremendous casualty and heavy loss of property. Chinese Government has provided assistance to Pakistan. Will China provide further assistance? How do you view the disaster in South Asia?
A: Thank you for your question. I would like to briefly review the assistance the Chinese Government has been providing after the severe earth quake.
The disaster broke out at 8 a.m. local time. President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao sent telegram to Pakistan, expressing our solicitude. The Chinese Government decided to provide US$6.2 million emergency assistance and send out a Chinese rescue team. After only seven hours preparation, the team left for Pakistan on the next day. They received the order at 2 a.m. on October 9 and set out at 12 that day. They started their rescue work immediately upon their arrival there. At the same time, the first batch of assistance reached Pakistan. On the third day, yesterday afternoon, Premier Wen especially squeezed out time from his tight schedule during the 5th Plenary Session of 16th Party Congress to meet with Pakistani and Afghanistan Ambassadors as well as the Charge d'Affaires of India in China, expressing solicitude to the three countries. The second batch of material left Beijing at 5p.m. and reached Pakistan in the evening. The Ministry of Defense and the Chinese Society of Red Cross also sent telegram and provide assistance to Pakistan and India. Effective rescue work has already been underway. One of the three survivors found this morning has already been saved. A dozen of those injured have received basic treatment. The rescue team is working around the clock to cooperate with Pakistan and other international rescue teams. The earth quake also hit India and Afghanistan therefore our Ministry and embassies in India and Afghanistan are maintaining close contact with the two governments, trying to learn more about the disaster and in particular the needs of the rescue work.
You asked about further assistance, our first step is to finalize the $6.2 million emergency assistance, ensuring a timely and rapid delivery in accordance to the needs of Pakistan. Meanwhile, we will stay in close contact with Pakistan, making adjustment according to the needs of them. I wish to express, on behalf of the Information Department and all present here today, my solicitude to you and your colleague Joseph, and Indian correspondent here. I wish your family there safe and sound.
In one word, it is our heart-felt hope that under the leadership of their governments, the people there can work with the help of international community in overcoming the difficulties of the severe natural disaster at an early date and rebuild their beautiful homeland.
Q: On the earth quake in Pakistan, is the Khunjerab Pass between Xinjiang and Pakistan now closed? What was the damage in China near Kashmir? Was there any damage felt in China from the earthquake?
A: Thank you for asking possible loss and damage of China. The closest distance between Chinese territory and the epicenter is around 300 kilometers and that part is sparsely populated. I have not received any reports of casualty and loss there. We are following closely the situation there. I have not heard any news of closing the road to the Khunjerab Pass. I will make enquiries for you.
Q: What will be discussed during the visit of Greenspan and Snow to China this week?
A: There are two major tasks for US Treasury Secretary Snow and Fed Chairman Greenspan. First, to attend the seventh G20 meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors, which will be co-presided by Finance Minister Jin Renqing and Governor Zhou Xiaochuang of the People's Bank of China on 15th and 16th. Second, Minister Jin will also co-preside with Mr. Snow the 17th Sino-US Joint Economic Committee's Meeting. Mr. Greenspan, Mr. Cox, Chairman of US Securities and Stock Exchange Commission and Mr. Jeffery, Chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission will also be present.
The Joint Committee will explore a wide range of issues, including Sino-US economic relations and trade, cooperation between finance ministries of the two countries, macro economic situation of the world and the region as well as equal and friendly cooperation of mutual benefit between the two countries in related fields. We hope the meeting can promote mutual understanding.
Besides Beijing, Mr. Snow will also visit Sichuan and Shanghai.
Q: Can you confirm that the new round of Sino-US textile talks will be held in Beijing tomorrow? Who will be representing China? What are your goals? Do you expect any breakthrough?
A: The fifth round of textile talks was held through 26th to 28th last month with positive improvement. Both sides were able to have further understanding of the positions and expected goals of each other. I can confirm that the sixth round of the talks will be held in Beijing on 12th and 13th this month. You asked about China's expected goal, I believe the goal is also one shared by both sides, which is to seek a solution acceptable to both sides through friendly negotiation and talks. The frictions or conflict should be solved properly under the context rapid development of Sino-US trade and bilateral cooperation. This will be helpful for healthy, smooth and sustainable development of the economic cooperation between the two sides and beneficial for regional and global economic cooperation. China stands ready to take an active part in achieving the goal. We hope that the US side can coordinate our efforts so as to make further positive results out of this round of talks.
