|Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang's Regular Press Conference on 14 December 2006|
Qin: Good afternoon, everyone. I'd like to make an announcement:
At the invitation of Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, Jordanian Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdul Ilah Khatib will pay a working visit to China from December 18 to 19.
Now the floor is open.
Q: It's reported that South African President Mbeki said that if Africa continued to serve as a raw material supplier to China and importer of Chinese manufacture, then China-Africa relations might deteriorate into "colonial relations". How will China help Africa to expand its productivity?
A: The people of South Africa have long suffered from colonialism and know better than anyone about what colonialism is and who colonists are. The people of China and South Africa had similar historical experience, both falling victim to colonial aggression and exploitation. China and African countries, including South Africa, sympathized with each other and were mutually supportive in their effort to pursue national independence and liberalization. Currently, when globalization is accelerating, China and African countries, South Africa included, face the common task of safeguarding peace and achieving common development. Identical historical experience in the past and common goal at present and in the future will connect closely the people of both China and Africa.
Africa has an advantage in resources. Cooperation with China is conducive to transferring its resources advantage into that in development. Cooperation between China and Africa, South Africa included, aimed at bringing win-win results is mutually beneficial.
I don't know the context of President Mbeki's remarks you referred to. But I can tell you what I hear in person from President Mbeki. He says that South Africa wants to strengthen consultation and cooperation with China, and shows to the world that China-Africa cooperation is in the interest of both parties and the whole world. He says that China is Africa's trust-worthy friend. South Africa will never forget China's support for the people of South Africa in their fight against colonialism and for national liberalization. His country regards China as a strategic partner in safeguarding peace and promoting development. His country doesn't hold that development of China-Africa relations will impede the interest of Africa including that of South Africa. It supports China's policy towards Africa, appreciates China's effort in promoting economic development and reducing poverty in Africa.
The Beijing Summit of Forum on China-Africa Cooperation is the best case in point to show the strong will of China and Africa countries including South Africa to develop mutually beneficial cooperation. Take a look at the essence of China-South Africa strategic partnership and the cooperation guideline in deepening strategic partnership. Go through once again the Declaration of Beijing Summit and the eight proposals President Hu Jintao initiated to support Africa's development and to promote China-Africa cooperation. From where can you find the colonialism imposed by China on Africa?
Why some countries and people feel so worried about China developing relations with Africa? I don't know their mindset and motives. But I can tell them that times have changed and so does the trend of times. No force can impede efforts of China and Africa to strengthen their solidarity and cooperation. No words or actions aimed at playing China aginst Africa will become popular among the African people.
Q: It's reported that the US artist Cloony visited China recently. He talked about the Sudan Darfur issue with China. Please confirm that and give us some details. What's China's stance on the Darfur issue? Second, please brief us on US former President Bush's visit to China.
A: At the invitation of the Chinese People's Institute of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Cloony and his company visited China from December 10 to 12. He met with high-level officials in China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who briefed Mr. Cloony on China's position on the Sudan Darfur question. China is always very concerned about the Darfur question, and provides actively humanitarian assistance to the Darfur region. China appreciates the effort made by parties concerned to conduct constructive consultation and contact with Sudan's relevant parties on the solution to Darfur question, hoping that continuous dialogue and communication will be conducive to an early settlement of this question. China stands ready to continue our effort to this end.
On US former President Bush's visit to China, he is invited by the People's Institute of Foreign Affairs for a visit from December 12 to 14. President Hu met with him yesterday. You can find relevant news in newspaper. I will not repeat it here. During his visit, Mr. Bush attended the opening ceremony of the Science and Civilization Forum and International Cultural Industry Conference, Boao Forum, which is hosted jointly by Chinese Academy of Social Science and China Reform Forum.
Q: Will you share with us some details about the upcoming Six Party Talks? For instance, when will the heads of delegations arrive in Beijing? When will the first meeting begin?
