|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang's Press Conference on 2 March 2006|
On the afternoon of March 2nd, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang held a regular press conference.
Qin: Good afternoon. I'd like to begin with an announcement. The fourth round of consultation on East Sea between China and Japan will be held in Beijing from March 6th to 7th. Hu Zhengyue, Director-General of the Department of Asian Affairs and Kenichiro Sasae, chief of the Japanese Foreign Ministry's Asian and Oceanic Affairs Bureau will be representing China and Japan respectively in the consultation. Both sides will continue to exchange views on the East Sea issue.
Now I'd like to answer your questions.
Q: It's reported that the China National Offshore Oil Corp. (CNOOC) is to explore the Chunxiao gas field. Could you confirm that? Is there any direct connection between China-Japan consultation and the timing of the gas exploration? The Chunxiao gas field is close to the "median line". Is it possible that China agrees with Japan on joint exploration of the gas field through consultation?
A: What I need to note is that the exploration of the Chunxiao gas field is conducted in China's short sea which is under no dispute with Japan. It is normal sovereign activity. I am not aware of the specifics of the exploration. Both sides will discuss any issues of their interest during the upcoming fourth round consultation on the East Sea.
Q: IAEA expresses continued concern over the Iranian nuclear issue in its report on February 27th. What is China's response to that report?
A: We have take note of the report by the IAEA director Mohamed ElBaradei, which says that the agency has not seen Iran using any reported nuclear materials to make nuclear weapon, or other nuclear-explosive devices. In the meantime, we attach importance to its conclusion urging Iran to cooperate with IAEA and clarify the unsolved issues. We hope that Iran can cooperate with IAEA comprehensively, clarify the unsolved issues so as to restore the trust of international community, and solve the problem properly at the earliest date. Under the current circumstances, there is still room for a solution within the IAEA framework. The international community should continue to press ahead with the negotiation for early progress. We hope the IAEA Board meeting in March to review the Iranian nuclear issue can be conducive to the achievement of the above-mentioned goals.
Follow-up: What measures in your mind that Iran should take before the Board Meeting of IAEA on March 6th? If Iran failed to do so, what response does China think IAEA should take?
A: I am not comfortable speculating on the hypothetical. I hope you could follow Iran's ongoing consultations with relevant countries, especially Russia. China supports all the endeavors in the interest of international non-proliferation regime and the peaceful use of nuclear energy internationally. We welcome all the suggestions conducive to a diplomatic solution. We endorse the negotiation between Russia and Iran on the nuclear issue, hoping that it can yield results. Under the current circumstances, we hope that Iran can resume the suspension of all its activities related to nuclear enrichment, and create conditions for a proper resolution of the nuclear issue. Though there still are some difficulties, we will continue to maintain contact and communication with all parties, making diplomatic endeavor for an early resolution under the framework of IAEA.
Q: The Xinhua News Agency reported that Chinese Ambassador Wang Guangya to the United Nations discussed in his meeting with Kofi Annan, UN Secretary-General about Chen Shuibian's scrapping of Taiwan National Unification Council. Could you tell us some details? Is China willing to discuss the problem under the framework of the United Nations?
A: You must have seen relevant reports through Chinese media, I won't repeat it here. What I'd like to point out is that Chen Shuibian forced the "National Unification Council" to cease to function and the "Guidelines for National Unification" cease to apply. His highly provocative actions pose a challenge to peace and stability across the strait. It is a dangerous step along the road toward Taiwan independence. Will and resolve remain unswerving to oppose to the sessessionists' activities and ensure peace and stability across the strait. We will never allow anyone to separate Taiwan from the motherland by any means. It is the consensus of the international community to stick to one China and oppose "Taiwan Independence". The retroaction of Chen Shuibian is doomed to be strongly condemned and opposed jointly by the international community.
Follow-up: Is China satisfied with the reaction of the U.S. to Chen Shuibian's move? What role does China expect the U.S. to play on this issue?
A: We resolutely oppose to Chen Shuibian's remarks and perverse secessionist activities. We have noticed that the U.S. Government reaffirms its commitment to the one-China policy and opposed to "Taiwan Independence". We urge the U.S. to fully realize the gravity and harm of Chen Shuibian's secessionist activities. The U.S. should strictly abide by their commitment to China on Taiwan, take concrete measures to oppose to the sesessionists' activities, refrain from sending any misleading signals to Taiwan sesessionists, and work with us in protecting the overall interest of sound China-U.S. relations and a stable strait.
Q: U.S.-India nuclear cooperation is an important topic during President Bush's visit to India. How does China respond to it? In China's view, is the current restriction on Indian nuclear non-proliferation strong enough?
A: China has a clear-cut position on the nuclear cooperation between India and the U.S.. At present, the international community is now working on enhancing the authority and effectiveness of the international non-proliferation regime. China hopes that the cooperation of relevant countries can contribute to these efforts, conforms to the regulations of the international non-proliferation regime and their own international obligations.
The Non-Proliferation Treaty serves as a corner stone of the international non-proliferation regime and has played an important role in preventing proliferation of nuclear weapons and promoting peaceful use of nuclear energy. As a signatory party to the treaty, China hopes that non-signatory countries can get on board as non-nuclear states at an early date, and contribute to a stronger international non-proliferation regime as well as the regional and international peace and stability.
Q: The U.S. Deputy Secretary said yesterday that China has not done enough on the RMB exchange rate and should accelerate the reform. Its Trade Representative will visit China tomorrow. The U.S. might refer the IPR issue to the World Trade Organization. What is China's comment?
A: We have made our position clear on many occasions on the RMB exchange rate and IPR. Healthy and smooth development of economic and trade relations between China and the U.S. serves the interests of both sides. We hope that both sides can properly settle disputes and problem related to trade and IPR in the spirit of equality and mutually-beneficial development. It is not in the interest of the U.S. itself to politicize the issue and let it disturb the development of China-U.S. economic and trade relations.
If there is no other question, one more announcement before you go: The Fourth Plenary Session of the Tenth National People's Congress will hold a special press conference on March 7th (Tuesday), 2006. Foreign Ministry's regular press conference will be cancelled on the same day and resumed on March 9th (Thursday). Please be aware and inform one another. Our Department will put it on the website of International Press Center (IPC). Thank you! See you.