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Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang's Regular Press Conference on 22 December 2005

On the afternoon of December 22, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang held a regular press conference.

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

At the invitation of Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan of the State Council, Vice Premier Ro Tu Chol of the Democratic Pepole's Republic of Korea will head a DPRK Government delegation to pay a visit to China from December 24th to 27th.

Now, I'm ready for questions.

Q: Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso alleged on 22nd of this month that China, as a country with a population of one billion and a nuclear arsenal, had increased its military expenditure by a double-digit margin for 17 straight years and the substance of the expenditure was far from transparent. China is looming as a threat to a considerable extent. What's China's comment?

A: China pursues the road of peaceful development. China's development has made worldly recognized contribution to the peace and stability of the region and the world and presented enormous opportunities for the development of Asian countries, including Japan. This is a fact obvious to all. It is extremely irresponsible for a Japanese foreign minister to make such remarks. One can't help question the real motive of the Japanese Foreign Minister to foment a groundless argument of China's threat at such a moment.

Q: Please offer some details on the DPRK Vice Premier's upcoming visit to China. Is his visit related to the talks between Japan and the DPRK in Beijing over the weekend?

A: China and the DPRK are friendly close neighbors. The two countries exchange frequent visits at all levels. During Vice Premier Ro Tu Chol's visit to China, Chinese leaders will meet with him and exchange views with him on bilateral relations and issues of common interest. His itinerary will not include any city other than Beijing.

I don't see any connection between the visit and the talks between Japan and the DPRK.

Q: Does China have any plan for talks between Chinese and Japanese Foreign Ministers in the coming days? If not, why? China issued a white paper on its peaceful development this morning, proclaiming that China will pursue a road of peaceful development. Why do you issue the white paper at such a time? Is that aimed to fight back the criticism of China?

A: Regarding the question of talks between Chinese and Japanese foreign ministers, China-Japan relations are now facing a very severe situation, and the responsibility does not lie with China. We stand for stronger dialogue, exchanges and cooperation between China and Japan. But such exchanges and cooperation demand appropriate atmosphere and conditions.

On your second question, China is a developing country, and development will be our arduous task in the long run. At present, the international community is closely following how China will develop itself and what road it will take in its development. At such a moment, we issue this white paper, exactly in order to offer the international community a clear picture of China's development and our positions and propositions on major international issues. In particular, considering the first question of today's press conference, don't you find it very timely and necessary to issue such a white paper?

Q: US Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld visited Pakistan, Afghanistan and other Asian countries recently and discussed on the role of the US in this region. How does China view the visits of the US side? What cooperation does China have with the US on security, peace and development in this region?

A: The visits of US Vice President Cheney and Defense Secretary Rumsfeld to these countries are bilateral arrangements between the US and those countries. China hopes that this region will attain peace, security, stability, common development and prosperity. We also hope that the countries concerned will give full consideration to the concern and interest of the countries in the region in security and stability.

Q: Please brief on the schedule and agenda of today's OPEC minister's visit to China. Today, OPEC expects the oil price to stay at 45 to 55 dollars. Does China think the price too high?

A: As far as I know, the National Development and Reform Commission will take care of the visit reception. Please refer to the NDRC on the schedule and agenda. Now, the international community is extensively concerned about the energy issue. China is a big energy producer as well as a big consumer. On the energy issue, we have always stood for stronger cooperation on the basis of equality and mutual benefit, so as to jointly cope with the energy questions, including the high oil price. When attending the APEC CEO Summit recently, Chinese President Hu Jintao forwarded an important proposal on how the international community should enhance cooperation to jointly tackle the energy issue and stated China's strategy on energy development. I recommend you to go through his speech carefully.

Q: At the end of 2005, please make a brief summary on the achievements of China's diplomacy. What expectation should we have on China's diplomacy in 2006?

A: This is a big important question, and it will take quite some time to answer. I suggest you should read Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing's remarks on China's diplomacy when having an interview with Chinese media a couple of days ago. He talked about his view on the international situation, reviewed China's diplomacy in the past year and looked into the prospect of China's diplomacy in the next year. Here, I want to tell you in a very brief way that China held high the banner of peace, development and cooperation in its diplomacy in the past year and we will continue to hold high the banner of peace, development and cooperation, create a favorable international environment, an amicable and friendly neighborhood and an equal and mutually beneficial cooperation environment for the modernization drive of China, and make due contribution to the peace, stability and prosperity of the world.

Q: US Undersecretary of Commerce Lavin said this morning that China and the US should hold a dialogue on steel in order to avoid trade war. What's your position?

A: The Chinese Ministry of Commerce is in charge of this question. I recommend you to raise your question to them. China is willing to develop cooperation with all the countries in the world, including the US, on the basis of equality and mutual benefit, so as to realize a win-win scenario. As for the trade friction between China and other countries including the US, we regard it as a problem emerging in the course of development. In recent years, China's foreign trade has increased fast and the level of trade cooperation has improved continuously. China and the US are important trade partners to each other. To resolve trade friction, we should follow the principle of equality and mutual benefit and explore a proper solution through negotiation from the perspective of development.

Q: Can you confirm that the DPRK and Japan will have a negotiation in Beijing over the weekend? If so, what role will China play in it?

A: I guess you were referring to the contact between Japan and the DPRK. This is a matter between the two countries. I suggest you should seek information from them. Since they are willing to meet in Beijing, we'd like to offer assistance and convenience for their contact.

Q: The Songhua River pollution has led to a water cutoff in Khabarovsk. Meanwhile, we also know that another incident of water pollution occurred in China's Guangdong province, which has aroused concern of China's neighboring countries. What measures will China take to assure its neighbors that similar accidents will never happen again? What explanation has China made to Russia?

A: Such accidents of water pollution are not what we wish to see. I believe it's quite clear to you that after the accident happened, China's action has displayed its serious and responsible attitude toward the matter. We are handling the issue with an attitude highly responsible for neighboring country. We expressed our apology to our neighbor for the difficulties and impacts arising from the issue. We have taken timely actions, made utmost efforts and overcome difficulties to minimize the possible impact on our neighbor either through unilateral measures or bilateral cooperation with Russian side. We are convinced that China and Russia can properly handle the aftermaths of the issue through friendly consultation and cooperation in spirit of strategic cooperation.

Q: Over the past months, Taiwan is more and more frequently mentioned in China-Japan relations, especially in the issues concerning history. Can you tell me the reason? What message does China want to convey to the people in mainland, Taiwan and Japan?

A: I think you should have a clear understanding of Sino-Japanese War in 1894 and the Treaty of Shimonoseki in China's modern history. Taiwan is a part of China. In history, Taiwan was seized by Japanese aggressors from its motherland and occupied for half a century. After the WWII, the relevant international covenants, such as the Cairo Declaration and the Potsdam Proclamation, solemnly declared to the world that Taiwan should return to the embrace of its motherland. All the Chinese people, either in mainland or Taiwan, have a fresh memory of this history and share common understanding of Japan's wrong word and action now. We all require the Japanese side to face up to history and take earnest action to honor its commitment to remorse on history.

If there are no more questions, see you next time. Thank you.

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