|Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang's Regular Press Conference on December 19, 2006|
Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang held a regular press conference on the afternoon of December 19.
Qin: Good afternoon, ladies and gentleman. I have no announcement to make. Now I'd like to take your questions.
Q: It's reported that the US-DPRK bilateral meeting will be held today under the framework of the Six-Party Talks. Please confirm. Will talks on financial sanctions be held today?
A: On the US-DPRK bilateral meeting, I heard that it might be held in the afternoon. I suggest you to check the specifics with the US or the DPRK.
On the financial sanctions, we hope that the US and the DPRK can solve the issue properly through bilateral consultation. We hope that there will be positive results out of their meeting.
Q: Assistant State Secretary Hill says that the US will meet with the DPRK on the establishment of the working group on the financial issue. Please confirm. What about the result?
A: The financial working group is an issue between the US and the DPRK, which needs their consensus. To establish a working group is part of the implementation of the Joint Statement. We hope that parties concerned can build consensus on the type and number of working groups through in-depth consultation. The result depends on their coordination.
Q: Deputy Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo will host a dinner for the delegations of the Six-Party Talks tonight. What's China's expectation for this dinner?
A: I once said that as the host of the Six-Party Talks, China has made some arrangements for our guests accordingly. We wish to create a sound atmosphere for parties to have better contact.
Q: It's reported that the US and the DPRK have some differences during the meeting yesterday. Does China have confidence in implementing the measures of the September 19 Joint Statement?
A: All parties expounded on their respective stances during the meeting yesterday. We can see that the there are visible differences among them. Some are comparatively sharp. We hope that the more difficult the situation is, the greater pragmatism and flexibility is requested from parties to build mutual trust through contact. China will play its due role by maintaining contact and coordination with various parties in an objective and balanced principle of taking into consideration the interest and concerns of all parties. Thus all parties can find more common grounds and make efforts in the direction of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. China has confidence, believing that the other five parties share the same aspiration. That's the fundamental reason for parties to get together again.
Q: What views are expounded during the close-door meeting by the heads of the delegations? Will there be any progress out of today's meeting? Secondly, the financial group's meeting will focus on the DPRK's freezed assets by Banco Delta Asia in Macau. What's China's position?
A: All parties expounded on their views on the implementation of the Joint Statement and raised specific suggestions during the meeting of the heads of the delegations this morning.
Wu Dawei, head of China's Delegation, said that the implementation of the Joint Statement is a systematic project. To implement the project and push forward the process step by step is a relatively practical and reasonable choice. As the first step, concrete measures need to be worked out in the interest of the implementation of the Joint Statement so as to decide the concrete actions that various parties can take at the current stage.
The heads of delegations reaffirmed their adherence to the stance in the September 19 Joint Statement and commitment to taking further steps to hammer out a plan to implement the Joint Statement.
The financial sanctions involve a bank in Macau Special Administrative Region. China has expounded our position on this issue on many occasions. We hope that this issue can be properly handled based on facts and in line with laws. This issue should not disturb the process of the Six-Party Talks.
Q: How much progress has the Six-Party Talks achieved now? Some delegations put forward some proposals including a work plan and establishing working groups for different issues. Please introduce the specifics. What suggestions has China made?
A: Yesterday the spokesperson for the Chinese delegation of this round of Six-Party Talks briefed the press on the updated progress gained at the second phase of the fifth round of the Talks. She mentioned three points. I advise you to read what she said.
To be more specific, 12 bilateral meetings had been held up to 10 o'clock this morning. Seven of the meetings are realated with the Chinese delegation, including two bilateral meetings with the US and Japan respectively and one bilateral meeting with each of other three parties. From 2 PM this afternoon, the Chinese delegation will hold bilateral talks with the other five parties respectively. I will stress that the Six-Party Talks is a process for gradual progress. All relevant parties are pressing ahead step by step by constantly strenghening contacts, enhancing understanding, seeking common grounds, accumulating consensus and narrowing differences. After the resumption of the Talks, as long as it keeps on rolling, our march towards the denuclearization of the Peninsula will have one opportunity and hope. As long as the Talks remains on the track of peaceful solution through dialogue and negotiation, it is positive progress. It is starting from the point of objectiveness, balance and taking consideration of all parties' interests and concern that China maintains contact with all relevant parties, listening to their views and suggestions and conducting mediation and coordination. Since the positions of all relevant parties are still under consulations and adjustment, it's not proper for me to disclose China's specific proposals at the current stage.
