|Foreign Ministry Spokesman Kong Quan's Regular Press Conference on 12 January 2006|
Kong: Good afternoon, everyone!
Thank you for braving the snow and coming all the way to today's press conference. First of all, I have an announcement on an inbound visit:
At the invitation of Premier Wen Jiabao of the State Council, Prime Minister Konstantinos Karamanlis of the Hellenic Republic will pay an official visit to China from January 19th to 22nd, 2006.
Now, I'm ready for questions.
Q: Now, there is a lot of coverage on General Secretary Kim Jong-il's visit to China. Where on earth is General Secretary Kim now? At last visit of General Secretary Kim to China, the International Department of CPC Central Committee did not announce his visit until he left. Last year, the visit of President Hu Jintao to the DPRK was announced a week before it took place. Why not overtly announcing General Secretary Kim's visit? Is it due to the DPRK's request?
A: I have to say very sorry. I know that you are much interested in this question, but I have nothing to offer you.
Regarding your question, each country has its own way. My friends from the press wish to get first hand information. But I think we should understand and respect the practices of different countries.
You specially referred to President Hu's visit to the DPRK last October. We announced the visit ten days ahead of its start in line with our own practice. This has been how we usually did it in recent years.
Q: It is reported that the environmental assessment of Nu River in Yunnan has been completed. The lower reaches of the river passed Myanmar. Please offer some details. When will the report be publicized? Second, US Assistant Secretary of State Hill starts his visit to China today. Please brief on his agenda of meeting, topics and the substance of his visit involving the Six-Party Talks. Third, Iran reopened its nuclear fuel research. What's China's position on this?
A: Nu River is a cross-border river, and the Chinese Government sets high store by the comprehensive harnessing of the river. Either on building hydro-power station or on the comprehensive harnessing of the river, the Chinese Government is rigorous in its policy, serious in its attitude and responsible in its practice. I have not heard of the completion of the environmental assessment report yet. What I want to make clear is the Chinese Government will definitely consider the ecological, economic and other impact in the process of development and exploitation of the river.
Second, US Assistant Secretary of State Hill is on his Asia tour in recent days. After visiting some Asian countries, he came to Beijing. One hour ago, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei met with him, and their discussion focused on the Six-Party Talks on the nuclear issue on Korean Peninsula. During the meeting, China reaffirmed our consistent position, that is, the momentum of continuing the Six-Party Talks cannot be changed, the fundamental goal of a denuclearized Peninsula cannot be changed and the principle of realizing the goal through peaceful negotiation cannot be changed. When the Six-Party Talks encounters some complicated factors, we hope that all parties will make joint efforts and properly handle the questions we are facing together through dialogue and communication, so as to resume the Talks at an early date.
Third, we express our concern over the new development in the Iranian nuclear issue. We expect Iran to do more to help enhance mutual trust and resume the negotiation between Iran and the three EU countries. Meanwhile, we expect the parties concerned to exercise restraint and stick to negotiation in the process of solving the Iranian nuclear issue. We firmly believe that this will be in the interest of all parties.
Q: It is reported that investigation has proven the money laundering and faking by the DPRK through a bank in Macau. Did ROK Deputy Foreign Minister Song Min-sun talk about this matter with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei this week? What proposal did China make to the DPRK on this? What action does China believe should be taken by the DPRK on this matter?
A: In the past two months, we have expressed right here our positions on this question for quite a few times. The Chinese Government firmly opposes money laundering and other financial crimes. I answered your question at the press conference of Tuesday. According to the Basic Law and the principle of one country two systems, it is up to the Macau SAR Government to investigate in conformity to law. The Central Government is definitely supportive of the investigation made by the government of the special administrative region and its later measure to handle the case in line with law, once conclusive evidence is found.
Follow-up: Did Song Min-sun and Wu Dawei talk about this issue during their meeting this week?
A: I have no information to offer.
Q: Do you think the Macau Government should investigate on the suspected money laundering for the DPRK by the bank in Macau in the first place instead of any party imposing unilateral international sanction against the DPRK? Second question, the Indian Oil and Natural Gas Minister is visiting China. What's the position of the Chinese Government on China-India energy cooperation? Does the Chinese Government agree with what the Indian Oil Minister said today?
