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Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang's Regular Press Conference on 18 April 2006

On the afternoon of April 18, 2006, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang held a regular press conference.

Qin: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen! I would like to make two visit announcements.

At the invitation of Premier Wen Jiabao, Prime Minister Vanhanen of the Republic of Finland will pay an official visit to China from April 25th to 28th.

At the invitation of Vice President Zeng Qinghong, Vice President Berewa of the Republic of Sierra Leone will pay an official visit to China from April 23rd to 27th.

Another piece of information. Recently, some European countries along the Danube and Elbe were hit by flood, which caused casualties and property losses. The Chinese Government expresses deep sympathy and warm solicitude for the governments and people in the stricken countries. We believe that they will surmount the natural disaster and rebuild their homeland.

Now, the floor is open.

Q: A notice on navigation ban was put up on the website of the Chinese Maritime Safety Administration on March 1, announcing that an expansion project of Pinghu oil and gas field was under construction in the East China Sea and vessels irrelevant to the project were prohibited from entering the operation area. However, the operation area claimed by China covers the Japanese waters along the median line. I have a couple of questions on that. First, do you think such a notice appropriate and pertinent from the perspective of the current China-Japan relations and the international law? Second, according to some Japanese sources, the Department of Asian Affairs of Chinese Foreign Ministry informed the Japanese Foreign Ministry on the midnight of 17th that the notice of the Maritime Safety Administration has a technical error and the operation area would be revised. Do you deem this statement of the Japanese side accurate? What is the technical error in China's account? Third, why hasn't Chinese Maritime Safety Administration revised the notice on its website by this afternoon?

Qin: Are there any other questions on the same matter? I'd like to give you an answer altogether.

Follow-up: Does this navigation ban have anything to do with the Taiwan question, in particular Taiwan's military exercise?

What impact has the erroneous area designation caused?

According to the Japanese Government, Chinese Maritime Safety Administration has not informed Japan in any way since it put up a navigation notice on March 1. Is that true?

A: According to what I have learned, the navigation notice put up by Chinese Maritime Safety Administration has a technical inaccuracy. The actual area of China's operation does not cover the disputed waters between China and Japan. China does not recognize the median line unilaterally claimed by Japan. We express dissatisfaction at Japan's accusation against China on the basis of the so-called median line and its attempt to stir up the issue.

You may continue to log on the website to see whether there is a revision.

As to whether this matter has relations with Taiwan, please go through the notice again and find out its purpose.

Regarding the impact of this matter, China has explicitly stated its position. This is a technical inaccuracy. If anyone or any party attempts to make other interpretation or stir up the issue out of ulterior motive, the impact arising thereof is indeed what we should think about.

As I said just now, the actual operation does not cover the disputed water between China and Japan, that is, China operates in its own territorial water, which is a normal activity of exercising its sovereignty. I don't see any necessity to inform Japan.

Q: Yesterday, Russia and China held back Britain's requirement on sanctioning four Sudanese at the UN Security Council. The four people are believed having meddled with the peace agreement on Darfur. Will China agree with the sanction on the four later? I know the second question should not be asked at the Foreign Ministry. The IMF is having a reform and China, the ROK and India will have to make greater financial contributions in exchange for greater quota of votes. What's China's comment?

A: Chinese Permanent Representative to the UN Wang Guangya has expressed our position on the issue when taking a question from the press. I'd rather not repeat what he said here. We believe the urgent task in solving the Darfur issue is to push for an early progress at the Abuja talks. We hope the parties concerned in Sudan will make positive response to the requirement of the African Union and reach a comprehensive peace agreement on Darfur by the end of April.

Please refer to the competent authority for the question of IMF voting reform.

Q:Yesterday US Deputy Secretary Zoellick said that China should play a more positive role in breaking the deadlock of the Six-party Talks, what is your comment? Has President Hu Jintao left Beijing for the US?

A: I have taken note of Deputy Secretary Zoellick's remarks. For the people who are clear about the cause, development, and process of the Six-party Talks, they will find out that China has been playing a positive and constructive role in this regard. We maintain the realization of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the safeguarding of the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and the Northeast Asian region. We believe that the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue shall be solved through negotiation and consultation in a peaceful way. This is conducive to the peace and stability of the Peninsula and Northeast Asia and is in the interest of all parties. Whether within the framework of the Six-party Talks or outside the framework, China maintains close communication and consultation with other parties concerned to vigorously promote the progress of the Talks. The relevant parties express their affirmation and appreciation on China's role, which is known to all. I'd like to point out that at present the Talks is faced with some new complicated factors and difficulties. At this moment, the parties concerned, especially the principle parties concerned shall show sincerity and flexibility to implement the Joint Statement of the Fourth-round of the Six-party Talks and promote the progress of the Talks. China will as always promote the development and make our due contribution to the denuclearization of the Peninsula.

