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Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang's Regular Press Conference on 16 March 2006

On the afternoon of March 16, 2006, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang held a regular press conference.

Qin: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Today, 20 officials from Bosnia and Herzegovina, who are taking a training course in China, join us at our press conference. I extend my warm welcome to you and wish you successful study and pleasant time in China!

Now, I have an announcement to make:

At the invitation of Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos will visit China from March 20th to 23rd.

I'd glad to take up questions.

Q: It is reported that at the meeting of the Committee on Foreign Relations of House of Representatives on 15th, Japanese Prime Minister Aso alleged that it was absolutely impossible for Japan to accept China's new proposal on the joint development of resources in the East China Sea. If China extracted gas and oil in the East China Sea, Japan might take counter-measures. How will China respond to that?

A: On the oil and gas in the East China Sea, China has repeatedly expressed its position to Japan. China develops oil and gas in the waters that China and Japan have no dispute on. This is a normal activity through which China exercises its sovereign rights. China and Japan have dispute on the delimitation of the East China Sea. We maintain that this should be solved through consultation. Should Japan take any unilateral action, it would encroach upon China's sovereign rights. We are resolutely opposed to this. We hope and call for proper solution of the issue on the East China Sea through consultation, so as to avoid further complication.

Q: Can you offer more on the visit of Spanish Foreign Minister? Which Chinese leader will meet with him? What agreements will be signed? At last press conference, you announced the upcoming visit of Brazilian Vice President Alencar. Please brief more on the visit?

A: During the visit of Spanish Foreign Minister Moratinos, Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing will hold talks with him, and exchange views with him on bilateral relations and other regional and international issues of common interest. Chinese state leaders will meet with him. Mr. Moratinos will also attend the opening ceremony of the third meeting of China-Spain Forum in Shanghai.

In recent years, China-Spain relations maintained a good momentum in development. The leadership of the two countries exchanged visits frequently, and the two countries have steadily deepened their mutual understanding and trust. Last November, President Hu Jintao paid a successful visit to Spain upon invitation. As an important outcome, the countries proclaimed the establishment of a comprehensive strategic partnership. Throughout the past year, the two-way trade volume between the two countries reached 10.5 billion US dollars, up 45% and surpassing the average growth rate of China's overseas trade. In addition, the two countries have been cementing their exchanges and cooperation in culture, education, science, technology and justice. The visit of Spanish Foreign Minister to China offers a good opportunity for us to exchange views on how to further expand and deepen our strategic partnership. We are looking forward to his visit and believe that his visit will be a success, which will promote the development of bilateral relations. We will keep you updated with the latest development of the visit at appropriate time.

Regarding the visit of Brazilian Vice President Alencar, the two sides are discussing on the itinerary now. I will inform you of the new information once it is available. As far as what I have learned so far, the Chinese president and vice president will meet with him. Apart from Beijing, he will visit other cities. We believe his visit will be an important one that helps push forward the strategic partnership between China and Brazil. We have making active preparation together with Brazil.

Q: Yesterday, China condemned the invasion of a prison in Jericho by Israeli force. Please brief us on China's position on this issue. Now, Palestine's economy was harshly bashed. Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said at his press conference that China will provide further assistances at the request of Palestine. Does China have to wait for request before providing assistances? In addition, US State Secretary Rice will hold a meeting with Japan and Australia during her visit to Australia, when the three countries might discuss China's military buildup. What's your comment on this meeting?

A: Yesterday, we answered your question and expressed our position. I'd like to take this opportunity to reiterate our postion to other friends from the press as follows: Israel suddenly entered the Palestine-controlled region and took military action, causing casualties and property loss to the Palestinian side and leading to escalation of tension. China condemns this. We call on the parties concerned to halt violent actions, exercise restraint, avoid intensifying the conflict and bring the situation back to normal as soon as possible.

Regarding the second question, as you know, China and Palestine share excellent relations. The Chinese people have always cherished sympathy and extended support for the just cause of the Palestinian people. Now and in the future, we will provide the Palestinian people with assistances within our capacity at the request of the Palestinian side, as what we did in the past.