A: The question mentioned adds a complicated factor to the process of the Six-Party Talks. The process of the Talks is far from a smooth sailing and many difficulties and ups and downs keep cropping up. We believe under such circumstances, the parties to the Talks should display stronger good will and have more communications and dialogues, so as to minimize differences as much as possible and make joint efforts to launch the second session of the fifth round of Six-Party Talks at an early date.
The visit of the Indian Oil Minister to China is not principally the charge of Foreign Ministry. But what I read on media shows this is a successful visit. He made extensive contacts with the relevant departments of China, including the officials from the National Development and Reform Commission and some enterprises, discussing on the mutually beneficial cooperation between our two countries in the energy field, in particular on oil. A couple of days ago, Chinese competent authority released some statistics on energy. In 2005, China imported 130 million tons of crude oil, only a 3.3% increase as against the year before last. In contrast, China's GDP grew by over 9%. We focused on domestic energy saving and increasing energy efficiency and made positive progress. China hopes to conduct friendly cooperation on the basis of equality and mutual benefit in the energy field, with oil cooperation included, so as to attain common development and prosperity. I have not seen today's speech of the Indian Oil Minister and thus cannot make any comment.
Q: It is reported that the visiting DPRK leader Kim Jong-il is meeting with President Hu Jintao. Please confirm whether the meeting has ended or there's no such a meeting at all.
A: Did you interview on the spot? I have nothing to offer on that.
Q: Regarding the Iranian nuclear issue, did China send any message to Iran through telephone or letter? And on the successor of UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, the US indicated that the successor could not come from Asian countries. What's China's reaction? It is reported that the King of Saudi Arabia is going to visit China. Do you know anything about that?
A: China has had contacts with Iran. On 9th of this month, Iranian Vice Foreign Minister Safari visited China. Principal officials in charge of Chinese Foreign Ministry held talks with him, covering not only how to further develop friendly relations and cooperation between us, but also the Iranian nuclear issue. We expressed our position to the Iranian side, on which I have made a thorough account.
On the successor of next UN Secretary-General, this is a heatedly discussed question in the world. We think that the UN Secretary General is an important position and Asian countries have not held this position for 34 years. We support Asian countries in reaching consensus through broad discussion and selecting an Asian to assume the office.
The third question, China and Saudi Arabia share good relations, and the leaders of the two countries have kept the tradition of exchanging visits. I don't have precise information now, but I know that the two sides have plan of visits in the near future. I believe I will keep you updated promptly once the visit schedule is finalized.
Follow-up: Did China write to Iran on the nuclear issue?
A: China has expressed its position to Iran in various ways. We have said on many occasions that this issue is a complicated one and we hope it could be resolved through peaceful negotiation within the IAEA framework. This serves the interest of all parties and thus is a good choice.
Q:Lee Tung-hui may visit Japan in April or May this year. What's your comment? A US writer wrote a book, which said the entire world was concerned about China's increasing oil demand and its impact on the global environment. What's your comment on it?
A: I have seen that report. On this question, we have expressed our resolute position many times. We hope the Japanese side can proceed from the overall interest of the Sino-Japanese relations, genuinely abide by the principles of the three political documents including Sino-Japanese Joint Statement and handle it appropriately.
As for your second question, I haven't read this book. However, I've heard some discussions in the international community. Some of these discussions are not all-sided, which only mentioned the amount of China's crude oil import, but ignored a very important fact that China is not only an energy importer, but also a major producer of energy. Now, China supplies 93-94% of its own energy consumption, including crude coal and electric power, etc. On the one hand, in the process of fast development of economy, China's demand of energy is increasing. On the other hand, China relies on itself and takes a number of measures to ensure higher efficiency of energy consumption. The question you raised is an important one, which the Chinese Government is actively conceiving measures to solve.
Q: In Japan, some people say that should a war arise across the Taiwan Straits, Japan would regard it as an incident around its surrounding area and allow the US to use its military establishments. What's your comment?
