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Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao's Press Conference on 22 November 2005

On the afternoon of November 22nd, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao held a regular press conference.

Liu Jianchao: Good afternoon, everybody. I'm very glad to see you attend our regular press conference after a busy weekend.

Today the diplomats from "China and World Workshop for European Young Diplomats" hosted by the Department of European Affairs of Chinese Foreign Ministry also attend our press conference. I would like to extend them my warm welcome.

I will begin with four announcements:

At the invitation of President Hu Jintao, President of Mongolia Nambar Enkhbayar will pay a state visit to China from November 27 to December 3.

At the invitation of Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing of the People's Republic of China, Foreign Minister Mihai Razvan Ungureanu of Romania will pay a visit to China from November 26 to 29.

At the invitation of Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing of the People's Republic of China, Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship of the Republic of Argentina Rafael Antonio Bielsa will pay a working visit to China from November 23 to 25.

At the invitation of Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing of the People's Republic of China, Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia will pay an official visit to China from November 27 to 30.

Now I'm ready to take up your questions.

Q: The League of Arab States held a conference on the Iraq issue in Cairo. What comment do you have on it? Did China attend the conference?

A: China's position on the Iraq issue is as follows: on the security in Iraq, we hope it will restore stability as soon as possible and the Iraqi people will live in peace at an early date; in the political field, we hope Iraq can realize national reconciliation as soon as possible; on economy, we vigorously support and participate in Iraq's reconstruction and are ready to play a role in its reconstruction process. As for the conference you mentioned, I don't know the details, but I can check it for you. Above all, the Chinese side will actively participate in anything helpful for realizing the peace, stability, security and economic development in Iraq.

(After the conference, Spokesperson Liu Jianchao answered the journalist: The Chinese side is glad to the convening of the preparation meeting for conference on the Iraq's national reconciliation. We hope this meeting and the conference on the Iraq's national reconciliation can contribute to stronger solidarity and cooperation among all parties in Iraq and they will make joint efforts to promote the Iraq's reconstruction process. Upon invitation, Mr. Wu Sike, Chinese ambassador to Egypt and Representative to League of Arab States attended the opening ceremony of the preparation meeting for Iraq's national reconciliation conference.)

Q: Please brief us on specific agenda of the visit of UN's Special Rapporteur on Torture to China. Whom will he meet? What other places will he visit besides Beijing?

A: At the invitation of China's Foreign Ministry, Mr. Nowak, UN Human Rights Commission's Special Rapporteur on Torture, arrived in China yesterday. His visit will continue until December 2nd. The special rapporteur on torture is an important special mechanism of UN Human Rights Commission. The Chinese side attaches great importance to the visit. We are convinced that the visit can achieve expected objectives on the basis of mutual respect through our joint efforts. Now that the visit has just begun, I will keep you updated along with the visit.

Q: Before President Bush's visit to China, some "petitioners" were monitored or on house arrest, over which US State Sectary Rice has expressed concern. Why does the Chinese side take measures against these dissidents whenever some foreign important people visits China?

A: I haven't heard of the incident you mentioned. In order to welcome President Bush to visit China and ensure a successful visit, we made delicate arrangements and preparations. Speaking from its actual effect, the visit is successful. China and the US exchanged views on a range of issues, enhance understanding and trust and expand common grounds. The visit greatly promotes the development of China-US constructive and cooperative relations orientated towards the 21st century. The two sides are very satisfied with the visit.

Q: You hoped just now that the visit of UN special rappateur on torture can achieve its expected objective. What does the "objective" mean? Please introduce the objective and meeting agenda of Argentinean Foreign Minister's visit to China.

A: As for your first question, I have briefed you on relevant information. Before Mr.Novak's visit, China's Foreign Ministry had conducted close consultations on relevant agenda and arrangements with him and his delegation. We attaches great importance to the visit. I'm convinced, the visit can further enhance mutual contacts and understanding and promote bilateral cooperation through our concerted efforts.

Argentinean Foreign Minister will pay a working visit to China from November 23rd to 25th. During his visit, Chinese State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan will meet with him. Foreign Ministers of the two countries will hold a talk. Commerce Minister Bo Xilai will exchange views with Mr.Bielsa on further promoting bilateral economic and trade cooperation. Foreign Minister Bielsa will not visit other places besides Beijing.

Q: Please introduce Mongolian President's visit to China. Whom will he meet with? What activities will he have? Copper trader Liu Qibing is missing on international copper trade market. Whom do you know he works for? Why is he arrested?

A: I haven't heard of information on your second question, I can check it for you.

