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Foreign Ministry Spokesman Kong Quan's Press Conference on 1 November 2005

On the afternoon of November 11, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Kong Quan held a regular press conference.

Kong: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen! I don't have any announcement to make today. If you wish, please go ahead with your questions now.

Q: Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi reshuffled his cabinet again on October 31. What comment does the Chinese side have? It is reported that India and Pakistan recently agreed to temporarily open five check points along the control line in Kashmir, to facilitate the earthquake disaster relief. What's your comment?

A: You may have noticed the reshuffling of Koizumi's cabinet. Regarding China-Japan relations, we have consistently maintained that our relations should be improved and developed on the basis of the principles in the three important political documents between China and Japan and in the spirit of "take history as a mirror and look forward to the future." Under no circumstances would we change this basic policy.

At present, China-Japan relations encounter difficulties, the responsibility of which does not lie with the Chinese side. The key to overcome these difficulties and return China-Japan relations back to the track of normal development is that Japan should demonstrate its political will to improve and develop our relations with earnest action instead of only verbal expression.

We welcome and appreciate the joint decision on such a measure made by the Indian and Pakistani Governments through consultation. We believe this measure taken by the two sides will help increase their mutual trust and cooperation and further relax their relations.

Q: In recent days, the US and Japan expanded their military alliance. Will this aggravate China's misgiving? Does China interpret this as an escalation of the containment policy against China?

A: The alliance between Japan and the US is a bilateral arrangement. As a bilateral arrangement, it should not move beyond the scope of bilateral relations, let alone target at any third party. We hope that Japan and the US will respect the security concern of the countries in the region and do more to benefit the peace and stability of the region.

Q: What change has China sensed in Koizumi's policy towards China and Asia through his cabinet appointment? Foreign Minister Aso said at his press conference after taking office that barring the Yasukuni Shrine issue, China-Japan relations had fared smoothly in the economic and cultural exchanges. What's most important is to handle the relevant issues from the perspective of the national interest of the two countries. Differences do exist on the Yasukuni issue, but there is no way out other than dialogue to resolve the issue. What's your comment on his remarks?

A: I do not make comment on Koizumi's appointment for his cabinet reshuffling and the analysis of the new cabinet's policy trend.

I have not gone through the whole text of Mr. Aso's remarks. But what I can tell you on your question is that the Yasukuni Shrine issue is not  a matter of dialogue. Instead, it concerns whether Japan will faithfully honor its commitment to earnest remorse on history and adherence to the road to development through peace. It also concerns whether Japan will truly fulfill its commitment to China at the moment of normalization of China-Japan relations. Indeed a serious political issue is it. We hope that Japan will faithfully honor its own commitment to genuine remorse on history and adherence to the road to development through peace and will make its action as good as their verbal will that hopes to win trust from the people of China, other Asian countries and the international community. In addition, I want to reiterate that we attach great importance to China-Japan relations and under no condition will we change the basic policy.

Q: Yesterday, the new Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Shinzo Abe told the press that he had paid homage to the Yasukuni Shrine as a Japanese citizen and politician, as what Prime Minister Koizumi had done. He hoped to do so in the future. What comment does the Chinese side have?

A: We have said on many occasions that the Yasukuni Shrine worshiped the class A war criminals in the World War ?, whose hands were stained with the blood of the people in China and other Asian countries. What does it mean to visit such a venue that worships the class A war criminals? The Japanese leaders should give a serious thought over this question, over how to treat the sentiments of the people in Asia and other victimized countries, over the consensus forged at and the political foundation for the normalization of China-Japan relations and over the significant question of building China-Japan relations on the basis of "take history as a mirror and look forward to the future", which has been reaffirmed by the two countries on many occasions.

Q: It was said before that Japanese prime minister, foreign minister and chief cabinet secretary should not pay homage to the Yasukuni Shrine. Does this practice still hold water now?

A: We are firmly opposed to the visit by Japanese leaders to the Yasukuni Shrine, which worships the class A war criminals in the World War ?. The Japanese leaders should consider the feeling of the people in the victimized countries with their conscience and ponder on how to genuinely win trust from the international community and Asian countries. They should take earnest action to show remorse on history and fulfill their commitment to pursuing the road to development through peace.

Follow-up: When the prime minister did not visit the Yasukuni Shrine in the past, China did not express strong opposition to the cabinet ministers' visit to the shrine. Will China hold onto this position in the future?

A: Our position that we oppose the visit by Japanese leaders to the Yasukuni Shrine is very firm and clear. It has never changed.

Q: Who do you refer to by "Japanese leaders"? Do they include other ministers apart from prime minister, foreign minister and chief cabinet secretary?

