|Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao's Regular Press Conference on 24 October 2006|
On the afternoon of October 24, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Liu Jianchao held a press conference.
Liu: Good afternoon. I shall begin with several announcements.
At the invitation of Premier Wen Jiabao, Prime Minister Fradkov of the Russian Federation will pay an official visit to China from November 9 to 10. During the visit, Premier Wen and Prime Minister Fradkov will hold the 11th regular China-Russia Prime Ministers' meeting and attend the closing ceremony of the Year of Russia.
Before that, Vice Premier Wu Yi and Vice Prime Minister Zukov will hold the 10th meeting of the committee of China-Russia Prime Ministers' regular meeting on November 7. State Councilor Chen Zhili and Vice Prime Minister Zukov will hold the 7th meeting of the Committee of educational, cultural, health and sports cooperation on November 6.
At the invitation of the Chinese Government, Secretary-General elect, Foreign Minister Ban Ki-moon of the ROK will pay a working visit to China from October 27 to 28.
Beijing Summit of China-Africa Cooperation Forum will be held in Beijing. To keep you better-informed of the summit, we invited director-generals in charge from six different ministries to brief you on the cooperation between China and Africa last Saturday. Besides, IPC has invited Assistant Foreign Minister Zhai Jun and Vice Minister Wei Jianguo of Commerce to brief the press on the Forum and China-Africa cooperation here at 10 a.m., October 26 (Thursday). They will share with you more related information and expound on China's principled position on its cooperation with Africa and answer your questions. You are welcome to attend the briefing.
With that, I would be happy to take your questions.
Q: President of the World Bank accused China of neglecting human rights standards when granting loans to African countries. Do you have any comment? It's reported that General Secretary Kim Jong Il apologized to State Councillor Tang Jiaxuan for the nuclear test of the DPRK. He also promised that the DPRK would not have a second nuclear test. Western diplomats in Beijing say that those reports are not true. Can you confirm? Did he apologize? Did he talk about the second test? There are some reports say that several Chinese were arrested for selling uranium that can be used for nuclear weapons. Can you confirm and tell us more about it?
A: On your first question, China can not accept the accusation that China has undermined human rights status in Africa when providing financial and economic assistance. These accusations are groundless. China has adopted the principle of non-interference of other nations' internal affairs in its foreign relations. China does not accept any country imposing its values, social systems and ideology upon China. Neither will China allow itself to do so to others. China has trade and cooperation with African nations on the basis of equality and mutual benefit, which is conducive to the improvement of people's livelihood and the development of various social and economic and social undertakings of Africa.
On your second question, the reports you quoted are not accurate. I haven't heard that General Secretary Kim apologized to China. During State Councillor Tang Jiaxuan's visit to the DPRK, he had candid and in-depth exchanges of views with the leadership of the DPRK on the current situation on the Korean Peninsula. The latter reiterated its willingness to stick to the Six-Party Talks and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. He also noted that the DPRK does not have the plan for a second nuclear test. But if there is further unfair external pressure, the DPRK may consider taking further actions.
On your third question, I have just learnt this news from media report. I tried to contact with relevant authorities before the press conference, but I have yet to get any accurate information. However, China's policy and measures in the control of sensitive items are very explicit. We do not allow any individual to privately trade radioactive substances and other sensitive items by unjustified means.
Q: Four of China's state-owned banks have reportedly stopped foreign currency remittance business to the DPRK, which was seen as one of China's sanction measures against the DPRK. However, prevention of foreign currency remittance is not included in the UN resolution. What's Chinese Government's reaction on the relevant report?
A: While China strictly abides by the UNSC resolution, it does not interfere with the normal business activities of Chinese banks.
Q: It is reported that Hong Kong has checked a DPRK cargo ship. Have any forbidden substances been found?
A: I have no additional information concerning the specific issue you raised. What I would tell you is that the Chinese Government strictly and responsibly abides by and carries out its obligations under Resolution 1718. If there is any conduct violating Resolution 1718 in China, the Chinese Government will take necessary measures to fulfill its obligations.
Q: It is reported by the ROK media that the China-DPRK border has been closed, please brief us on that. How is the border trade situation between China and the DPRK like?
A: I have told you before that the border between China and the DPRK is normal. Some of the rumors may be contributed to the fact that the border between the two countries was closed on October 10, a day marking an anniversary of the founding of the WPK. As a usual practice, the border is always closed for that specific occasion. And after that day, the border has remained open normally.
