On the afternoon of October 25th, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Kong Quan held a regular press conference.
Kong Quan: Good afternoon. I shall begin with two announcements.
At the invitation of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom, President Horst Koehler of Germany, King Juan Carlos I of Spain and President Roh Moo-hyun of Republic of Korea, President Hu Jingtao will pay a state visit to the above-mentioned four countries from November 8th to 17th. After the visit, President Hu Jintao will attend the 13th APEC Economic Leaders Meeting to be held in Busan, Republic of Korea from November 18th to 19th.
At the invitation of Premier Wen Jiabao of the State Council, Prime Minister of the Government of the Russian Federation Mikhail Yefimovich Fradkov will pay an official visit to China from November 3rd to 4th to hold the 10th Sino-Russian Prime Ministers' Meeting with Premier Wen Jiabao. Before the meeting, Vice Premier Wu Yi of the State Council will hold the 9th Session of the Committee of the Sino-Russian Prime Ministers' Meeting on November 1st with Deputy Prime Minister Zhukov who will arrive earlier. State Councilor Chen Zhili will hold the 6th Session of Sino-Russian Cooperation Committee on Education, Culture, Public Health and Sports with Mr. Zhukov on October 31st.
With that, I would be happy to take your questions.
Q: Can you tell us how the cooperation between China and the US on non-proliferation is going? What are the main obstacles?
A: Non-proliferation is an important field of cooperation between China and the US. Leaders and relevant authorities have maintained contact, dialogue and consultation on it. Non-proliferation cooperation between us is fruitful. We look forward to working with the US to promote the process of the world's non-proliferation. If you can specify your interest in the topic, I would be happy to give you further information.
Follow-up: The US complained about China's lack of cooperation in export control. Will it affect the cooperation between the two sides on non-proliferation? Through which channel can the US express their concern to China? Can you tell us the cooperation between China and the DPRK on nuclear technology? What does China plan to do with the DPRK to remove the concerns of the US within the framework of the Six-Party Talks?
A: You asked about some accusations of China's lack of efforts in non-proliferation. These remarks are baseless, ungrounded and irresponsible. China has promulgated in recent years a series of very strict regulations on non-proliferation, including nuclear, biochemical weapons and vehicles for missiles. These regulations are in line with relevant international laws. Our consistent principle on non-proliferation is to have in place corresponding domestic laws, which must be strictly followed, and leave no breaches unpunished. We will further strengthen our control over non-proliferation and to conduct dialogue and cooperation with other countries on an equal footing.
The US complained about some of the items exported by Chinese enterprises and imposed sanctions on them in accordance with its internal laws, which we are against. The reason is simple. Those sanctions were imposed not in line with international law or regulations on non-proliferation. They were based on domestic law of the US. We request that the US remove those sanctions so as to ensure healthy bilateral economic relations and trade on the basis of equality and mutual benefit. In the mean time, we clearly noted that had there been any breaches by those enterprises, they would be punished in strict accordance with the laws and regulations of the Chinese Government. During Defence Secretary Rumfeld's visit to China, the two sides exchanged views on the issue. China also made its position clear to the US.
I have answered your third question on many occasions. We do not have any cooperation with the DPRK relating to nuclear technologies. What is imperative at the moment is that various parties are making active efforts on the basis of the consensus reached during the 4th round of the Six-Party Talks with a view to holding the 5th round on schedule in November. Chinese Ambassador Li Bin in charge of the Korean Peninsular Affairs just concluded his visit to the DPRK. He will be visiting the US to have consultation and dialogue with Mr. Hill, head of the US delegation and other officials on the Six-Party Talks. We hope that various parties can continue to exert good will and adopt pragmatism and flexibility in their preparation so as to translate the consensus reached on last round of talks to positive results in the next round.
Q: Can you tell us the specific date of President Hu Jintao's visit to Spain? Who will he be meeting with? Which city will he go? How is the current bilateral relationship between the two countries?
A: Spain comes after Britain and Germany during President Hu's visit. He will conclude his visit to Germany on 13th. During his stay in Spain, he will meet with King Carlos I; have working talks with Prime Minister Zapatero; meet with speakers of the two houses of the parliament and attend the first industrial and business summit between the two countries. Relevant authorities and businesses will sign a series of agreements on cooperation in the field of trade and commerce, science and technology as well as culture.