A: I think that the important thing for the time being is not to make distinction on who are Japanese leaders or not, or who can visit the shrine or not. The key of the issue is that the Yasukuni Shrine worships the class A war criminals, who have committed unspeakable heinous crime. The Japanese leaders have made repeated commitment to remorse on history to the international community and people in the victimized countries. They should faithfully honor their commitment and should not make further move to hurt the feeling of the people in the victimized countries. Regarding China-Japan relations, Japan should strictly honor their commitment during the normalization of our relations, "take history as a mirror and look forward to the future" and avoid further undermining the political foundation of China-Japan relations.

Q: Over last weekend, Japan and the US stepped up their security cooperation. Does China take it as a threat?

A: You are late for half a minute, within the moment of which I answered the question. What I want to make clear is that the Japan-US alliance is a bilateral arrangement and should not exceed the bilateral scope. We hope that two countries can take into account the concern of the countries in the region and their aspiration for stability and peace. We hope they can do more to help enhance mutual trust and understanding and maintain peace and stability in the region.

Q: Please brief on Vice Chairman of Central Military Commission Guo Boxiong's visit to the US. What's the purpose of his visit? Who will he meet with? Second question, it is reported that China will cooperate with Russia to realize the plan of moon landing. Can you confirm? How will the cooperation benefit China? Third question, what comment does China have on Iraq's recent referendum that passed the new constitution?

A: Recently, US Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld visited China. During the visit, the military leaders of two sides expressed their willingness to further strengthen and expand the military-to-military exchange and cooperation. The two sides have reached consensus on this principle and are preparing for detailed discussion on how to further expand the exchange and cooperation between our two sides.

China has engaged in cooperation and exchange with some countries, including Russia, on peaceful use of space. Your question is on a quite specific matter, and I suggest that you raise your question to the competent authority.

With regard to Iraq's referendum on the draft constitution, your question somewhat took me by surprise, since this matter has passed for quite some days. On October 15, Iraq held a referendum on the draft resolution and announced the result on 25th. We think Iraq's referendum on the draft constitution is an important step in Iraq's political process. We hope that it will help promote the process of political reconstruction and stabilize the situation in Iraq.

Q: Has the opening date of the next round of Six-Party Talks been fixed? Does China take an open attitude towards the end date or plan to fix one?

A: The Ambassador on Korean Peninsula Issue of Chinese Foreign Ministry Li Bin just concluded his visit to the DPRK, US and ROK. He discussed with the parties concerned on the preparation for the fifth round of Six-Party Talks, and his visit made some progress. As the host country, we put forward our date proposal to the parties concerned yesterday and this morning and now are waiting for confirmation. I understand your eagerness to know the date. I can tell you that the Talks should be held in early November as agreed at the fourth round.

The date of conclusion requires discussion among the parties concerned. The last round of talks was held in two phases. All parties are actively discussing the form and duration of the new round and whether to gauge some other important factors. We hope that the parties will reach consensus on this. Important as the form is, the more important thing is all parties concerned should make joint effort for new progress at the fifth round of Six-Party Talks.

Follow-up: What's the date proposed by China?

A: You take yourself as a member of the Working Group of the Six-Party Talks. I cannot reveal the date to you now. But you can make a guess. There are 10 days in the early November, and not many would be left if we exclude Saturday and Sunday.

Q: Can you shed more light on the achievement of Ambassador Li Bin's visit to the DPRK and other countries? The International Department of the CPC Central Committee has made a rough briefing on President Hu Jintao's visit to the DPRK. Can you tell the specific achievements of his visit? What's the substance of your bilateral agreement on economic assistance?

A: On Ambassador Li Bin's visit to relevant countries, I have already briefed you on his discussion with officials at the relevant departments on the DPRK side. There has been good exchanges between the two sides through which they had a better understanding of each other's views. Later on, he visited the US and the ROK. During President Hu Jintao's official and good-will visit to the DPRK, leaders of both countries also made an in-depth exchange of views on this issue and reached consensus in many aspects, which have been elaborated in the press conference held by Minister Wang Jiarui on the afternoon of October 30th. One of the important outcome of President Hu's visit to the DPRK was that both sides reiterated that the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula should be resolved peacefully through dialogue; and that both sides would work together to implement the overall objectives stipulated in the Joint Statement and push for new progress in the fifth round of the Six Party Talks. The consensus reached by leader of the two countries is of great significance, since they are the important basis on which achievements might be made in the new round of Six Party Talks through the joint efforts of the two sides.