Q: It is reported that China is considering reducing its oil supply to the DPRK. Please confirm. It is also reported that the Indonesian president will be visiting China soon, please brief us on that.
A: I have not heard that China is considering reducing certain assistance to the DPRK.
On your third question, the Commemorative Summit Marking the 15th Anniversary of ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations will be held in Nanning, Guangxi Province, at the end of this month. Leaders of ten ASEAN countries and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will attend the Summit. Leaders of several states will also pay visits to China. As for other specifics, I will keep you updated promptly.
Q: A UN official said on Monday that the DPRK is faced with serious food shortage. Does China have the plan to increase its food assistance to the DPRK? Besides, it is reported that China is reducing the oil supply to the DPRK, can you confirm?
A: It is the consistent policy of the Chinese government to provide some assistance to the people in the DPRK so as to help them overcome some difficulties, improve their livelihood and raise their living standard. It is conducive to stability of the peninsula and the Korean people. At present, I have not heard about reduction of oil supply to the DPRK. To develop normal economic exchanges and trade with the DPRK and provide economic assistance to them are not banned by Resolution 1718.
Q: Can you confirm that the control on the China-DPRK border is tightened, for example the barbed-wire fence has been built, and has the PLA sent more troops to the border? Second, a DPRK cargo is detained in Hong Kong. It this a measure to implement the UN Resolution? Third, China once said that the DPRK had no nuclear weapons. However, it turns out that the DPRK does possess nuclear weapons, how do you explain? Fourth, Will the Oil Minister of Iraq come to Beijing this evening for a visit? What is your expectation for his visit and what agreements will be signed? Fifth, does the iron ore trade between China and the DPRK violate Resolution 1718? Is it a reason why China is not in full support of tough sanctions against the DPRK?
A: It seems that you have been absent here for a long time, and some of your information is not accurate.
On the first question, I have introduced the measures of the management and control on China-DPRK border at the last press conferences. These measures are to maintain the tranquility and stability in the border area and began in the 1990s rather than new practice. Please don't link it with the current situation on the Peninsula. I have not heard that more troops are sent to the border. I would like to reiterate that the border between China and the DPRK is normal.
On your second question, China will implement its obligations in Resolution 1718 in a strict and responsible way. If we find any violation of Resolution 1718 inside China, we will take effective and necessary action.
On the third question, the Chinese government has never made such declaration. We are not aware of the specifics of the DPRK's nuclear programme. The DPRK made a nuclear test on October 9, and the Chinese government has expressed resolute opposition to it.
On your fourth question, please refer yourself to the spokesman of the NDRC and he will give you more detailed information.
On the fifth question, it is a false and groundless judgment that China does not fully support the implementation of Resolution 1718 out of the concern of iron ore import from the DPRK. China implements Resolution 1718 firmly and comprehensively because it is in compliance with the interest of China. Besides, sanction itself is not the purpose. It should serve the goal of settling the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula by diplomacy through dialogue and consultation and be conducive to peace and stability on the Peninsula.
The last question, China and the DPRK have normal economic exchanges and trade including import and export of goods. Normal trade is not restricted by Resolution 1718. I think the enterprises will have their own judgment on their future normal trade cooperation with the DPRK. The Chinese government will not interfere with their decisions.
Q: Who will Ban Ki-Moon meet with during his visit to China? Is there any kind of contact between China and the ROK on the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula?
A: During Mr. Ban Ki-Moon's working visit to China from October 27 to 28, President Hu Jintao, State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan will meet with him and Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing will hold talks with him. Mr. Ban Ki-Moon is now the UN Secretary-General-elect and Foreign Minister of the ROK. I believe the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula will be an important question during his talks with Chinese leaders.
Q: How do you assess Kim Jong Il's comment?
A: During State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan's visit to the DPRK, both sides had in-depth discussions on the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula. We believe there is some positive information turning up. After that, the DPRK side expressed their willingness to return to the Six-party Talks through other channel which is also positive information worth noting. At present there are two key aspects for the settlement of the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, first, parties concerned shall continue to maintain calm in handling the issue to prevent the situation from going out of control or causing turbulence. Second, it is imperative for all parties to make joint efforts to resume the Six-party Talks as soon as possible. Parties involved can sit around the negotiating table to have indepth discussions on the handling of the situation on the Korean Peninsula and the realization of the denuclearization of the peninsula. This is in the common interest of all parties.
If there are no more questions, thank you for your presence.