Q: Reports suggest that Snow and Greenspan will advise China on its currency reform. Will China accept their advice? Has China asked for US advice?
A: A wide range of issues will be discussed by the Joint Committee during Snow and Greenspan's visit, including financial and currency cooperation between the two countries and views on regional and world macro-economic situation. Under the framework, the two sides will talk about the RMB exchange rate. But exchange regime is fundamentally a sovereign issue. China has its own tempo and speed of development. We will press ahead gradually with the reform to best promote economic development of China and the world. This position is known to the US side.
It is the first visit to China since Chairman Greenspan took office 18 years ago. I believe the meeting will help him have full and first-hand information and have better understanding of the finance and currency reform of China.
Q: You mentioned Snow will also be visiting Sichuan and Shanghai. Who will he be meeting with there? Besides, is the date of Rumsfeld's visit to China set? Who will he be meeting with?
A: I will make further enquiries for you on Snow's visit to Shanghai and Sichuan. You can also contact directly the Finance Ministry who is in charge of all the arrangement of their visit in China.
US Defense Secretary Rumsfeld will be visiting China from October 18th to 20th. During his visit, state and military leaders will meet with him and have in-depth exchange of views on a wide range of issues of common interest including bilateral and military relations between the two countries. The visit is imperative and helpful to promote mutual understanding, enhance mutual trust and expand exchanges. Working groups of both countries are having consultations to settle the specific date and other details.
Q: Reports from Taiwan suggested that there would be no military exercise between the US and Taiwan this year and there would probably no such further military operations. What's your comment?
A: I believe that you must have been clear about China's position. There are three joint communiqués between China and the US. State leaders of the two countries have also exchanged views on this issue. Successive US Governments have all reiterated their commitment to the three Joint Communiqués and the One China Principle, making clear their opposition to Taiwan's independence. We request the US earnestly honor its commitment, properly handle the question and not to have any military exchanges and links with Taiwan.
Q: There were reports last week saying Lee Tung-hui will be visiting the US? What's your response?
A: The Chinese people are fully aware what kind of person he is. The US is also very clear of the damage to Sino-US relations caused by the trouble maker in the past. We oppose his visit to the US in whatever capacity of name to sell his theory of Taiwan's independence and undermine cross-straight relations and Sino-US relations. We hope that the US Government will handle China's request in real earnest, fulfill its commitment to the three Joint Communiqués, the One China Principle and opposition to Taiwan's independence. The US side should stop sending any wrong signals to the Taiwan separatists so as to ensure healthy, steady and sustainable development of bilateral ties.
Q: Will next round of Six-Party Talks be held in November as scheduled?
A: since last round of Six-Party Talks, China has been keeping close contact with the other five parties. Recently Vice-Premier Wu Yi headed a Chinese Government delegation in a visit to the DPRK and exchanged views on relevant issues with DPRK leaders. We believe that the 4th round of Six-Party Talks made important achievements including issuing joint statement and setting up goals, direction and mechanism. We hope that before the next round of Six-Party Talks, all parties will seriously consider concerns of all parties, continue to show goodwill and prepare for the talks in an active and constructive manner in order to hold the 5th round of Six-Party Talks in November and make positive progress through joint efforts.
A journalist asked just now about Vice-Premier Wu Yi's visit to DPRK. Her visit concluded today at noon and she has just come back to Beijing. Chinese media have sufficient reports about the visit. She met with General Secretary Kim Jong Il, Premier Pak Bong-ju, Kim Yong Nam, President of the Presidium of the DPRK Supreme People's Assembly and had in-depth and frank exchanges of views on bilateral relations and issues of common interest and reached extensive consensus. Apart from that, Vice-Premier Wu Yi also attended the completion ceremony of Dae An Friendship Glass Factory. It was a successful visit. As to the details of the visit, you could find them in relevant reports of Xinhua News Agency of today and yesterday.
