|Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang's Regular Press Conference on 20 April 2006|
On the afternoon of April 20, 2006, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang held a regular press conference.
Qin: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen!
Recently, a riot took place in the capital of Solomon Islands, and the local China Town was severely affected. Many stores and residence buildings of the Chinese community were robbed or burnt. Hundreds among the Chinese community were forced out of home to seek asylum. The Chinese Government attaches great importance to the matter and expresses warm solicitude for the affected local Chinese and ethnic Chinese people. We require the Government of Solomon Islands to take concrete measures immediately and effectively protect the personal and property safety of Chinese citizens in the Solomon Islands. Since the incident took place, the Foreign Ministry has kept receiving inquiry from Chinese and foreign media. I would like to give you a briefing here.
Since the incident took place, the Chinese Government set high store by the matter, and Chinese leaders have instructed the Foreign Ministry to closely following the development and ensure the safety of local Chinese citizens. In line with the instruction of Premier Wen, the Foreign Ministry activated the emergency response mechanism. We have done the following work so far. First, given that China has no diplomatic relations with the Solomon Islands, we urged the Government of Solomon Islands through the relevant channel to immediately take measure to check the robbery and arson against Chinese citizens and ensure there personal and property safety. Second, we made urgent consultation with the governments of Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea and requested them to provide assistances to Chinese citizens when necessary. Third, we instructed the Chinese embassy in Papua New Guinea to send diplomats to the Solomon Islands immediately. They are supposed to seek direct contact with the local Chinese, size up and follow the situation and contact the authority of Solomon Islands to require them to ensure the safety of Chinese citizens. Fourth, we requested the office of International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in Solomon to provide the Chinese community with daily necessities.
Up to now, Chinese embassy in Papua New Guinea has gathered around 500 Chinese, including 5 Hong Kong compatriots, and settled them in the Solomon police headquarters. The Red Cross and other organizations have provided local Chinese with daily necessities. The official in charge of the Solomon police told our embassy staff that the safety of the Chinese was well guaranteed in the headquarters of the Solomon police. Chinese Foreign Ministry and Chinese embassy in Papua New Guinea will closely follow the development of the situation and do our utmost to assist our citizens and ensure their safety. Meanwhile, we remind Chinese citizens not to travel to the Solomon Islands before the situation there completely eases up.
Now, I'd be glad to answer your questions.
Q: China has been committed to strengthening relations with South Asian countries. Recently, the Standing Committee of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation held a meeting in Dacca, and enacted a four-point principle for granting China the observer status. What comment does China have on the decision? How will China make use of its observing status to strengthen its relations with Pakistan and other South Asian countries and promote the common objective?
A: Not long ago, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) adopted the principle of granting China and another country the observer status. We welcome this. We also hope that the formality will be completed soon, so that China will be formally granted the observer status at an early date.
China and all South Asian countries are friendly neighbors. We share broad common interest in maintaining the peace and stability and promoting common development and prosperity in the region. We believe China's observer status at SAARC will write a new chapter on China-South Asia relations. We are ready to make joint effort with all South Asian countries, including Pakistan, to maintain the peace and stability in this region and explore how to cement the mutually beneficial cooperation in the political, economic, cultural and other fields, so as to achieve common development and prosperity. This serves the interest of China and all South Asian countries.
Q: According to the statistics of Japanese Defense Agency, Japanese aircrafts scrambled over 100 times in response to Chinese planes approaching Japan's air space, a sharp increase against the figure in 2004. What reaction does China have?
A: I have not read the report you talked about yet. So I'm not in the position to make response. But I want to point out that it is completely legitimate and normal for China's national defense forces, Chinese air force in particular, to engage in operations for the purpose of maintaining our national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity.
Q: It is reported that senior officials in the Canadian Government said recently that China engages in espionage in Canada to steal its industrial and high-tech intelligence. What comment does China have?
A: China had not engaged in any so-called "economic espionage activities" in Canada. The accusation is completely groundless and irresponsible. China expresses grave concern over this.
We hope that the Canadian Government can make clear distinction between the true and false and do more to benefit the healthy development of China-Canada strategic partnership, instead of doing the opposite.
Q: In the coming weeks, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization will hold a couple of meetings, including the meetings of foreign ministers and defense ministers. What expectation does China have for the meetings? Will there be any decision to hold joint military exercise or anti-terrorist exercise?
