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Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang's Regular Press Conference on 14 September 2006

2006-09-15

On the afternoon of September 14, 2006, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang held a regular press conference.

Qin: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen! Please allow me to begin with two announcements:

At the invitation of President Hu Jintao, President Valdas Adamkus of the Republic of Lithuania will pay a state visit to China from September 23 to 28.

At the invitation of Prime Minister Gyurcsany of the Republic of Hungary, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Reynders of the Kingdom of Belgium, the Government of Ireland and the Government of the Kingdom of Norway, Vice Premier of the State Council Zeng Peiyan will pay official visits to the four countries from September 19 to 28.

Now, the floor is open.

Q: The US White House Spokesman Snow said that all parties were making efforts to bring the DPRK back to the table of the Six-Party Talks. But it is up to the DPRK whether to come back to the Talks or not. The DPRK expects the US to drop its financial sanction. What measure by all parties concerned does China deem necessary for the next step?

A: We believe that the only choice is the peaceful solution to the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula through negotiation and consultation and the Six-Party Talks is a way of real effects. Given that the Six-Party Talks consists of six, all of them should make joint efforts. For the time being, all parties should contribute concerted and constructive efforts to removing the obstacle in the way of the Talks, so as to resume the talks at an early date. The fundamental issue is to build mutual trust among the principal parties concerned and create favorable conditions for resuming the talks.

Q: The new Japanese prime minister is going to be elected soon. Is it possible to realize the summit between Chinese and Japanese leaders on the sideline of the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting in Vietnam in November? If the new prime minister expresses his hope to visit China, will China accept?

A: China has always attached great importance to China-Japan relations. We are willing to develop a good-neighborly relations and friendly cooperation with Japan in line with the principle of "taking history as a mirror for the benefit of future development" and the three political documents between the two countries. And we commit ourselves to seeking peaceful coexistence, friendship lasting for generations, mutually beneficial cooperation and common development. The foremost task now is to remove the political obstacle to the restoration and normal development of bilateral relations. We are willing to work with Japan to bring China-Japan relations back on the track of normal development as soon as possible. But I have nothing to share with you on whether the leaders of the two countries have plan to meet or exchange visits in the months to come.

Q: It is reported by ROK media that Kim Jong-il might visit China. Please confirm. It is also reported that the upcoming sixth plenary session of the 16th CPC Central Committee will possibly discuss on amending the China-DPRK Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance. Please confirm.

A: On your first question, I haven't heard of any such arrangement to this point.

On your second question, we haven't considered amending the treaty so far.

Q: It is reported that when Hill visited Beijing shortly ago, he offered to hold bilateral talks with the DPRK, only to be rejected by the DPRK. Please confirm. Why did the DPRK reject this proposal?

A: The report you mentioned is inaccurate. China encourages and supports the US and the DPRK in their direct contact, through which they can have an in-depth exchange of views on their own concerns. We hope the US and the DPRK will show a flexible and practical attitude, so as to find a proper solution.

Q: The US Congress decided to confer on Dalai Lama the Congressional Gold Medal. What's China's comment? Venezuelan President Chavez said that China would support Venezuela in its bid for the non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council in October. Please confirm.

A: The US Congress insisted on passing the resolution of conferring on Dalai Lama the so-called "congressional gold medal" in defiance of China's repeated representations. It sent a severely wrong signal to the "Tibet-independence" forces, grossly interfered with China's internal affairs and undermined China-US relations. China expresses strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition. Tibet is an inseparable part of China's territory, which is the consensus widely recognized by the international community, including the United States. What Dalai said and did over the past decades has testified that he is a political exile who has long engaged in secessionist activities under the cover of religion. He has never stopped his splittist activities for "Tibet independence". China is firmly opposed to the interference in China's internal affairs by any country or any individual by playing up the Dalai question. Our resolve to safeguard our sovereignty and territorial integrity is unswerving.

When Venezuelan President Chavez visited China shortly ago, he talked with China about Venezuela's bid for the non-permanent seat of the UN Security Council, and China is supportive of this effort. Now, China and Venezuela share good relations, with close contact and cooperation on international and regional affairs.

