|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Kong Quan's Press Conference on 13 October 2005|
On the afternoon of October 13th, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Kong Quan held a regular press conference.
Kong Quan: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Present here today are 19 African diplomats from 17 countries. They are here for a training programme in Foreign Affairs University. A warm welcome to you, I wish you a pleasant stay here in China.
I would like to make an announcement:
At the invitation of President Hu Jintao, President of the Republic of Equatorial Guinea Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo will pay a working visit to China from October 19th to 24th.
The floor is open for questions.
Q: Would you please brief us on China's further assistance to Pakistan?
A: I would like to convey my deep solicitude to you again. We are glad to see that under the assistance of international community, Pakistani people are sparing no efforts in disaster relief. More survivors have been found and rescued in the last two days, which we feel quite relieved. The Chinese rescue team is working closely with Pakistani people. My information is, by 4 p.m. yesterday, Chinese rescue team had successfully saved three survivors and helped treat over 200 injured people.
With regard to the assistance material, apart from the first two batches, the third batch was sent out at 6 p.m. on 11th. The 3130 items of medicines and medical equipment, weighing 50 tons, reached Pakistan around 11 p.m. on 11th. The fourth batch, 49 tons in total, arrived there early in the morning on 13th, including 620 tents, 2,000 blankets, and 180,000 sheets as well as other items which are in bad need. In the following days, China will continue to send material to Pakistan.
This morning, State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan went to the Pakistani Embassy. On behalf of the Chinese Government and people, he conveyed condolence to the victims, sympathy to their relatives and those affected, and sincere consolation to those injured. He said that he strongly believe that under the leadership of President Musharraf and the Government, Pakistani people will surely be able to overcome the difficulties and rebuild their homeland.
Q: Taiwan decided to send Wang Jinping to attend the APEC Summit Meeting in Korea in November. Do you have comment on that? It is reported that ROK already agreed to allow Wang's representation.
A: APEC has had clear stipulations on Taiwan's representation since it was founded. Taipei can only send minister in charge of economic issues related to APEC to attend its meetings. It has been a routine adopted in all the past 12 sessions of APEC. Strict adherence to it constitutes a political foundation for Taiwan's participation in APEC and a prerequisite and guarantee for the success of APEC meetings. We resolutely oppose any delegate from Taiwan in violation of the stipulation. We hope that as the host of this year's meeting, ROK can play its due role to ensure continuous positive results of the meeting and make its contribution to the cooperation and joint progress in Asia Pacific.
Q: Iran's Foreign Minister started his visit to China today. What is the goal of his visit? Can you tell us his agenda and whom will he be meeting with? Will he discuss with China about its dispute with the EU on nuclear issues and the restrictions imposed upon them by some western countries?
A: Foreign Minister Mottaki is here for a two-day visit. Apart from important talks with Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, Chinese state leaders will also be meeting with him. Their discussion will cover bilateral ties, especially the furtherance of mutually beneficial cooperation and friendship under the new circumstances. They will also exchange views on international and regional issues of common interest. You mentioned the nuclear question, which I believe will also be covered during the discussions.
We are supportive of Iran's talks with the three European countries. We always wish to see a long-term and proper solution to the nuclear question through peaceful talks within the framework of IAEA. We hope that Iran and EU can exercise patience and flexibility, take concrete and practical steps to break the stalemate and resume the dialogue and consultation at an early date.
Q: Taiwan announced yesterday that it would not give up its rights of oil exploration in East China Sea and would send its marine to the Chunxiao oil field. What is your comment? Taiwan's Wu Rongyi said that he would not be able to see the reunification of the mainland and Taiwan since it was decided to maintain the status quo. I know it is a question relating to cross-strait relations. But since it also involves the US, I would like to have your comment on that. My third question, the textile talks between China and the US have concluded without any results. The US is also quite pessimistic about it. Can you brief us on that? I know that you will suggest me to ask the Ministry of Commerce. I tried several times but failed to get an answer.
A: I briefed you on China's position on the question of the East China Sea on last time's press conference. We hope that through talks and consultation between the two sides, we can find a proper solution acceptable to both. At the end of last round of talks on the issue, both sides agreed to hold a fourth round of talks before the end of October. We have always been taking an active and pragmatic attitude towards the talks. As a matter of fact, China proposed to hold talks and put forth the concept of "shelving differences and conducting joint exploration".
On your second question, it involves cross-strait relations. The spokesperson of the Taiwan's Affairs Office of the State Council will be in a better position to answer that.
Follow-up: During Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to the US, President Bush suggested to maintain the status quo across the strait.
A: President Bush reiterated on many occasions the position of the US on Taiwan question, which is the adherence to the One China Policy and the three Joint Communiqués and opposition to Taiwan's independence. We appreciate the statement. To honor the commitment and translate it to real actions constitutes an indispensable basis for healthy and stable development of China-US relations. In his recent summit meeting with President Hu Jintao in New York, President Bush reaffirmed this position. We hope that the US Government can live up to its commitment and press ahead with healthy, stable and sustainable bilateral relations. It will not only benefit both peoples but also world peace and regional stability.