On the trilateral meeting of the US, Japan and Australia, China advocates a new concept of security featuring mutual trust, mutual benefit, equality and cooperation. We hope that the Asia-Pacific region and the whole world will enhance mutual trust and cooperation and have equal consultation, so as to jointly maintain regional security and stability.

The military transparency will boost the political trust among countries and thus, work in a helpful way. But the key is action. All the actions of different countries, including increasing military transparency, should contribute to world peace.

China pursues a defensive national defense policy. We adopted appropriate and feasible measures on transparency for military expenditure. We released the National Defense White Paper on a regular basis and issued the white paper on China's effort on Arms Control, Disarmament and Non-Proliferation, which gave a detailed account of China's military expenditure and buildup. China's military forces have strengthened foreign military exchange and cooperation. These measures conform to our development strategy and security commitment. More important, China's national defense policy is completely transparent, that is of a defensive nature. We hope that other countries can view this issue in an objective way.

Q: Two US Senators, who submitted an act bill on imposing restrictions on Chinese products. They will visit China next week to urge for a more flexible policy on RMB's exchange rate. What comment do you have?

A: On China-US trade and economic relations, we have consistently stood for proper solution of our trade frictions through consultation on the basis of equal development and cooperation. This will benefit the healthy development of our bilateral relations.

Regarding the RMB exchange rate, you must have noticed the answer made by Premier Wen Jiabao at his press conference the day before yesterday. China now adopts a market-based, managed, floating exchange rate regime. The RMB exchange rate changes in response to the market fluctuation. We will never see such administrative measures that prod the rise or fall of RMB exchange rate at one stroke. As a country advocating free market economy, America should be able to understand this.

Q: It is reported that the trilateral security meeting between the US, Japan and Australia this Saturday will be targeted at China and possibly discuss how to ease the tension between China and Japan. What's your comment? In addition, please brief on the arrangements for President Hu Jintao's meeting and schedule during his visit to America.

A: On the trilateral meeting between the US, Japan and Australia, we hope that they will do more to promote stronger mutual trust and regional peace and stability.

Regarding the visit of President Hu Jintao to the US, we don't have further information to share now. If any new information is available, we will tell you promptly.

Q: Japanese Foreign Minister Aso said that he felt hard to understand the rise of China-DPRK trade and made representations to Chinese Foreign Ministry, requiring China to explain. What's your comment?

A: There is no such thing at all that Japan made representations to Chinese Foreign Ministry on the issue of China-DPRK trade. China will not accept such "representations". Recently, the chief of Japanese Foreign Affairs authority repeatedly made such remarks that run counter to the common sense of diplomatic community. This is much baffling.

Q: The US has just released a new National Security Strategy, which emphasized that China's military build-up has a bad effect on the regional security. Has China seen the document? What is China's comment on that? Will President Hu Jintao also visit other countries when he visits the US?

A: I heard that the US was to release a security document. And as I have not seen it yet, I am not in the position to make any comment. What I want to emphasize is, China is a responsible country dedicated to peace and mutual development between countries.

As to your second question, President Hu Jintao will also visit other countries before and after his visit to the US. I have no further authorized information to provide as yet. We'll let you know in due time once we have the set information.

Q: There were some controversies between members of the Security Council on the Iranian nuclear issue. Is China worried that the Iranian nuclear issue be submitted to the Security Council? Is China also worried that the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula be submitted to the Security Council? You mentioned just now that China voluntarily provided some assistance to the Palestinians, yet China is saying now that the Palestinians should request first before they were given any assistance. Does that mean that China's stance to Palestine changes somewhat after Hamas won the elections?

A: We are very concerned on the development of the Iranian nuclear issue. We hope that this issue could be appropriately solved by means of diplomatic consultations. We believe that there is still room for that. Concerned parties should display patience and flexibility and loose no time to solve this issue by peaceful means.

As to the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, it is the consensus of the six parties to appropriately solve the issue through the Six Party Talks, to materialize the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and to safeguard the peace and stability of the Northeastern Asia. This consensus has been written down to the Joint Statement of the Fourth Round of the Six Party Talks. Nothing changed on that for all six parties. Practice has shown that it is a practical and effective way to solve the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula and to materialize the denuclearization of the Peninsula through consultation and through the mechanism of the Six Party Talks.

