On the afternoon of November 10th, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao held a regular press conference.
Liu Jianchao: Good afternoon. On November 9th evening, Amman, Capital of Jordan was attacked by a series of terrorist bombing, causing heavy casualties. Unfortunately, a Chinese delegation of National Defence University was there for a visit. Three members were killed and one was injured. Knowing the news, President Hu Jintao, who was in Britain for a state visit, immediately gave directions to Foreign Ministry and other authorities to verify the information, take concrete measures to rescue the injured Chinese national and properly deal with the aftermath. President Hu sent a telegram to King Abdullah II, expressing, on behalf of the Chinese people and Government and in his own name, deep condolence to the victims and sincere solitude to the injured and relatives of the victims. President Hu strongly condemned the terrorist act, reiterating the resolute determination of the Chinese Government against violence of all forms and our willingness to work with the international community including Jordan to enhance anti-terrorist cooperation. In the meantime, Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing who was in Britain accompanying President Hu also sent a telegram to Jordan's Foreign Minister Faruq Kassrawi.
With that, I am happy to take your questions.
Q: The US State Department released the 2005 annual International Religious Freedom Report, continuing to criticize China's religious policy and lack of religious freedom in its China section. What is your comment?
In its China section, the annual International Religious Freedom Report made groundless accusation of China's religious policy and religious freedom status. It is trampling on the fundamental norms governing international relations and interfering with China's internal affairs, to which we express our strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition. Chinese Government protects citizen's freedom of religious belief in accordance with law. China's laws guarantee that people of all ethnic groups in all regions enjoy the freedom of religious belief. No one can speak for China better than Chinese people themselves. We request that the US refrain from interfering our domestic affairs, do more to promote mutual understanding between China and the US instead of doing things in reverse.
Q: The US China Economic Security Review Commission submitted a report to the US Congress, warning that the development of US-China relations will have negative impact on US long-term economic and social security. The Commission seems to hold a totally different view than China's consistent position. What is your comment?
A: We have taken note of relevant report. It is quite an extensive report. I am not in a position to comment on certain aspect. But I would like to assure you that the smooth development of Sino-US relations has brought concrete interest to both peoples. Leadership and Government of both countries have become more and more aware that the enhancement of cooperation between the two countries serves fundamental interest of both peoples and benefits regional and global peace and stability. A cooperative and constructive China-US relations oriented towards the 21st century serves both countries. As you know, President Bush will be visiting China between 19th and 21st. We look forward to seeing the visit play a significant role in promoting bilateral ties. In the meantime, we have to admit that we do not always see eye to eye. We hope that we can narrow differences through dialogue on the basis of equality and mutual respect, enhance mutual understanding and trust and press ahead with cooperation in various fields.
Q: It has been reported that President Bush met with visiting Dalai Lama in the US. What is your comment?
A: We have a consistent policy known to all: Dalai Lama is not purely a religious figure. He is a political exile engaging in activities aimed at separating China. We oppose any foreign leaders meet with him, facilitate or grant venue for his separating activities. China has made representations to the US.
Q: In his remarks relating to deteriorating Japan's relations with China and South Korea because of Koizumi's visit to the Yasukuni Shrine, President Bush said that it might be difficult to forget the past but it is still possible. What is your comment? In an interview with Japanese press, Prime Minister Koizumi noted that he stands ready to meet with President Hu Jintao at any time. The message has been conveyed to China. He believed that it would be better for the two sides to meet with each other but the final decision is up to China. How do you respond?
A: On your first question, I have not read the remarks of President Bush. The position of China on issues of history has been clear and resolute.
With respect to to the summit meeting between China and Japan, we made our position clear on various occasions. The current difficulties of bilateral ties were created single-handedly by Japanese leadership. We believe that whoever starts the trouble should end it. The key to a better Sino-Chinese relationship is whether or not the Japanese leadership can properly handle questions relating to the militarist history of aggression.
