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Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang's Regular Conference on 5 September 2006

2006-09-06

On the afternoon of September 5, 2006, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gangheld a regular press conference.

Qin: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen! Welcome to attend the first regular press conference of Foreign Ministry after the summer recess. Before taking up your questions, I'd like to make several announcements.

First, in order to deepen traditional friendship and strengthen friendly cooperation, China and Africa agreed to hold the Beijing Summit and the third Ministerial Meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation from November 3 to 5. On the sideline of the meetings, the High-level Dialogue between Chinese-African Leaders and Business Communities and the second Meeting of Chinese and African Entrepreneurs will also be held

Second, in line with the consensus reached by Premier Wen Jiabao of the State Council and leaders of the ASEAN countries at the ninth China-ASEAN Summit last year, the Commemorative Summit Marking the 15th Anniversary of China-ASEAN Dialogue Relations will be held in Nanning, Guangxi on October 30. Premier Wen Jiabao, leaders of ASEAN countries will attend the Summit. The third China-ASEAN Expo and the China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit will be held at the same time.

This commemorative summit is the first summit to be held in China between the leaders of China and the 10 ASEAN countries, thus a pageant event of historic significance in the history of China-ASEAN relations. The leaders will review and summarize the past development and successful experience of China-ASEAN friendly relations. They will also envisage and plan the future development of bilateral relations.

Friends from the press are kindly welcome to cover the above meetings. Please log on the official websites of our Ministry, the International Press Center or the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (www.focac.org). The arrangements for press will be released on these websites soon.

Third, at the invitation of President Hu Jintao, President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom of the Republic of Maldives will pay a state visit to will pay a state visit to China from September 11 to 13.

Fourth, at the invitation of Premier Wen Jiabao of the State Council, Prime Minister Romano Prodi of Italy will pay an official visit to China from September 13 to 18.

Now, the floor is open.

Q: Please brief us on the current relations between China and Africa. Will China announce to African leaders its new policy towards Africa on the occasion of the meeting? What's the theme of the FOCAC Beijing Summit? What does China expect from this meeting? What's the significance of this meeting for the development of China-Africa relations?

A: This year marks the 50th anniversary of the beginning of diplomatic relations between China and African countries. The Chinese Government has always attached importance to Africa. To consolidate cooperation and solidarity with Africa has consistently been part and parcel of China's independent foreign policy of peace. In recent years, the development of China-Africa relations has displayed a sound and dynamic momentum, with frequent exchange of high-level visits, increasingly close political ties, rapidly growing trade and economic cooperation and constant consultation and cooperation on international affairs.

In this April and June, President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao made respective visits to 10 African countries in total, and many African leaders, in turn, successively visited China. China and Africa share broad common interest. The two sides should deepen traditional friendship and strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation. This not only serves the common interest of the two parties, but also benefits the peace and development of the region and the world at large.

Since its founding in 2000, the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation has become an effective mechanism for collective dialogue and important platform for pragmatic cooperation. Both China and Africa attach great importance to the summit, which is co-sponsored and jointly prepared by China and Africa. The two sides has initially set through consultation the theme of the summit as "friendship, peace, cooperation and development". At that time, Chinese and African leaders will focus on the theme, review and summarize friendly cooperation between China and African countries over the past five decades and the achievements of the FOCAC over the past 6 years as well as plan future pragmatic cooperation. They will also exchange views on some major international issues and explore the way to develop a new type of China-Africa strategic partnership featuring political equality and mutual trust, win-win economic cooperation and cultural exchange and mutual emulation. We are confident that the summit will boost mutual understanding and friendship between us and bring about an all-round development of China-Africa friendly cooperation that expands its scope and fields and mounts onto a new level. It will also enhance the unity of developing countries, the South-South cooperation and the world peace and development.

Q: Recently, the website of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences publicized a research report on the "Northeast China Project". We know that the CASS is a state-sponsored organization. Does the report represent the position of the Chinese Government?

A: I have not read the report on the website in your question and thus, am not in the position to make comment on its content. The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences is an academic institution, where scholars can express their views on various questions. I'd like to tell you the position of the Chinese Government. Both the ROK and other Northeast Asian countries are good neighbors of China. We are willing to steadily push forward our good-neighborly relations and friendly cooperation with all Northeast Asian countries in line with the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and the principle of "making amicable partners with neighbors". We are willing to properly settle relevant issues through friendly consultation.

Q: Recently, the ROK media disclosed Kim Jong-il may visit China. Please confirm. In addition, has the Chinese Government invited him to visit China?

A: As far as I know, there's no such arrangement.

Q: The five Central Asian countries will sign a treaty on the Central Asia nuclear weapon free area in Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan on September 8. What's China's comment?