As to your second question, I would like to make some clarification here. In the past, China's assistance to the Palestinians has been provided according to the need of the Palestinian people. In the future, we will still do the same. Please do not take it mistakenly that as a political precondition that China is adding. China never attaches any political conditions when providing assistance to other countries, including that provided to the Palestinians.

Q: Recently, many reports said that President Putin will visit the Shaolin Temple during his visit to China. He might also participate in some fighting competitions. Can you confirm that? Has China's Public Security Department strengthened the security there to receive him?

A: I saw on TV that you were there at the press conference of the China-Russia "State Year" hosted by the Information Office of the State Council; you should have raised this question to Assistant Minister Li Hui in face. (Laughter). As to specific arrangements of the visit, I can help you with further information. I know that Mr. Putin is a Judo master, in China, he might as well be called a master of Kongfu. We wish him all the best and a pleasant stay during his visit in China.

Q: Is there anything new about Six-Party Talks? It has been several months and there seems to be no progress. What do we need to break the deadlock?

A: First of all I would like to clarify an idea. That is Six-Party Talks is not a conference at a set place and at a set time. We need you to know that Six-Party Talks is also a course and the course does not break off after the six parties having meeting together. Actually the relevant parties conduct close communications and consultations no matter they are inside or outside the conference hall, no matter they are during the meeting or after the meeting. I briefed last several times on the recent visits of the Head of delegation of ROK and deputy Head of delegation of DPRK to China. They had consultations with China. These are both progress. Consultations and contacts in all forms is good to promote mutual understanding and trust and to push forward the course of Six-Party Talks concretely.

Follow-up: What progress has been made on the investigation on money laundry of Macao bank? The relevant authority of Macao also launched investigation. How does the Central Government see the outcome of investigation?

A: Both the Central Government and the Government of Macao oppose financial crimes like money laundry. We support the Special Administrative Region Government in investigating the relevant illegal financial activities according to laws. This issue should be handled on the basis of facts and under the guideline of laws.

Q: You confirmed during the briefing the day before yesterday that the deputy Head of delegation of Six-Party Talks of DPRK met with Deputy Foreign Minister Wu Dawei. Please elaborate on the meeting.

A: The meeting was on the Six-Party Talks. The two sides exchanged views on the situation of Six-Party Talks and the contacts between various parties. I don't have further information for you apart from that.

Q: Chairman of Foreign Affairs Committee of the US Senate Lugar said recently that the US and China should enhance energy cooperation. Do you have detailed information on this? Has the US conducted contact with China on cooperation in the field of energy?

A: We noticed Mr. Lugar's remarks. We think that China and the US should be cooperative rather than competitive. China is willing to have energy cooperation with other countries including the US on the basis of equality and mutual benefit. The energy cooperation should not be regarded as restricted on oil and gas. The cooperation is comprehensive and may include renewable energy, clean energy and so on. China and the US have wide-range cooperation in the field with great potential. We consider the cooperation positively. As to how China and the US should cooperate in the field of energy and the specific cooperation projects, the two sides will discuss through relevant channels and established mechanism. I suggest you raise your question to relevant authority of China for further information.

Q: It is reported that West House Company has beaten its French rival and will provide nuclear facilities to China. Please confirm.

A: Regarding the nuclear power plants, some countries show interest in taking part in relevant cooperation. China will make a decision according to the principle of market.

Q: the US Government officials claimed that China refused to take back 39,000 illegal immigrants. What's your comment on this? What measures will China take? Why China refuse the repatriation of those illegal immigrants? In addition, a US high ranking official said China is helping to train military personnel in Latin American countries. Can you elaborate on the military cooperation between China and Latin American countries?