On your second question, President Hu is leaving for the US today for a state visit, and this is the time for departure.

Q:How much weight will China give to the Taiwan question during the talks between President Hu and President Bush? What is China's expectation on the Taiwan question from the US side?

A: As we have pointed out for many times, the Taiwan question is the most important and sensitive core issue in China-US relation. During President Hu's visit to the US, the two leaders will have a broad and indepth exchange of views on the promotion of China-US relations and on the international and regional issues of common interest. When we are talking about China-US relations, the Taiwan question can not be sidelined. We hope the US can honor its commitment made on various occasions, that is to stick to the One-China policy, abide by the three joint communiqués, and oppose "Taiwan Independence" to join hands with China for the maintenance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits and the peace, development and prosperity of this region. This serves the interests of China and US, and the interests of all countries in this region.

Follow-up: Besides the position you mentioned just now, does China hope the US side particularly stresses its anti-Taiwan Independence position because of the ceasing the function of NUC and the application of National Unification Guidelines.

A: I have answered this question just now, as to what questions will be discussed in the two leader's meeting and how will they be discussed, to what extent, I can not make prediction at present.

Q: Recently Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai visited Iran. Are there any progress or achievement on the issue?

A: I have informed you about Cui's visit to Iran, now I will brief you on the development of his visit.

Assistant Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai has concluded his visit to Iran. During his visit, he met with Secretary Larijani and Vice Secretary Javad Vacidi of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran and Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi respectively and had an exchange of views on the Iranian nuclear issue. China expressed our concerns on the current situation and our hope for all parties concerned to exercise restraint and show flexibility to create favorable conditions for the proper solution of the Iranian nuclear issue through negotiation.

Q: It is reported that SCO will admit the entry of Mongolia, Iran, India and Pakistan as the full member of SCO, and those countries are already the observers of SCO. What message does China want to convey by welcoming Iran's participation in the activities of SCO.

A: In mid-June this year, Shanghai will hold the SCO Summit. As the host, China is making consultation with other member countries to make a comprehensive arrangement on the invitation of member states and guests to attend this Summit.

Q: A Chinese women organization will visit the DPRK. Please brief us on the schedule and purpose of the visit. Besides, will China and the US talk about China-Japan relations during President Hu Jintao's visit? What message does China plan to convey on China's human rights?

A: I don't have anything at hand on the visit of a Chinese women delegation to the DPRK. Please raise your question to the relevant department. China and the DPRK share a traditional friendship and cooperation. The two countries have maintained good exchange and cooperation at all levels and on all fronts.

During President Hu Jintao's visit to the US, a wide range of issues will be discussed, and the issues of common interest will be included. As to whether China-Japan relations will be brought up, we have to wait and see until the talks end.

On the human rights issue, given the different historical backdrops and levels of development, it is only natural that countries vary in their views and practices on human rights. But China and the US share common ground on human rights, that is, the commitment to uphold and promote human rights. We stand for dialogues with other countries on human rights, including the US, on the basis of equality and mutual respect. We oppose confrontation and interference in other country's internal affairs under the pretext of human rights. Should the human rights issue be touched upon, President Hu Jintao will make an account of China's position and proposition in a comprehensive and systematic way.

Q: Will Iran, Pakistan and other countries be granted the full membership at the SCO Summit in June? In addition, will the SCO hold a national defense ministers' meeting at the end of April? Is there any information available on the meeting?

A: The SCO pursues a principle of opening to the outside. It requires discussion among the member states on the wish of some countries for full membership. For the time being, the SCO members are making vigorous study on how to give full play to the observer status of these countries and better include them in the practical cooperation within the framework of this organization. I don't have any information yet on the wish of the countries for SCO full membership. As far as I know, the SCO has not enacted the legal documents pertaining to the affiliation of new members.

The Foreign Ministry is not in charge of the arrangement of SCO defense ministers' meeting. Please refer to the competent authority for details.

If this is the last question, thank you for your presence.

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