A: I haven't got the exact arrival date of the heads of delegations or the contact among them yet. But the Six Party Talks provides a good opportunity for all parties to conduct full dialogue and exchanges. Therefore, it is natural that relevant parties carry out various forms of contact before, during, and after the meeting.
I'd like to add, for your timely coverage of the Six Party Talks, a press center is being set up in the Diaoyutai Hotel. Latest information of the Talks will be released from the center, and I hope you could make the best of it in your coverage.
Q: Will there be a reception on Sunday evening? Will the formal meeting begin on next Monday morning?
A: At present, I am not in a position to inform you of the specifics of schedule. As the host of the Talks, China will endeavor to ensure a favorable environment for the Talks. I believe the opening will be on Monday morning.
Q: Has the establishment of the press center finished? How could we contact the center?
A: The press center for the Talks is under preparation, and we will make sure it is finished before the meeting.
Q: Which forms will be taken in the Talks? Will there be bilateral or multilateral talks? Will the Talks be open-ended or do you have a set date for closing?
A: The forms of the Talks will be various and flexible including multilateral and bilateral ones. No fixed format should be set for a meeting like this. Relevant parties could have any exchanges and contact as they wish.
Q: What's the purpose of Kazakhstan president's visit to China? Will China and Kazakhstan sign agreements on energy cooperation?
A: We have already released the news of President Nazarbayev's visit to China. During his visit, President Hu Jintao, Chairman Wu Bangguo of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, and Premier Wen Jiabao will meet with him respectively. Views will be exchanged on China-Kazakh relations and international and regional issues of common concern.
China and Kazakhstan have maintained good neighborly friendship in recent years. Next January, the two countries will celebrate the 15th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties. Over the past 15 years, the two countries have continuously deepened their relations with the strategic partnership established and fruitful cooperation conducted in bilateral fields, regional affairs, and within the SCO framework. President Nazarbayev attaches importance to the relations with China, which we appreciate. Meanwhile, China values its ties with Kazakhstan, which is not only a neighbor, but also an important cooperative partner of China.
As far as I know, more than 10 cooperative agreements will be signed during the meeting. Detailed agreements are still under arrangement, and we will release relevant news in due course.
Q: Today, the RMB exchange rate against the US dollar reached a new high. Does that have something to do with the upcoming China-US strategic economic dialogue?
A: China's stance on the RMB rating issue is consistent, which is quite clear to all. I have nothing to add here.
Q: Mr. Ban Ki-moon swore into the office of UN Secretary-General today. What's China's comment on Mr. Annan's work during his tenure of Secretary-General?
A: Over the past ten years when Mr. Annan served the office of Secretary-General, he has made prominent contributions to strengthening the role of the UN, safeguarding world peace and boosting development around the globe through his vigorous and unremitting efforts. The cooperation between the UN and China has also been enhanced over the past decade. The Chinese Government adores and appreciates his work. Mr. Annan is an old friend of the Chinese people. We wish him all the best in his work and life in the future.
Q: Yesterday, US Assistant Secretary Hill said at a press conference that the US hoped to see breakthrough out of this session of Six-Party Talks instead of having talks merely for talks. What's China's reaction? What will China do to seek progress at the Talks?
A: We share the wish of Mr. Hill and look forward to steady headway at the Six-Party Talks. But this hinges on the joint efforts of the six parties. The nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula has deeply rooted itself over a long time, thus complicated and sensitive. The parties concerned need to be calm and patient, spend more time and make compromise. To boil it down, they need to build trust gradually. We should forge ahead step by step on the basis on the Joint Statement of September 19.
China's approach will certainly take into account the interest and concern of all parties involved and help realize the goal of a denuclearized Korean Peninsula. It will also be conducive to peace and stability in Northeast Asia. We are willing to stay in close consultation and coordination with the other five parties in this regard.
If no more questions are to come up, thank you and see you next time!