Q: Have China and the DPRK held bilateral talks? Does China think the DPRK is serious with this round of Talks? Did the bilateral talks between China and the DPRK cover the Security Council's sanctions against the DPRK? How many bilateral talks have China and the DPRK held up to now?
A: Till 10 am this morning, China and the DPRK held one bilateral talk. This afternoon there will be at least one more talk between China and the DPRK. As for whether there will be other forms of contacts or talks, it's still hard to say, since the situations are always changing.
As for the Security Council's sanctions, I will stress that sanction is not the goal. The key is how to properly reslove the issue and ensure the denuclearization of Korean Peninsula through dialogue and negotiation. Resolution 1718 of UN Security Council clearly supports the Six-Party Talks, hoping all relevant parties to intensify diplomatic efforts and promote the early resumption of the Talks. Now the resumption of Talks just displays the essence of Resolution 1718.The overall objective of the Six-Party talks is consistent with that of Resolution 1718.
Q: U.S Secretary of State Hill said yesterday that America was losing patience because the Six Party Talks had not made progress. Does China agree with this opinion? Is his announcement helpful for the talks?
A: It's only two days since the Talks began. I suggest all participants in the meeting have more patience. Some marathon exercises might be helpful.
Q: You just mentioned China and U.S held two rounds of bilateral talks. Have the two sides agreed with each other completely on how to push forward the Talks?
A: With regard to the Talks, China and the other parties have great and overwhelming consensus, which is, bringing the nuclear issue on the Korea peninsula onto the track of a solution through dialogue and negotiation, fulfilling the Joint-Statement, and moving forward to the goal of ensuring a non-nuclear Korea peninsula. Under this consensus, I believe that China, the U.S and other parties can make constant efforts in seeking common grounds via negotiations and contacts. We hope that the Talks is a process of growing consensuses and diminishing differences.
Q: U.S president Bush signed the agreement on the peaceful use of nuclear energy between the US and India today, what is China's comment?
A: We have noticed this news. Our position is that the cooperation of countries on the peaceful use of nuclear energy should be conducive to the maintenance of the principle and efficiency of the international mechanism on nuclear non-proliferation.
Q: When will the dinner hosted by Deputy Minister Dai Bingguo?
A: It should be the time of supper after sunset.
Q: You have mentioned that narrowing down differences during the Six-Party Talks is also a progress. Do you agree that the talks would still be successful provided it failed to meet China's expectation?
A: We all learned in philosophy that the evolution of any kind begins from quantitative aspect and results in qualitative change. The same applies to the Six-Party Talks. It is a process of incremental progress. Therefore we shall not expect qualitative change without quantitative prelude. Every round of talks and negotiation helps to enhance the mutual trust and understanding and conduces to the achievement of the goal of denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula. So our time and energy is not infructuous, nor is the expectation of the international community.
Q: Is there any advancement in the lift of arms embargo against China since Finland took the EU presidency?
A: Our position is resolute and clear towards the arms embargo issue. We are opposed to the EU maintaining such outdated and discriminatory policy to China, a nation it regards as a "strategic partner". China requires the embargo be lifted not for importing any weapon from the EU, but to eliminate the EU's politic discrimination against China. Only by so doing can a real strategic partnership, based on equality, mutual respect and benefit, come into existence. We have taken note that in a statement passed in the EU Foreign Ministers' Council several days ago the EU reaffirmed its will to endeavor towards lift of the embargo. We hope the EU exert political courage and take decisive actions to remove such an obsolete policy, which will benefit the healthy development of the comprehensive China-EU strategic partnership.
Q: Will President Hu and Premier Wen visit Japan next year? And will Premier Wen attend the delayed ASEAN meeting in the Philippines?
A: China and Japan have reached an agreement on resuming the exchange of high-level visits between two countries. Chinese leaders have decided to visit Japan next year. The exact time needs to be further discussed through diplomatic channels.
As for the question of Premier Wen's attendance to the East Asia meetings to be held in the Philippines, we noticed that nations concerned are still negotiating about the rescheduled date. China supports the Philippines to hold the meetings and will keep communication and consultation with other nations concerned.
We would also like to consult the Philippines on further arrangements of Premier Wen's visit.
If there are no questions, we concluded here. Thank you! Goodbye!