Mongolian President Nambar Enkhbayar will pay a state visit to China from November 27th to December 3rd. Leaders of two countries will hold an in-depth exchange of views on further development of China-Mongolia good-neighborly partnership of mutual trust and international and regional issues of common interest. During his visit , President Enkhbayar will attend the 5th Meeting of High level Group on Education for All held in Beijing. Besides Beijing, the delegation will also visit other places.

Now China-Mongolia relations are developing very well with frequent high-level mutual visits and increasingly deeper mutual understanding an trust. President Hu Jintao paid a state visit to Mongolia in 2003, when the two countries established a good-neighborly partnership of mutual trust. In 2004, former Mongolian President Bagabandy visited China. This year, leaders and premiers of the two countries respectively met on the sideline of Shanghai Cooperation Organization meeting. The bilateral trade volume in 2004 reached US$694 million, with an increase of 57.7% over the previous year. The bilateral cooperation in all fields including liberal arts has been constantly developing with fruitful achievement. The two sides have witnessed increasingly stronger mutual political trust and constant development of economic and trade cooperation. We are satisfied with development of China-Mongolia relations. Mongolia is China's important neighbor. We expect President Enkhbayar's visit to China to further push forward China-Mongolia good-neighborly partnership of mutual trust.

Q: China announced it would close the border if human infection with bird flu had occurred. Now three cases of human infection have appeared, will China close its border?

A: I don't know you get the news, I haven't heard of such sayings.

Q: It is reported by Xinhua News Agency.

A: I haven't read such news for myself, please check it by yourself. Now bird flu has broken out in China, the Chinese Government and the people are sparing no efforts to combat bird flu and fight with the grave epidemic. We attach great importance to this global epidemic, and have taken various resolute and effective preventive and controlling measures, which have yielded initiative effects. Of course, we are still facing grave situations. We will further strengthen our preventive and controlling measures and expect to completely resolve the issue of bird flu. I haven't heard of the news to close China's border.

Q: It is reported that President Bush went to church during his visit to China, after which he hoped China can expand religious freedom. What response did Chinese leaders have on Bush's remarks?

A: The Chinese and American leaders exchanged views over religious issue. The Chinese leader told President Bush that the Chinese people enjoy freedom of religion and beliefs according to the Constitution of People's Republic of China. The Chinese Government and laws protect the freedom of Chinese people who have religious beliefs to engage in religious activities.

Q: Yesterday, it was said that the Harbin Municipal Government declared a four-day water cutoff since today. Materials told me that this cutoff hit the record scale in Harbin's history. We did not receive confirmative and transparent explanation. What causes the cutoff? Word comes that the explosion of Jinlin Petro-Chemical Company polluted the water in Songhua River. Please confirm. In addition, how much economic losses will be caused by the cutoff? Will the municipal government pay compensations to the enterprises and citizens?

A: I have taken note of the news, but cannot offer more accurate information. It seems that you take me as the spokesman of the Harbin Municipal Government. Please refer your question to the competent authority or Harbin government. I believe they will respond with an accurate answer. All in all, Chinese Central Government and local governments adopt responsible policy and measures to develop our country and improve people's life in the spirit of "giving top priority to people's interest and govern the country for the people." If what you told is true, I think this is a measure they adopted in response to a certain situation.

Q: Which country has a better record on torture, China or the US? There is an article in China Daily describing the three waves of China-US relations. Do you know about the article?

A: Regarding your second question, this is a very interesting topic. I'd be glad to discuss with you after the conference.

On your first question, I do not want to make comment on or comparison with other country. As a signatory party to the international treaty against torture, China's law opposes and forbids torture. The judicial authority of China has always handled the individual cases of forcing confession by torture and abusing inmates with all seriousness.

Q: Heading a Chinese delegation, Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei attended the international donors' conference in Islamabad last Saturday and offered 300 million-dollar credit on preferential terms. How will the credit be used? Do you have any updates? When will you start your measures on the Karakoram Highway, which was heavily damaged in the earthquake?

A: On the basis of the aids we offered to the earthquake-hit area in Pakistan over the past months, the delegation of the Chinese Government made another important four-point commitment in the recently held international conference on post-disaster reconstruction. The sooner the measures are implemented, the better would it be, for the earthquake-affected Pakistani people are in urgent need of aids. China will discuss with the relevant departments of Pakistan on how to implement the four-point commitment. And the sooner agreement comes out, the better can we provide further assistances to the Pakistani people. This is the wish of the Chinese people. We hope the work in this regard will proceed promptly and expect cooperation from the Pakistani side.

Q: It is reported that Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso recently alleged the Yusukan Museum "did not glorify the war and instead, only display the true picture of that time." What comment does the Chinese side on this?

A: We feel shocked at such remarks overtly made by him. The Yasukuni Shrine denies history and glorifies Japanese militarist aggression. The Yusukan Museum is its core facility to preach the so-called "Yasukuni view of history." This is a fact known to all. If he goes as far as to deny this fact, it demonstrates nothing but his lack of courage to face up to the past history in a correct way.