A: In a period to come, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization will hold a number of important activities, including the SCO Summit Meeting in Shanghai in mid-June, the defense ministers' meeting late this month and the SCO foreign ministers' meeting in mid-May. We hope the activities will enhance the dialogue, consultation and cooperation between the SCO members, so that they can work together to maintain the peace, stability and security in the region. Meanwhile, we hope the member states can deepen their friendly cooperation in various fields and achieve common development. Since its establishment, the SCO has set up a good international image of peace, cooperation, openness and progress. We expect to see the SCO steadily march ahead.
On your second question, I have not received any formal information that any joint military exercise will be held within the framework of SCO. We think that the military cooperation within the SCO framework is conducive to the peace and stability of this region.
Q: A question regarding yesterday's meeting on the Iranian nuclear issue. Will the Security Council consider economic sanction on Iran? What position does China hold? Recently, Chinese official visited Iran. What message did China pass?
A: At last press conference, I briefed you on the visit of Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai to Iran. I would like to recap the information for you.
During his visit to Iran, Assistant Minister Cui Tiankai met with Secretary of Iranian Supreme National Security Council Larijani, Deputy Secretary Vaeidi and Vice Foreign Minister Araqchi. They exchanged their views. The Chinese side expressed its concern over the current situation and hoped the parties concerned would exercise restraint, show flexibility and properly solve the Iranian nuclear issue through negotiation.
Afterwards, Assistant Minister Cui Tiankai went to Russia to hold talks with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov on the Iranian nuclear issue and bilateral relations. The two sides agreed to enhance communication and cooperation on the Iranian nuclear issue, so as to jointly promote the proper solution of the issue through negotiation. The Chinese side said it would continue its support for Russia's role in this regard.
Yesterday, China, the US, Russia, Britain, France and Germany made an in-depth discussion on the Iranian nuclear issue. Assistant Minister Cui Tiankai attended the meeting on behalf of China. During the meeting, Mr. Cui Tiankai expressed concern over the current situation and hoped the parties concerned could exercise restraint, show flexibility and continue to seek a proper solution of the issue through negotiation. We maintain that there is still room for the solution of this issue through negotiation, and the international community should not quit its effort. Any move to be taken should help create necessary conditions for the proper solution of the Iranian nuclear issue through negotiation. China has always supported the early resumption of talks between the EU and Iran. We welcome that the two sides will hold dialogue in Moscow and hope the parties concerned can gradually build mutual trust and resume talks through negotiation, so as to promote the peaceful solution of the Iranian nuclear issue.
Q: The US Defense Department announced yesterday the namelist of Chinese terrorists detained in Guantanamo. What's your comment? Can you offer some details?
A: Terrorism is the public enemy of the entire mankind and international community. The US should proceed from the international anti-terrorist cooperation and China-US relations and handle the Chinese suspects detained in Guantanamo in line with the international law and in a prudent, responsible and proper way.
The "East Turkestan" is a part of international terrorist forces and poses severe threat to the international community, with China and the US included, and the life and property of people. We hope and believe that the international community will understand and support China's struggle against the "East Turkestan" terrorist forces.
Q: It is reported that Japan attempted to dispatch a survey ship to the waters near the ROK. Considering the dispute between China and Japan on the Diaoyu Islands, what's China's position on this? In addition, some people blame the tension between the DPRK and the US for the delay of a new round of Six-Party Talks. Will the tension between the ROK and Japan affect the process of the Six-Party Talks?
A: We hope that the ROK and Japan can properly handle their problem through consultation. China has a consistent and clear position on the Diaoyu Islands issue. The Diaoyu Island and its adjacent islands has been China's territory since ancient time, and China has indisputable sovereignty over the Diaoyu Islands.
It serves the common interest of all parties to push for a new progress in the Six-Party Talks as soon as possible, realize the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula through peaceful means and maintain the peace and stability of Northeast Asia. The parties concerned share consensus in this regard, which is embodied in the joint statement adopted at the fourth round of the Six-Party Talks last year. Therefore, we hope the parties concerned will make active efforts to implement the joint statement.
Q: Yesterday, an organ transplant association in Britain issued a report, urging those who wish to transplant organs in China to consider the moral risk. What's China's position?
A: We have expressed our position and policy on this issue on many occasions. Recently, Chinese Ministry of Health introduced regulations on this matter. Your question has been answered so far. I feel puzzled about why the British organization still issued such a report regardless of the fact. I want to remind this organization not to forget what happened in Britain several years ago. It was reported that some hospitals took away the organs of the deceased patients for other purposes, leaving their families totally in the dark. I suggest that you should also remind this organization.
If no more questions are waiting for me, thank you for your presence. See you next time!