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Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao's Regular Press Conference on 10 October 2006

2006-10-11

On the afternoon of October 10, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao held a regular press conference.

Liu: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Today, we hold the first regular press conference of Foreign Ministry after the National Day and Mid-Autumn Festival. Here, I wish you have had a pleasant holiday.

I'd like to begin with two announcements:

At the invitation of Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration Andrei Stratah of the Republic of Moldova will pay an official visit to China from October 11 to 14.

The Beijing Summit of the Forum on China African Cooperation and the third Ministerial Conference opened an official website on October 3-www.focacsummit.org. Information will be provided in Chinese, English and French. The website will put up a full coverage of the major events during the summit, important speeches by leaders, important documents, other information related to the meetings and press application service. Archives will be provided to introduce the FOCAC, its evolution, member states, past meetings and other materials. I hope you will find the website useful.

Now, the floor is open.

Q: First, China has stuck to the policy of denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula over the past three years. But the DPRK had a nuclear test yesterday. What measures will China take to realize the goal of denuclearization on the Peninsula? Second, what impact will the nuclear test have on the traditionally close relations between China and the DPRK? Will China reduce its economic assistances to the DPRK, such as energy or food aids?

A: On your first question, as you said just now, it has been a firm and consistent position of the Chinese government to realize the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and prevent nuclear proliferation. This position remains unchanged. Yesterday, the statement of the Foreign Ministry explicitly expressed the solemn position of the Chinese government on the DPRK's nuclear test. In disregard of the common opposition of the international community, the DPRK flagrantly conducted a nuclear test. The Chinese government is strongly opposed to this act. China strongly requires the DPRK to honor its commitment to denuclearization, stop all actions that may further worsen the situation and return to the track of the Six-Party Talks. To maintain the peace and stability in Northeast Asia is in the common interest of all parties concerned. In the current context, the Chinese government calls on all parties to be cool-headed in response and persist in seeking a peaceful solution of the issue through dialogue and consultation. China will continue to make unremitting effort towards this goal. China is vigorously making diplomatic effort and working on all parties, so as to bring the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula back to the track of the Six-Party Talks as soon as possible. We hope the parties concerned can take earnest action to move the situation towards relaxation.

On your second question, the DPRK's nuclear test exerted negative impact on China-DPRK relations. The Chinese government has always been dedicated to developing good-neighborly relations and friendly cooperation with the DPRK. This is an unswerving policy and remains unchanged. When handling our relations with the DPRK, we observe two principles. One is to serve the shared interest of China and the DPRK, and the other is to benefit the peace, stability and development of the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia. We will continue to handle China-DPRK relations in line with these principles.

Now, the international community and the parties concerned are studying and discussing on how to cope with the current situation. Some suggestions have been forwarded. China has been following and will continue to follow the development of situation. China will have more exchanges of views with the parties concerned, including the member states of the Security Council, on what step to take next. All efforts we take should follow the three criteria. First, they should help realize denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Second, they should benefit the peace and stability of the Korean Peninsula and Northeast Asia. Third, they should promote the early resumption of the Six-Party Talks and the solution of the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula through consultation and dialogue.

Q: Does the DPRK's nuclear test indicate a failure of China's diplomacy? Will China support sanction on the DPRK?

A: China plays an important role in the whole process of resolving the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula. We have made active and assiduous effort. If we review the evolution of the Six-Party Talks, China has always make vigorous effort as the chair-country of the Talks and a major mediator on the nuclear issue on the Peninsula. As a matter of fact, all parties think the Six-Party Talks made important and positive progress in the past years. Especially on September 19, the parties to the Talks adopted a Joint Statement on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, in which significant consensus was reached. The most important thing at this moment is to implement the consensus. After that round of Talks, we saw new development and encounter today's major difficulty. But we should be all the more cool-headed in response to the current situation. Now, all parties to the Six-Party Talks and an overwhelming majority of the countries in the world are still supportive of a solution of the nuclear issue on the Peninsula through the Six-Party Talks, consultation and dialogue. This clearly testifies to the fact that the Six-Party Talks is the best way to resolve the issue. I don't think the current situation indicates the failure of China's diplomacy, and neither does it show a failure of the parties concerned and the international community. On the contrary, we should adhere to the track of the Talks and the goal of denuclearization.