I wish to reiterate that Japan must genuinely realize the gravity and sensitivity of the Yasukuni Shrine issue and properly handle it with a rational and responsible attitude. This is the only correct choice for Japan to improve its relations with Asian neighboring countries and jointly create the future.

Q: Prime Minister Koizumi also issued a statement, saying that he did not hope the Yasukuni Shrine became the sticking point of China-Japan relations. Do you think it possible? Another question on China-Japan relations. Some one attacked China's consular post in Nagoya. What's China's comment to Japan's response? Will Japan take further security measures? American websites reported that the UN special rapporteur on torture realized his visit to China after ten years' effort. Please confirm. If true, why did take so long?

A: I reiterate again that China is not responsible for the current difficulty in China-Japan relations. The source is there has always been a rightist force in Japan trying to glorify the aggression war waged by Japanese militarism and deny the aggression war. On the issue of Japanese leaders' visit to the Yasukuni Shrine, the Chinese people will never accept since such practices have severely hurt the feeling of the Chinese and Asian people as well as undermined the political foundation of China-Japan relations. The one who tied the bell should unravel it. We hope that the Japanese side can show their courage and properly handle the history issue.

Regarding your second question, we strongly condemn the sabotage of the Japanese rightist. China has lodged a protest with the Japanese side and required them to seriously punish the perpetrator and take effective measures to protect the safety of Chinese embassy and other organizations as well as Chinese citizens, so as to prevent similar incidents from recurring.

On your third question, I think I can try to collect for you some information on the history of exchange between China and the special rapporteur on torture. We attach importance to the visit of UN special rapporteur on torture to China and hope to make this visit a successful one through the joint effort of our two sides.

Q: If it is true that the explosion of Jilin PetroChemical Company led to the upstream pollution and the water cutoff in Harbin, polluted water will flow into Russia. Will China contact Russia on this issue?

A: As the spokesman of Foreign Ministry, I cannot confirm the relevant question.

China has always taken a responsible attitude towards the question of cross-border river. We will fully consider the interest and concern of the downstream countries.

Q: Positive changes have taken place in China's judicial reform over the past years. What benefit can China gain from the invitation for UN special rapporteur on torture?

A: China has made consistent effort to forge ahead with the reform of judicial system. In this regard, we are willing to exchange views with other countries and international organizations to take in what is good for us, so as to carry on our reform and improve China's judicial system. We take an open attitude on this issue. Based on this position, we attach importance to the visit of UN special rapporteur on torture to China. We have had serious consultation with the delegation of the rapporteur on the arrangement and hope our two sides will make this visit meet the expected goal on the basis of mutual respect.

Q: It is reported that the DPRK leader Kim Jong-il's second son will be appointed as successor. Have you heard of any word on this? What's your response? Second question, the ROK announced it would withdraw one third of its troops in Iraq. What's China's comment on this?

A: Your first question goes beyond the portfolio of the spokesman of Foreign Ministry. It falls within the domestic affairs of the DPRK.

Regarding your second question, we welcome any action that benefits the restoration of peace and stability in Iraq.

Q: It is reported that President Hu Jintao met with the second son of General Secretary Kim Jong-il during his visit. Please confirm. Second question, does China think it still necessary to have consultation with Japan on the East China Sea issue? Will the consultation on the East China Sea issue be affected by the history issue?

A: As for your first question, I do not make comment on groundless speculation.

China and Japan have dispute on the delimitation of the East China Sea. We have consistently stood for the solution of the relevant issue through negotiation and consultation. I have nothing to offer so far on the time of the next round of consultation.

Q: The APEC meeting in the ROK has concluded successfully. When will the second session of the fifth round of Six-Party Talks start? Can it be held next week?

A: The ROK friends and colleagues must be very happy to hear your comment on the APEC meeting, since you said the APEC meeting successfully concluded. This is a positive comment on the effort of the host ROK for the meeting.

At the first session of the fifth round of the Six-Party Talks, the parties concerned agreed to hold the second session as early as possible. The exact time is up to consultation. China will have close consultation with the parties to the talks and fully heed their opinions and suggestions. On the basis of respecting the opinions and suggestions of all parties, we will fix how to conduct the next session of the talks, so as to promote the implementation of the joint statement. Given the time and technical reasons, it will be difficult to hold the next session in next week.

Q: It is said that President Bush requested China to have dialogue with Dalai Lama during the China-US summit. What's China's reaction? Second question, is the four-day water cutoff a rare case in China? Is it led by a serious condition?

A: Regarding your first question, the two sides touched upon the Tibet question. Chinese leader stated China's consistent position on Tibet and Dalai Lama.

