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Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang's Regular Press Conference on 5 January 2006

On the afternoon of January 5th, 2006, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang held a regular press conference.

Qin: Happy new year to all. Welcome to the first regular press conference of our Ministry in 2006. We look forward to continuous sound cooperation with all the friends from the Chinese and foreign press. I wish you every success in your work and good health in the new year.

I shall begin with three statements.

At the invitation of President Nursultan Nazarbayev of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Vice President Zeng Qinghong will pay an official visit to Kazakhstan from January 9 to 12 and attend the inaugural ceremony of President Nazarbayev during his visit.

At the invitation of the governments of Australia and New Zealand, State Councilor and Secretary General of the State Council Hua Jianmin will visit the two countries and attend the inaugural ministerial meeting of Asian-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate in Sydney.

It is our routine that the first foreign trip of our Minister each year will start with Africa. This year is no exception. At the invitation of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Communities, Victor Borges, of the Republic of Cape Verde, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cheikh Tidiane Gadio, of the Republic of Senegal, Minister of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation, Moctar Ouane, of the Republic of Mali, Foreign Minister of the National Transitional Government, Thomas Nimely, of the Republic of Liberia, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Oluyemi Adeniji, of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Secretary of the General People's Committee for Foreign Liasion & International Cooperation, Abd Rahman Shalgam, of the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing will pay official visits to the above-mentioned six countries from January 11 to 19.

Foreign Minister Li's trip is to enhance bilateral ties and traditional friendship and cooperation with African nations. During his visit, he will be having talks and signing agreements on economic and technological cooperation with his counterparts of the six nations.

With that, I am happy to take your questions.

Q: It is reported by Japanese press that Japan put forth a plan last year on joint exploration with China in the East China Sea, proposing to fund the on-going oil and gas exploration program of China and share with China the output proportionally. Can you confirm? Secondly, Mr. Azumo Shino passed away not long ago. Do you think it will be a loss to friendly exchanges between China and Japan?

A: In the third round of East China Sea consultation between the two countries, Japan accepted the principle of joint exploration which had been proposed by China. But the two sides did not touch upon the details including capital and profit sharing. The reports of Japanese press do not conform to facts.

On your second question, Mr. Azumo Shino was once a Japanese soldier, participating in the Japanese war of aggression on China, including the Nanjing Massacre. After five decades, Mr. Shino courageously stood out to have remorse over history, uphold truth and sincerely confessed to the people of the victim counties. He has won people's understanding and respect with his conscience, courage to face up to Japan's history of aggression, sense of justice and unremitting efforts to safeguard peace and promote China-Japan friendship. We express our condolences on his death and solicitudes for his family. We believe that there will be more people like Mr. Shino, who are sparing no efforts in promoting China-Japan friendship in the spirit of "taking history as a mirror and face up to the future".

Q: Happy new year to you. The Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi rebutted criticism of China and ROK on his visit to the Yasukuni Shrine. What is your comment?

A: Our position of Japanese leaders' visit to the Yasukuni Shrine is known to all.

Q: Bolivian President-elect Morales announced that he would be visiting China next week between 10th and 12th. Why can't China confirm the visit? If it is true, who will he be meeting with?

A: China enjoys sound cooperation with Bolivia. We stand ready to maintain exchanges and mutually beneficial cooperation with Bolivia at various levels in various fields. You might be expecting me to release information of the visit here today. But we are still having discussions on President Morales' visit. Once the date is set, we will update you in due course.

Q: You said last week that the Ministry of Health agreed to provide the virus samples of human bird flu infections to the WHO. But WHO said that they had not received any. Why is it the Ministry of Health instead of the Ministry of Agriculture providing the sample?

A: China is fairly sincere and willing to enhance international cooperation in human bird flu prevention and control. We stand ready to work with the international organizations including WHO and other countries to maintain exchanges and cooperation to share information and technology. As to the information gap between what I said and what you have learnt from the WHO, I will double-check for you. As you may notice, there are two ministries in China in charge of the bird flu prevention and control, namely Ministry of Health and Ministry of Agriculture. You may refer your question to the two ministries for further knowledge.

Q: President Hu Jintao's visit to the US slated for last September was postponed because of the hurricane. The US reportedly noted that President Hu may make the trip this January. When will it happen? With respect to the Six-Party Talks, relevant parties noted that the Talks should be resumed in last December as early as possible. But it did not happen. When will the Talks be resumed? Is January possible?

A: You seem to be well-informed of the visit. During President Bush's stay in China last November, he invited President Hu again to visit the US, which was accepted with pleasure by the latter. At present, the two sides are still having contact and consultation on the specific date of the visit. You will be updated once we have everything clear.

On your second question, like you, I personally would very much like to see the Six-Party Talks resumed at an early date. We are now being ushered into a new year, hoping to make new progress in the Talks. Currently there are some new complicated factors in the Korean Peninsular nuclear question. We would like to see various parties to proceed from the general interest, properly handle relevant concerns and questions through comprehensive communication and consultation so as to jointly create sound conditions for furthering the process of the Six-Party Talks. China stands ready to maintain contact and consultation with the rest of others.

Q: It is reported that Pakistan planned to buy six to eight nuclear reactors from China, can you confirm?

A: I believe that you must have taken note of the statement of the Spokesperson of Pakistani Foreign Ministry in denying of the news. China-Pakistan nuclear cooperation is totally for peace and under the safeguards of the IAEA. It does not go against the international obligations China has committed itself to.

Q: Will you please tell us the commemorating meeting of Mr. Azuma Shino in Nanjing yesterday? Who attended the meeting? Who delivered speech there? Regarding Foreign Minister's trip to Africa, will oil and gas exploration and the Taiwan question be discussed? Does this trip intend to prevent some African nations from being brought over by Taiwan?

