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Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang's Regular Press Conference on 27 April 2006

On April 27, 2006, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang held a regular press conference.

Qin: Good afternoon, everyone. I will begin with several announcements.

At the invitation of Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, Foreign Minister Abdelwaheb Abdallah of the Republic of Tunisia will pay an official visit to China from May 9th to 13th.

At the invitation of the Chinese Government, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore will visit China from May 10th to 17th.

Now I would like to take up your questions.

Q: The Sri Lankan Army Commander Sarath Fonseca encountered a suicidal bomb attack. What's China's comment on the Sri Lankan peace process?

A: China condemns violence in all firms.

As a friendly neighbor of Sri Lanka, China has always paid attention to the development of Sri Lankan domestic situation, and supported Sri Lankan Government's efforts to promote national stability, national reconciliation and economic development.

We hope that Sri Lanka could realize national peace and stability at an early date.

Q: Please brief us on the agenda of Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew's visit to China. Which Chinese leaders will he meet with?

A: Minister Mentor Lee is a founder of the Sino-Singaporean relations who has long been interested in China's development and dedicated to promote the friendship between China and Singapore. During his visit, Minister Mentor Lee will exchange views with Chinese leaders on the Sino-Singaporean relations and international and regional issues of common interest. Arrangements in that regard are still being finalized. He will also visit Shengyang and Shanghai besides Beijing.

Q: Former Deputy President of the Liberal Democratic Party Taku Yamasaki visited China recently and met with Vice Minister Wu Dawei. It is reported that in order to reopen the Six-Party Talks, Vice Minister Wu Dawei might visit the U.S. to hold discussions with the Head of the U.S. delegation Christopher Hill. Please brief us on the specific agenda for Vice Minister Wu Dawei's visit to the U.S.. Second question. According to Mr. Yamasaki, China believed that the U.S. was to be blamed on the issue of financial sanctions on the DPRK, and that sanctions should be eased. Could we put it this way that, in order to restart the Six-Party Talks, China has explicitly asked the U.S. to ease its sanctions rather than to stop them? Third question. Mr. Yamasaki said during his meeting with Chairman Wu Bangguo of the NPC Standing Committee that in order to avoid the coincidental military frictions in the East China Sea areas, the two countries need to build a military crisis management system. How does China view this suggestion?

A: On the issue of the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, China has all along maintained communication and contacts with other parties concerned and worked on them through different channels and by different means. As to the specific issue you mentioned, we will release to you once we have exact information.

On the issue of financial sanctions, we have stated our stance many times. We hope that parties concerned could respect each other, enhance understanding and mutual trust through dialogue and consultations, and to address appropriately the concern of each other, so as to create favorable conditions for an early resumption of the talks. We have not changed our stance on this issue.

China and Japan share common interests in safeguarding regional peace and stability. The two sides should appropriately solve the concern and questions between each other through dialogue and consultations, so as to enhance the exchange and dialogue in broad ranges. As to the specific suggestions, China's relevant departments will study them.

Q: Yesterday, President Putin said that Russia was facing unfair competition in the international energy market. He stressed that Russia could solve this question by developing oil and gas exportation to Asian countries. Will China be ready to cooperate with Russia in this field? What are the ways for the Sino-Russian cooperation in this field? What specific aspects will China conduct cooperation with it?

A: China and Russia are friendly neighbors and strategic partners of cooperation. The two sides are highly complementary to each other in the filed of energy. To strengthen the energy cooperation between the two countries serve the common interests of both parties and is a mutually-beneficial and win-win scenario. On the issue of energy cooperation, the two sides have already reached a series of important consensus, be if for Chinese leaders' visit to Russia or President Putin's visit to China. These consensuses were also reflected in the Joint Statement issued by the two sides during President Putin's last visit to China. We will also further our cooperation with Russia in this field from the angel of the strategic partnership of cooperation between the two sides and a long-term perspective. We hope that the relevant departments and enterprises of both sides could conduct in-depth discussion in this regard, so as to implement the important consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries.

The cooperation between China and Russia in the field of energy is very broad-ranged. It does not only include the upstream exploitation, but also the downstream fields of oil and gas procession and petrochemistry. We are ready to discuss with Russia on how to strengthen the security in energy field to ensure the safety of energy supplies, and on how to safeguard a stable and reasonable oil price in the global oil market. In addition, we are also ready to strengthen cooperation with Russia on the areas of developing and using clean energy, new energy and renewable energy.

Q: On what circumstances would China support the UN Security Council to quote Chapter 7 of the UN Charter to apply sanctions on Iran on the Iranian nuclear issue?

A: At present, the Iranian nuclear issue is at a crucial stage. China is also following closely with the upcoming report by the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency. We are hoping that the Director General's report will have an objective and comprehensive assessment on the Iranian nuclear issue.

China hopes that parties concerned could all remain calm, exercise restrain and patience, display flexibility, and cease to adopt any move that would worsen the situation, so as to create favorable conditions to resume talks. We believe that it is a correct choice to appropriately solve the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomacy and negotiations.