We are quite satisfied with the smooth development of bilateral ties in the past 32 years since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1973. Recent years have witnessed frequent exchanges of high-level visits and broadening mutual understanding and political mutual trust. I need to stress that China values greatly the consistent support of Spanish Government to China's principled position on Taiwan. The support of Spain to China has laid a political foundation for the smooth development of bilateral ties. Bilateral trade and commerce have also been growing rapidly. Last year's trade volume reached 7.2 billion US dollars. Two-way investment is also increasing at a high rate, with Spanish investment registering 600 million dollars. Chinese businesses have established more than 20 offices or joint ventures in Spain. Cooperation and exchanges in science and technology, culture, education and tourism are also very dynamic. The two countries have maintained consultation and cooperation in international and regional issues. In short, China is fully confident that the friendly relations and cooperation will continue to grow, believing that President Hu's visit will lift the all-round friendship and mutually-beneficial cooperation to a new height.
Follow-up: Will his visit to Spain start on 13th? When will it finish?
A: I do not have with me the specific timeframe. But it should be around two days. His schedule is very tight.
Q: What is the goal of President Hu Jintao's visit to the DPRK? Whom will he be meeting with? Premier Wen Jiabao will attend the SCO meeting shortly. What is the main agenda? What expectations does China have? Who will be the observers of this meeting?
A: The spokesperson Guo Yezhou of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee released information on October 21st relating to President Hu's visit to the DPRK. At the invitation of Kim Jong Il, General Secretary of the Labor Party, Chairman of the National Defence Committee of the DPRK, President Hu will pay an official good-will visit. During his visit, President Hu will have an in-depth exchange of views with state and party leaders of the DPRK on party relations, bilateral ties and international and regional issues of common interest.
Premier Wen will attend the regular Prime Ministers' meetings of SCO in Moscow on 26th. It is the 4th Prime Ministers' meeting of SCO. The main agenda is to translate the consensus of Astana Summit in last July into specific measures of cooperation in economic and humane field so as to press ahead with concrete cooperation within the organization. What I learn from the current preparation work is that the upcoming meeting will issue a political statement which includes various consensuses to be reached among Prime Ministers on the enhancement of bilateral ties and cooperation in particular.
Four countries have been invited to attend the meeting as observers. They are Mongolia, Pakistan, Iran and India. It is their first time to be present at the SCO Prime Ministers' meeting.
Q: What message will President Hu convey to the DPRK? It is reported that the 5th round of the Six-Party Talks will be held in the second week of November. Can you confirm?
A: I have already shared with you all the information I have with me on President Hu Jintao's visit to the DPRK. If you have further questions, you can refer them to the Spokesperson of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee.
The timeframe of the next round of the Six-Party talks is still under discussion. In the joint statement of the last round of talks, various parties agreed to hold the 5th round of talks in the first half of November. We hope to see concerted efforts from various parties in the process of preparation for the meeting so as to enable the talks to be held on schedule and gain positive results.
Q: Please brief us on the specific arrangement of President Hu Jintao's visit to Vietnam. Secondly, there has been a new outbreak of bird flu epidemic in China's Anhui Province. What measures is the China taking to prevent bird flu from being transmitted to mankind?
A: General Secretary Hu Jintao will pay an official and good-will visit to the Socialist Republic of Vietnam from October 31st to November 2nd. During his visit, he will hold discussions with General Secretary Nong Duck Man and President Tran Duck Long. The main topics of their discussions will cover the relations between the two parties and countries and other international and regional issues of common concern. General Secretary Hu will also meet with other state leaders and parliamentary leaders of Vietnam. If you are interested in having more information on this visit, please refer your question to the spokesperson of the International Department the CPC Central Committee.
I understand your interest in bird flu. China's Ministry of Agriculture has briefed the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and foreign diplomatic corps in China on the bird flu epidemic in Anhui Province. Relevant governmental departments attach great importance on the epidemic there. Emergency Plan was activated according to the relevant stipulation immediately after the epidemic was discovered and a series of emergency prevention and control measures have also been taken. In particular, poultry within 3-km-range from where the epidemic broke out have been burnt or deeply buried to remove all the potential threats. Vehicles and personnel coming into and out from the epidemic area have been strictly disinfected. As many as 140,000 vulnerable poultry in nearby areas have received emergency immunity inoculation. At present, the epidemic has been curbed, and there is no new epidemic point or new case of infection.
As to the measures taken by the Chinese Government, I suggest that you refer to news on the Meeting on the Work of Prevention and Control of the Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza held on October 20th. Vice Premier Hui Liangyu of China's State Council who is in charge of the issue presided over the meeting. I will brief you on the five prevention and control measures he proposed in the meeting.
I. Perfect the emergency planning on epidemic outburst at all levels, strengthen the emergency response mechanism on epidemic outburst and implement different measures of emergency safeguarding measures.
