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Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang's Regular Press Conference on 28 March 2006

Qin: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen! I'd like to begin with an announcement.

At the invitation of the Chinese Government, H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of the Kingdom of Thailand will pay a visit to China from April 3rd to 13th.

Now, I'd be glad to take up questions.

Q: Over the past years, China has made great efforts to promote the course of multilateral arms control and non-proliferation. Can you tell us China's position on the Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty?

A: China has all along supported the conclusion of the FMCT through negotiation at an early date, and vigorously committed itself to pushing the early launch of the negotiation on the basis of a comprehensive and balanced working plan at the Conference on Disarmament. We believe that this is an important step that helps push forward the course of multilateral nuclear disarmament. At present, the international community is committed to upholding and strengthening the international non-proliferation regime. The early conclusion of the FMCT through negotiation has great significance for reducing risks of proliferation of nuclear materials.

Q: Last weekend, some Japanese legislators proposed to hold the summit meeting between Chinese and Japanese leaders before the end of Koizumi's term. Does China think this proposal workable? The Greenpeace said that the Chinese Government was increasing its attention to the illegal logging in Southeast Asian forests and trying to reining in the import of illegal lumber. What's your comment?

A: On your first question, we have a very clear position on the question concerning China-Japan relations. Japan is also very clear about it.

The illegal logging and trade is a global issue, instead of the issue of any single country or region. To combat the illegal logging and trade is the common responsibility of all countries. The Chinese Government has always been opposed to and striking illegal logging. We strictly enforce the laws and regulations that govern the import and export of lumber and lumber products, and thus have made vigorous effort to curb and combat illegal logging and lumber trade.

You talked about the illegal logging activities in Southeast Asia. The Chinese Government has attached great importance to this issue. We stand for the principle of mutual benefit and long-standing sustainable development in our cooperation with other countries on joint development of forest resources. We have always required enterprises to strictly abide by the local laws and regulations and engage in logging and trade in line with the contracts between enterprises, so as to maintain the normal logging order. We will take harsh measures to strike the illegal logging that violates laws and regulations. We are ready to stay in consultation with the Southeast Asian countries and make joint efforts with them to this end. In addition, we have acceded to the international treaties on protecting forests and endangered species of animals and plants. We will faithfully honor these treaties with a responsible attitude.

Q: It is reported that a six-nation foreign ministers' meeting on the Iranian nuclear issue will be held in Berlin on 30th of this month. Meanwhile, the US urges China and Russia to make further compromise on the issue. Given the differences between the parties concerned, what effort will China make to close differences? On 31st of this month, President Hu Jintao will hold talks in Beijing with the delegates from seven organizations on Japan-China friendship. What expectation does the Chinese side have on the talks? Will President Hu deliver any speech on China's foreign policy towards Japan?

A: The Chinese side has received the invitation to attend the meeting of foreign ministers of the three EU countries, China, US and Russia. We are positively considering the invitation. China's position has been consistent on the Iranian nuclear issue. We stand for maintaining the rigor and effectiveness of the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and hope to solve the issue properly through negotiation. We think that there is still room now to solve the issue within the IAEA framework. The international community shouldn't give up efforts. The six-nation meeting is an important part for the international community to solve the Iranian nuclear issue properly through negotiation. We hope the meeting can be conducive to a proper solution of the Iranian nuclear issue through negotiation. Under the current circumstances, China keeps an open mind on principle towards any suggestion or mechanism that will help attain a proper solution of the issue through negotiation.

At the invitation of China-Japan Friendship Association, the leaders of seven organizations for Japan-China friendship will visit China by the end of March and exchange views with their Chinese counterparts over enhancing exchanges among the two peoples and promoting the relations between the two countries. Then Chinese leaders will meet with the delegates of both sides. We think that people-to-people exchanges between China and Japan are of great significance for promoting friendship between the two peoples and promoting improvement and development of China-Japan relations. We attach great importance to the visit and hope the visit can be helpful to achieve this objective.

Q: Today the first vice minister of the Workers' Party of Korea Chang Song Taek left Beijing. Please tell us whom he met with and where he visited in his trip to China.

