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Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao's Regular Press Conference on 18 May 2006

On the afternoon of May 18, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao held a regular press conference.

Liu: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen! I'd like to begin with a couple of announcements:

At the invitation of President Hu Jintao, President of East Timor Xanana will pay a state visit to China from May 29 to June 3.

On June 15, 2006, the sixth session of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization will be held in Shanghai, China. The heads of the six member states will attend the meeting. The member states have unanimously agreed to extend invitations to the leaders of the observer countries and the countries and international organizations that have cooperative relations with the SCO. This meeting will review and summarize the achievement and experience of SCO in the past five years and map out the direction and measure of its future development.

I understand the close interest of the friends from the press in covering the meeting. The Information Department of Chinese Foreign Ministry will handle media application. For the rules of application, please visit the official website of the meeting-http://www.scosummit2006.org or the website of the International Press Center-http://ipc.fmprc.gov.cn. You are expected to file your application and personal information by May 31.

Now, I'm ready to take up questions.

Q: During the visit of Russian Foreign Minister, the two sides reached consensus on the border issue between China and Russia. But some people in Russia voiced their objection to the demarcation plan. What problems do the two countries still face on their border issue? Second question, the head of Russian border guard said that Chinese illegal immigrants posed threat to Russia. Please tell us China's position on this issue.

A: First and foremost, I have to emphasize that China and Russia define their relations as a strategic and cooperative partnership. This is a relationship firmly built on the basis of mutual trust. Our bilateral relations are steadily moving ahead.

Regarding the border issue, under the joint effort of the leaders, governments and people of China and Russia, the border issue between us has been solved in a fair and reasonable way, and the alignment of the 4000 kilometer-long borderline between has been finally settled. This serves the long-term and fundamental interest of the two countries and peoples.

After settling the border alignment, some follow-up work has to be done. One of the important tasks is to survey the boundary. Now the two sides are surveying the boundary in a intense and orderly way. According to the reached agreement, the survey will be completed next year. China and Russia are staying in good cooperation in this regard.

On your second question, the Chinese government holds a resolute stance on combating illegal migration in all forms and has taken effective measures to do so. China and Russia share important common ground on this issue. In May 2003, the heads of two countries confirmed in their joint statement that China and Russia would set up a joint working group on migration. A couple of days ago, Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and his Russian counterpart Lavrov signed a protocol on setting up a joint working group, which aims to promote the normal exchange between the two countries, strengthen our coordination on migration management and boost the cooperation between the authorities in charge. It is unnecessary to worry about the so-called "threat" posed by China on this question. The governments of the two countries will treat the problems arising thereof with all seriousness and try to solve it.

Q: The SCO foreign ministers' meeting prepared some documents to be signed at the SCO Summit in June. What are these documents?

A: The SCO Summit will issue a number of important documents. This is a meeting of great significance, an occasion to implement the consensus of last Summit, summarize the experience and fulfillment in the SCO development over the past five years and define the direction and measures for the future development. As to what documents are to be signed, it depends on the result of discussion at the summit. We will keep you updated once further information is available.

Q: Secretary-General Annan will visit China tomorrow. Please brief us on the schedule and agenda. How does China comment the talks between Annan and Japanese and ROK leaders? Secretary-General Annan told the press after meeting the ROK foreign minister that the solution of the problems between Japan, China and the ROK demanded dialogue. Does China think the dialogue in Annan's remarks includes China-Japan summit meeting?

A: On the agenda of Secretary-General Annan, I have briefed you on that not long ago when I formally announced his visit to China. President Hu Jintao, Premier Wen Jiabao and State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan will meet with him. During his visit, Chinese leaders will exchange views with him on a number of issues, including major international and regional issues, given that the UN secretary-general shoulders important responsibility on maintaining world peace and promoting common development. Meanwhile, China will discuss with him on how to enhance cooperation between China and the UN, so as to make the bilateral cooperation more effective and better serve the interest of world peace and common development.

Japan and the ROK are two important countries in East Asia. Secretary-General Annan's exchange with the leaders of the two countries is helpful to the cooperation between the countries concerned in this region and the UN. Regarding the question of improving relations between China and Japan and between the ROK and Japan, you quoted Secretary-General Annan as saying he expects the countries concerned to close differences through dialogue. If he was referring to the dialogue between China and Japan, I want to point it out that China attaches importance to the exchange between the high-level leaders of the two countries. We have reiterated on many occasions that it is the Japanese side that is responsible for the difficulties in China-Japan relations and the failure of effective leaders' dialogue. Japanese leaders persistent visits to the Yasukuni Shrine, where the class A war criminals in the Second World War damaged the atmosphere and conditions for dialogue. China is willing to have dialogue with Japan, but the conditions and atmosphere should be appropriate. We hope Japan to take earnest action on this question.