II. Strengthen the epidemic monitor, warning and forecast mechanism.
III. Further improve the emergency planning on human infection of bird flu, further improve relevant prevention and cure program.
IV. Strengthen the scientific advancement and reservation study of key technology. Priority should be given to the research and promotion work for diagnosis reagent and new highly-efficient bacteria and curatives and its epidemiological rule.
V. Speed up establishing an animal epidemic prevention system and reform of the veterinarian management system.
The measures that the Chinese Government has taken are timely and effective. We also maintain close contact and cooperation with relative international organization. The international community is highly aware of the large scale infection that the present bird flu might bring forth. Any country in the same situation should adopt timely and decisive measures.
Q: Would China consider closing its border if there is an outbreak of bird flu? What are the biggest challenges that the China is facing in bird flu control? How hard will China try to prevent its spread?
A: Last week, there is a report suggesting that the Ministry of Health said that borders might be closed to control bird flu. I double checked the news and found it was baseless. The fact is that Vice Minister of Health Huang Jiefu attended a joint meeting between executive officials from health sectors from the mainland, Hong Kong and Macao held in Kunming, Yunnan from October 21st to 23rd. During the meeting, the three parties discussed many cooperation agreements on public health emergency mechanism and adopted a number of specific measures. In addition, they also discussed how the three sides might exchange information on public health emergency in a more timely, accurate and adequate manner, so that the three sides might join their efforts in interaction and prevention, and complement each other with their own strengths and to take more effective prevention and control measures. They did not discuss the issue of closing borders at all.
You asked what the biggest challenges that the Chinese side is facing in controlling bird fu. I am not an expert, either am I a spokesperson of the Ministry of Agriculture. But I have learned through my recent study that there are lots of unknown elements and complicated factors. The main host of bird flu is waterfowl and migratory birds. There are possibilities of long distance and large scale spread of the disease in the course of their migration. How to develop at an early date the vaccine and efficient curatives for H5NI and other new diseases, how to share our valuable experience in the prevention of the diseases between different countries, all these are problems we need to address. The Chinese Government has maintained contact with the WHO and World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) so as to bring the epidemic into an efficient control and to efficiently protect the common health of mankind. As to the specific information, I would still suggest that you refer your question to experts at the Ministry of Agriculture, who will give you a more accurate answer.
Q: SCO invited four observers including India to attend its meeting. What's its purpose? What role will they play in the meeting? Will they become SCO members in the future?
A: With a consistent principle of opening up, SCO has clearly expressed its hope to make joint efforts with relevant countries and regional organizations to safeguard regional peace and stability and achieve joint progress. The above-mentioned four nations voiced their hope to become SCO observers to establish various forms of links and develop stronger cooperation with SCO members within its framework. SCO took in these countries as observers according to its relevant charters. At this meeting, we believe the four observer nations will be able to meet with SCO member states, including at bilateral level. Besides, these countries will participate in some activities as observers. The current main task of SCO is to strengthen internal pragmatic cooperation. The accession of these countries to SCO as formal members is yet to be on the agenda. SCO member states will consider the issue in real earnest when conditions are ripe.
Q: Will the SCO meeting take any joint actions in response to the appeal of South Asia earthquake region particularly Pakistan for more aids? Will Premier Wen Jiabao meet with Pakistani Prime Minister Aziz on the sideline of the SCO meeting and discuss China's aids to affected countries including Pakistan on disaster relief and reconstruction? What is the position of China on the international donors' conference at Geneva? The international community called for more aids to Pakistan. China is a friendly neighbor of Pakistan, how does it respond to the appeal of international community? Will it offer further assistance to Pakistan?
A: After the devastating earthquake took place in your country, people in China have shown great sympathy, which is translated into concrete relief efforts. At the night when the disaster happened, China decided to provide $6.2 million aids in forms of relief materials and cash. Apart from the cash aid of $ 1 million, $5.2 million relief materials have been delivered in nine batches to the disaster-stricken areas. We hope these aids can help the people there to overcome the disaster. Meanwhile we will further consider difficulties our Pakistani friends are facing and press ahead with measures for the next step.
You mentioned whether the SCO meeting will discuss the aids for earthquake-stricken countries in South Asia, as far as I know, the major topics of the meeting is to further enhance cultural and humane cooperation of the organization. Given the huge casualties and tremendous economic losses caused by the earthquake, I will not exclude the possibility of discussions at the meeting on aids to quake-stricken nations. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will meet with Pakistani Prime Minister Aziz on the sideline of the meeting, at which I believe they will not only touch upon further enhancing mutually-beneficial friendly cooperation between China and Pakistan, but also explore what the Chinese Government and people can do to further help the Pakistani friends.
