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Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao's Regular Press Conference on 9 May 2006

On the afternoon of May 9, 2006, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao held a regular press conference.

Liu: Good afternoon, ladies and afternoon! I would like to begin with several announcements.

At the invitation of the Foreign Ministers of Mexico, Bahamas, Kuwait, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing will pay official visits to the six countries from May 17 to 25. He will make a technical stopover at Mauritania en route. During his visits to Mexico and Qatar, Foreign Minister Li will attend the second session of the Standing Committee between Chinese and Mexican Governments and the fifth Foreign Ministers' Meeting of Asia Cooperation Dialogue.

The Foreign Ministers' Council of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization will hold a regular meeting in Shanghai on May 15th. The meeting will make preparation for the SCO Summit to be held in Shanghai in mid-June. The Foreign Ministers of the member states will exchange views on deepening the SCO cooperation in various fields and other international and regional issues of common interest.

At the invitation of Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, Foreign Minister Talbak Nazarov of the Republic of Tajikistan will pay an official visit to China from May 11 to 18.

At the invitation of Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, Foreign Minister Sergey Viktorovich Lavrov of the Russian Federation will pay an official visit to China from May 15 to 16.

Q: Can you brief us on Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing's visit to Mexico. Which leaders will meet with him? What's the purpose of his visit? It was reported last week that five Guantanamo detainees from Chinese Xinjiang were sent to Albania. The U.S. has informed China of the matter. What's China's reaction?

A: At the invitation of Mexican Foreign Minister Derbez of Mexico, Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing will pay an official visit to Mexico. During his visit, Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing will co-host the second session of the Standing Committee between Chinese and Mexican Governmentswith Foreign Minister Derbez. During the meeting, Foreign Ministries of the two countries will hold meetings of the Political Subcommittee of the China-Mexican Committee, and to exchange in-depth views on bilateral relations and issues of common interests. According to the arrangements by Mexico, Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing will also meet with President Fox. As to the specific arrangements of this visit, the two sided will still discuss that through diplomatic channels.

As to your second question, recently, Albania took over the 5 Chinese nationals originally detained in the Guantanamo at the request of the U.S.. These people are not refugees, instead, they are suspects of the "Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement" terrorist organization. The ETIM is part of the international terrorist forces which has close relations with the Al Qaeda and Taliban. The ETIM has been included in the United Nations 1267 Committee consolidated list. These suspects should be repatriated to China.

The U.S. and Albania's move severely went against international laws and UN Security Council resolutions. We express our strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition on that and has already lodged solemn representation demanding the U.S. and Albania to repatriate the above-mentioned suspects to China.

Q: Can you brief us on Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov's visit to China?

A: Russian Foreign Minister Lavorov has two missions in China, to pay an official visit and to attend the SCO Foreign Ministers' Council meeting in Shanghai. This year is of great significance for the relations between China and Russia. It is also the year of Russia in China. Cooperation between the two countries in various fields is constantly enhancing. An in-depth exchange of views between the two foreign ministers on bilateral ties, international and regional issues of common interest is of significance in safeguarding global and regional peace and stability. The exchanges of visits of the two foreign ministers have been frequent. During Foreign Minister Lavrov's visit to China, Chinese leaders will be meeting with him and exchange views on the furthering of strategic partnership of coordination as well as the cooperation in various fields.

Q: The EU publicly criticized China of faking a Ferrari car whereas the company said that the car was made in Thailand. Do you have any comment on EU's accusation of China without investigation?

A: It is inappropriate to criticize a state without any investigation or compelling evidence.

Q: What has been discussed during the fifth round of strategic dialogue between China and Japan? Is there any breakthrough? What is the purpose of State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan's visit to the DPRK? What has been achieved?

A: The fifth round of strategic dialogue was held from May 7th to 9th. Views have been exchanged in an in-depth manner on major issues of common interest. Deputy Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo fully expounded on President Hu Jintao's remarks to the seven Japan-China friendship groups on March 31st. We hope that both sides can make concerted efforts to remove the political obstacles to the improvement and development of bilateral ties, in particular, Japan should move towards the same direction as China. During the meeting, it was agreed that the fifth round of talks on East Sea will be held in mid May. The two sides also explored the possibility of holding foreign ministers' meeting on multi-lateral functions.