On your second question, I suggest you should work harder and learn information from the competent authority.

Q: It is reported that Chinese and US leaders talked about China-Japan relations. General Secretary Hu Jintao expressed his dissatisfaction at Koizumi's visit to the Yasukuni Shrine. Can you offer more details?

A: Heads of China and the US exchanged views on China-Japan relations in their talks. The Chinese leader stated to President Bush China's position and President Bush expressed his understanding.

Q: President Bush's visit to China may be one of his most important diplomatic visits this year. Yet Chinese media made little coverage on the visit, without any life broadcast. Did the Chinese government make restriction on the coverage? If so, why did you restrict?

A: I cannot agree with your view. If you go through yesterday's People's Daily, you will find the front page made elaborate coverage on the talks, including the talks with President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao, welcome ceremony and banquet during President Bush's visit. You may learn important information from the coverage. If you move to page 4, you will find the full text of the meeting with the press by President Hu Jintao and President Bush without a single word missing, which also helped meet the wish of the readers to learn China-US relations and President Bush's visit to China. Some other newspapers are more interested in President Bush's bicycle riding and the delicate gifts for him from Chinese acrobats when he enjoyed performance after dinner. I think the coverage on President Bush's visit to China by Chinese media is comprehensive and accurate.

Follow-up: There was life broadcast before. Why not for this time?

A: You meant we should make identical arrangement for each visit of US leaders, without any difference. If we do so, people may find it dull. There should be difference each time.

Q: Please brief on the anti-terrorism memorandum of understanding signed by China and the US.

A: During President Bush's visit to China, China and the US signed an important document on megaport initiative cooperation. This document has great significance for strengthening the cooperation among countries on preventing and combating the proliferation of nuclear and radioactive materials. We give positive comment on the important document reach by the two sides. This is another manifestation of anti-terrorism cooperation between China and the US.

Q: Did President Bush announced in public a policy against "Taiwan independence"? If he did not, what's your comment on this?

A: On the Taiwan question, President Bush reaffirmed the one China policy to China and his position against "Taiwan independence". Meanwhile, he expressed his opposition to any move that may unilaterally change the status quo across the Taiwan Straits. This is quite clear.

Follow-up: Did he say that in public or in private?

A: He said that during his meetings and talks with Chinese leaders. We attach importance to his remarks.

Q: The IAEA is going to hold a meeting on the Iranian nuclear issue. What's China's position on this? Thai Vice Prime Minister Surakiat is visiting China. What's the significance of his visit? Does China support his candidacy for the next term of UN Secretary-General?

A: On the Iranian nuclear issue, China has always maintained the issue should be properly resolved within the IAEA framework as early as possible. We support the effort of Iran and the European Union to seek long-term solution through dialogue and negotiation. We welcome any positive action and move that will help attain the above goal.

Regarding the visit to China by Thai Vice Prime Minister Surakiat, as far as I know, State Councillor Tang Jiaxuan has held talks with him and exchanged views on the United Nations, bilateral relations and major international and regional issues. On the question of next UN secretary general, China's position is clear. We believe the position of UN secretary general plays a very important and special role in carrying on the UN's work in various aspects and exerting the UN's role in safeguarding world peace and promoting common development. We also attach great importance to the selection of the next secretary general. Meanwhile, we believe no people from Asian countries have assumed the important office over the past 34 years. Asia is the most populous region in the world. We think the next secretary general should be selected from Asia. Meanwhile, the relevant countries in Asia should step up consultation on this question and reach consensus.

Q: There is no summit meeting between Chinese and Japanese leaders on the sideline of the APEC meeting. If the issue of Yasukuni Shrine isn't resolved, does China plan to never hold summit meeting between China and Japan? When there are problems in bilateral relations, shouldn't it better be solved through meetings and negotiations?

A: It is clear to all that there is no arrangement for summit meeting between Chinese and Japanese leaders at the just-concluded APEC meeting. We have told you the reason is there are no conditions and atmosphere for such meetings now. So I reiterate that China is sincere to improve China-Japan relations. The Chinese Government always advocate to develop China-Japan relations on the basis of "taking history as a mirror and facing towards the future". However, in order to improve and develop China-Japan relations, the Japanese side must take concrete actions on the history issue which the Chinese side is concerned and correctly treat the history issue.

Q: Is there any plan for meeting between Chinese and Japanese heads of state at the upcoming East Asia Summit? Does the meeting have any preconditions?

A: The Chinese side is making serious preparation and arrangements for the Chinese leader to attend the East Asia Summit. We will brief you on relevant information in due course. As for specific questions on China-Japan relations, I have told you China's position.

If there are no other question, let's call it day! Thanks!

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