Q: Is there any achievements for the Sino-Indian border talks at present?

A: Sino-Indian relations are developing very well at present. The two sides have, on that background, decided to appropriately solve the border issue of the two countries through equal and friendly consultations, so as to find a fair and reasonable solution acceptable to both sides. This was reflected on the Political Principles Guiding the Border Issue reached by the two sides during Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to India last year. Based on this principle, both sides have already conducted 7 rounds of border talks. Deputy Minister Dai Bingguo went to India to conduct negotiations with India as the latest round of the talks. The two sides reiterated again the principles in the Political Guiding Principles and press ahead the border talks in a serious, pragmatic and positive attitude. The two sides agreed to hold next round of the talks as soon as possible, which should be held in China. The specific date for that would be set through diplomatic channels.

Q: Chen Shuibien will go to some "countries with diplomatic ties" with Taiwan in Central and Southern America on May 4th. He will also by-pass New York and the U.S. said that it had forwarded relevant schedule to the Taiwanese side. Su Zhenchang will also by-pass New York on May 14th. What's China's reaction on such bypassing arrangements by the U.S.? State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan who accompanied President Hu in his visit to the U.S. has already returned to Beijing. Is his return related to the handling of the above issues? The Australian Foreign Minister said that the recent riots in the Solomon Islands had something to do with Taiwan's role in the local elections. What's China's response to that?

A: We firmly oppose Taiwanese political figures' activities in the U.S. in any name or under any pretext. We hope that the U.S. should abide by its commitment of adhering to One China policy, abiding by the three joint Communiqués between China and the U.S. and opposing "Taiwan Independence", and do not allow Chen Shuibien to conduct activities in the U.S. in any name or under any pretext.

As to the information relating to State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan, I do not have anything particular to offer you.

We have taken notice that some media pointed out that, it is one of the important inducement causing the Solomon riots that some local Chinese businessmen close related with Taiwan participated in the electoral bribery. The Taiwan Authority has wantonly push forward the so call "Dollar Diplomacy" internationally for a long time, which has fostered corruption in some of the countries, causing chaos and turbulence and harming the interests of the local people. Such lessons is worth drawing for relevant countries.

Q: Last Sunday, Washington Post reported that China-Vatican relations entered into a critical stage. Now what's the main obstacle in China-Vatican relations? When can the Pope visit China? US President Bush last week urged China to allow more religious freedom. What comment does China have on it?

A: As for your first question, the Chinese Government's position is clear and unchanged in handling its relations with Vatican. We hope Vatican can create favorable conditions for improving relations between the two sides.

Regarding your second question, the Chinese side has repeatedly stressed to the US that China protected its citizens' freedom of religious beliefs in accordance with law. Chinese citizens enjoy freedom of religious freedom according to law. Meanwhile we think that, Chinese citizens should fulfill their obligations to abide by law while enjoying their freedom of religious belief.

Q: The situation of the Iranian nuclear issue seems to be escalating. Iran claimed it would take actions against the US if it's sanctioned. Is China worried about the possible worsening of the situation? What expectation does the Chinese side have for the deadline on 28th? What measures will UN Security Council take then?

A: On the Iranian nuclear issue, we maintain it should be properly resolved through diplomatic means and negotiations, which conforms to interests of all sides and serves the interests of international and regional peace and stability. To achieve this aim, we hope relevant parties can exercise restraint, create favorable conditions for resumption of talks, rather than deteriorate the situation. Meanwhile, we think international community's efforts, including UN Security Council's involvement should help to strengthen authority and role of IAEA and resolve the Iranian nuclear issue through negotiations.

Q: Did President Hu Jinitao touch upon China-US relations during his visit to the US? What position did the US and China express? What position does the Chinese hold on participating in the international space station?

A: We have timely released the news on the talks between President Hu Jintao and President Bush as well as other American leaders during Hu's visit to the US. I have nothing to add.

For the second question, the Chinese Government always supports peaceful use of outer space by the international community. We are ready to enhance exchanges and cooperation with relevant countries and international organizations in peaceful exploration and utilization of outer space.

Q: The SCO defense ministers' meeting has determined to hold joint anti-terrorism military exercise. What scale of troops will China send to attend the exercise? The theme of joint military exercise is anti-terrorism. What terrorist organizations will be its imaginary target? Does Chinese side think it necessary to continue such military exercise in the future?

A: According to information I have got from relevant departments, now relevant member countries have just reached a consensus on holding the exercise, yet to discuss its details. There is still time before 2007.It's still too early to talk about such questions.

As for your question on imaginary target, the international community has a basic consensus on anti-terrorism. Double standard should not be played in anti-terrorism. Relevant member countries will conduct anti-terrorism military exercise following the principle of safeguarding regional peace and stability, combating activities inimical to regional peace, stability as well the people's safety.