Q: Shortly ago, Chinese Government convened the Conference on Oceanological Science and Technology and set forth the comprehensive strategic guideline for protecting China's rights and interests in its offshore waters. Is it convened to address the disputes between China and other countries on resources in the East China Sea and surrounding waters of Nansha Islands? How will China's frictions with other countries over maritime rights and interests affect China's future energy policy? Secondly, recently, the East China Sea Fleet of Chinese navy set up 10 stone boundary markers on the East Chinese islands which mark the base points of its territorial sea. According to the PLA Daily, the purpose is to protect China's maritime rights and interests. Can you tell me the specific location of these markers? Do they encompass Diaoyu Island and its adjacent islets?

A: Chinese Government is staunchly determined to safeguard its sovereignty and territorial integrity. We have disputes with some neighboring countries over maritime demarcation. We maintain that the disputes should be resolved through friendly consultation in a fair, reasonable and proper way, abiding by the universally-recognized international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and taking consideration of specific conditions of different waters. These disputes should not affect the bilateral relations between China and other countries. So we propose the principle of "laying aside differences and seeking joint exploration" as transitional measures for those issues that we can't resolve now. This proposition is based on our guideline for good-neighborly and friendly relations that features "becoming amicable partners with neighbors". It is well understood and positively echoed by the countries concerned. For instance, in line with the principle of "laying aside differences and seeking joint exploration", China, Vietnam and Philippine signed the Agreement on Joint Seismic Survey of the South China Sea in accordance with the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and conducted joint exploration in the disputed waters. By means of such propositions, we have safeguarded China's surrounding sea on the whole and maintained stable relations with our neighboring countries. From now on, we will continue to conduct consultation with the countries concerned over maritime rights and interests in the spirit of friendly consultation.

As for your second question, according to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea in 1982 and Law of the PRC on the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone in 1992, the Chinese Government announced some base points of the continent, territorial sea and Xisha Islands in 1996. The markers at the announced base points of territorial sea completely fall within China's own sovereignty and are not linked with any dispute over maritime demarcation with neighbors cross the sea.

Q: Zimbabwe Government said that Chinese Government has recently agreed to provide Zimbabwe a $200-million loan project. Please confirm and tell us some details. Regarding the Iranian nuclear issue, US Secretary of State Rice said UN Security Council should consider imposing sanctions on Iran in case of emergency. Over the past few days, what communications has China made with EU-3, the US and Iran?

A: I am not aware of the Chinese loan to Zimbabwe as you mentioned and the source of your news. China and Zimbabwe have friendly and cooperative relations. We develop cooperation in all fields with Zimbabwe on the basis of equality and mutual benefit, which is conducive to Zimbabwe's economic development and improvement of its people's livelihood.

As for the Iranian nuclear issue, China maintains close communications with all relevant parties. No matter at meetings between Chinese leaders and those of relevant countries, or talks and telephone conversations between Chinese Foreign Minister and his counterparts of relevant countries, or contacts between officials of Chinese Foreign Ministry at different levels and diplomats of other parties, we are all making active efforts. Now the Iranian nuclear issue is at a critical moment. We think the peaceful resolution of the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomatic negotiations conforms to interests of all sides and is a best choice. To this goal, as long as we have a glimpse of hope, we should make utmost efforts rather than easily give up. We call on relevant parties to maintain patience and calmness, actively pursue a peaceful resolution of the Iranian nuclear issue. Meanwhile, we urge Iran to consider earnestly concerns from the international community, adopt constructive measures, continue to keep cooperation with IAEA to settle remaining issues. A few days ago, EU-3 and Iran held a talk, which achieved some positive result. The pressing task is to seize the positive progress of the meeting, seize the opportunity of continued talks between the two sides and maintain the momentum of dialogues, so as to create conditions for the resumption of talks.

Q: It is reported that China has conducted aerial surveillance on Suyan islet in the East China Sea. Please confirm and tell us some details. Sudanese Government has rejected to let the UN peace-keeping forces enter Darfur. What comment does China have on it? How do you assess Sudan's situations?

A: In handling its relations with other countries, China abides by universally-recognized norms of international laws and advocates consultations and dialogues. Suyan islet is located in the northern part of East China Sea under the sea level, over which China and the ROK have no territorial disputes. China and the ROK have conducted several consultations over the demarcation of each others' exclusive economic zones. Suyan islet is located in an area over which both countries have overlapping EEZ claims. In 2000 and 2002, China made representations twice to the ROK for its construction of the maritime observation station on Suyan islet and opposed its unilateral actions in the area over which both countries have overlapping exclusive economic zones claims. The ROK said Suyan islet wouldn't affect the demarcation of the exclusive economic zones. China always holds a clear and consistent position on Suyan islet. ROK's unilateral actions can't take any legal effect.