On your second question, as I understand, State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan paid an official visit to the DPRK not long ago. I am not authorized to update you on the specifics of the visit.

Q: What is the possibility for the meeting between Chinese and Japanese Foreign Ministers on the sidelines of the Asian Cooperation Dialogue meeting to be held in Qatar? The United Nations members will vote on May 9 for membership of the Human Rights Council. What's your comment?

A: China and Japan discussed the issue of meeting between Foreign Ministers and it needs further consideration. The outcome would be up to the consultation between the two sides.

As to your second question, the Chinese Government has always been dedicated to the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedom, and has participated actively in the international human rights dialogues and cooperation. The Chinese Government supports the Human Rights Council to handle human rights issues in a fair, objective and non-selective way and to strengthen the constructive dialogues and cooperation between different civilizations, cultures and religions. We believe thatChina's election as member of the Human Rights Council will benefit the development of the Council's cause in promoting and protecting world-wide human rights.

Q: On the Iranian nuclear issue. Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing has just finished the Six-Country Foreign Ministers meetings in New York. Please elaborate on China's stance. Does China oppose quoting Chapter Seven of the United Nations Charter in relevant UN Security Council resolution?

A: The Iranian nuclear issue is at a critical period at present. China hopes that parties concerned could continue to remain calm, patient and restrained, exert flexibility, and in particular, to avoid taking moves that might worsen the situation, so as to create sound conditions for the resumption of the talks. Diplomacy and consultations are the best choice to solve this issue, which serves the interests of parties concerned. China has always been in disfavor of easily resorting to the threat of sanctions or force in international affairs. We hope that parties concerned could continue to adopt a constructive attitude so as to peacefully resolve the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomacy.

Q: Will the upcoming Shanghai Cooperation Organization meeting discuss the Iranian nuclear issue? Head of the U.S. Pacific Command Fallon is visiting China today. Please brief us on his agenda in China, the places he will visit and the officials he will meet with.

A: As to your first question. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is set up to advance the in-depth exchanges of views between the members on the regional security, economy, trade, humanity and other issues and to enhance the cooperation between the members in these fields. The SCO meeting will be held in mid June. As to what issues will be on the agenda or whether the Iranian nuclear issue will come up or not, SCO members are yet to discuss and decide.

With respect to your second question, I do not have any information at hand right now. Please refer it to the Ministry of Defense.

Q: Will China veto the UN Security Council's resolution on the Iranian nuclear issue if it resorted to Chapter Seven of the United Nations Charter? There were frictions between China and Vatican in the ordination of bishops, did China have any informal contacts or consultation with Vatican in this regard?

A: Parties concerned are still undertaking consultations on how to solve the Iranian nuclear issue. China has stated its position clearly in previous consultations. China is not in favor of easily resorting to sanctions or threat of force in international affairs.

As to your second question, I think Vatican is clear about the Chinese Government's relevant position.

Q: The Taiwanese leader is planning to stopover in the U.S. during a visit to Central America. Do you have any comment on the U.S.'s arrangements in that regard? Just now you mentioned that China was dissatisfied with the U.S.'s handling the issue of the repatriation of the ETIM terrorists. Will that affect the counter-terrorism cooperation between China and the U.S.?

A: We are firmly against Chen Shuibian's secessionist activities in countries having diplomatic ties with China in any name, under any pretext or by any means. This position has always been consistent and explicit and the U.S. is clear about that.

As to your second question, strengthening international counter-terrorism cooperation serves the common interest of all of the countries. We hope that parties concerned could do more to help strengthening international counter-terrorism cooperation, not the contrary.

Q: The US Treasury is likely to label China as a "currency manipulator" in its currency policy report to be submitted to the Congress this week. Do you have any comment?

A: The Chinese Government and Chinese leaders expounded on China's position on exchange rate on various occasions. During his latest visit to the US, President Hu Jintao reiterated the position of the Chinese Government. The US appreciates China's sincerity and steps in addressing the problems in economic and trade cooperation with China. We hope that the US realize our mutual important interest in trade and commerce cooperation and adopt a constructive attitude to properly settle relevant problems in this regard.