A: Chinese Government firmly opposes the crime of illegal immigration of all forms. China has taken up a series of cogent measures to combat the crime and the achievements are obvious to all. China has been cooperative in handling the issue of illegal immigration with the principle of first verification then repatriation. Those illegal immigrants proved to be Chinese citizens from Chinese mainland should be repatriated resolvedly. Illegal immigration in an international problem and the reason behind it is various. Relevant countries shoulder the responsibility of cooperating closely to solve this problem. Meanwhile those illegal immigrants should be treated equally without discrimination and should not be repatriated selectively. The issue should not be treated with double standards. China strongly opposes politicizing illegal immigrants in the name of accepting political asylum. This goes against the settlement of illegal immigration and the normal exchange of people of the two sides.

China is a responsible country committing itself to world peace. China develops normal country-to-country relations with Latin American countries on the basis of Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. This does not aim at any third side and pose no threat to any other country. There are normal exchanges between military armies, exchanges of visits between military leaders between China and some Latin American countries. There are also exchanges and cooperation on military training to some extent. Generally speaking, the exchanges are limited. It is nothing compared with the number of Latin American officials trained in the US. The remarks of the US should base on facts.

Q: The UN Human Rights Council has just been set up. What's your comment on this? What's your comment on State Councillor Tang Jiaxuan's visit to Sri Lanka?

A: The founding of Human Rights Council is one of the important contents of UN reform set by the High Level Plenary of the UN General Assembly last year. China has taken part in relevant consultations consistently with a positive and constructive attitude. We cast an affirmative vote. The relevant resolution relocated the seats of different continents according to the principle of equal regional distribution and rectified the long-term deficiency of Asian representation in UN Commission on Human Rights. The resolutions prescribe that the Human Rights Council respect the history, culture and religionary background of all countries and regions, promote the dialogues between different civilizations and religions, equally respect civilian political rights and social and cultural rights, handle human rights issues in an objective and just way, avoid double standards and politicizing and promote constructive dialogues and cooperation in the field of human rights. China appreciates this and hopes that the Human Rights Council will abide by the above-mentioned principles in the future and avoid the confrontation UN Commission on Human Rights used to face. China will positively take part in the relevant work and push the Human Rights Council to develop in a healthy way.

Regarding State Councillor Tang Jiaxuan's visit to Sri Lanka. On March 15th, president of Sri Lanka Rajapakse held talks with Tang Jiaxuan. The two sides appraised positively the good development of China-Sri Lanka relationship and hoped to further enhance cooperation in various fields and to push in-depth development of China-Sri Lanka relationship. As to economic and trade cooperation, Tang Jiaxuan proposed suggestions like carrying out the agreed good-sized projects such as Hambantota Bunkering System and Tank Farm Project and Puttalam Coal Power Plant. China will speed up the repair of fishery wharfs in Sri Lanka damaged by Indian Ocean Tsunami and provide necessary material assistance to Sri Lanka for holding South Asia Game.

Sri Lanka reiterated one China policy. State Councillor Tang Jiaxuan appreciated this and said that China welcomed the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam to resume peace meeting, to carry on the peace course and to realize national reconciliation, peace and economic development at an early day. The two sides also exchanged views on international and regional affairs. On the issue of candidates for next UN Secretary General, the two sides both support Asian candidate in taking up the post of next UN Secretary General. Besides, the two sides also signed three documents on economic and technical cooperation.

Q: Premier Wen Jiabao said in his Press Conference the day before yesterday that China will provide US $10b preferential loans to under-developed countries in the coming three years. Which regions are these loans mainly going to? What are the purposes of these loans?

A: Let's look back to last September when President Hu Jintao attended the High Level Plenary of the United Nations General Assembly and proposed, on behalf of the Chinese Government, relevant measures to help under-developed countries develop. Premier Wen Jiabao's proposal to provide US $10b preferential loans to under-developed countries is just an important move by the Chinese Government to implement the above commitment. These loans would certainly go to developing countries, especially least-developed countries. We will also discuss with concerned countries on the way to utilizing those loans through bilateral channel and existing mechanisms, including Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and Forum on China-Arab Cooperation etc..

The purpose of providing this assistance is to help developing countries, especially the least-developed countries to shake off poverty and materialize mutual development. This is a specific reflection that China, as a responsible country which loves world peace, is dedicated to promoting common development and prosperity of the world.

If there is no further questions, thanks for your presence. Good-bye.

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