Q: International donors' conference will be held in Islamabad on November 19th. Is China going to attend? If so, who will be representing China? Besides, please update us on the latest information of China's assistance to Pakistan. SARC Summit will be held in Dhaka shortly. How does China assess its role in promoting social and economic cooperation in the region? What does China think of the prospect of sub-South Asia regional cooperation?
A: On the 19th meeting, China is actively considering sending a high-level delegation there and participating post-disaster reconstruction.
For your convenience, let me brief you the assistance we have been providing Pakistan. The 10th batch of emergency disaster relief material reached Islamabad safely on 9th evening. Up to now, all the additional assistance provided by the Chinese Government has been delivered to the affected region, including 3124 cotton tents, 1550 ordinary tents, 24000 quilts and cotton-padded mattress, 9200 blankets, 24000 sheets, 900 dynamos weighing 800 tons.
Since the outbreak of the disaster, the Chinese Government granted a total of US$267.3 million assistance to Pakistan in 3 separate times, including materials, cash and sending rescue medical teams. 1911 tons of materials were delivered to Pakistan in 24 flights.
We have taken note of the upcoming 13th SARC Summit. Let me express my congratulations and wish the summit a great success. Since its establishment in two decades ago, SARC has played an important role in promoting economic and social progress in South Asia. As a friendly neighbour to South Asia, China sincerely hopes to see greater achievements of SARC in promoting regional cooperation. We stand ready to work with South Asian countries to enhance mutually beneficial cooperation and realize common prosperity.
With regard to the first stage of the 5th Six-Party Talks, my colleague, Mr. Qin Gang already briefed you on the first day's meeting yesterday evening. I am not going to repeat here what he said. In today's plenary session, the six parties continued their discussions over the realization of the goals of the joint statement in a constructive and positive atmosphere. All parties put forth proposals, some of which are constructive and worth in-depth exploration and consideration. We hope that relevant parties continue to build up trust, dissolve suspicion and press ahead with the talks. My information is that a series of bilateral contact has been made. The meeting is going to continue tomorrow.
Q: It seems quite difficult for the Six Party Talks to make substantial achievements tomorrow. How would you comment on the current progress of the Talks?
A: Given the importance and complexity of issue the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, it is normal and not surprising that parties concerned may disagree on how to implement the goals set by the Joint Statement----including the implementing steps, methods and concrete measures. We hope that parties concerned could dissolve distrust, enhance mutual trust through in-depth discussions so as to find a reasonable, mutually beneficial and win-win solution acceptable to all.
Q: What is the specific date for President Bush's visit to China? How long he will be staying in China? What is his schedule? Who is he going to meet with? What measures has China proposed on implementing the Joint Statement of the previous round of the Six Party Talks?
A: At the invitation of President Hu Jintao, President George W. Bush of the United States will visit China from November 19th to 21st. The main activities for his visit would take place on 20th. During the visit, President Hu Jintao will hold talks with him, Premier Wen Jiabao and other Chinese leaders will also meet with him. As to the specific arrangements for the visit, we will update you in due time.
As a participating party, China has its own views and opinions on how to implement the Joint Statement; at the same time, as a chair of the talks, we will also fully absorb and summarize positive and constructive contents from suggestions by different parties to push for some consensus in this round of the Talks in the end.
Q: During President Hu Jintao's visit to the United Kingdom, he raised the issue of lifting EU's arms embargo on China. How did UK respond?
A: China and UK discussed relevant issues and also elaborated their respective stance and consideration on that matter. During the talks, President Hu Jintao put forward four important suggestions on strengthening bilateral relations between China and UK, among which is that both sides should properly handle important concerns of each other, and enhance mutual understanding, narrow our difference and expand our cooperation through dialogue and consultation on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit.