As to your second question, in fact, some of the journalists present here today have already raised the same question to Minister Wang Jiarui and got his response. On the one hand, China and the DPRK enjoy traditional friendship, and we have always been providing assistance to the DPRK within our capacity. On the other hand, during both visits by Genenral Secretary Hu Jintao and by Vice Premier Wu Yi to the DPRK, leaders of the two countries have exchanged ideas on further expanding bilateral trade and economic cooperation and elevating the cooperation level; the two sides also emphasized that the two countries should explore new thinking and new approaches to more rapid development of the economic and trade cooperation on the basis of friendship and mutual benefit.

Follow-up: You mentioned new thinking just now. What are "new"as against in the past?

A: Both China and the DPRK are in a phase of developing their national economy and improving their people's living standard. At the same time, the two economies are very much different from each other and are highly complementary. We hope to further explore the various forms of developing our mutually beneficial economy and trade cooperation. Since China implemented the policy of reform and opening up to the outside world, we have explored many new ways and thinking, both in the field of foreign-funded enterprises and cooperation with the outside world. We hope that the forms of cooperation in the China-DPRK economic and trade relations could be diversified, a proposal to which the DPRK side has responded positively. Both sides would further discuss on this issue. The ultimate goal of such exploration is to continuously expand and develop the bilateral economic and trade cooperation on the basis of friendship and mutual benefit, thus to benefit people of both countries.

Q: Could you tell us the difference between inter-party diplomacy and state-to-state diplomacy? Mr. Wang Jiarui talked about relations between countries after President Hu Jintao's visit to the DPRK. Which one is subordinate to the other, inter-party or state-to-state diplomacy? Which one is more important?

A: You should have raised this question to Minister Wang Jiarui in face three days ago. You were the first to get an opportunity for question during that press conference.

The International Department of the CPC Central Community is in charge of the exchange and cooperation between the Communist Party of China and other parties. The CPC has exchange and cooperation relations with many parties in over one hundred countries. Inter-party exchange is an important part of China's foreign relations. Therefore, I can not tell you which is more important. Being equally important, both are important components of China's foreign relations.

Q: This month, Pakistan will hold an international conference in Islamabad attended by donation organizations and various countries, in order to push the international community for more assistance to Pakistan. Will China participate? Will you offer more aids for millions of homeless Pakistanis? China and seven other countries in the region decided to set up an Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization last week, to promote multilateral cooperation on space technology. What's your comment?

A: We have got the news on the upcoming international assistance conference in Pakistan on November 19. We are actively considering the participation of Chinese delegation. Meanwhile, I wish to take this opportunity to tell you the Chinese people have been very concerned about the stern hardship facing your country in the wake of the earthquake. Over the past days, we have taken some new measures. On 30th, the second Chinese international rescue team has arrived in the disaster-hit area and started rescue operation. They took the suggestion of Pakistani friends and set up the departments of surgeon, physician and comprehensive service for special examination, equipped with cardiogram, X-ray test and B-ultrasound scanning capability. These test methods and departments are still unavailable at other international rescue teams. We set up them in response to the requirements of local government and people. We hope such measures can help people in the disaster area get their disease and injury treated promptly. At the same time, a new round of assistance delivery started at 8:40 last night. The material delivered yesterday included 600 tents, 12000 cotton quilts and 12000 mattresses, weighing 103 tons in total. More relief materials will be dispatched to your country in the days to come. Chinese Assistant Minister of Commerce Chen Jian left for your country yesterday afternoon with a delegation of the Chinese Government, to assess the demands in various aspects in the reconstruction along with your government and discuss how to take further measures to help your people.

The Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization held a meeting recently in Beijing. The meeting is very important and reflects the wish of Asia-Pacific countries to enhance cooperation in the field of peaceful use of space. A Convention on the Asia-Pacific Space Cooperation Organization was concluded at the meeting. I propose you to look through the convention and learn more about the positive attitude of the parties concerned.

Q: Yesterday evening, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine claimed that China had detected parasite spawns in ten types of ROK-exported food and started to suspend import. What comment does the Foreign Ministry have on this?

A: I should say very sorry and hope you refer to the General Administration of Quality Supervision. In principle, we hope China and the ROK can resort to prompt consultation for solution of the problems in China-ROK trade, so as to ensure the steady growth of our two-way trade on a stable and healthy basis of mutual respect and friendship.

Q: Japan and the DPRK will hold a bilateral talk in Beijing on November 3. The two sides are widely divided so far and their way ahead might be hard when talking about the issues of abduction and war compensations. Is China closely following the talk? Will the progress of the talk affect the Six-Party Talks or China-Japan relations?

A: I have no information on the contact you mentioned. We take a supportive attitude towards the consultation between the DPRK and Japan to resolve some problems left by history. If they meet in Beijing and need us to provide facility, we will perform the duties of host.

If no more questions are to be raised, let's put an end to the press conference. Thank you.

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