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Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao's Regular Press Conference on 2 November 2006

2006-11-03

On the afternoon of November 2nd, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Liu Jianchao held a regular press conference.

Liu: Good afternoon. We can start with questions directly.

Q: How many African leaders will attend the Beijing Summit on the China-Africa Cooperation Forum so far? Will the five African countries having no diplomatic ties with China send delegations to the Summit?

A: On your first question, 48 African countries with diplomatic relations with China have confirmed to send high-level delegations to the Beijing Summit, among which over 40 are headed by state or government leaders, others are delegations at deputy head or ministerial levels. Until now, over 20 African leaders have arrived in Beijing, and some of them will pay a state visit to China. Actually, some state visits have already started since yesterday.

We haven't received responses from countries having no diplomatic ties with China, but we welcome them to attend the Beijing Summit as observers. Whether they come to the Summit or not, we respect their decision.

Q: It is reported that former Prime Minister Thaksin of Thailand is in Beijing at present. Could you confirm this? Will he meet Chinese senior officials? How long will he stay in China?

A: China has not been informed by the Thailand government or Thaksin himself. His visit to China is completely private.

Q: Could you tell us something about the meeting of heads of delegation to the Six Party Talks from China, the DPRK, and the US held in Beijing the day before yesterday? When does China plan to hold the Six Party Talks? Are there still political obstacles to the resumption of the Six Party Talks? It's reported that the US Secretary of State Rice requested that the DPRK abolish its nuclear facilities and accept UN investigations. Does China believe these measures are necessary for the DPRK to abandon its nuclear program?

A: News release on October 31 has already answered your first three questions. On October 31, as proposed by China, the heads of delegation to the Six Party Talks from China, the DPRK and the United States had an informal meeting in Beijing. The three parties had a candid and in-depth exchange of views on continuing efforts to advance the process of the Six Party Talks. The three parties all agreed that the Six Party Talks be held soon at a time convenient to the six parties.

On your last question, when and how the Six Party Talks will be resumed, and what will be discussed, are to be decided by all parties through consultation. The fundamental goal of the Six Party Talks is that all parties faithfully fulfill their commitment in the Joint Statement issued on September 19 last year, comprehensively implement the Joint Statement, and make joint efforts towards the goal of denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.

Q: Could you share with us the progress in Margaret Chan's campaign for Director-General of the World Health Organization? Nine of all African countries invited to the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation have the right to vote in the WHO. Have they taken their side already?

A: The Chinese government recommended Margaret Chan for Director-General of the WHO. We have been consulting with all parties on this. We believe that Margaret Chan is experienced, professional, and capable for this position. I am not in the position to comment on the attitude of the member states in the executive board of the WHO.

Q: According to some experts from the WHO, China's failure to share with the WHO information of bird flu virus samples has complicated the prevention and treatment of the disease. Please confirm and explain this.

A: We have noted some articles written by several experts on the mutated virus of bird flu discovered in southern regions of China. This is not true. Chinese competent authorities have conducted constant monitoring on bird flu virus in southern regions since 2004. Genetic sequence analysis showed that so far, all viruses discovered in South China is highly congenetic and belongs to the same genetic type with no distinct changes in its biological characteristics.

Relevant authorities have informed FAO and OIE of the mutation of bird flu virus monitored in northern parts of China.

China's relevant government departments have always taken an active part in the global prevention and control of bird flu, established close cooperative relations with international organizations including FAO and WHO, and shared in time all epidemic and virus information with the international community.

Q: The US requested China to urge the Sudanese government to allow the UN peacekeeping forces to enter into the Darfur region. Given that Sudanese President Bashir is now in Beijing for the Summit, will the Chinese government express its stance to him?

A: As you said, President Bashir has arrived in Beijing, and we welcome his attendance to the Summit. China and Sudan enjoy friendly and cooperative relationship. China is closely concerned with the Darfur issue, and has kept effective contact with Sudan and other parties by all means. We hold that the UN should play a positive role in the Darfur issue. At the same time, consent of the Sudanese government needs to be obtained on specific measures to be taken, and appropriate measures need to be taken to address rational concerns of Sudan. This afternoon, President Hu Jintao will meet and exchange views with President Bashir on Darfur issues. I'll keep you updated.

Q: Japanese Prime Minister Abe reportedly said that Japan will consider establishing free trade area with China, but China has to enhance protection of intellectual property rights. What's your comment on this?

A: We've noted Prime Minister Abe's comment on the establishment of free trade area between China and Japan. With the joint efforts of China and Japan, economic and trade cooperation between the two have made remarkable progress, bringing substantial benefits to the people. Against the overall backdrop of economic globalization and regional integration, the development of free trade relations between China and Japan is conducive to the lasting and stable bilateral economic and trade ties, and conforms to our common interest. We would like to study it with Japan. We have reiterated that protection of intellectual property rights is in the interest of China and the consensus of the international community. We have taken a series of concrete and effective measures in this field and made important progress. We will take more measures, including judicial and executive ones, to strengthen the protection over intellectual property rights. We are wiling to conduct cooperation with other countries around the world in this field.