A: The military cooperation or alliance between Japan and the US is a bilateral arrangement. Therefore, it should be strictly confined to bilateral scope and avoid bringing complicated factors to the security situation of this region. We have expressed our position on many occasions that Japan and the US should bear in mind the peace, security, stability and the long-term interests of this region and do more in favor of the peace and stability of the region, instead of the opposite.
Q: The UN coordinator on bird flu said at a press conference in New York on 11th that it needs $1.4 to 1.5 billion to help countries all over the world to combat bird flu? How much fund will China donate?
A: The bird flu is a grave issue all human beings are facing. All are concerned about some cases of bird flu which break out in some countries, particularly the cases in European countries. The Chinese Government, EU Committee and World Bank will jointly hold the international fund-raising conference for combating the bird flu, through which we hope to mobilize forces of all circles for concerted cooperation, intensify our efforts in combating the epidemic and strive for achievements. The conference will be held in Beijing from 17th to 18th. So far as it goes, the countries concerned will take an active part.
The first day of conference is a meeting among senior officials, who will discuss capital and technological demand to control bird flu. The number you mentioned is a unilateral evaluation. I believe after the high-level meeting on the first day, all parties at the meeting will have an objective and complete understanding of the capital and technology needed to control the epidemic.
A ministerial meeting will be held on the second day, when relevant countries and organizations will announce their donations. As one of the hosts, the Chinese Government will actively participate in it. I believe the Beijing Declaration adopted at the conference will display the determination of the international community and measures to be taken to control the bird flu.
Q: China is attending the conference of "New Asia-Pacific Partnership for Clean Development and Climate" in Australia. Please tell us what contribution China will make and its goal at the conference.
A: The Australian conference of "New Asia-Pacific Partnership for Clean Development and Climate" is held in Sydney from 11th to 12th. This is the first time for the Australian side to propose such a meeting. The background is all sides feel worried about the current climatic change, hoping to explore various channels and solutions in all forms, so as to alleviate impacts brought about by climatic changes. The Chinese side supports the international community and relevant countries in their active piloting efforts. State Councilor and Secretary General of State Council Hua Jianmin will attend the meeting on behalf of the Chinese Government. He will brief on China's policy on addressing climatic changes and the measures to be taken for the next step. Meanwhile, we will also make a proposal on what effective measures to take within the framework of the partnership initiative, especially in the Asia-Pacific region and how to step up cooperation in such fields as technological research and development, transfer and promotion, so as to blaze a trail that both effectively copes with the climatic change and concretely boosts the economic growth.
Q: As for Lee Teng-hui's visit to Japan, do you mean that Japan shouldn't issue Mr. Lee the visa to Japan on whatever ground?
A: Your interpretation is right.
Q: Recently some signs indicate that the Mongolian Government may change horses. Did China notice it? What comment do you have on Mongolian political change?
A: Mongolia is a friendly neighbor of China. We pay attention to some new changes in Mongolia's internal political situation. Firstly, we think it is internal affair of Mongolia. Meanwhile, we hope Mongolia can maintain political stability and economic development, and the cooperation between China and Mongolia can constantly register new progress on a healthy and stable track.
Q: Now, when people in Taiwan go for tourism in Japan, they don't have to apply for visa. If the Japanese Government permitted Lee Teng-hui to visit Japan as an ordinary tourist without engaging in any political activities, what response do you have?
A: We can tell what a man is now by looking back to his past, and tell what he will become by looking at his present. The Japanese side is very clear about what Lee Teng-hui is. We hope that the Japanese Government would observe the three political documents between China and Japan, abide by its commitment on the Taiwan question and adhere to the one China policy. They should not grant or provide platform and venue for pro-independence activists in Taiwan.
Q: Will Premier Wen Jiabao attend his office in Beijing from today to January 19th?
A: At least, I can tell you that from January 19th to 22nd, Premier Wen will host his guest from Greece in Beijing and have a warm and friendly meeting with him. I have no information of Premier Wen's agenda.
Follow up: Is Premier Wen going to have business trip to other cities?
A: The Chinese leaders often make inspection tour in other cities of the country.
If there is no more question. Thanks for attendance. See you.