|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Kong Quan's Press Conference on 20 October 2005|
On the afternoon of October 20th, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Kong Quan held a regular press conference.
Kong Quan: Good afternoon. I would like to begin with two announcements before I open the floor for questions.
At the invitation of Prime Minister Fradkov of the Government of the Russian Federation, Premier Wen Jiabao of the State Council will attend the Fourth Meeting of Prime Ministers of the Member States of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to be held in Moscow from October 26th to 27th.
At the invitation of Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, Foreign Minister of Serbia and Montenegro Vuk Draskovic will pay an official visit to China from October 22nd to 27th.
With that, I am happy to take your questions.
Q: How do you comment on Rumsfeld's visit to China? How is it going to reduce the frictions between China and the US?
A: You can find full coverage by Chinese media over this visit in the past two days, including his meetings with President Hu Jintao and State Councilor, Defence Minister Cao Gangchuan. After the meeting between the two Defence Ministers, they held a joint press conference. Both believe that the meetings and talks were frank, constructive and fruitful with many consensuses reached, including further enhancement of exchanges and mutual trust. They also noted in particular that the current China-US relations are developing with a sound momentum. The two militaries need to work together to accelerate the development of the military relationship to catch up with the pace of the overall relationship.
On the whole, the visit is a success. Both sides were able to have an in-depth exchange of views over an extensive range of issues including bilateral ties and military relations. Agreement was reached on further enhancement of bilateral military relations and expansion of exchanges and cooperation in military education and exchanges of warship visits.
Q: Rumsfeld said this morning that China was strengthening its nuclear strike capacity so that its missiles could hit targets on the other side of the Pacific. Beijing needs to explain its intention to its neighbours. How do you comment?
A: I haven't had chance to read the remarks you mentioned. But we stressed on various occasions that it is all too natural for China to strengthen its national defence capacity. There is no need to be worrisome or suspicious. During his talks with Chinese military leadership, Secretary Rumsfeld was able to exchange views over his suspicions and concerns. He admitted that his meetings with China were frank and constructive with important consensuses reached on enhancing mutual understanding and communication.
We hope that the visit will help to promote comprehensive and objective understanding between the two sides, build mutual trust and enable the military exchanges and cooperation smoothly develop at the same pace as the overall bilateral ties.
Q: During his visit to China, Rumsfeld criticized China over its military expenditure and build-up. What concerns China raised to the US side during the meetings with him? Did China bring about the issues of US expansion of security alliance in the Asia-Pacific and its Taiwan policy? What did Minister Cao Gangchuan say to Rumfeld?
A: I was not present at the meeting. But as we can see from the joint press conference afterwards, both leaders are satisfied with and positive towards the atmosphere, discussions and results of their just-concluded meeting. Both sides exchanged views frankly and put forth constructive proposals and reached consensus. Not only Minister Cao Gangchuan brought about the question of Taiwan but also President Hu Jintao stressed during his meeting with Rumsfeld that the US should abide by the three Joint Communiqués in real earnest. Minister Cao Gangchuan clearly noted that the Taiwan question bears on China's sovereignty and territorial integrity which is the core interest of China. China appreciates the reiterated commitment of President Bush to the One China Policy, three Joint Communiqués and opposition to Taiwan's independence. We hope that the US can translate those commitments into real deeds, stand with China in opposing and constraining Taiwan's independence forces so as to ensure a peaceful and stable Asia-Pacific.
Q: What is the view of China over Lee Tung-hui's activities in the US, including his meetings with some US congressmen? Did China bring up this issue to the US during Rumsfeld's visit?
A: I answered the question in previous two press conferences. We are always resolutely against the separatist activities of the obstinate trouble-maker in the US or elsewhere. His pro-independence actions have undermined cross-strait relations, China-US relations and peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region. We have lodged solemn representation with the US, hoping that the US can fulfill in real earnest its commitment to abiding by the three Joint Communiqués and One China Principle and opposing the Taiwan's independence.
During the visit of Rumsfeld, Chinese leadership stressed the Taiwan question bear on China's sovereignty and territorial integrity which are the core interest of China. We request that the US can properly handle the question and refrain from sending any wrong signal to the pro-independence forces in Taiwan.