Follow-up: The US hopes to see power changeover in the DPRK. Do you deem Kim Jong-il a fit leader for that country?

A: The Chinese government has consistently followed the policy of non-interference in other country's internal affairs. We maintain that the UN Charter, the international law and the norms governing international relations should be abided by in handling state-to-state relations.

Q: Do you think the DPRK's possession of nuclear weapon will make Northeast Asia more dangerous? What's the source of the danger and who should be blamed?

A: Since the DPRK conducted a nuclear test, the tension is aggravated in Northeast Asia and on the Korean Peninsula. In such circumstances, we think all parties should respond in a calm way. Meanwhile, we require the DPRK to honor its commitment to denuclearization, stop any action that may worsen the situation and come back to the track of the Six-Party Talks as soon as possible. As for the nuclear issue on the Peninsula itself, we deemed it a painstaking and complicated issue from the very beginning. To solve this issue demands the joint efforts of all parties concerned, in particular the principal parties. In the current context, all parties should observe the important consensus reached by the six parties on last September 19, resume the Talks and honor their common commitment in the Joint Statement, so as to realize the lasting peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula.

Q: It is reported that China informed the US and other countries of the news that the DPRK was bound to have nuclear test. When was China aware of the DPRK's plan of nuclear test?

A: You are focusing on details. In my opinion, these details are not important in the current context. China's diplomatic effort and actions are helpful and responsible.

Q: Did the DPRK confirm the nuclear test to China and tell you the size and type?

A: After the DPRK's nuclear test, China had contact and exchanged views with all parties to the Six-Party Talks. As for the details of the nuclear test, the DPRK has explained in its statement.

Q: Last week, you urged the DPRK to keep calm and exercise restraint, but they didn't comply. Will you seriously consider sanction for the next step? What's your position? Do you regard the DPRK as a nuclear weapon state?

A: The departure point of China on this matter is that any measures to be taken should be conducive to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, the peace and stability of the Peninsula and Northeast Asia, the resumption of the Six-Party Talks and the solution of this issue through consultation and dialogue. China will decide on what measure to take next in line with these important principles.

On your second question, the statement of Chinese Foreign Ministry clearly pronounced yesterday that China is firmly opposed to the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the DPRK's nuclear test.

Q: Did China lodge a protest with the DPRK ambassador in china after the test?

A: You might have noticed that Chinese Foreign Ministry issued a statement after the nuclear test of the DPRK, expressing the solemn position of the Chinese government. The DPRK is clear about China's position.

Q: The ROK said it would cut off the humanitarian assistances to the DPRK. The World Food Program said millions of people in the DPRK are facing the risk of starvation. If the DPRK encounters food sanction, will China be willing to increase its food aid to the DPRK?

A: It's up to the ROK government to decide what policy to take. We hope the decision will be helpful to the peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and the resumption of the Six-Party Talks. The question you talked about deserves serious consideration by the international community. Any action to be taken should take into full account of the humanitarian and livelihood demand of the DPRK people.

Q: Yesterday, the head of the ROK delegation to the Six-Party Talks visited Chinese Foreign Ministry. Japanese media saw Russian and American ministers outside the gate of Foreign Ministry. Please brief us on the talks. We can tell from the statement of Chinese Foreign Ministry that China-DPRK relations will be affected. The Chinese Communist Party is holding the sixth Plenary Session of its 16th Central Committee. Will China think about revising the China-DPRK Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance?

A: Regarding your first question, China has stayed in contact and communication on the situation of the Korean Peninsula. China stated its position on this question and the parties concerned also expressed their positions. We hope these diplomatic efforts will pay off.