A: At the invitation of the Chinese Communist Party, the delegation of a good-will visit headed by Mr. Chang Song Taek began his visit to China from 18th. During his trip, he visited Hubei and Guangdong provinces and met with Secretary of Beijing Municipal Committee of the CPC Liu Qi. You can refer your question to the authority in charge of receiving his visit.

Q: Some American senators visited China recently. They have always expressed concern over China's RMB exchange rate. Now they have returned to the US and determined that they will push the voting on the draft imposing an extra 27.7% tariff on imported Chinese merchandise as planned unless China takes concrete actions to realize free flow of RMB exchange rate. Does China plan to continue to adjust RMB exchange rate? How do you view the vote on the draft?

A: The three senators have returned to Washington. I believe this visit is helpful for them to have a further understanding of China's reality, China-US relations, China-US economic and trade cooperation and China's position, proposition and practices on these issues and will help them to take a more rational, fair and objective attitude towards these issues. We advocate that trade frictions and issues should be properly handled through consultation in line with the principle of equality, mutual benefit and common development. These issues should not be overstated or politicized.

We have repeatedly said that RMB exchange rate, just as other currency policies taken by other nations, is an issue within a country's sovereignty. China is constantly developing its economy. We always take a responsible attitude towards RMB exchange rate. We adhere to proceeding from China's actual situations of economic and social development, take account of the potential influences on global and regional economy by the adjustment of RMB exchange rate and choose a reasonable exchange rate mechanism suitable for China's conditions.

Q: What comment do you have on the first vice minister of the Workers' Party of Korea Chang Song Taek's visit to China?

A: The comment on this visit should be made by the authority that received his visit. Generally speaking, the Chinese Government and our party attach great important to relations with the DPRK Government and party and value the friendship between the two countries and two parties. It is our firm policy to constantly consolidate and develop China-DPRK friendly cooperation. We believe China-DPRK friendly and cooperative relations can be further deepened under concerted efforts of both sides, which is conducive not only to our two sides, but also to safeguarding regional peace and stability.

Q: Mr. Jiang Enzhu, Director of Foreign Affairs Committee of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, is visiting the US with a delegation. What comment do you have on it?

A: All walks of life in the US, especially the American congress are closely following China-US relations. It is very necessary for the two sides to keep their communication and dialogue. I have personally seen some scenes from the TV telling that the delegation headed by Mr. Jiang Enzhu, Director of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress arrived in the US. We hope this visit can enhance the mutual understanding between the legislative branches of both countries, exert a positive impact on the development of China-US relations and help the two sides properly handle issues of common concern.

Q: Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai held talks with US Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez. Premier Wen Jiabao and Vice Premier Wu Yi will meet with him. Have they discussed the RMB rate issue? After the visit of the three US senators, are you more optimistic about the Schumer-Graham bill?

A: At the invitation of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, US Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez paid a visit to China. The first leg was Chongqing. He met with leaders from the Chongqing Municipal Government. Today he held talks with Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai, and met with Premier Wen and Vice Premier Wu. He will hold a press conference tomorrow, and will hold talks with the officials in charge of Chinese State Intellectual Property Office. Afterwards, he will leave Beijing. Through a series of communications between governments, legislative branches and the communities of industry and commerce, we want to enhance mutual understanding and address concerns of both sides properly.

You ask me whether I am optimistic about the Schumer-Graham bill. My answer is, we are optimistic about the Sino-U.S. relations, the economic and trade relations in particular. Though there are some problems, the overall picture is good. You can hardly imagine that the bilateral trade volume booms from $2 billion-plus in the early days of our diplomatic relations to 210 billion-plus nowadays. Mutually beneficial and win-win situation is the main trend of the economic and trade relations. It was in accordance with the bilateral interests and brings about tangible benefits to the two peoples, and promotes vigorously the regional and international economic growth. We have to preserve our optimistic attitude. On the other hand, we should keep an objective and reasonable attitude in the face of problems and disputes, and bear the bilateral common interests in mind to find proper solutions.

If there are no other questions, I have an announcement before you leave: At the invitation of the IPC, Ambassador Wang Shijie, China's Special Envoy to the Middle East and his successor, Ambassador Sun Bigan will meet the press and take questions on 29th, 2:00 p.m. in IPC. Your presence is welcome. We have already put notice on the website of IPC.

Thank you and see you!

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