Q: China informed Japan on 18th of its decision to postpone Japanese Foreign Minister's visit. What does China want Japan to do to resume the visit? When will China consider resuming it? When will the talks be held on East China Sea between Director-General Cui Tian-kai and Japanese Director-General of the Department of Asia-Pacific Affairs, Mr. Kenichiro Sasae? Is President Hu planning to meet with Prime Minister Koizumi during the APEC Summit Meeting in November and the East Asia Summit Meeting in Malaysia in December? What does China want Koizumi to do to improve China-Japanese relations in his remaining term before next September?
A: Given the severe circumstances, it is not the right time to have the Japanese Foreign Minister here. We made it clear to Japan that Koizumi's visit to the Yasukuni Shrine brought out very serious consequences, of which he would have to shoulder all the responsibilities.
On the consultation between the two Director-Generals on the East China Sea, I have no information.
With regard to the possibility of a summit meeting during APEC and other international conferences, I am not aware whether it is discussed or not.
Prime Minister Koizumi should be very clear of what kind of efforts Japan need to make. We expounded our position on various occasions. In particular, during his meeting with Prime Minister Koizumi in Jakarta 23rd April, President Hu put forth five proposals on the development of China-Japanese relations. Prime Minister Koizumi agreed to those proposals but it turned out later that he betrayed his own position. Japan must match its commitment to a correct political view with real deeds and refrain from doing things that hurt the feelings of the people of the victimized countries. This is the prerequisite and basis for the improvement and progress of China-Japanese relations.
Q: will Koizumi's visit to the Yasukuni Shrine produce any negative effect on the Six-Party talks?
A: Regardless of the repeated opposition of the peace-loving people in Asia, Prime Minister Koizumi failed to deliver his commitment on having remorse of Japan's history and insisted to paying tribute to the Yasukuni Shrine where WWII A class criminals are worshiped. We wish to express our strong indignation and resolute opposition. We have made our position clear to Japan. I would like to draw to your attention that the strong indignation and opposition of people in Asia, China included, have won understanding and support of the international community. I have also taken note that even in Japan there are many voices against his visit.
On the Six-Party talks, our position remains to be unchanged. Ambassador Li Bin in charge of Korean Peninsular affairs is visiting relevant countries. We look forward to concerted efforts from relevant parties to press ahead with the talks based on the statement issued after the fourth round of the Six-Party talks so as to gain positive results out of the talks.
Q: It is reported that President Hu Jintao would visit DPRK, please confirm. Is there any people infected with bird flu in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region? What measures has China taken to combat the threat of bird flu, for instance, providing vaccine or medicine?
A: With regard to President Hu's visit to DPRK, I know that friends from the press are extremely interested and there were some reports on it. However I can not offer any concrete or authorized information today. China and DPRK are friendly countries with traditional mechanism of exchanges of high level visits. I will keep you updated in due course.
As to the outbreak of bird flu in Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region, Ministry of Agriculture of China is the designated authority in charge. I would like to brief you on what I have got from Ministry of Agriculture. On October 19th, national Bird Flu reference laboratory confirmed that there was an outbreak of H5N1 bird flu in a rare birds breeding farm in Village Tengjiaying, Bayan Town, Saihan Region, Huhehaote City, Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region leading to the death of 2600 plume birds. Upon receiving the report of the suspected case of bird flu in Inner Mongolia, Ministry of Agriculture immediately sent a working group there to supervise the prevention and control work. The local agriculture and sanitary authorities took contingency measures of immunity, blockage, culling and disinfection in accordance with relevant national regulations. Now the outbreak has been wiped out and no new outbreaks have been found up to this moment.
I will brief you on the Chinese Government's opinion on bird flu. Bird flu cases have been found in all major continents. The Chinese Government attaches great importance to the issue, focusing on protecting the security of our citizens and making joint efforts with the international community in prevention and treatment of the epidemic. China has established a national network for monitoring the epidemic and emergency program to prevent human being affected. We have intensified quarantine measures in import and export to completely prevent the spread of epidemic. We have conducted technical exchanges and cooperation with relevant organization and international community. China has formally proposed to convene a forum on new epidemic next year, at which the bird flue will be top on the agenda. Discussions will be focusing on the monitoring, prevention, treatment and share of information on bird flu.
