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Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao's Regular Press Conference on 19 October 2006

2006-10-20

On the afternoon of October 19, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao held a regular press conference.

Liu: Good afternoon. First of all, I'd like to extend my greetings to 27 young African diplomats present here today. I wish you a pleasant stay in China.

I have three announcements to make.

At the invitation of Vice President Zeng Qinghong, Vice President Daniel Osvaldo Scioli of the Republic of Argentina will pay an official visit to China from October 25 to 28.

At the invitation of State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan, Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland will pay a working visit to China from October 26 to 27.

At the invitation of Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, Vice President of Federal Council and Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey of the Swiss Confederation will pay an official visit to China from October 27 to 30.

Now, the floor is open.

Q: It is reported that State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan is visiting the DPRK. Can you confirm? What's the significance of sending the highest level official of foreign affairs to the DPRK now? Besides, both President Hu Jintao and Chairman Wu Bangguo took tough stances towards the DPRK during their meetings with speaker of House of Councilors of Japan. Is it a signal of change in China's policy towards the DPRK?

A: On your first question, State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan, as the special envoy of President Hu Jintao, arrived at Pyongyang for a visit to the DPRK yesterday. This morning, Kim Jong Il, the General Secretary of the Workers' Party of Korea and Chairman of the National Defense Commission held a meeting with Tang Jiaxuan there. Tang Jiaxuan conveyed the oral message from Chinese President Hu Jintao to Kim Jong Il, and both sides exchanged their views on China-DPRK relations and the current situation on the Korean Peninsula. Prior to this visit, Tang Jiaxuan paid working visits to the US and Russia as the special envoy of President Hu Jintao. Dai Bingguo, Minister of the International Liaison Department of the CPC Central Committee, and Wu Dawei, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, accompanied Tang Jiaxuan to the DPRK. This visit is an important one when major development took place on the Korean Peninsula.

As for your second question, the stance stated by Chinese leaders on the situation of the Korean Peninsula during their meetings with foreign leaders is the consistent position of the Chinese government.

Q: US Secretary of State Rice will visit China tomorrow. What are the agreements and differences between China and the US in terms of the DPRK nuclear issue? Does China disagree with the US on intercepting DPRK cargos?

A: US Secretary of State Rice will make a two-day visit to China from tomorrow. During her visit, Chinese leaders and Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing will have an in-depth exchange of views with her on China-US relations and the current situation on the Korean Peninsula. Both sides will elaborate on their respective positions on the Korean Peninsula situation. China has stated its position on Resolution 1718 adopted by the UN Security Council. We look forward to carrying out in-depth discussion with Rice to make joint efforts with a view to easing the Korean Peninsula situation and realizing denuclearization on the Peninsula through dialogue and consultation. As for your specific question, I believe details will be talked about in tomorrow's meeting, and I will keep you updated.

Q: Bolton, the US Ambassador to the UN, said that Resolution 1718 requested all countries assist in examining cargos going in or out of the DPRK, including sea cargos. Does China agree with his interpretation? If not, why?

A: We note that all parties concerned have expressed their views on how to implement the Resolution adopted by the UN Security Council. We hold that all member states of the UN should earnestly fulfill their obligations, strictly implement Resolution 1718, and send out an important message to the DPRK, that is, the DPRK nuclear test is a wrong action and opposed by the international community, thus the DPRK should positively respond to the appeal of the international community and return to the Six-Party Talks as soon as possible.

On the other hand, Resolution 1718 is a balanced resolution. Parties involved should implement the Resolution in a balanced manner rather than willfully expanding sanctions. Sanction is not our purpose. Instead, our goal is to promote the resumption of the Six-Party Talks and resolve the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue peacefully through dialogue and consultation. At the very moment, parties should respond in a calm way, avoid the deterioration of the situation, and create favorable conditions for the resumption of the Six-Party Talks.

Q: Will China strengthen its Customs examination along its border with the DPRK?

A: In fact, China has always been prudent, earnest, and responsible in the exports of sensitive items. We will continue to do so in accordance with relevant regulations and strictly implement Resolution 1718.

Q: You said that sanctions should not be expanded. Could you tell us how did China interpret the Resolution? What sanction measures is China preparing to implement?

A: Resolution 1718 has explicitly stipulated on measures the UN should take. We believe it is a balanced resolution. China will take actions in conformity with Resolution 1718. We will not do anything disallowed by Resolution 1718, or anything beyond the Resolution.

Q: According to diplomatic sources, China will hold a meeting of foreign ministers from the Six or Five Parties during the weekend? Can you confirm?

A: I have not heard any information about that. However, China has consistently made positive efforts to resume the Six-Party Talks.

Q: US defense officials said that the DPRK had informed China that it planned to conduct four nuclear tests. Could you confirm this?

A: I made clarification yesterday that such report was not true.

Q: If the DPRK agrees to return to the Six-Party Talks, will China withdraw or drop relevant sanctions?

A: The resumption of the Six-Party Talks will reconnect the channel to resolving the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue through dialogue and consultation, which is conducive to the relaxation of the situation on the Korean Peninsula, solving the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue through dialogue and consultation, and safeguarding peace and stability on the Peninsula and in Northeast Asia. Whether or not to suspend relevant sanctions of Resolution 1718 is up to a joint discussion among members of the UN Security Council.

Q: According to an editorial on the Overseas Edition of the People's Daily, if the DPRK go on with nuclear tests, China would cut off food and energy aid to the DPRK. Is this the official position of the Chinese government?

A: It is the right of media to express their opinions. We have reiterated on many occasions our position on the aid to the DPRK. To improve the livelihood of the DPRK people and help the DPRK to overcome its economic difficulties, China has provided the DPRK with assistance within our capacity. We think this is a right policy and it is helpful to improve the humanitarian conditions in the DPRK.

Q: One article in the magazine of World Knowledge affiliated with the Foreign Ministry suggested that due to the DPRK nuclear test, the Six-Party Talks are likely to come to an end. Does this view represent the position of the Foreign Ministry?

A: Thank you for your attention to the reports of Chinese media. The views only represent the views of the author or the magazines' at most. Some are identical to the position of China's government, some are not. It is normal that various views are expressed without restraints. At present, parties still view the Six-Party Talks as the effective way to solve the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula and are willing to return to the Talks under certain conditions. So the Six-Party Talks is not terminated, and there is still hope. We are making unremitting efforts for this hope.

Q: Has China reached any agreement with the DPRK on the solution of the issue of the illegal immigration from the DPRK?

A: On the issue of the illegal Korean immigrants from the DPRK, we have kept communication with the DPRK. Both sides are trying to take actions to prevent such things from happening, but it has no connection with the nuclear issue and the current situation on the Korean Peninsula.

If there are no more questions, we conclude here. Thank you!

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