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Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang's Regular Press Conference on 19 September 2006

2006-09-20

On the afternoon of September 19, 2006, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang held a regular press conference.

Qin: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen! Now, the floor is open.

Q: Today the Japanese Government decided to impose financial sanctions on the DPRK. China always opposes to the adverse impact of such sanctions on the Six-Party Talks. What comment does China have on the move of the Japanese Government?

A: China consistently advocates resolving issues through dialogues and opposes sanctions. Now the situation on the Peninsula is complicated and sensitive. All parties should focus on how to ease tensions and promote the early resumption of the Talks. We hope all parties concerned can take consideration of the overall interest of peace and stability of Peninsula and Northeast Asia, keep restraint and calmness and prevent the complication of situations again so as to realize the resumption of Talks at an early date.

Q: In your statement on China-Japan relations issued on 16th , you noted that currently the key is the early decision of the Japanese leaders to completely eliminate the political obstacle. What kind of "decision" will it be? Does it mean China urges the Japanese new leader to definitely promise not to pay homage to the Yasukuni Shrine? Secondly, on 14th September, some congressmen of the International Relations Committee of the US Senate criticized Japanese Prime Minister's visit to the Yasukuni Shrine. What comment does China have?

A: As for your first question, you have noticed my statement on 16th. In handling China-Japan relations, including historical issues such as the Yasukuni Shrine, the Chinese Government has a consistent and crystal-clear attitude and position. Japan knows it very well.

We urge Japan to face up to the just calls from the international community and properly handle historical issues. It is not only conducive for Japan to improve its relations with neighboring countries, but also conducive to Japan's own international image.

Q: Yesterday, French President Chirac urged the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany to continue talks on the Iranian nuclear issue. Will China welcome his position?

A: A peaceful resolution of the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomatic negotiations is the common aspiration of the international community. It is in the interest of all parties and the best choice. It is imperative that all parties concerned fully display patience , and display calmness and wisdom, seize the opportunity of certain positive progress in the talks between EU-3 and Iran, maintain the momentum of diplomatic negotiations, dialogues and consultations, so as to constantly push towards a peaceful resolution.

Q: The Administrator of NASA will visit China next week. Please brief on his agenda. What does China expect out of the visit? Will the visit promote cooperation between China and the US in air space? Secondly, the US Secretary of Treasury Paulson is visiting China. What does China expect to discuss with him and what message will China send to him?

A: The peaceful use of outer space is the common cause of all mankind. China is ready to conduct cooperation in outer space with other countries including the US on this basis. China hopes the space authorities of the two countries can establish friendly and stable relations of cooperation, and explore the possibility of cooperation in space science, application and other fields. I am not aware of the specifics of this visit. I will see if I can get you some information from relevant authorities.

As to Secretary of Treasury Paulson's visit to China, China and the US have agreed that the US Secretary of Treasury Paulson will visit China from September 19th to 22nd. He will arrive in Hangzhou late this afternoon. Xi Jinping, Secretary of Zhejiang's Provincial CPC Committee, will meet with him. Tomorrow, he will be in Beijing. During his stay, he will meet with Chinese leaders. Vice Premier Wu Yi will talk with him. Besides, he will meet with Ma Kai, Director of National Development and Reform Commission, Gao Qiang,Minister of Health, Jin Renqing,Minister of Treasury, Bo Xilai , Minister of Commerce , and Wang Xudong, Minister of Information Industry respectively. He will also hold discussions with Chinese entrepreneurs and exchange views with Chinese college students.

More China-US dialogues and consultations in economic and fiscal fields are conducive to the development of bilateral trade and economic cooperation as well as China-US constructive and cooperative relationship and will exert a positive impact on the growth of global economy as well as global stability and security. We look forward to his visit and further exchanges of views on issues of common interest. We hope it will be successful and fruitful.

Q: Ms. Margaret Chan, China's candidate for Secretary General of WHO, will come to Beijing again. What's the objective of her visit? Is it because she has encountered difficulties in the campaign? How will the Chinese Foreign Ministry help her ?

A: Ms. Chen Feng Fuzhen is in Beijing. Relevant leaders of the Central Government and the Foreign Ministry met with her and exchanged views on the work for election campaign, which is proceeding in an orderly fashion. The central government including the Foreign Ministry, Ministry of Health and relevant overseas diplomatic missions are providing her with active assistance. For the next stage, the central government will continue to vigorously support her work and wish her success.

Q: Premier Wen Jiabao recently announced that China would send more peace-keeping forces to Lebanon. Can you tell us the specifics?

A: It is the first time for you to attend the press conference of our Ministry. Welcome you to be a resident correspondent in China and welcome to our press conference.

China always attaches great importance to and supports peace process in the Middle-East. The prompt expansion and deployment of the UN interim troops in Lebanon is of great importance to implementing Resolution 1701 of UN Security Council and stabilizing situations in the Middle East. As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China has a duty-bound on the issue. The Chinese Government is willing to make active contribution to it. Premier Wen Jiabao has announced that China is ready to reinforce up to 1000 personnel in the peace-keeping troops in Lebanon. China is conducting consultations with the UN Secretariat on the specific number and arrangement.

Q: What's China's position on UN's sending peacekeeping troops to Darfur of Sudan? It was said that parties concerned were applying pressure on China and urged China to send troops to participate in the peacekeeping force. Can you confirm that China will not be sending peacekeeping troops there?