Chinese Health Minister Gao Qiang will pay a visit to Canada and America. During his visit, he will attend the health ministers' meeting on flu in Canada. The main topics of the meeting are how to cope with, prevent, treat, monitor and control the spread of bird around the globe. At the meeting, China will share with the participants our successful experience, our work and suggestions on stronger international cooperation.
Follow-up: Do any cases of human affection or suspicious affection appear in Inner Mongolia?
A: We have not found any case of human being affected with bird flue. I understand your keen interest, so I gave you some background knowledge. China's Ministry of Agriculture will be in a better position to give you relevant information.
Q:Did China provide samples of bird flu occurred in Inner Mongolia to international organizations? As far as I know, the Chinese side failed to do so one week ago.
A: The Chinese Government has informed the relevant countries, regions and the international organizations of the epidemic situation in China to develop communication and cooperation, including providing genetic sequences and strains of bird flu occurred in China. As for this round of outbreak in Hohhot in Inner Mongolia, I don't know whether they have done so or not. However, I believe the Chinese Government will responsibly cooperate with international organizations. Bird flu is a threat faced by all human beings. We need enhance communication and share the successful experiences in order to decrease the harm caused by bird flu to the human beings as large extend as possible.
I can refer your question to the Ministry of Agriculture. You can also ask them directly.
Q: Former Iraqi President Saddam was tried yesterday. What is your comment? Do you think it legitimate?
A: We have taken note of relevant reports. The destiny of Saddam and other former senior officials of Iraqi government should be determined by the Iraqi people. Meanwhile, we hope the Iraqi situations can be stabilized at an early date so that the Iraqi people can gradually realize reconstruction and live a stable life.
Q: Now Pakistan is still facing grave situation after the quake, requiring more international aids for relief. According to official statistics, there are 85,000 peoples dead, thousands injured and homeless. The UN Secretary yesterday called on international community to offer more relief aids. I know China has made tremendous efforts. How will China echo this appeal?
A: I'm glad to tell you that China's ninth batch of relief materials to Pakistan were delivered on 19th from Beijing to Pakistan. We hope our aids can be of some help to rescue work and reconstruction in your country. This is the kindness of the Chinese people. We have noticed that, relevant sides called on international community to increase aids. We care for the difficulties of the Pakistani people and will consider the issue actively.
Q: Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Long will visit China next week. Can you brief us on his specific agenda and the topics to be discussed with the Chinese leaders?
A: Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Long will pay an official to China from 24th to 30th. This is his first visit to China since he took office. From what I have with me, Premier Wen Jiabao will hold talks with him, President Hu Jintao, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Chinese National People's Congress Wu Bangguo and Chairman of CPPCC Jia Qinglin will meet with him. As for the content of meetings and talks, I believe the leaders of the two sides will make an in-depth exchange of views over further development of China-Singapore friendly and cooperative relations, regional cooperation and major international issues. Besides Beijing, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Long will also visit Tianjin, Shenyang and Dalian.
Q: As I know, China-Russia Strategic Security Talks are being held in Beijing. Please brief us on relevant information and its major topics. Under what background has the high-level strategic talks between China and Russia been achieved? What impacts do such high-level talks have on China-Russia relations?
A: This morning, State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan and Secretary of the Federal Security Council of the Russian Federation Ivanov held the second round of China-Russian Strategic Security Talks in Beijing, whose major topics are bilateral relations. The two sides made an in-depth exchange of views over current bilateral cooperation in all fields and agreed to further promote a rapid and all-dimensional development of China-Russia Strategic Partnership in all fields and at all levels. Another important topic of the talks is major issues in current international situations, including international issues such as anti-terrorism and prevention of nuclear proliferation as well regional issues including the building of Shanghai Cooperation Organization and regional situation in Middle Asia. The two sides achieved many consensuses. With the constant development of China-Russia Strategic Partnership, the two countries deem it necessary to further increase channels of communications and consultations. It is under this background that China-Russia Strategic Security Talks were put into place. The talks not only echo the needs of further development of strategic partnership between China and Russia, but also meet the needs of the two countries to safeguard international and regional peace and stability in coping with the changes of international situations. The consultations yield a positive result, for the two sides have enhanced mutual understanding and trust in an all-round way through such comprehensive strategic consultations. It is of great significance for promoting and expanding friendly and mutually-beneficial cooperation between the two countries in fields.
If there are no other questions, thanks for your presence! See you next week.