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Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao's Regular Press Conference on 12 October 2006

2006-10-13

On the afternoon of October 12, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao held a regular press conference.

Liu: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I'm ready to take questions.

Q: State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan visited the US yesterday. What's the purpose of his visit? Who are the major officials in his company?

A: As the special representative of President Hu Jintao, State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan left Beijing in late morning yesterday for working visits to the US and Russia. The main task of his visit is to exchange views with the US and Russia on the current situation of Korean Peninsula. Officials in his company include Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei, Assistant Foreign Minister He Yafei and some officials at director-general level from the Foreign Ministry.

Q: Does the Chinese Government plan to dispatch a special envoy to the DPRK? When will the envoy start off?

A: China has a number of channels to exchange views with the other five parties to the Six-Parties Talks on the situation of the Korean Peninsula. Special envoy is only one of them. We will continue our exchange in an appropriate approach or in the form agreed by other parties. Our main purpose is to pull the parties concerned back to the table of the Six-Party Talks and seek peaceful solution of the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula through consultation and dialogue.

Q: At last regular press conference, you said that "punishment" should not be used to describe the measure taken by the UN in response to the DPRK's nuclear test. However, Chinese Permanent Representative to the UN Wang Guangya said the UN should take "punitive" action on the DPRK. Does this indicate any change in China's position?

A: China has not changed its position. The position of the Chinese Government has been consistent. Punishment is not the purpose. We should take effective, appropriate and well-measured step to make all parties aware that the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula serves the interest of all. All parties should hold a correct position pm such a major issue, return to the negotiation table, avoid any action that may worsen the situation, so as to peacefully solve the nuclear issue on the Peninsula through consultation and dialogue. This is our firm position as well as our proposition.

Q: Did President Hu Jintao issue any statement on the DPRK's nuclear test as head of state? We saw the statements of other heads of state, whereas President Hu did not. Why? In addition, what is the highest level of contact between China and the DPRK after the nuclear test?

A: Regarding your first question, the statement of Chinese Foreign Ministry has given a thorough and complete account of the position of the Chinese Government on the latest situation of the Korean Peninsula.

On your second question, China exchanged views with the DPRK, other parties to the Six-Party Talks and the parties outside the Talks, such as the EU and Canada. All the parties expressed their views on the situation of the Korean Peninsula.

Follow-up: What level of official on earth did China hold talks with?

I know that you have close interest in this matter. But I am very sorry to tell you that I have nothing to share with you so far.

Q: The UN Security Council is likely to invoke Chapter 7 of the UN Charter to impose sanction on the DPRK. What's China's position on this? What condition do you set?

A: Now, China and the parties concerned in the Security Council are making consultation on the well-measured action and resolution to be adopted by the UN. We hope that the consultation will be helpful to diplomatic effort and the peaceful solution of the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula through consultation and dialogue. The consultation is still ongoing. China will continue discussion with other parties concerned on the relevant issues with an active and responsible attitude.

As to what measures to be taken, including the specific question of invoking Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, we have to analyze the proposals on the basis of the criteria that whether the measure or action is conducive to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, the peace and stability of Northeast Asia and the peaceful solution of the nuclear issue on the Peninsula through consultation and dialogue. The scheme under discussion is a comprehensive and complex one. It is hard for me to make comment on a particular article.

Q: China has close economic ties with the DPRK and provided them with economic and humanitarian aids. Will China cut off or restrain such ties?

A: China is committed to developing China-DPRK good-neighborly relations and friendly cooperation. The people in the two countries share profound friendship. For a long period, China has provided with the DPRK with economic assistance within its capacity. The main purpose is to help the DPRK people to improve livelihood. This has been a policy long upheld by the Chinese Government, because it helps improve the living conditions of the DPRK people.

Q: The Japanese Government has decided to unilaterally impose on the DPRK sanction harsher than the draft resolution of the Security Council. What's China's comment? China has been opposed to sanction on the DPRK. Have changed the position?

A: What policy to be taken by Japan should be considered and decided by the Japanese Government. China's position on the situation of the Korean Peninsula is very clear. We hope that all parties should respond to the current situation in a cool-headed way and all measures to be taken should promote the peaceful solution of the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula through dialogue and consultation.

Q: What actions is appropriate according the Chinese government? ROK President Roh Moo-hyun will start his official visit to China, can you tell us the purpose of this visit and who he will hold talks with?