On your second question, I have not heard of any consideration on revising the treaty.

Q: You do not want to interfere with other country's internal affairs. But do you wish to see a DPRK led by a more reliable and stable leader?

A: The consistent policy of the Chinese government is not to interfere with other country's internal affairs, including the DPRK. We sincerely hope to see a DPRK that achieves peace, stability, development and prosperity.

Q: The border defense authority told us the border between China and the DPRK was closed during the National Day holidays. Please confirm. When will it be reopened?

A: Now, the situation is normal along the border between China and the DPRK.

Q: Have Chinese scientists done any investigation on the nuclear test? Will the test endanger China?

A: The relevant department of China has been closely following the possible outcome and impact of the DPRK's nuclear test. We haven't found it caused any air pollution to China.

Q: A couple of weeks ago, you referred to the Six-Party Talks many times. Now that the DPRK has done its nuclear test, how do you think you can bring them back to the Six-Party Talks? Do you have any plan to hold talks now? Or just talk for the purpose of talk? In addition, do you think military force a possible option to eliminate the nuclear capability of the DPRK?

A: We have never thought the Six-Party Talks is held only for the purpose of talk. The fundamental purpose of the Six-Party Talks is to realize the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and push forward the solution of the nuclear issue on the Peninsula through consultation and dialogue. Over the past years, under the assiduous efforts of all parties, the Talks made some important progress. We hope this process can be carried on, help ease the situation on the Peninsula and promote the denuclearization of the Peninsula.

As for the military force in your question, I think it is unimaginable.

Q: The UN Security Council decided to recommend ROK Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon to be the next UN Secretary-General. What expectation does China have for him?

A: We are pleased to see and welcome the unanimous recommendation by the UN Security Council for Mr. Ban Ki-moon to be the next UN Secretary-General. China expects the UN General Assembly to ratify it.

Q: You said the Six-Party Talks made good progress. But the DPRK conducted a nuclear test. How can you say the Talks made positive progress? In addition, you said the use of military force is unimaginable. Is it unimaginable for China or for all countries in the Six-Party Talks?

A: On your first question, you still seem to believe the Six-Party Talks did not make progress or even failed. I don't agree. This question is very complicated and difficult, bearing on numerous aspects and the concern of all the parties involved, in particular the principal parties. Ups and downs are well within expectation. After all, the solution of the nuclear issue requires the parties concerned to return to the negotiation table of the Six-Party Talks and push forward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula by flexible and calm response.

On your second question, I think you hate, as much as I do, to see any military conflict or war on the Korean Peninsula. The official positions of other countries show that all parties believe there are still opportunities for peaceful solution of the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula through dialogue, consultation and diplomatic means. Nobody talked about choosing military means to solve the issue. China opposes war. We hope that all parties will make earnest effort and firmly commit themselves to the denuclearization and solution of the issue on the Korean Peninsula through dialogue and consultation.

Q: What obligation does China have according to the agreement between China and the DPRK? Should any military conflict occur in the DPRK, what obligation does China have for the DPRK?

A: I believe China's obligation is to continue to play its own important role in the solution of the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, work on the parties concerned and stay in contact and consultation with them. The top priority is to bring them back to the Six-Party Talks, and then strive for steady progress of the Talks.

Your second question is a presumptive question.

Q: Will China pressure on the US to get the concession that the DPRK wants?

A: On the resumption of the Six-Party Talks, the DPRK and the US have some major differences. You can find this by following the past development. We hope the two sides can close their differences, overcome the obstacles and difficulties and help resume the Six-Party Talks.

Q: It is reported that the DPRK may carry out a second nuclear test. What's your comment?

A: I have not heard such news.

Q: You said that the US and the DPRK have differences. I guess the Banco Delta Asia issue is among them. Has China completed the investigation over this bank? What's your comment now?

A: I think you misunderstand some points in this issue. The investigation is conducted by the bank and the US. We also hope the issue can be resolved soon. We hope all parties can bear in mind the overall situation, the goal of denuclearization and peace and stability on the Peninsula, so as to resume the Six-Party Talks.