The ministerial meeting on disaster relief for South Asia Earthquake to be convened this week at Geneva is an important meeting, which displays the high international attention to the sufferings of the Pakistani people. China will send a delegation headed by Assistant Commerce Minister Huang Hai to attend the meeting. He will represent China to introduce our plans to increase aids through multilateral channels. You country suffered from great losses in the earthquake, the Chinese Government and people are ready to make joint efforts with the international community to assist the Pakistani people to restore production and rebuild their homes.
Q: Can you tell us the specific number of birds infected with avian flu in Anhui Province? Which kind of birds has been infected? Has China submitted the DNA sample of bird flu in Inner Mongolia to WHO (World Health Organization)?
A: I can't tell you which kind of birds is infected. What I know is 550 poultry died of H5N1 bird flu in the Liangying village of Bianyi Town of Tianchang City of Anhui Province, 44,736 poultry have been killed.
At last press conference, I told you that our cooperation with WHO had been smooth and fruitful. We have submitted to WHO a series of samples and genetic sequence of bird flu breaking out in China in recent years. China has a national reference lab with sufficient virus research and abilities on bird flu, which is also part of the WHO bird flu network and capable of diagnosing the etiology of the pandemic. Many countries and regions do not have such labs, nor do they have corresponding technical expertise and diagnosis capabilities. Only countries without network labs have to provide samples to international organizations which will coordinate the efforts of relevant reference labs in confirming virus so as to timely diagnose the spread of bird flu and work out effective treatment and prevention plans. Although we do have such a lab, we have still provided within this framework many important reference data to international organizations, which has facilitated the efforts of WHO to share relevant data with other countries and formulate effective measures of prevention and treatment. Our network lab has conducted active cooperation with other countries. If there is any need, international organizations are welcome to cooperate with our network lab in research, including sharing virus information and signing agreement with our labs. The Ministry of Agriculture will be ready to facilitate cooperation of the kind.
Q: It is reported that some Chinese pickles exported to the ROK are poor in quality, arousing concerns among the ROK public. What comment does the Chinese side have on it? Has the ROK Government informed the Chinese side of the issue?
A: Do you think it is proper for the Spokesperson of Chinese Foreign Ministry to answer the issue on the quality of exported pickles? I advise you to refer your question to the Ministry of Commerce.
On principle, the Chinese Government attaches great importance to food health and quarantine and has a series of health and quarantine regulations on food import and export. As for the quality of some exported Chinese food, if the ROK side has exact evidence, relevant Chinese departments will handle the case in accordance with laws.
Q: Please brief us on President Hu Jintao's visit to Germany and England.
A: President Hu Jintao will visit Germany from November 10th to 13th.
It is a state visit and President Hu Jintao's first visit to Germany in this capacity. He will exchange views with German leaders such as German President Köhler, German Chancellor Schroeder, chairman of Germany's Christian Democratic Union Ms Merkel and speaker of German Congress over bilateral relations and major international and regional issues of common interest. He will deliver an important speech at German Asia-Pacific Economic Committee and take this opportunity to have a wide range of contact with German celebrities from political, business, educational and other sectors. President Kohler and President Hu Jintao will jointly attend the opening ceremony of the first meeting of "China-Germany Dialogue Forum", Chancellor Schroeder and President Hu Jintao will attend the foundation laying ceremony of the Chinese Culture Centre at Berlin.
Besides Berlin, President Hu will visit other cities. On September 18th, Germany held a federal election. Christian Democratic Union and Social Democratic Party will form a great coalition government. We welcome and congratulate Ms. Merkel, Chair of Christian Democratic Union on her election as the new Chancellor. We hope under the leadership of new government, China-Germany comprehensive friendly relations and cooperation can embark on a new stage of rapid development through concerted efforts of the two sides.
President Hu Jintao's visit to England is also a state visit, during which he will meet with Queen Elizabeth II, hold meetings and talks with British Prime Minister Blair and leaders of British parliament and parties. Relevant departments and enterprises of the two sides will sign a number of cooperative agreements. This is the first state visit of a Chinese summit to England at the new century. We hope the visit can further enhance political mutual trust between China and England, expand mutually beneficial cooperation in all fields between the two countries, and promote China-UK comprehensive strategic partnership to towards a higher level. For your information, the two countries established comprehensive strategic partnership in 2004.
Thanks for your presence today! See you next time!