Q: First question. It is reported that in his meeting with Pr. Bush, Dalai Lama accused China of adopting a highly suppressive policy on Tibet. Some US congressmen were also demanding that Bush discuss the issue of human rights and Tibetan Buddhism with China during his visit. Is China worried that President Bush's visit might be overshadowed by the differences of the two sides on the issues of human rights, Tibet and religion? Will President Bush's visit focus on trade and other fields that both sides could cooperate? Secondly, what were the members of the Chinese military delegation doing when the explosion took place and killed them? Is their visit private or relating to exchange between military universities? Thirdly, will there be any bilateral talks for President Hu Jintao on the sidelines of the APEC meetings? Is China completely rejecting to meet with the Japanese leaders bilaterally during the APEC meetings because Prime Minister Koizumi has appointed a right-wing cabinet? Fourthly, has China issued any stronger warning to Chinese citizens in France on the riot in Paris? What measures is the Chinese Government taking now?
A: As to your first question, I have elaborated China's stance and I do not have anything to add. President Bush's upcoming visit to China will be an important opportunity for leaders of both countries to explore, study and plan on a full-scale Sino-US relationship. I do not think that such an important visit would be disturbed. Attempts by a handful of people to undermine Sino-US relations are getting nowhere. I believe that we can work together to ensure the visit achieve the expected goals. As to issues to be discussed by them in their meetings and talks, we will brief you in due time.
As to your second question, the Chinese delegation from National Defense University is there for inter-college exchanges at the invitation of Jordanian Royal University of National Defense. The delegation had visited Thailand before they went there and had planned to return on November 14th. After the blast, it has been decided that they should come back as soon as possible.
I already answered your third question here last week. President Hu's bilateral meetings during APEC are still under discussion.
As to bilateral meeting between China-Japan leaders, our position is clear. I reiterated our stance when I answered a journalist's question a moment ago.
You asked the riot in Paris, I also talked about a series of measures our Government and Embassy in France have taken to protect overseas Chinese. They include publicizing warnings and advice. Our relevant authorities and Chinese Embassy in France will continue to keep in touch with overseas Chinese and stand ready to offer necessary assistance to them. We hope and believe that French Government will take effective measures and stablize the situation at an early date.
Q: Is there any progress on China's proposal of setting up special working groups in the ongoing the 5th round of Six-Party Talks? What role does it play in the course of Six-Party Talks? Have all parties reached any agreement on roadmap? Will this round of talks issue a Chairman's Statement?
A: Setting up special working groups is under discussion at the moment. All parties agree that working groups or expert groups should be considered as a measure to flesh out the action plan under the framework of taking specific steps to implement the goal of the Joint Statement. At the moment the parties are yet to reach consensus on roadmap and are still discussing what measures or steps should be taken to realize the goal of the Joint Statement. China hopes that through discussion, we can find an ideal solution accommodating all parties' concerns and acceptable to all.
Regarding what documents will be issued at the end of the first stage of Talks, it depends on how the discussions are going.
Q: What is China's position on DPRK's proposal of dismantling nuclear program by stages? Second question, we were not able to shoot all the heads of the parties at the opening ceremony yesterday because we were given only 2 minutes while it usually takes about 10 minutes. I hope the relevant department of your Ministry can cooperate and give media more time.
A: Let me answer your second question first. I have noted your concern and I am thinking of suggesting them to hold another opening ceremony today in a proper way so you will have more time. (laughter)
As to DRPK's proposal, all parties have put forth proposals on fulfilling their own commitments in the Joint Statement and jointly pressing ahead to flesh out relevant contents and goals of the Joint Statement. Some proposals are constructive and worth intensive study. The final solution or consensus depends on the consultations of all parties.
Q: In China's view, what should Japanese leaders do to remorse on history? Does China only request Prime Minister Koizumi promise not to visit Yasukuni Shrine? If Japan refuses, will China never meet Japan leaders in the future?
A: We have reiterated on many occasions that China is not responsible for the current difficult China-Japan relations. We request that Japanese leaders take concrete actions to fulfill their commitments on historical problems and properly handle its militarism history.
If you do not any further questions, thank you!