A: Let me answer your second question first. China and African nations enjoy traditional profound friendship, treating each other frankly with mutual respect. China has always been active in promoting mutually beneficial cooperation with Africa. We stand ready to enhance our cooperation in various fields including in energy through bilateral and multi-lateral channels like China-Africa Cooperation Forum. It serves the interest of both sides and conforms to mutual development of African nations. With regard to Taiwan, one of the political prerequisites for China in establishing diplomatic ties with any other nation is to respect our sovereignty and territorial integrity and accept the One China principle. African nations are quite clear of this position, which constitutes a foundation for furthering our traditional cooperation and friendship. We believe that the friendship and cooperation conforms to the trend of seeking peace, enhancing cooperation and promoting development. It is an irresistible trend that China-Africa relations will continue to enjoy in-depth development on the basis of the One China Principle.

I do not know much about what is going on there in Nanjing to commemorate Mr. Shino. But I learnt from today's reports that the Nanjing Municipal Government would send delegates to Japan to attend Mr. Shino's funeral there.

Q: A question on the Six-Party Talks. It is reported that Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei held talks with DPRK Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye Gwan in Shenyang. Can you confirm? Does China plan to send officials to the US to push forward the Six-Party Talks?

A: I have not heard of the talks you talked about. As to whether China will send people to work on the countries concerned, we have always stayed in contact and consultation with other parties in our own way and discussed on how to resume the Six-Party Talks at an early date and move ahead the Talks.

Q: Who will Foreign Minister Li meet with during his visit to Africa? What agreements will be signed? And how about the value of the agreements?

A: Up to now, the itinerary has not been finalized yet and we are still discussing it with the parties concerned. I am not in the position to offer it now. If we have precise itinerary later, including the leaders that he will meet with, we will brief you promptly. It can be confirmed that Minister Li will definitely meet with the foreign ministers of the six countries, since he is invited by them. He will also meet with some other leaders of the countries he will visit. What agreement to be signed and the value involved are yet to be fixed. I said just now we will sign some bilateral agreements on economic and technological cooperation.

Q: Today, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Abe said that he believed that the suicide of Japanese consular official in Shanghai had been caused by some Chinese practice in violation of international law. What's your comment? Does China consider holding consultation with Japan on this?

A: On this question, Chinese Foreign Ministry and Chinese embassy in Japan have explicitly expressed our position. China is a responsible country, and the Chinese Government has always protected the legitimate rights and interests of foreign diplomatic staff in China in line with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations. We have clarified the nature of the incident in your question on many occasions. The conclusion of China is serious and responsible. Japan makes a completely groundless accusation and intends to provoke an incident. We require the Japanese side to handle the incident in a calm and appropriate manner and not to stir up new trouble for China-Japan relations.

Q: Please brief on the schedule and meeting arrangement of Bolivian President-elect's visit to China. Bolivia is the number one natural gas producer in the world. Will China sign an agreement on oil and gas development with Bolivia? Second question, Koizumi alleged that his visit to the Yasukuni Shrine should not be made an excuse with which China and the ROK rejected dialogues with him. What's your comment? Is it possible that China and Japan hold a leaders' meeting within the term of Koizumi?

A: On your first question, China and Bolivia share good relations and cooperation. We are ready to further expand our friendly and mutually beneficial cooperation with Bolivia in various fields, including energy. The two sides still need to discuss on the date and itinerary of his visit.

On your second question, I have made our position clear. Now, China-Japan relations face a very severe and difficult situation now, the responsibility of which does not lie with China. One can not pretend nothing has happened after doing the wrong things that hurt the feeling of people in other countries and undermined the political foundation of bilateral relations. We hope that Japan could come to realize this. China holds a clear and consistent position on developing good-neighborly and friendly relations and cooperation with Japan. We stand for stronger exchange and cooperation between our two countries. But normal exchange and cooperation between our two countries demand sound political atmosphere and condition. As a Chinese saying goes, it is the one tying the bell who should untie it. We expect Japan to correctly treat the major issues concerning the political foundation of China-Japan relations and give serious consideration to the feeling of Chinese people. We hope they could take concrete steps in the development of bilateral relations, honor their commitment to remorse on history and create conditions for the improvement and development of China-Japan relations.

Regarding the Six-Party Talks, we hope the parties concerned could bear in mind the overall situation and properly handle the interest concern and relevant questions on the basis of mutual respect and equal consultation, so as to push for steady progress of the Six-Party Talks. We are willing to play a positive and constructive role in this process.

Q: Japanese Emperor said in his new year speech that the fallen ones in the war should not be forgotten. What's your comment?

A: We have noticed the report. It will benefit the peace, stability and development in the region as well as serve the interest of Japan itself if Japan correctly could treat and properly handle the history issue with a serious and responsible attitude.

Q: Does China have any comment on the Asian-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate? Will China participate in it?

A: China attaches great importance to this meeting. State Councilor and Secretary General of the State Council Hua Jianmin will attend the inaugural ministerial meeting of Asian-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate in Sydney. We believe that coping with the climate change is a very important subject and complicated task for today's international community. We support the exploration of diverse and practical counter measures. The meeting is a helpful exploring effort. We think this partnership program is a beneficial complementation instead of a substitution for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol. Therefore it won't prejudice the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol. This program puts emphasis on economic development and elimination of poverty in coping with climatic change, and the core function of technology is highly valued. We believe that the way of thinking is correct. The key issue is to put thinking into practice, and make positive results from the efforts of all partners. We hope that the partnership program can take effective measures to promote practical cooperation on R&D, transfer and popularization of technology on coping with climate change, create a new method which can tackle climate change effectively as well as help the economy of relevant countries to grow.

If there is no other question, thank you for your presence. See you.

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