Q: The DPRK has been requesting the US to lift financial sanction. However, it now agrees to come back to the Six Party Talks without the US fulfilling its request. Does it mean the DPRK made concessions or China's sanction against the DPRK has yielded results? Besides, when does China expect to hold the Six Party Talks? Before or after the APEC meeting?

A: On your first question, the DPRK and the US expressed their stance on the financial issue and showed flexibility at the informal meeting of the heads of delegation from China, the DPRK, and the US. They reached understanding on discussing and resolving the financial issue through joint discussion within the framework of the Six Party Talks. We appreciate and welcome the constructive attitude of the DPRK and the US on this issue.

As to the timeframe of the talks, China, the DPRK, and the US have reached consensus to hold the Six Party Talks at a time convenient to the six parties. We will have discussions with Japan, the ROK, and Russia. As long as all parties are ready, the sooner the better.

Q: Will China continue to implement the sanction resolution against the DPRK adopted by the UN Security Council since the DPRK has agreed to come back to the Six Party Talks? What measures should the DPRK take to lift the sanctions?

A: Now the biggest concern to the six parties and the international community is how to push forward the Six Party Talks and gain positive progress. With respect to the impact of the Six Party Talks on the implementation of Resolution 1718 adopted by the UN Security Council, it is not an issue to be decided by the Talks.

Q: Did the DPRK raise any requests to China or the US for the resumption of the Six Party Talks? Will you share with us the understanding reached between the US and the DPRK?

A: China, the DPRK, and the US have reached consensus on the resumption of the Six Party Talks. The other three parties expressed their appreciation of the consensus. It is the consensus of the international community to resolve the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula and to realize denuclearization on the Peninsula. The DPRK and the US adopted flexible and constructive attitude towards the financial issue of their concern. We will continue our efforts and consult with all parties to fix on a time convenient to all parties.

Q: Will China continue to implement the sanction resolution by the UN Security Council? What's China's position on the unilateral sanction against the DPRK by countries including Japan?

A: Resolution 1718 by the Security Council is the consensus of the international community, and all countries have the obligation to strictly, earnestly, and responsibly implement the Resolution. China is no exception. On the other hand, China hold that no party should expand or interpret Resolution 1718 at will, rather, all parties should take relevant measures strictly in line with the Resolution. I have reiterated on many occasions that sanction itself is not the purpose, our goal is to bring the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula back to the track of resolution through dialogue and consultation. We hope all parties play constructive role in the resumption of the Six Party Talks and resolution of the Korean nuclear issue through dialogue.

Q: How did China persuade the DPRK to take part in the informal meeting? Many reports asserted that China threatened to cut off oil supply to the DPRK, did this move play an important role in the persuasion?

A: China has always been opposed to resolving issues by means of threat or pressure. At present, dialogue and consultation remains to be the best way to resolve the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula and serves the interest of all parties. It is also the crucial reason that China, the DPRK, and the US reached consensus on the resumption of the Six Party Talks. It is fair to say the consensus is the result of the joint efforts of the three parties and the right choice made by the three parties.

Q: Will the five African countries having diplomatic ties with Taiwan send low-level or business delegation to the Beijing Summit on the China-Africa Cooperation Forum?

A: You seem to be too focused on minor issues since 48 African countries have confirmed to send delegation to the Beijing Summit. I'd like to reiterate that we have sent invitations to countries having no diplomatic ties with China and welcome their presence in the Summit. It is up to them to decide whether to come or not, and we will respect their final decision.

Q: Venezuela and Guatemala have been competing for the non-permanent membership in the UN Security Council in the past few weeks. China has opted to support Venezuela as China does not have diplomatic ties with Guatemala. Yesterday, these two countries recommended Panama as the Latin American candidate. China does not have diplomatic relations with Panama either. Will China support it?

A: We will have further study to determine China's stance on that issue. Meanwhile, we will also discuss that with other UN members.

Q: You said on Tuesday in response to reports saying China was cutting off oil supply to the DPRK that the China-DPRK trade currently remained normal. Was that contradictory to the declining figures on the custom's statistics? Please clarify on that.

A: China and the DPRK have normal economic and trade exchanges, and there is no change in this policy. As to details and statistics in this regard, please check with relevant authorities. In fact, there will be ups and downs in statistics in a normal trade situation.

Q: "Human Rights Watch" has called on China to exert pressure on the governments of Somalia and Zimbabwe to urge them to improve their human rights situation. What's China's stance on that? Will China raise human rights issues in meetings with leaders of those two countries?