A: China supports the U.N Security Council in taking appropriate action on the current situation on the Korea Peninsula. The parties concerned are discussing on what actions to take and a number of proposals have been put forward. We are making active consultation with other parties.

ROK President Roh Moo-hyun will kick off his working visit to China tomorrow. During his visit, he will meet and hold talks with President Hu Jintao, Chairman Wu Bangguo of the NPC standing committee and Primier Wen Jiabao. The leaders of the two countries will focus their talks on two important issues-China-ROK relations and the situation on the Korean Peninsula. We believe this visit will be helpful to boost the comprehensive cooperative partnership between China and the ROK.

Q: Has China detected nuclear radioactivity generated by the DPRK's nuclear test?

A: I briefed you at last press conference. So far, we have not detected any radioactive impact on China.

Q: It is commented that the sanctions imposed on the DPRC would not be must effective without China's involvement. What's your comment? Another question. It is reported that the APEC Economic Leaders' Meetings will be held in Vietnam. Some Taiwan officials claimed that Vietnam didn't send envoy to Taiwan to present the invitation letter, due to the pressure from the Chinese government. Please confirm.

A: As to your first question, I have reiterated on many occasions China's position on the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula and the DPRK's nuclear test. Punishment is not the objection. The measures to be taken should be helpful to achieve the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, maintain the peace and stability on the peninsula, and resume the Six-Party Talks.

There is clear provision and consensus on Chinese Taipei's participation the APEC meetings in the memorandum of understanding of APEC. We hope and believe that Vietnam can properly handle the issue, in line with one-China policy followed by the Vietnamese government and the provision and consensus of APEC.

Q: North Korea issued a statement yesterday claiming that fresh pressure on the DPRK by the US would be regarded as an act of war. What's your response to this? Does China believe talking about the act of war now is helpful?

A: The departure point of China in handling the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula is to realize denuclearization and maintain peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula. Under current circumstances, the DPRK should stop any action that might worsen the situation. Other parties concerned should make calm response by taking well-measured steps to resolve the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue through dialogue and consultation and to resume the Six-Party Talks. This conforms to the interest of all parties. China is resolutely opposed to resolving the nuclear issue on the Peninsula by taking military action..

Q: Could China accept the US proposed draft resolution of the UN Security Council? Does China support the condemnation of DPRK by the United Nations?

A: I think it is necessary that the UN Security Council makes appropriate response to the DPRK's nuclear test. Now, the UN Security Council is conducting intense consultation on the proposals. China is making thorough study of the issue with parties concerned. In this context, I'm afraid I am not in the position to offer you more details.

Q: You said that the measures taken by the UN should not be aimed to "punish" the DPRK. Do you believe that the DPRK should get away with punishment for its nuclear test?

A: We believe it is necessary to tell the DPRK that its nuclear test is a wrong move unacceptable to the international community. However, we also think it is imperative to tell them that the realization of denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula and maintenance of peace and stability on the Peninsula are in the common interest of all parties including the DPRK. The DPRK should come back to the table of the Six-Party Talks and resolve the relevant issues through dialogue and consultation.

Q: Do you think bilateral talks between the US and DPRK should be held before the resumption of the Six-Party Talks? What's China's response if the DPRK carries out more nuclear tests? And what's China's position if Japan develops its missile defense system given the current situation?

A: As to your first question, we have always believed that contact and dialogue between the US and DPRK, the two principal parties to the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, will enhance mutual trust, strengthen mutual understanding, and narrow differences between the two. If the two parties found it difficult to hold direct talks now, past experience tells us the Six-Party Talks is a useful platform. The Six-Party Talks remains to be the most effective way to resolve the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, and this is one of the important reasons that China persists in resuming the Six-Party Talks as soon as possible.

As to your second question, the Chinese government has declared that China required the DPRK to stop any activity that might worsen the situation through the statement issued by the Foreign Ministry.

As to the third question, we understand the concern of Japan, and we think such an act should be conducive to maintaining regional peace and stability and preventing the situation from escalating and deteriorating.

Q: Who will Mr Tang Jiaxuan meet in the US? What message will he convey to Washington on behalf of President Hu Jintao? What's more, is Rice visiting China soon?

A: Mr Tang Jiaxuan is visiting the US as the special representative of President Hu Jintao, and he will exchange views on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue with US high-level officials. I'll offer you further information when I learn more details about this ongoing visit.

As to the second question, China and the US are discussing Rice's visit to China. I'll inform you timely of further information.

If there is no more questions, that is all for today's press conference. Thank you for your presence.

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