Q: Do you have any comment on Chen Shuibian's visit to Paraguay and other Central American countries having "diplomatic relations" with Taiwan?

A: We oppose the so-called "official relations" between these countries with Taiwan, which is a violation of relevant UN resolutions and interference with China's internal affairs. We hope that they can clearly recognize the situation, adopt the correct policy on the Taiwan question and matters relating to their relations with China so as to correctly handle related issues in accordance with the Five Principles of Peaceful Reunification and the UN Charter.

Q: Is there any progress of China's negotiation with Vatican on normalization of relations? There have been some frictions between the two on the ordination of bishops. Does China have any plan to suspend the dialogue with Vatican? What is the legal basis for China's request upon Albania to repatriate the terrorist suspects contained in Guantanamo Bay? What will they be charged with in China if they are repatriated?

A: The Chinese Government follows two fundamental principles in handling its relations with Vatican, which remain consistent, clear and unchanged. Namely, Vatican must severe its so-called "diplomatic relations" with Taiwan and refrain from interfering with China's internal affairs, including in the name of religion. We have always had the sincerity to improve our relations with Vatican and made unremitting efforts to that end. We are willing to continue to engage in constructive dialogue with Vatican in the spirit and explore ways to improve our relations.

With regard to your second question, those people you mentioned are suspects of East Turkistan terrorist organization. We request relevant states to repatriate them to China at an early date.

Q: The UN adopted a daft resolution on Sudan, calling for enhancing international peace keeping operations. Does China have any plan to send peace keeping forces to Darfur?

A: China welcomes the peace agreement reached between the Government of Sudan and the Sudan Liberation Movement, which represents a major progress in the process of seeking a political settlement of the Darfur question. We highly appreciate the sincerity of both sides in seeking peace. We also appreciate the unremitting efforts of the African Union, relevant African countries and other parties. China stands ready to work with the international community in seeking for comprehensive peace in Darfur at an early date. China has provided humanitarian assistance to Sudan and assisted the African Union in its efforts to solve the Sudan question. 450 Chinese soldiers are working there on peace keeping missions. All these efforts are helpful for the realization of comprehensive peace in Sudan.

Q: Do you have any comment on the recent disturbance in East Timor? Does China have any contingency measures to protect Chinese lives and properties out there? Will the current disturbance affect the investment environment there and Chinese enterprises' investment in particular?

A: We have taken note of the recent disturbances in the capital of East Timor. Some shops run by overseas Chinese have been robed or burned, leading to injuries and deaths of people, including the police. The Department of Consular Affairs of our Ministry issued a travel alert, reminding the Chinese citizens there stay alert so as to protect their lives and suggesting the rest of the Chinese not to go there if there is no urgent need. Chinese consular officials went to visit those affected. We are convinced that relevant authorities will try to minimize the loss of the Chinese citizens there.

As to the investment environment there, East Timor is friend of China, establishing diplomatic relations with China when it declared its independence. Bilateral relations are constantly developing. The President of East Timor also visited China. As a friend of East Timor, China hopes to see early stabilization of the situation, since it is of vital importance for economic and social development of any country.

Q: Sources say that Vietnamese state-owned cell phone company is planning to set up wireless telecommunication network on the Nansha Islands. Relevant station will be established this month. Do you have any comment?

A: I would like to reiterate that China has indisputable sovereignty over the Nansha Islands and the adjacent waters. China has always held that the related disputes should be solved peacefully through negotiation in light of universally recognized international law, contemporary maritime law as well as the fundamental principles and legal institutions set up by the UNCLOS. Relevant parties should put aside their disputes and conduct joint exploration before they find a solution. Any action by any country in islands and waters over which China enjoys sovereignty is illegal and null.

Q: What is your expectation of the fifth round of talks between China and Japan on the East China Sea?

A: The result of the previous four rounds of talks between China and Japan over the East Sea demonstrates the big difference of the two sides and complexity of the question. We hope that we can close the gap through consultation so as to find a final solution to the question. The previous four rounds of talks are helpful.

If there are no further question, thank you and bye!

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