Q: Xinhua News Agency did not mention whether Vice-Premier Wu Yi talked about President Hu Jintao's visit to DPRK. Last year, Kim Jong Il General Secretary invited President Hu Jintao to visit DPRK but it was not realized up to now. What is the obstacle?
A: Congratulations on your rapid progress in spoken Chinese.
General Secretary Kim Jong Il invited President Hu Jintao to visit DPRK on several occasions. China and DPRK have the mechanism and tradition of exchanging high-level visits. The two sides exchanged views on this during Vice-Premier Wu Yi's visit to DPRK. I will keep you updated once I have further information.
Q: In his message to DPRK Chairman Kim Jong-II, President Hu Jintao says China is ready to further promote China-DPRK traditional friendship under new circumstances. What does the "new circumstances" mean and what impact does it have on the friendship of the two countries?
A: You have raised a very good question. As for the new circumstances, from the prospect of time, China-DPRK friendship is in a new stage. From another aspect, tremendous changes are taking place in both China and DPRK, which is also new. During Vice Premier Wu Yi's visit, the two sides held an in-depth exchange of views over enhancing bilateral relations and reached a common and broad consensus. Apart from political, high-level and personnel exchanges as well as interactions at all levels, Vice Premier Wu Yi discussed with the DPRK side particularly about further development of bilateral economic and trade cooperation. We think the two sides should realize common progress on the basis of friendship and mutual benefits, explore new ways, new channels to constantly expand bilateral economic and trade relations. All these show that under the new circumstances, the two countries are making joint efforts to seek ways and methods to steadily consolidate traditional friendship between the peoples and expand bilateral mutually-beneficial and friendly cooperation, so as to finally achieve common development.
Q:Did Wu Yi take back any message from Kim to President Hu? If so, what's the content? You just said that China and the DPRK would enlarge economic cooperation. What's the status of China's economic assistance to the DPRK? What's going on with the glass factory assisted by China? Could you brief us on China's energy and food aid to the DPRK? Did Vice Premier Wu discuss the light water reactor with the DPRK side? By the way, why it was Jia Qinglin and Xiong Guangkai that attended celebration of establishment of Worker's Party of DPRK held in DPRK's embassy?
A: After Vice Premier Wu conveyed President Hu's message, Kim Jong Il said that the two countries enjoy profound and unbreakable traditional friendship. It is the consistent policy of the DPRK Party and Government to consolidate and develop friendly cooperation with China. He is glad to see the development of bilateral relations in recent years, especially the materialization of the consensus reached with President Hu during his visit to China. I think he has made a response to President Hu's message.
As for the Dae An Friendship Glass Factory, the factory producing float glass is 50km far from Pyongyang, its planned output is 300 tons per day.
As friendly neighbor, we have been providing the DPRK some assistance and cooperation within our capability when it faces difficulties. This year is no exception. As for the specific items of Sino-DPRK trade, I suggest you to check the website of China Customs, where you can get detailed information including all the items.
As for your last question, Chinese leaders attend similar activities hosted by foreign missions in China almost every day. It is quite normal.
Q: Did someone taking part in the six-party talks accompany Vice Premier Wu to the DPRK, such as Wu Dawei? Did they have talks on the six-party talks in Pyongyang?
A: Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei is in charge of bilateral and regional affairs of the whole Asia. He is a member of the Chinese delegation headed by Vice Premier Wu. During their meetings, the leaders of the two countries discussed regional situations including the six-party talks and reached consensus. Are you the new here? Welcome and hope you will be able to raise questions in Chinese next time.
Q: Has Premier Wuyi returned to China? When did she arrive? Do you have any figures of the assistance China provided the DPRK to build the glassware factory? You mentioned "broad consensus" just now, can you be more specific? The ROK lodged a protest against China for its repatriation of 7 North Koreans who illegally entered China, what's China's reaction?
A: Vice Premier Wu Yi arrived in Beijing at 1:30 this afternoon.
China helped to build the glass factory. With the DPRK side's vigorous coordination, a grand modern glass factory has been built and put to production within 15 months.