As for your second question, China attaches great importance to the situation in Darfur and supports international efforts to reduce the tensions. Our understanding and opinions are different from some countries over the dispatch of UN peace-keeping forces to Darfur. China has no selfish interests over the Darfur issue. We hope to better safeguard and promote the lasting peace and stability in the Darfur and push forward nationwide peace process of Sudan. Any intervention or peace-keeping action, be it African Union or the UN, if without the approval of the local government, its effect will be doubtful. We call on relevant parties to properly handle differences through consultations and dialogues. China will, as always, make active contributions to the peace and stability of Darfur.

Q: It is reported that, Taiwan's leader Chen Shuibian yesterday declared that Taiwan would apply to join the UN inthe name of "Taiwan". What comment do you have?

A: On the early morning of September 13 , the General Committee of the 61st session of the United Nations General Assembly rejected to place on the General Assembly's agenda the two motions on the so-called Taiwan's "participation" in the UN and "peace across Taiwan Straits". This is the 14th time that the General Committee has rejected similar motions since 1993.

It once again testifies to the unpopularity of all acts that contravene the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, violate the Resolution 2758 of the General Assembly and challenge the one China principle. No matter how the Taiwan authorities change its tricks, all its attempts to promote "Two Chinas", "one China and one Taiwan" or "Taiwan Independence" are doomed to failure.

We urge the Taiwan authorities to follow the trend of history and stop all activities aimed to split China.

Q: Is there any progress in China's discussion with the UN over sending more Chinese peace-keeping forces to Lebanon? The DPRK said it can't return to the Six-Party Talks due to the US financial sanctions. Does China think DPRK's demand of lifting financial sanctions to return to the table of Six-Party Talks reasonable?

A: As for your first question, I elaborated on our position at last press conference. I have nothing new to add now.

Since relevant parties have differences and disputes over financial sanctions, now the Six-Party Talks are stuck in difficult situations. We call on all parties concerned to focus on overall interests, display flexibility and pragmatic attitude, properly resolve relevant issue as soon as possible, so as to create conditions for an early resumption of the Talks. China's position on fighting financial crimes is crystal-clear and firm. But we maintain that we should stick to facts and focus on evidence with laws as the yardstick in handling relevant issues. Above all, we hope relevant parties can properly handle the issue as soon as possible.

Q: The Chinese and American navies are now conducting the first joint military exercise in the Pacific. How will the joint military exercise between China and US expand in the future? Secondly, the US Government has proposed to establish a military hotline with China. Is there any progress? Thirdly, there are almost no military exchanges between China and Japan. Will China enhance military exchanges with Japan in the future?

A: A few days ago, Chinese and the US fleets conducted joint exercises on communications and motivation in the Pacific. Actually, besides these exercises, a Chinese naval fleet will pay a friendly visit to the US. This is a component of China-US cooperation in military field. China and US share broad common interests in safeguarding regional and world peace, security and stability. We are active towards establishing and maintaining military contacts and exchanges with the US to enhance mutual trust and promote cooperation. As for the scale or degree of bilateral military exchanges and cooperation, it depends on the communications between the two sides.

As for your second question, China attaches great importance to developing the 21st -Century constructive and cooperative relations with the US. The two sides are keeping timely communications and dialogues over various issues at different levels, thus enhancing mutual understanding and promoting development of bilateral relations. Therefore, we are ready to keep this kind of dialogues and contacts. As to the specific means of hotline, we are still conducting serious study.

Regarding military exchanges and cooperation between China and Japan, the two countries are close neighbors. We attach great importance to conducting exchanges and cooperation with Japan in all fields. The pressing task is to remove the political obstacles to the bilateral relations. The sooner such obstacles are removed, the more conducive it is to exchanges and cooperation between China and Japan.

Q: Just now you mentioned China had no intention to revise the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance between China and the DPRK. Do you think there is growing appeal inside China to reassess the relationship with the DPRK?

A: It is China's consistent policy to constantly develop good-neighborly and friendly cooperation with the DPRK. The policy remains unchanged. The Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance between China and the DPRK plays an important role in promoting friendly and cooperative relations between the two countries. So we have no consideration of revising the Treaty. The standing point of our relationship with the DPRK is to strengthen bilateral mutually-beneficial cooperation and safeguard the peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.

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

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