Q: Not long ago, some scholars said that China should prepare for withdrawing Chinese citizens from countries without diplomatic relations such as in Solomon Islands case. Will the Foreign Ministry consider the suggestion? It's seemed that to establish strategic partnership with one country is the top objective in China's diplomatic strategy. Does China expect to establish partnership relations with India and Japan such as with the U.S.?

A: On your first question, we welcome the scholars' suggestions. Chinese Foreign Ministry has made lots of study concerning the protection of Chinese organizations and staffs overseas. We have established an inter-department meeting mechanism to provide consular protection for the Chinese citizens and organizations, so that the overseas Chinese citizens with problems can enjoy more convenience and assistance. We have accumulated lots of experience in our practices in recent years, and handled properly the issues including withdrawing of Chinese citizens from Solomon Islands. China's diplomacy serves the interest of our people's interest. We will do our best to provide convenience and assistance to overseas organizations and citizens.

On your second question, to establish strategic partnership with relevant countries is the natural result when cooperation between two countries in various fields has reached certain extent. We have established the strategic partnership with more than 20 countries and regional organizations, with different emphasis with different countries. We are willing to establish cooperation relations, coordination relations and partnerships with more countries in various forms. China and the U.S. have established constructive and cooperative relationship. China and India enjoy strategic partnership. China's strategic and cooperative relations with relevant countries are long-term, solidly-based and stable relationship, and not targeted with the third countries. We will continue to make efforts in this regards.

Q: China and Russia reached a consensus on building a bridge over the border river. Please brief us on this. Which cities are on the respective sides of the bridge? What is the background? When President Hu Jintao met with the Foreign Minister Lavrov, he expressed his hope to strengthen bilateral economic and energy cooperation. What about the progress in energy cooperation? Will the U.S. military base in the middle Asia be discussed during the SCO meeting? Will the Iranian nuclear issue be discussed? Will Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad participate in the SCO summit?

A: On your first question, Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov have signed an agreement on build a bridge across the border river. The agreement has stipulated design, management and maintance of the bridge. The bilateral local governments will have coordinated with each other concerning specific issues.

Argun River is the border river of China and Russia. Hei Shantou and Staropsurukhaytuy are respectively on the both sides and the passenger transport stations. A wooden bridge was built for the passenger and cargo transportation. The bridge was undermined for long-term use. The agreement paves the way for both sides to build a new bridge. This bridge will further promote the communication and economic activities between our two countries.

On your second question, the Sino-Russian bilateral cooperation is comprehensive. Energy cooperation is an important aspect within the economic and trade cooperation. Both countries are highly complementary. To strengthen the energy cooperation between our two countries is the consensus by our two leaders, is mutually beneficial and practical choice of both countries and in accordance with the interest of both sides. We are satisfied with bilateral energy cooperation and development momentum in recent years. The crude oil trade between China and Russia keeps rising consistently, and has surpassed 10 million tons in 2005. Both sides have conducted active consultation on and made progress in some major projects such as the crude oil pipeline, import of petroleum and gas from Russia, the petroleum cooperation between upstream and downstream and electricity cooperation. We believe that energy cooperation can be fruitful and do benefit to our two peoples through our joint efforts on the mutual trust and win-win basis.

On your third and Forth questions, the member states are still under consultation concerning the specific agenda. I will keep you updated during the summit.

As to whether Iran will participate in the SCO summit, I have said in the Tuesday's press briefing that Iran is an observer of the SCO. The member states unanimously agree to invite observers to participate. We respect their decisions.

Q: It's reported that the U.S. representative of the Six-Party talks Hill will visit Beijing. Please confirm. What's detailed agenda? What is China's expectation?

A: China has always been maintaining consultation with relevant parties on the resumption of the Six-Party talks. As far as I know, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Hill will visit China from May 24th to 25 th, after the conclusion of his South-East Asia tour. During his visit, Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei will exchange ideas with the Assistant Secretary of State Hill on the Six-Party talks.

The Six-Party talk has encountered some problems at present. It needs relevant parties to adopt a flexible and pragmatic approach, show political wisdom, and clear out obstacles, so that the talk can be resumed at the earliest date and makes progress continually.

Q: Please brief on Secretary General Mr. Anan's itinerary on weekend. Yesterday a Taiwan businessman admitted in the US that he had provided military information to China and helped to buy military equipments for china. What's your comment on this?

A: Secretary General Anan will visit Anhui during the weekend.

We have noted the relevant reports regarding your second question. The accusation of China collecting military and scientific information in the US is totally groundless. China has strict examination and monitoring procedures on importing military trade products. China's military trade products importing enterprises will not buy any military trade products from any client without legal and valid documentations.