As for the "protest" you mentioned, I think it is groundless. Such incidents are not just occasional. They have not only gravely disturbed China's social security and stability, but also affected normal life and work of diplomatic missions in China. The Chinese side has always handled such issues in accordance with international law, domestic law and the principle of humanitarianism. We also take all factors into full consideration, including such major issues as safeguarding peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula. We hope that relevant countries can have an objective view and handle the issue with calmness in line with the international law.
Q: The "Shen Zhou Six" will be launched tomorrow. Why foreign journalists are not invited to attend such a pleasant occasion? Another question is, some conflicts took place in Tai Shi Village near Guangzhou. It is reported that some foreign journalists were beat. How does the Chinese Foreign Ministry view the issue?
A: Thanks for your keen interest in "Shen Zhou Six". The launch of "Shen Zhou Six" represents a very important step of China's manned space program. All the Chinese people wish it a complete success. As for why the foreign press hasn't been invited, as I know, countries usually take some different methods at different stages of high-risk space missions. I believe all of you will understand it. The most important thing is, "Shen Zhou Six" can complete its mission smoothly and make contribution to mankind's peaceful utilization of outer space.
Regarding your second question, many journalists have asked about the issue. First I will clarify that, a foreign newspaper reports that a county people representative died in the incident, which is far from the truth. The newspaper released news on the second day that this person had safely returned to where he lives. I want to stress that, last year we received and arranged tens of thousands of interviews for 4,800 journalists from over 50 countries and nearly 500 journalists stationed in Beijing from 45 countries and 290 agencies. We are always trying our best to offer conveniences and opportunities for journalists to cover China. After every foreign journalist comes to China, we will familiar him with relevant practices and regulations. We hope they can act on the rule. During the incident, the two foreign journalists went to interview without application. We express our regret for their violation of relevant regulations. It is these media that often criticize China has no rule of law, but it is also them that take the lead to violate China's laws and regulations. This is extremely improper. Of course, the police are not permitted but prohibited to abuse their power in carrying out their duties. Above all, we hope all foreign media can have an objective and full coverage of China. We are not afraid of criticisms. We are also criticized by our own media. But the key issue is to abide by law. You need to file your interview applications according to relevant regulations. We stand ready to facilitate your work here.
Follow-up: How about the investigation now?
A: What I know now is these journalists went there in disguise. Why did not they make it clear that they were there for interview? If they went to learn the villagers' protection of their civil rights as they claimed, why did they say they were investigating such irrelevant issues as family planning and environmental protection? The police didn't take any rude actions against them, but made some inquires. After knowing they were journalists, the police pointed out their mistakes and sent the two journalists back to their hotel in Guangdong. If you have any exact evidence of the police abusing power, you are welcome to tell us, which I will timely pass to relevant departments and ask them to make further investigations.
Follow-up: Which media do they come from?
A: It seems they are not present today. I believe they would rather prefer not to be revealed. Following reports of that newspaper on the incident have proved that its previous story was inaccurate.
Q: Russia and India are holding joint paratroop exercises from October 10th to 20th. What's China's comment? Will there be joint military exercises among China, Russia and India?
A: We have noticed the report on the joint military exercises between Russia and India. As for whether China, Russia and India will hold joint military exercises, the three countries have identical views on many major issues and have conducted good cooperation. We also have a mechanism for dialogues and consultations, including meetings and talks in different forms among their foreign ministers during their international meetings. I believe the three countries can work together to explore various forms of cooperation and exchanges to safeguard regional peace and stability and promote regional development and prosperity.
Q: Are there any bilateral meetings arranged on the sideline of the Meeting of G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors? What are the major topics of the meeting and China's expectations?
A: The Meeting of G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors will consist of two parts. Its opening ceremony will be held in Beijing, while the meeting will be in Xianghe, in Beijing's suburb. The meeting has five topics: the reform of Bretonwoods institutions; the development of financing; the innovation of development concept; senilization and immigration; the current global and regional economy and development. Apart from the five topics, the meeting will release communiqués as usual. Besides, if the 20 members are able to reach a consensus, two concrete documents will be released at the end of the meeting: a joint declaration on international development and a joint declaration on reform of Bretonwoods institutions.
