|Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang's Regular Press Conference on 21 September 2006|
On the afternoon of September 21, 2006, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang held a regular press conference.
Qin: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen! Now, the floor is open.
Q: Last night, Chinese Foreign Ministry made a quite brief comment on the election of Shinzo Abe as the new President of Japan's Liberal Democratic Party. Can you be more specific? With the election of Abe, what expectation and request does China have for Japan's new administration? This weekend, China-Japan strategic dialogues will be held in Japan. Does Mr. Dai Bingguo have any plan to meet with Mr. Abe on the sideline of Dialogues?
A: I made a statement last night on the election of Shinzo Abe as the new president of Japan's Liberal Democratic Party. We hope the new leader of the Japanese Liberal Democratic Party can honor his words with actions and make earnest efforts for the improvement and development of China-Japan relations. We hope Japan can take concrete actions to honor its commitment of attaching importance to China-Japan relations and having remorse and apologies on historical issues so as to create conditions for the improvement and development of China-Japan relations. China consistently attaches great importance to China-Japan relations. We are ready to continue to improve and develop good-neighborly friendship and cooperative relations with Japan in the spirit of "taking history as a mirror for the benefit of the future".
The sixth round of China-Japan strategic dialogues will be held in Tokyo from 23rd to 24th this month. Deputy Chinese Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo and his Japanese counterpart Shotaro Yachi will co-host the dialogues. China hope the two sides can exchange views on bilateral relations and issues of common interest through the dialogues. As to whether there will be meeting between Mr. Dai Bingguo and Mr. Abe, I do not have any information now.
Q: In its bid for Olympic Games, China committed to improving human rights. Recently a report released by Amnesty International accused China of falling short of its commitment. What comment does China have on the report?
A: Amnesty International is always biased against China. Its report is often made out of political motives with false content.
Here I'd like to point out that, if someone interprets China's efforts to improve human rights merely for the sake of hosting the Olympic Games, it is like "gauging the heart of a gentlemen with one's own mean yardstick". Actually, respecting and safeguarding human rights are always a lofty goal which the Chinese Government unswervingly pursues. It has been solemnly written into China's Constitution. The Chinese Government is now making efforts to implement the concept of "putting people first and governing for the people". We are committed to economic development and social progress, building a well-off society in an all-round way and pushing forward judicial reform to build a democratic country ruled by law so as to create a fair, just and harmonious society and realize the all-round development of people.
If some organizations or individuals politicize the Olympic Games out of ulterior motives, it is a violation of the principle of the Olympic Games.
All preparations for the Olympic Games are proceeding in an orderly way. The Chinese Government is honoring its commitment in bid for the Olympic Games and will continue to do so. We are confident and capable of hosting a successful Olympic Games.
Q: It is reported that yesterday President of Costa Rica met with Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing on the sideline of UN General Assembly and discussed the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Please confirm and brief us on the specifics of their meeting. Secondly, Vice Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi is visiting Peru and Argentine. Please brief us on the main content of the visit.
A: As for the first question, Foreign Minister Li met with the President of Costa Rica on the sideline of UN General Assembly. China holds a positive attitude towards establishing and developing normal state-to-state relations with Costa Rica on the basis of the five principles of peaceful co-existence, the spirit of UN Charter and relevant UN resolutions. We hope the two sides can make further efforts and create conditions to normalize our relationship at an early date.
As for your second question, Vice Chinese Foreign Minster Yang Jiechi is visiting Peru and Argentina. His visit is mainly aimed at conducting dialogues and exchanges with his counterparts of the two countries and exchanging views with them on how to enhance cooperation among foreign ministries and promote bilateral relationship between China and the two countries.
Q: On China-Japan relations, you said that Japan should eradicate the political obstacle to the development of bilateral ties, what kind of obstacle?
A: The cause to the difficulties in China-Japan relations is quite clear. The spirit of "taking history as a mirror for the benefit of the future" set up between China and Japan has not been honored in real earnest. Neither have the three political documents between the two countries. Therefore, to remove the current obstacle and bring the bilateral relationship back to the track of normal development, we must return to the above-mentioned spirit and the three political documents.
Q: Abe, new chief of Japan's Liberal Democratic Party is to be the next Prime Minister soon. If he refuses to state explicitly that he will stop visiting the Yasukuni Shrine, will China agree to hold summit meeting with him?
A: China's position on the development of China-Japan relations and the Yasukuni Shrine is quite clear and consistent. This position remains unchanged. Many friends asked questions on China-Japan relationship, I suggest you read and review carefully our repeatedly expounded position and policy. You will find the answers.
Q: How does China assess the outgoing Prime Minister Koizumi's policy towards China?
A: The changes of China-Japan relations during the past five years under Prime Minister Koizumi are witnessed by all.
Q: Some western countries accused China of extending loans to some poor African nations, aggravating their poverty. Can you confirm?
A: It's quite shocking to hear that. It seems that Africa's poverty is caused by China. I would like to talk about two issues in my answer. One is debt, the other is loans.
China is a developing nation. We are far from rich yet we have actively supported and helped African nations to shake off poverty and realize sustainable growth. In recent years, within the framework of China-Africa cooperation forum, China has written off 10.5 billion yuan debts of 31 African heavy debtors and less developed countries. During last year's UN General Assembly, President Hu Jintao announced that the Chinese Government would exempt tariff of some exports from 39 less developed countries having diplomatic ties with China and write off within two years all the interest-free and low interest government loans due 2004 of low income heavy debtors.
In the meantime, I need to stress that on the matter of poverty elimination, international community, developed nations in particular, should take substantive measures to reduce debts by a large margin and help them to get rid of the vicious cycle of debts.
When it comes to loans, low income countries have tremendous financing demands in the way of seeking economic development. We understand that they need to find various financing sources including preferential loans when the latter fail to satisfy all they need for comprehensive development. The key is to see whether it is conducive to their economic growth, to poverty-alleviation and to the UN millennium development goals.
As a responsible developing nation, China has always devoted to creating a harmonious and prosperous international environment. We attach importance to assisting poor countries including African low income nations to develop economy. On the use of loans, we have been trying to raise efficiency, making it fair, just and transparent. Our preferential loans to other developing nations are mainly used in enhancing their infrastructure and promoting mutually beneficial cooperation among enterprises. They benefit local people and the long-term development of the receiving countries. Besides, no matter it is assistance or loans, it is more important that it can really help Africa to shake off poverty. We need to shift from giving blood to helping them to make blood, improving their own capability of sustainable growth. China has adopted active measures to increase imports from Africa, including tariff reduction and exemption. We also encourage Chinese enterprises to invest in underdeveloped African countries, conduct technical cooperation with them and train all kinds of professionals for them. All theses are aimed at long term and sustainable development of Africa.
Q: Still on China-Japan relations. After Abe acts as the new party chief, are you more optimistic or pessimistic towards China-Japan relations?
A: My answer is only one line: we are going to watch his words and deeds.
If there are no other questions, thanks for your presence today! See you next time.