You also asked about textile talks between China and the US, as you rightly said, the question would better be answered by the Ministry of Commerce. You complained that you were not able to get an answer. I think they are busy analyzing and evaluating this round of talks. I will forward your comment to my colleagues there. I believe they will release their evaluation very soon.
On the whole China-US economic relations and trade are growing rapidly. Last year the bilateral trade volume reached US$169.6 billion. This momentum has been maintained in the past six months. In the process of rapid development, problems, frictions or disputes are unavoidable. It is imperative for both sides to handle the question with a calm, objective and forward-looking attitude so that the economic relations and trade of mutual benefit can proceed on a more stable and healthier basis.
Q: Japan also proposed to jointly explore the East China Sea during the third round of talks in Tokyo. But their proposal is quite different from that of China in contents and locations. What is your comment? Are you against it? The strategic dialogue between China and Japan will start in Beijing tomorrow. The question might also be discussed. Will China make its position known to Japan then?
A: As I told you last time, the third round of talks on the East China Sea ten days ago were held in a pragmatic and candid fashion. We do have disagreement, including the "middle line" proposed by Japan. It is a unilateral proposal, which China will never accept. I am not in a position to reveal details of the talks but I hope that both sides will adopt a pragmatic and constructive manner to proceed with the talks so as to find a proper solution through peaceful negotiation and consultation.
The third round of Sino-Japanese strategic dialogue will be held in Beijing through tomorrow to 17th. Since it is strategic, its agenda will be very extensive, covering all fields of bilateral ties. Japan is our important neighbour. Sino-Japanese relations have enjoyed rapid development with broadening exchanges and cooperation in various fields. But the relations also face big problems, which we need to handle carefully. During his meeting with Koizumi in Jakarta on 23rd April, President Hu Jintao put forth five proposals in developing bilateral ties, which was well received by Japan. We hope that Japan can well coordinate China's proposal, finalize the consensus reached by leaders of the two countries and make joint efforts with China to promote bilateral ties in the new century.
Q: Please update us on the visit of Japanese officials concerning Japan's abandoned chemical weapons in China.
A: Mr.Takeshi Erikawa, Vice Minister for the Japanese Cabinet Office arrived in China on October 11th. Yesterday, he went to Dunhua city of Jilin Province to make a field study of the burial sites of abandoned Japanese chemical weapons. Why did he go to that place? As you may know, abandoned Japanese chemical weapons have been found at over 40 places in 15 provinces of China. China hopes that Japan can map out their burial sites. But Japan has failed to do so. Among over 40 sites discovered in 15 provinces, the largest number of chemical weapons is believed to be buried in Dunhua. Mr.Takeshi Erikawa examined the sites of excavation and storage in Dunhua and returned to Beijing today. Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei will meet with him tomorrow. We hope the Japanese side can accelerate their work and take concrete measures at an early date to eliminate the potential threat left over 60 years ago, which is still undermining the Chinese people's safety, normal work, study and life at every passing minute.
Q: My question is on the upcoming G20 meeting. It is reported that US Secretary of Treasury Snow will urge China to adopt more flexibility on RMB exchange rate. How will China respond? What position will Chinese officials take during the meeting? It is the first time for China to host the G20 meeting, what message will China convey or what proposals will it put forward? How does China think the world should solve the existing problem facing global economy?
A: The G20 meeting will be held in Beijing and Xianghe, Hebei Province from 15th to 16th. The meeting is open to the press. I hope you can attend and interview this meeting, get answers to the question you raised from relevant Chinese officials in charge and get first-hand information on the positions of relevant countries on regional and global economic situation. I already briefed the press on this meeting at last press conference, including its five major topics. To save time, I will not repeat it here. You can also check our website for further details.
As for RMB exchange rate, we have made clear our position on various occasions. Mr. Snow made some remarks in Shanghai. In fact China and the US have been conducting dialogues on the issue. We hope that these dialogues can help to further enhance our mutual understanding of each other's position, views and considerations and finally effectively promote bilateral cooperation in relevant fields. At last press conference I reiterated that the exchange rate is fundamentally an issue of sovereignty and internal affairs. The just-concluded 5th plenary session of the 16th CPC Central Committee also stressed further reform of financial system. China will continue to reform its financial system and the currency exchange rate mechanism catering to its own tempo and speed. After G20 meeting, the Chinese and American finance ministers will co-chair the 17th Sino-US Joint Economic Committee's Meeting where the two sides will have an in-depth exchange of views over relevant issues.
Your third question is related to the composition of G20. G20 members include both major developed countries and some developing ones, achieving a fine balance between the views of developed countries and the concerns of developing nations. We think such meetings provide an important platform for both groups to express their views on major international, financial and fiscal issues and participate in international consultations. The Chinese representative will fully elaborate on China's views, propositions and positions on relevant issues and meanwhile listen to those of other developing countries on current international economic order. We certainly attach the same importance to the suggestions of the developed countries. Above all, we hope all parties can make their voice heard on current economic situation during the meeting and make joint efforts to safeguard and promote a sustained, healthy and steady growth of international economy to truly achieve common progress.
Again, you had better go there for yourselves. You know that Xianghe is not far.
If there are no further questions, thank you for your presence.