A: China has long been concerned over the solution to the Darfur issue, and supported the efforts to materialize peace and stability in Darfur. As a matter of fact, we have been making utmost efforts, including providing humanitarian assistance to the Sudanese government and offering donation to the troops of the African Union who undertook peacekeeping mission in Darfur. In addition, we also work positively on the Sudanese government by means of conducting high-level visits and sending special envoys there.

It is our belief that a careful approach should be adopted on UN's sending peacekeeping troops to Sudan. Abundant deliberation and consultation is needed. Such a move should get the agreement of the Sudanese government and the African Union. Only in that way can the peacekeeping mission achieve expected results. At the same time, one should include the easing of the Darfur situation into the entire peace process of the Northern and Southern Sudan. What China emphasizes is the constant peace and stability of Darfur and the entire Sudan at large. As to why agreement from the Sudanese Government is necessary, I refer you to Chinese Government's position on participating other peacekeeping missions. It is our consistent position that no matter where the deployment might be, UN peacekeeping actions should seek for permission and collaboration of the government concerned. It is a position not unique to the Darfur issue.

Q: How many peacekeeping troops has China deployed in Lebanon, including military and civilians personnel? How many peacekeeping troops has China sent and how many peacekeeping missions has China participated since 1990?

A: China has sent over 6000 troops in 15 peacekeeping missions since 1990, and China is now participating in 11 missions. Currently over 1600 Chinese peacekeepers are in mission, among whom over 180 now work in Lebanon as engineers. In addition, I wish to point out with high respect that nine Chinese peacekeepers have sacrificed their valuable lives for world peace.

Q: It has been one year since the Joint Statement of the Fourth Round of the Six Party Talks was adopted. Is China worried that advancing momentum of the Six-Party Talks has disappeared? What's China's view on the prospect of the resumption of the Six-Party Talks?

A: It was true that it has been one year since the Joint Statement of the Fourth Round of the Six Party Talks was adopted. Looking back, it was like yesterday. The Joint Statement has not come by easily and has been achieved through painstaking negotiations by the parties concerned. When we review the Joint Statement now, we can see that it has integrate consensus of all parties concerned, and has proposed many good proposals in peacefully solving the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula through dialogue and in safeguarding the peace and stability of the Peninsula and the entire Northeast Asia at large. It has also outlined a framework to that effect. Therefore, it is a document deserved to be cherished by all parties concerned who should make joint efforts to implement. We still have confidence for the Six-Party Talks. The Talks are the effective and realistic way to solve the Korean Peninsular nuclear issue.

At the moment, the Six Party Talks have encountered some obstacles and difficulty, which is in fact a test to patience, wisdom and sincerity of parties concerned. We hope that all parties concerned could stand the test. There is no royal road for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and the materialization of peace and stability of the Peninsula and the Northeaster Asia. Rather, there will be twists and turns on the way. We surely will be able to march towards that goal, so long as we have good faith, maintain restraint and a sober mind and display our practical and flexible attitude.

Q: It has been a year since the U. S. imposed financial sanctions on the DPRK. Will China ask the U. S. to reconsider the financial sanction during Treasury Secretary Paulson's visit to China?

A: I can not foresee what other issues the two parties will discuss besides the economic, trade and financial relations between the two countries when Treasury Secretary Paulson visits China. However, I want to point out that the Six-Party Talks is now in an impasse due to the financial sanction. In order to resume the Talks at an early date, a remedy to the case should be applied, and parties concerned should solve the issue of financial sanctions appropriately, so as to create favorable conditions for an early resumption of the Talks.

Q: It's reported that there is to be a Ten Party Talks on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue in New York. The US State Department spokesman said that it would be a good thing for China to participate in the talks. Will China attend the meeting?

A: The situation is sensitive and complicated at present. We hope that relevant parties still focus on how to resume the Six Party Talks at an early date to display pragmatism and flexibility so as to create conditions for the early resumption of the Talks. China has no plan to participate in the Ten Party Talks.

Q: It's reported that Iran and the DPRK will jointly pursue nuclear exploration. What is China's comment?

A: We hope that all measures should be good for the endeavor for resolving the Iranian Nuclear issue and the Korean Peninsula Nuclear issue through diplomatic negotiation peacefully.

Q: A fllow-up question about the US religious freedom report. China requested the US to face squarely its domestic religoius freedom problem. Can you tell us in which area the US should improve?

A: It's wisdom for an individual or a country to know itself clearly. You work for a US news agency, and probably lived in the US. The domestic human rights and religious freedom problems come to light in the press from time to time. The US government is well aware of it. I won't list them here for it will take a long time.

Q: Japan's LDP election will be held tomorrow. If the new Japanese Prime Minister is not to explicitly exclude the possibility of visiting the Yasukuni Shrine, will China agree to hold summit meeting with Japan?

A: To show its remorse and regret for the aggressive war by real action and to handle the historical issues properly bare on the political foundation of the Sino-Japanese relations. It is good for the improvement of Japan's relations with its neighbors and its international image. We hope that the Japanese leaders can make political decision and choice of statesmen, and honor its relevant commitment in order to remove the obstacle to bilateral relations at an early date.

If there are no more questions, thank you for your presence. Bye!

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