Q: We often say China has huge influence on the DPRK. But the DPRK defied China's persuasion and went on with its missile test and yesterday's nuclear test. Does China still have influence on the DPRK?

A: We have reaffirmed on many occasions that China and the DPRK have long been committed to developing good-neighborly relations and friendly cooperation. Our two countries are equal and have our own independent sovereignty. We handle our relations in line with the UN Charter, the international law and the norms governing international relations. In the past years, the two sides maintained contact and consultation on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. We shared broad common ground, but also found major difference. China is firmly opposed to what happened yesterday. We will continue our communication with other parties, including the DPRK, on the denuclearization of the Peninsula and strive for reaching consensus and bringing all parties back to the negotiation table, so as to promote the solution of the nuclear issue on the Peninsula through the Six-Party Talks.

Q: When dealing with the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, China has always been against invoking Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, which allows sanctions against the DPRK. Does China change its view now? Chinese leaders had urged DPRK not to carry out nuclear test for many times, but the DPRK conducted the test in disregard of China's appeal. Some says this marks the nadir in China-DPRK relations over the past five decades. What's your comment on this?

A: As to your first question, China is resolutely opposed to resolving the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula by war. This stance is firm and well known by the international community.

As to your second question, China has been dedicated to the development of good-neighborly, friendly, and cooperative relations with the DPRK. This stance has not changed. The DPRK nuclear test has brought negative impact on China-DPRK relations. We hope that the DPRK could respond to the common appeal of the international community, live up to its commitment to denuclearization, and refrain from any move that might worsen the situation. This is also conducive to the further development of China-DPRK relations.

Q: China is a neighbor and close ally of the DPRK, and is a nuclear weapon state. It is assumed that China hoped the DPRK nuclear test to be a safe one. Did China provide technical assistance to the DPRK so as to ensure a safe nuclear test?

A: I don't agree with your phrasing that China is an ally of the DPRK. China adheres to the non-alliance policy, and does not enter into an alliance with any country. China-DPRK relations are normal state-to-state relations based on the norms governing international relations.

As to your second question, I'll reiterate that China has never conducted nuclear cooperation in any form with the DPRK. China is one of the signatory parties to the NPT. With regard to nuclear non-proliferation, China conforms to its international commitment and the international conventions concerned, advocates a universal, effective, and authoritative international non-proliferation regime and takes a responsible attitude towards the relevant issues.

Q: DPRK flagrantly conducted nuclear test in disregard of the willingness of China and the international community, What punishment does it deserve?

A: I think it is not the right time to discuss who should be punished, for this would be a negative attitude. The most important thing is that the international community, including the U.N, should take positive and well-measured action and bear in mind the goal of realizing the non-nuclearization of the Korea Peninsula, and the peace and stability of the Northeast Asia through consultation and dialogue.

Q: What measures do you think the U.S should take? How do you describe the current China-Japan relations? Will meeting between the Chinese and Japanese leaders last week make China more confident in avoiding the regional security crisis when facing the DPRK's nuclear test?

A: We believe that the U.S is analyzing and studying the situation of the Korea Peninsula. We hope all parties concerned, including the U.S, will respond to the current situation in a calm manner, and take more measures favorable for resuming Six-Party Talks, and resolving the Korea Peninsula nuclear issues through consultation and dialogue.

As for the China-Japan relations you just mentioned, Chinese leaders and the new Japanese Prime Minister Abe held long talks the day before yesterday. They made serious and frank exchange of views on the issues concerning all aspects of the China-Japan relation, especially the political foundation. I think this visit is helpful to improve and develop China-Japan relations. Just as both sides said, a window of hope has been opened for the improvement and development of China-Japan relations. I hope this window will remain open for a long time to come, and China-Japan relations can attain a lasting, stable and healthy development. We are willing to make joint efforts with Japan to improve and develop China-Japan relations.

If there are no more questions, thank you.

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