You asked about bilateral meetings, I think there will be. Although their schedule is tight, finance ministers and central bank governors will take the opportunity to hold an in-depth exchange of views on bilateral cooperation, global and regional finance and fiscal policies and other issues of common interests. The meeting is open to the press. You are welcome to apply at IPC of Information Department of our Ministry and the News Centre of Finance Ministry-the host of the meeting as well.
Q: Can you tell us the details of the agenda of the consultations on the exploration of natural gas in the East China Sea?
A: On September 30th, China and Japan held the third round of consultations in Tokyo on the issue of the East China Sea. This round of consultations, particularly the talks about the negotiations of demarcation and exploitations of resources in the East China Sea, are candid and pragmatic. The two sides also further discussed about the preparation for the fourth round of consultations in Beijing before the end of October. We have made it clear on various occasions that China and Japan have differences over the East China Sea issue. The China proposed to solve the question in accordance with the principle of "putting aside differences and joint exploitation". During the previous three rounds, the China has always adopted an active, sincere and pragmatic attitude, hoping to find a solution acceptable to both sides through peaceful dialogues. We also hope the Japanese side can actively coordinate with the efforts of China and proceed with the fourth round in a constructive and pragmatic manner, so as to finally seek a proper solution through peaceful dialogues.
Q: China always stresses the purpose of its vigorous space exploration programme is the peaceful use of outer space. But is obtaining outer space military technology also another motive? Will China carry out military utilization of outer space in the future? The US always takes a negative attitude towards halting the exploration of space weapons, how do you react to its policy?
A: The possibility you mentioned doesn't exist at all. The Chinese Government consistently advocates the peaceful utilization of outer space and opposes to sending weapons to the outer space. We do not wish to see any form of arms race in outer space. We have clearly reiterated our commitment: our space flight program is an important part of mankind's peaceful exploration of outer space. All our space missions remain to be peaceful.
I would like to share with you some information. After the launch of "Shen Zhou Six", there will be a press conference. I hope you use that opportunity to raise as many questions on the issue as you wish.
Q: Ms. Merkel has been elected as the new German Chancellor. What impact will her election have on China-Germany relations? Ms Merkel cancelled her scheduled visit to China because the election was held ahead of schedule. Is China expecting her visit to China in the near future? On the just-concluded 5th plenary session of 16th CPC Central Committee, China's development plan from 2006 to 2010 was approved. What plan does the Chinese Foreign Ministry have for the next five years?
A: This morning it was reported that two major German political parties conducted negotiations on forming an administration of grand coalition. We would like to welcome the news and send our congratulations, hoping their negotiations can proceed smoothly. Regarding China-Germany relations, you must have noticed that at the press conference Ms. Merkel affirmed the importance she attached to China-Germany relations and her commitment to continuous development of the bilateral relations. This is also completely what we hope. China attaches great importance to relations with Germany and stands ready to make joint efforts with the new German government to further promote an all-round and thorough development of the mutually-beneficial relations and friendship.
As for the next five-year plan of the 5th session of 16th CPC Central Committee, you will be able to get the communiqué of the meeting in 3 hours, which will give you a complete and accurate idea on the plans for China's social and economic development and foreign relations.
Q: As we know, a Japanese cabinet member will be in Beijing from today to Friday to discuss the abandoned Japanese chemical weapons. What are China's requests? What is your expectation?
A: From today to 15th, Takeshi Erikawa, Vice Minister for the Cabinet Office will visit China and to discuss how to accelerate the disposal of abandoned Japanese chemical weapons in China and other relevant issues. Apart from talks, he will also go to relevant areas in Dunhua city of Jilin Province to make a field survey of the burial sites of the abandoned Japanese chemical weapons. In fact, the Japanese side is clear that China requests the Japanese Government to undertake and fulfill its commitment, take full responsibility and provide necessary funds, technology, experts, facilities and other resources in accordance with the regulations prescribed in the UN Convention on the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the Memorandum signed between China and Japan. China will assist their work during the process.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of Victory of the Chinese People's War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression. Even today, 60 years after the war, the chemical weapons abandoned by Japan in China are still jeopardizing the Chinese people's safety, making their normal life at high risk in every passing minute. We always urge the Japanese side to handle the issue in real earnest and take concrete measures to eliminate the potential threat as soon as possible.
If there are no further questions, thanks for your presence!