A: To establish a nuclear weapon free area is conducive to non-proliferation of nuclear weapons, the progress of nuclear disarmament and stronger peace, security and stability in the region. China and the five Central Asian countries share traditional friendly relations and cooperation and have always understood and supported each other in international and regional affairs. China spoke highly of and supported the efforts of the five Central Asian countries to make Central Asian nuclear weapon free on the basis of voluntary consultation. We welcome the agreement reached by the five Central Asian countries on the treaty of Central Asian nuclear weapon free area.

Q: It is reported that the DPRK might conduct a nuclear test in the days to come. What's China's position on the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula? Will China send any senior official to the DPRK to dissuade it from any action that may escalate the situation?

A: China has been unremittingly pushing ahead the Six-Party Talks and committing itself to the goal of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula and maintaining peace and stability on the Peninsula as well as in Northeast Asia. When difficulties stand in the way, we hope all parties can bear in mind the overall interest of peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and in the entire Northeast Asia, keep calm, exercise restraint and adopt a flexible and pragmatic attitude, so as to create conditions for the early resumption of the Talks and move the situation towards a favorable direction.

China will continue to strive for the early resumption of the Six-Party Talks and the realization of the goal of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula. We have been staying in contact with other parties and discussing with them on resuming the Talks at an early date.

Q: US Assistant Secretary of State Hill is visiting China today. He will also go to Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu and other places. Please tell the purpose of his visit. Will his visit promote the progress of the Six-Party Talks?

A: US Assistant Secretary of State Hill arriveed in Beijing this afternoon. During his stay here, Mr.Hill will meet with Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei and Assistant Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai and He Yafei respectively to exchange views over the Six-Party Talks, China-US relations and other issues of common interest.

Q: Will China fulfill the defense obligations prescribed in the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance between China and the DPRK signed in 1961?

A: This year marks the 45th anniversary of Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance between China and the DPRK. The treaty has played an important role in promoting friendship and cooperation between China and the DPRK. China will continue to work with the DPRK in the treaty's spirit to put forward the development of bilateral good-neighborly and friendly cooperation and safeguard regional peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. Peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula is the departure point from which China handles the issues on the Korean Peninsula. China is ready to make concerted effort with other parties.

Q: When will the new Chinese ambassador to the DPRK take office?

A: I haven't got exact information in this respect.

Q: Mr. Hill said he hoped all parties to take concrete actions to resolve the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula. What new measures does China have to promote the Six-Party Talks? What issues will Premier Wen Jiabao and Director General of WTO Lamy discuss during their meeting this afternoon?

A: The Six-Party Talks encounters some difficulties. Under the circumstances, we call on all relevant parties to maintain constraint and calmness, focus on the overall interests and adopt constructive attitudes to jointly promote an early resumption of the Talks as well as the realization of denuclearization of Korean Peninsula. China is ready to make its own efforts. In fact, we did,do and will continue to maintain close communications and cooperation with other relevant parties to jointly promote the process of the Talks.

As for WTO Director General Lamy's visit to China, since it is China's Ministry of Commerce that receives him, I advise you to refer your question to officials there. As far as I know, Minister of Commerce Bo Xilai met with Mr. Lamy yesterday. I don't know the details of the meeting between Premier Wen Jiabao and Lamy.

Q: It is reported that the US is proposing a sanction plan against the DPRK late this month. What comment does China have? Mr. Hill said the Six-Party Talks is now stuck in the stalemate after nearly one year since the signing of the Joint Statement. Does China still consider Six-Party Talks an effective mechanism to promote the solution to the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula?

A: It is our ultimate goal to ensure a nuclear weapon-free Korean Peninsula. It is the consensus of six parties to achieve this goal with peaceful means. But it requires unremitting efforts, wisdom, patience and calmness. China doesn't stand for sanction, which may yield a reverse result against its original aim. We hold and will continue to maintain that a nuclear weapon-free Korean Peninsula should be realized through peaceful dialogue and consultation. The Six-Party Talks is an effective mechanism to resolve the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula and realize the denuclearization of the Peninsula. It has been confirmed by the six parties during the past rounds of Talks and the Joint Statement issued last year. All parties are committed to the process of the Talks. I haven't heard any party says the mechanism won't work. We hope all parties can concentrate their efforts on concertedly promoting the process of the Talks.

Q: Which Chinese official will represent the Chinese Government to attend the six-nation talks on the Iranian nuclear issue to be held in Germany? What position does China have on the talks?

A: Mr. Zhangyan, Director-General of the Department of Arms Control of Chinese Foreign Ministry, will attend this meeting. On the Iranian nuclear issue, China always advocates a peaceful solution through diplomatic negotiations. China hopes the meeting can be conducive to the resumption of talks and the goal of solving the Iranian nuclear issue peacefully.

If there are no other questions, thanks for your presence! See you next time!

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