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Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang's Press Conference on 13 December 2005

On the afternoon of December 13, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang held a regular press conference.

Qin: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen! I would like to begin with two announcements.

At the invitation of Vice President Zeng Qinghong, Lupando Augustine Festus Mwape, Vice President of the Republic of Zambia, will pay an official visit to China from December 15 on.

At the invitation of Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, Antoinette Batumubwira, Minister of External Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of Burundi, will pay an official visit to China from December 18 to 22.

With that, I am happy to take your questions.

Q: The World Trade Organization's Ministerial level conference is held in Hong Kong today. Could you please brief us on China's goals and expectations for the meeting?

A: I have answered the question at last press conference. We believe that the Doha Round should be concluded in 2006. Lower expectation for the Hong Kong meeting should not make us reduce our goal for the whole Doha Round. The momentum of negotiation should be maintained in order to achieve as mush as possible substantial progress during the Hong Kong meeting. Developing nations' concerns need to be addressed in real earnest during the negotiation, including giving them special and differential treatment and leaving them enough policy space for their development strategy. China is happy to see a consensus on special and differential treatment for developing countries during the Hong Kong meeting, which should also be included as part of early achievements of the meeting. Doha Round should be a round of development where the development theme is to be ensured, trade liberalization process be accelerated in real earnest and the developing nations can really enjoy better market access. In the meantime, we should take into full consideration the difficulties of the developing nations in the process of trade liberalization. China is willing to play an active role both during the Hong Kong meeting and in all the negotiations of the Doha Round.

Q: Is the East Asia Summit able to make any achievement without the United States participation? What is China's attitude concerning its future participation?

A: The process of East Asia cooperation should be open and transparent. China is against exclusive regional cooperation against any third party. East Asia cooperation should benefit cooperation among countries in the region as well as development of the region itself and the rest of the world. We respect the consensus of the ASEAN countries in this regard. We also respect and support them playing a leading role in the process.

Q: Maehara Seiji, leader of Japan's Democratic Party is here for a visit. He hoped to meet with Chinese leaders but failed to make it. Why? Second question, Mr. Wang Yi, Chinese Ambassador to Japan, left Tokyo and returned to Beijing yesterday. It seems that he will be staying in Beijing fairly long. What is the main purpose for his trip?

A: Mr. Maehara Seiji's visit has been arranged by the International Department of the CPC. I suggest you to refer your question to them for further details of his agenda. As far as I know, during his visit, State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan and Deputy Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo met with him. He also addressed the Foreign Affairs University and talked with the students there. This morning, he exchanged views with some Chinese experts and scholars. This is all I have with me concerning his agenda.

On your second question, Ambassador Wang Yi came back to China to report his job as a routine.

Q: It is reported that Premier Wen Jiabao had a 15-minute informal talk with ROK and Japanese leaders yesterday in Kuala Lumpur. Please confirm and brief us on the talk.

A: As I know, Premier Wen Jiabao attended the luncheon hosted by Malaysian Premier Badawi for leaders yesterday. Since the seats were arranged in alphabetic order, Premier Wen was seated beside leaders from countries like Japan. I was not there and I can not tell you what they talked about there during the luncheon.

Q: Maehara Seiji, leader of the Japanese Democratic Party accused China as a real threat militarily. Will it affect his meeting with Chinese leaders?

A: We have taken note of his remarks. To answer your question, we need to both look back into the history and look beyond the present. The Chinese people have always cherished peace since ancient times. We strongly believe that peace is the best option. China has never invaded any other country. Nor has it ever killed people or set their home on fire in their land. Today China remains as a developing nation. Our major task is to focus on development and nation building. Our goal is to develop our country and raise people's living standards. We stick to the road of peaceful development and to the principle of making peace and friends with our neighbours. We stand ready to develop friendly relations and cooperation with our neigbours and build an amicable, tranquil and prosperous community. China's development will not be a threat to anybody nor to anybody's interest.

China is a sovereign country. It is quite natural for it to maintain certain amount of military expenditure. As I said last time, we need to satisfy the daily necessity of our military staff and fulfill the task of safeguarding national sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as state security. I can give you some figures so that we can make some comparison in military expenditure here. Last year, China's military expenditure was only $25.6 billion while as that of Japan was 1.62 times of ours. In per capital terms, Japan's military expenditure was $1300, while as that of China was just $23, only a nail's share of that of Japan. If we take a further look, Japan's size is only 1/25 of China, its population only 1/10 of China. However, Japan's military expenditure remains huge. How would Japan justify its purpose? Now China is accused of being a threat, and a real threat. Could you tell me how? Even if China becomes developed in the future, it will always remain to be an active force in safeguarding world peace and promoting joint progress.

I was there a moment ago when Deputy Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo met with Mr. Maehare Seiji. In their meeting, Deputy Foreign Minister Da reiterated that the Chinese Government has always held that China and Japan should take history as a mirror and face toward future in developing a long-term friendly and good-neighbourly relations and cooperation on the basis of the three Sino-Japanese political documents. Mrs. Seiji said that he and his party supported the friendly relations between the two countries and stood ready to play a positive role in promoting bilateral friendship and cooperation. He also said that he welcomed China's peaceful development. My impression is that Mr. Seiji is quite young and very smart. I am sure that he will come to a wise judgment as to what is in the interest of his party, of Japan and of Sino-Japanese relationship. We hope that any political party and people of Japan can say and do things in the interest of the friendship between the two countries.

Q: Reports suggest that an environmental agency in London accuses China of exporting CFC which will destroy the ozone layer. How do you comment?

A: I have not read any related reports. But I can assure you that the Chinese Government has adopted a responsible attitude in environmental protection and climate change. We have acceded into relevant international conventions which we will implement in real earnest. China stands ready to make its due contribution in meeting the challenges of climate change and protecting a sound environment for the whole mankind.

If there are no further questions, I would like to wind up here. Thank you.

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