A: On the issue of China's policy to Africa and how China should cope with its relations with the African countries, we do not invite the indiscreet remarks from the organization you mentioned. China-Africa cooperation is for the well-being of both peoples. At the same time, it is our principle for state-to-state relations that we do not impose our ideology, social system and developmental model on any other country. We believe that African people have the wisdom and rights to choose correct path for their development. In fact, the cooperation between China and Africa in all fields has won support and acclamation of both Chinese and African peoples. What impresses us in our recent contact with leaders of African countries is that governments and peoples there are all earnestly looking forward to further development of the cooperation between China and Africa, and that relations between them could continue to grow on the basis of equality, mutual benefit, mutual respect and trust. These will not only be beneficial to China and Africa, but also to the development and prosperity of the world at large. We hope the relevant organization will look at the China-Africa cooperation with a broader view, instead of being narrow-minded in making analysis and judgment.

Q: China claimed time and again that its assistance to Africa is unconditional. But critics from European countries and the U. S. believe that providing unconditional assistance to countries adopting policy of high pressure will worsen the human rights situation there. What's your comment on that?

A: We do not see it that way. China-Africa economic and trade cooperation featuring equality, mutual benefit, openness and transparency are beneficial to China, Africa and peoples of relevant African countries. The assistance we provide all aim at promoting the economy and people's livelihood in these countries, including infrastructure construction, medical care, public health, education, agriculture and other fields. The assistance from China has been welcomed and appreciated by the African people. China's long-term assistance to Africa starting from the 1960s is a much-chanted story in the history of the development of the China-Africa relations and is a correct policy.

Q: Next week, the UN Assembly will discuss and vote on a resolution urging the U. S. to stop its financial, economic and trade sanctions against Cuba. What's China's stance in the discussion? What vote will China cast?

A: It has long been China's stance to firmly oppose economic blockade against Cuba by any country.

Q: The Six Party Talks is to be resumed soon. How will China persuade the DPRK to abandon its nuclear program?

A: This is not an issue of China to persuade the DPRK to abandon its nuclear program. If we review the content of the September 19 Joint Statement reached last year, we can see that it is a comprehensive, complete and balanced statement. Obligations of parties concerned under the Statement and their commitment are inter-related and mutually-balancing. We believe that parties concerned should, by the resumption of the Six Party Talks, hold discussions on how to fulfill their task and commitment in the September 19 Statement. In a word, parties concerned should fulfill their due obligations and commitment.

Q: This morning, Sudanese President al-Bashir and Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing attended the inauguration ceremony of the new Sudanese Embassy in China, which is the biggest Sudanese embassy abroad and the largest African embassy in China. What is its significance for the China-Sudan relations?

A: Sudan attaches importance to the China-Sudan relations as China does, and both are making positive efforts for further development of their relations and cooperation in all fields. We welcome the efforts of the Sudanese Embassy in China to strengthen their work, so as to play a greater role in pressing ahead with the development of the China-Sudan relations.

Q: It is reported that the DPRK representative attending the tripartite meeting between China, the DPRK and the U.S. said that some North Koreans were really counterfeiting currency. Please confirm.

A: To my understanding, this issue wasn't brought up in the meeting. I don't know where you have got this information.

Q: It is reported that the DPRK's nuclear test didn't succeed, so the DPRK shouldn't be deemed as a nuclear state. How China view this ? The DPRK and the US have completely opposite positions on the issue of financial sanctions. Is China's position on the issue closer to the DPRK or the US? China says the specifics of the resumption of the Six Party Talks are still under consultations. How will all the parties conduct consultations? How are the consultations going on?

A: As for your first question, I will not make any comment on whether the DPRK's nuclear test is successful or not. We elaborated on our position on the day when the DPRK announced its nuclear test. Our position remains unchanged. As for the status of a nuclear state, if you read carefully through international conventions and agreements such as the NPT or the just-adopted Resolution 1718 of Security Council, you will know relevant issues have been explicitly stipulated and these documents also represent the consensus of international community.

As for China's position on financial sanctions is closer to the DPRK or the US, we consistently adhere to resolving the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula through dialogues and consultations. The understanding reached between DPRK and the US through concerted efforts to discuss and resolve the financial issue within the framework of the Six Party Talks has played an important role in obtaining the consensus on the resumption of the Talks.

If you look back upon the process of the Six Party Talks over the past few years, you may find the talks among the parties have various forms, including consultations between two parties and among various parties, as well as consultations through telephone and at the international occasions. These consultations, which have achieved some important progress, are an important part in pushing forward the process of the Six Party Talks. We think these consultations are helpful. Now China and other parties will discuss when and how to hold the Six-Party Talks.

If there are no other questions, let's call it a day. Thanks for your presence!

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