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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson's Press Conference on February 23rd, 2006

On the afternoon of February 23rd, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Liu Jianchao hosted a regular press conference.

Liu: Good afternoon everyone. I would like to start with questions right away.

Q: The US accused China, government staff in particular, of using pirated software in workplace, how does the Foreign Ministry respond to it? How is the situation here with the Ministry?

A: We have taken note of relevant reports. I would like to reiterate here that China takes a serious, earnest and responsible position on IPR protection. Sound protection of IPR matters not only China, but also the US. It serves the interest of us both. In the past few years, China has been harsh in cracking down infringement of IPR. We recognize there are still many cases of IPR infringement because of the restraint of China's current status of development. We will continue to take effective counter measures. As to whether the Foreign Ministry uses pirated software, my answer is: the Ministry does not use any pirated software,

Q: Palestine refused to allow Dalai Lama to visit Bethlehem last week, stating that it will maintain friendly relations with China and reiterating its commitment to the One China policy. Do you have any comment?

A: China's position on the question of Dalai Lama has been consistent. We are against any country providing venues, opportunities and forums for his activities aimed at splitting the motherland. Palestine is clear of our position on Tibet and Dalai. We appreciate Palestine's decision.

Q: Japan's Trade Minister Toshihiro Nikai visited China. Are your satisfied with his visit? Do you have any updates? Secondly, the EU may announce today to levy anti-dumping duties on Chinese shoes. The Ministry of Commerce is yet to respond to it. Do you have any comment? Thirdly, Chen Shuibian insisted on abolishing the National Unification Council, the US stated that Chen's move will change the current status across the straits. Do you have any comment?

A: It has been announced that Mr. Toshihiro Nikai is now visiting China. During his stay here, Minister Bo had talks with him. Premier Wen Jiabao and State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan met with him. Views have been exchanged with some agreements reached on promoting economic relations and trade, environmental protection, energy conservation and two-way investment cooperation in particular. We believe that these exchanges are helpful. During these talks, China stressed to Mr.Toshihiro Nikai the significance for Japan to correctly handle historical issues and abide by the three political documents for the development of bilateral ties. The two sides agreed initially that the forth round of talks between China and Japan on East Sea will be held in the first half of March.

With respect to your second question, I suggest you to make inquiries to the Ministry of Commerce.

On your third question, the activities and remarks of the Taiwan separatists are dangerous signals. Stability across the straits serves the interest of China and other countries in the region and world. We hope that relevant countries stay alert of the dangerous attempts of the Taiwan separatists, making joint efforts to maintain peace and stability across the straits.

Q: Some British press covered the lines in Prince Charles' diary concerning China. Reports suggest that Prince Charles is critical on China's human rights status. Did China follow these reports? Do you have any comment?

A: I haven't read the private diary you mentioned. We are not interested in it.

Q: Leaders of Hamas made a couple of visits recently. Will the Chinese Government invite them to visit China? The US and Israel stated that they would boycott the election of Palestine through economic sanctions, requesting other countries to refrain from providing assistance to Palestine. Has China been asked too? Will China agree?

A: I do not have any information for the arrangement of contact between China and Hamas. We hope that the new government of Palestine should proceed from the fundamental interest of the Palestinian people and continue to press ahead with the Middle East peace process.

Under the current circumstances, the international community should refrain from taking any actions that may aggravate the difficulties of the Palestinian people.

China has always provided assistance to the Palestinian people within its capacity. If Palestine asks China for further assistance in the future, we will consider in real earnest.

Q: Reports say that a Chinese delegation will be visiting Iran next month for talks on investment on Iran's oil field. Iranian officials said that they strove to struck a deal before the international community imposes sanctions against Iran. Do you have any comment?

A: On last press conference, I was asked to confirm Director of the National Development of Reform Commission Ma Kai's visit to Iran. I double-checked it. There is no such arrangement. I am not sure whether you are asking about the same thing. China has normal and friendly state-to-state relationship with Iran. We also have sound economic cooperation and trade, which we hope to maintain. On the Iranian nuclear issue, I have stated our position on many occasions. There is still room for a solution within the IAEA framework. We hope that relevant parties exercise restraint and patience so as to create necessary conditions fro the resumption of talks.

I also want to tell you that Vice Foreign Minister Lu Guozeng will pay a working visit to Iran from 24th to 26th February for political consultation between the two ministries. During his visit, the two sides will exchange views on bilateral ties, the nuclear question and other issues of common interest.

Q: During his visit to China, the Japanese Trade Minister reportedly invited Premier Wen Jiabao to visit Japan. Please confirm. Has Premier Wen accepted his invitation?

A: You raised a specific question. Since I was not present at the meeting, I'm not aware whether the invitation was extended or not. But China's position on the issue remains unchanged. We maintain that the Japan should create favorable atmosphere and conditions for high-level exchanges between the two countries.

Q: I heard that Chinese leaders may send important messages on China-Japan relations to Japanese delegations who will be in town this March. Can you confirm?

A: I am not authorized to release information in this respect.

Q: Vice Foreign Minister Lu Guozeng will visit Iran just before the IAEA's meeting on Iranian nuclear issue. What will be discussed and whom will he meet with? What is your expectation for this trip?

A: Vice Foreign Minister Lu Guozeng has three goals for this trip. First, political consultations between the two foreign ministries, the two sides will exchange views on China-Iran relations and other issues related to bilateral cooperation. Secondly, the two sides will exchange views on the Iranian nuclear issue. China will work with Iran to explore how to ease the current situation; take concrete measures to prevent the issue from escalating, properly handle the issue through negotiations and dialogues so that situations detrimental to the interests of all sides will not appear. Thirdly, Iran is a country of significant impact in the region. Vice Foreign Minister Lu Guozeng will exchange views with Iran over regional and international issues of common interest.

Q: How does the Chinese government assess the current political situation in Iraq?

A: Stability is yet to be restored completely in Iraq, where we still witness difficulties here and there in the process of its political and economic reconstruction. We express our concern over it. We hope that politically, Iraq can be a country governed by its own people. The future of Iraq should be determined by the Iraqi people based on the choice of their own. On security, comprehensive measures should be adopted, including speeding up reconstruction of Iraqi troops and police. Meanwhile, some concrete steps need to be taken to address those deep-rooted security issues. Economically, Iraq's own "blood-forming capacity" should be restored as soon as possible, so as to give full play to its sufficient natural and human resources. Above all, we hope Iraq can restore stability, make greater progress in political and economic reconstruction to ensure a secure, prosperous and happy life for its people at an early date.

Q: It is reported that the US Deputy Secretary of Finance will visit China in mid-March. What will be on his agenda and what will be discussed?

A: I advise you to refer this question to the Ministry of Finance. Currently, China and the US have frequent exchanges of visits at all levels. One important job is to prepare for President Hu Jintao's visit to the US in the first half of this year. Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi is now in Washington to exchange views with the US on the upcoming visit, China-US relations as well as regional and international issues of common interest.

Q: Can you tell us the purpose of China's exploration in the Antarctic?

A: I don't know what you are going to write about in asking such a question. China is working with the international community for scientific exploration in the Antarctic, which is an important part of the global endeavour to get to know the Antarctic and get a better understanding of our surroundings and the planet we are living in. These explorations benefit mankind. As to the specifics, you may refer to the State Oceanic Administration.

If there are no further questions, thank you for your presence.

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