Q: China has made solemn representation to Indonesia on Chen Shui-bian's stop over in Indonesia. Has Indonesia made explanation on that? Is China satisfied?

A: China has made representation to Indonesia solemnly and Indonesia is perfectly clear with China's position.

Q: Is it decided that Chinese and Japanese Foreign Ministers will meet with each other in Doha next week?

A: Japan has put forward such a request and China is still studying it.

Q: Which SCO observation countries have applied to be formal member countries of SCO?

A: Some countries have formally or informally expressed their wishes of becoming formal member countries of SCO. All parties exchanged views on admitting new member and observation countries at the SCO Foreign Ministers' meeting just concluded, decided to have further study on this issue to establish and consummate relevant legal foundation.

Q: Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing will attend Asian Cooperation Dialogue Foreign Ministers' meeting in Katar next week. Can you tell us his arrival and departure time of Katar? What countries will he visit before and after his visit to Katar?

A: Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing will visit a number of countries. He will visit Katar on 23rd and 24th and attend Asian Cooperation Dialogue. He will visit Kuwait before Katar and United Arab Emirates after that.

Q: A report in New York Times saying that the US is going to solve Korean peninsula nuclear issue through new way. What's China's position on this? What may be possibly the impact on the resumption of Six-Party talks? Will this topic be discussed during Hill's visit to China?

A: I am not clear with the specific adjustment of US policy you just mentioned on Korean peninsula nuclear issue. Generally speaking, we hope the two sides can carry out more reconciliation policy and narrow the disputes between them on a series of issues with a faithful, serious, flexible and pragmatic attitude so as to accumulate mutual trust, carry on the course of Six-Party talks and make progress continuously.

Q: The film The Da Vinci Code is a story about the children of Jesus and some people of Roman Catholic churches. Vatican said that the film offended God and called on people from different countries not to watch this film. What's your comment on this? China launched film premiere yesterday and made no amendment of the film. Why does not China have restrictions on showing this film? Did you read the novel personally? If you did, can you tell me how you like it? Are you going to watch this film?

A: It is Vatican's business of how it views the film and the novel. The Geneal Office of State Administration of Radio, Film and Television of China will decide on the screening of the film in China according to the relevant policies and regulations. And I don't think this is the right place for discussing my personal view on the film.

Q: What's your comment on the China-Japan consultation on East China Sea held this morning in Tokyo? There was a report two weeks ago saying that China and Iran would sign an oil agreement with the value of US$ 100 billion in the near future. Iranian oil Minister would visit China and had consultations with China on this agreement. Can you confirm that?

A: The China-Japan consultation on East China Sea starting today is still ongoing. I don't have any comment yet. In a word, China conducts consultations with Japan with a serious and responsible attitude in order to narrow disputes and to solve this issue once and for all.

As to China-Iran energy cooperation, China and Iran have normal state to state relations in all fields and have effective cooperation in the field of energy. International community is discussing and studying Iranian nuclear issue, especially the three EU countries which are drafting a package agreement on this issue. We hope this agreement will be conducive to the promotion of nuclear nonproliferation mechanism and at the meantime, will take Iranian reasonable concerns into consideration. The agreement should be pragmatic and acceptable to all parties and will create proper condition for resuming talks for relevant parties. It is good to all parties to implement a pragmatic and constructive attitude. China will make efforts along with international community in solving Iranian nuclear issue. Regarding China-Iran energy cooperation, you can raise your question to National Development and Reform Commission.

Q: There is a report on VOA saying that the US new approach on Six-Party talks will include the negotiation of a peace agreement between DPRK and ROK. Do you think this new approach helpful in solving Korean peninsula nuclear issue?

A: The main objective of Six-Party talks is to achieve denuclearization of Korean peninsula. We hope that all parties realize denuclearization of Korean peninsula through solving present disputes and establish mutual trust between all relevant parties. And on that basis a permanent peace mechanism can be built in northeast Asia to replace the theoretically existing ceasefire mechanism to realize ever-lasting peace and stability in northeast Asia.

Q: World Health Organization publicized a book criticizing China on its problems in fighting against SARS. What's your comment on that?

A: I have not read the book and just saw some reports about it. The book contains something on the common efforts of international community in combating SARS in 2003. Chinese Government and people were decisive, united and highly responsible in the important fight against SARS about which we then knew nothing and eliminated SARS in a relatively short period of time. This ensured health and safety of Chinese people's lives and accumulated experience for international efforts against SARS. We have conducted effective and favorable cooperations with some countries and WHO. We hope the relevant parties including WHO will look on China's relevant efforts justly and objectively.

If there are no more questions, thank you and good-bye!

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