Through this defense ministers' meeting, all member countries agreed that SCO should strengthen exchanges and cooperation in security, anti-terrorism and other fields. Any means conducive to achieve this aim can be explored and cooperated within the framework of SCO.

Q: Nepal "Maoist" organization announced ceasefire. What comment do you have? If the Chinese government is urged to play a meditative role, will Chinese side accept?

A: Although the organization is called "Maoist", neither the Chinese Government, nor any of our domestic organization or person has any connection with this organization. We always pursue the principle of non-interference into any foreign countries' internal affairs. We hope Nepal-our good neighbor, can realize reconciliation at an early date and achieve peace, harmony, stability and development as soon as possible. We are ready to work with Nepal side to push forward China-Nepal good-neighborly friendship of cooperation.

Q: In response to Taiwan leader's stop-over in New York, your answer just now is mainland's consistent position. But recently there are some changes in the relations across Taiwan straits. Especially when meeting with KMT chairman Lian Zhan, President Hu Jintao mentioned Taiwan's space for international activities. You voiced strong opposition of Taiwan politicians to visit US with various name and pretext, but Taipei mayor and KMT chairman Ma Yingjiu also visited the US. Can you tell us, will China adjust its position on Taiwan's space of international activities? In addition, what's your standard on opposing Taiwan politicians' activities in US? Who can go to the US and who can't?

A: I suggest that you refer your question on cross-straits relations to the State Council Taiwan Affairs Office.

On the question of Chen Shuibian's stopover in the US, you'd better ask him what's his real intention, since he knows better what's in his own mind. The Chinese Central Government has consistently treated Taiwan's activities on the international in line with the one China principle. We don't challenge Taiwan's exchange with other parts of the world of non-official nature. We have taken many flexible measures on the basis of the one China principle to facilitate Taiwan's overseas economic and cultural exchanges. But we are firmly opposed to the secessionist activities of the Taiwan authority on the international arena, the "Taiwan independence" forces in particular, in various disguises.

Q: Given the increasing political clout of China, there is a stronger voice calling on China to become a responsible participant. But recently, China is facing more accusations of ignoring human rights on such issues as Sudan. What's your comment? Does China observe any principle when seeking overseas energy supply? Do you work to improve the local human rights or exert impact on the local government?

A: First of all, I strongly disagree with you on the view in your question. Please show me conclusive evidence if you accuse China of breaching human rights when having normal trade and economic cooperation with other countries, including energy cooperation. Is the report you quote based on conclusive evidence? Do not continue to spread such a senseless rumor in the international community. As a responsible country, China upholds international peace, cooperation and development. We adhere to the principle of mutual benefit in our cooperation with other countries. We won't follow the western colonialist path of savage looting and bloody violation of human rights. The one who clamors this question should have a deep remorse first and ask themselves whether their record is a glorious one. China has a clear conscience on this question. On the issue of Sudan, we have all along played a positive and constructive role in maintaining and promoting the peace and stability of Sudan. The cooperation between China and Sudan will help develop the local economy and improve people's livelihood. We have also dispatched peacekeeping troops to Sudan in line with the UN resolution. Why don't those media organizations write down this fact in their comment?

Journalist: I want to make it clear that I was only quoting the comment of an American press. This is not my personal view.

A: Whoever holds this view or whatever source it comes from, I expect them to present conclusive evidence. China is a responsible country. We hope all countries in the world are responsible countries and media of all countries should be responsible too.

Q: The UN Security Council voted on the Sudan issue this week. China chose to abstain. Can you explain why?

A: China cast an abstention vote in the recent UN voting on the Sudan issue. Chinese Permanent Representative to the UN Wang Guangya made an explanatory statement, and I'd rather not repeat. If you still have any question, please read his statement, which has given a comprehensive account. On the issue of Sudan, China takes a prudent and responsible attitude. We have to consider the interest of the Sudanese people, the stability, peace and reconciliation of Sudan and the effective role of the regional organizations such as the African Union. When the Abuja Talks comes to a crucial stage, any move should be conducive to promote the process of talks.

Q: During President Hu Jintao's visit to the US, was China-Japan relations brought up?

A: On the question of what has been discussed in the talks, I suggest you should read the information we have released.

If no more questions are to come up, I have an announcement of briefing to make. Recently, the Chinese Government has taken a number of operations to protect overseas Chinese, which have attracted broad interest from the media at home and abroad. To meet the request of the friends from the press, the IPC of Foreign Ministry will invite Deputy Director-General Wei Wei of the Department of Consular Affairs to hold a briefing at the IPC office at 2:00 pm on April 28 (Friday). He will brief on the consular protection work and take up questions. You are welcome to attend.

In addition, China will greet its Labor Day holiday from May 1st to 7th. According to our usual practice, the regular press conferences on May 2nd (Tuesday) and May 4th (Thursday) will be cancelled. The next press conference will be held on May 9th (Tuesday).

Wish you a nice festival. See you!

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