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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Liu Jianchao's Regular Press Conference on 16 January, 2007


On the afternoon of January 16, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao held a regular press conference. Liu answered questions relating to the Korean Peninsular nuclear issue, China-Japan relationship, UN Security Council reform, East Asia cooperation, China-India relationship, India-Pakistan relations and the Darfur issue.

Liu: Good afternoon! Now the floor is open.

Q: The Canadian Trade Minister is to visit China tomorrow. But the Canadian government criticizes China for its human rights record and has granted honorary citizenship to Dalai Lama. Will it undermine China-Canada relationship?

A: China attaches importance to developing friendly cooperation with Canada in the fields of politics, economy and trade, culture, education, as well as science and technology. The development of China-Canada relationship on the basis of equality and mutual respect serves the interest of both sides, instead of benefiting only one side. The Dalai Lama question is not a matter of religion or human rights. It is a major question bearing on the sovereignty, territorial integrity, and national unity of China. We hope to win understanding and support of relevant countries on the question. We wish Canada can exert sincerity to promote the healthy and stable development of China-Canada relationship by enhancing not only economic cooperation and trade but also political mutual trust.

Q: Does China support the participation of India, Australia and New Zealand in the East Asia Summit from the perspective of constructing East Asia Community in the future? Or does China still wish to see 10 plus 3 playing a major role here?

A: China welcomes and holds an open attitude towards the proposition of building East Asia Community in the future. At present, 10+3 remains to be the main channel of East Asia cooperation. In recent years, "10+3" cooperation has made remarkable progress and achievements, with which relevant parties are satisfied. During the "10+3" meetings this year, relevant parties put forth a series of specific initiatives to promote "10+3" cooperation. The cooperation covers the areas of political security, economy and trade, culture, human resources training, health and education. We are ready to make joint efforts with relevant parties to accumulate experiences and have active discussion on the building of East Asia Community.

Q: Mr. Hill will arrive in Beijing. Will he meet with Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei or other officials? Will the US and the DPRK talk about the financial sanction issue in Beijing?

A: Mr. Hill is an important partner of China to promote the Six-Party Talks. We welcome his visit to Beijing. China and the US are still discussing the specific date and arrangement for his visit. If he comes here, his Chinese colleague Mr. Wu Dawei will meet with him. I haven't got any information that the US and the DPRK may hold financial talks in Beijing.

Q: On January 15, the Nepali Parliament adopted and promulgated the interim constitution and established the interim Parliament. What is your comment?

A: China is pleased to see the significant progress in the peace process of Nepal. China welcomes the endeavors by relevant parties in Nepal to achieve lasting peace. China sincerely hopes the parties concerned continue to press ahead with the peace process to contribute to the well-being of the Nepali people as well as regional peace, stability and development.

Q: When visiting NATO last week, Japanese Prime Minister Abe said Japan would strengthen its relations with NATO. What is your comment?

A: I am not in a position to comment on the exchanges between Japan and NATO. But we hope the relevant exchanges are conducive to regional peace and stability.

Q: Last week Indian Foreign Minister visited Pakistan and the two sides agreed to have dialogue soon. What is your comment?

A: It is good news. We welcome and support the positive progress in India-Pakistan comprehensive dialogue. As the neighbor, friend, and partner of Pakistan and India, China sincerely hopes the two sides can address their differences through friendly consultation and jointly promote peace, stability, and prosperity of South Asia.

Q: A US congressman publicly opposed to China National Offshore Oil Corp (CNOOC) signing an agreement with Iran on oil and gas cooperation. What comment does China have?

A: Iran is an important country in West Asia. It is a member of OPEC with abundant oil and gas resources. Many countries in the world maintain normal trade relations with Iran. China is no exception. We think such cooperation is beneficial to both oil producers and consumers.

Q: It is reported that President Hu Jintao will pay a state visit to some African countries. Please confirm and brief us who will accompany him.

A: President Hu Jintao has a plan to visit African countries in the near future. China is consulting with relevant countries. Our relevant authorities are making arrangements for this important visit. We will keep you updated when relevant itinerary and arrangements are fixed.

Q: According to the information from Japanese delegation, when meeting with Premier Wen Jiabao in the Philippines, Japanese Prime Minister Abe voiced his hope that China can understand Japan's wish to become the permanent member of UN Security Council. Will China and Japan conduct consultations over the issue? Does China stand for increasing permanent seats of the Security Council? How does China view the reform of the Security Council?

A: During their meeting in the Philippines, Premier Wen Jiabao and Prime Minister Abe exchanged views over the issue you mentioned. China's position on the reform of the Security Council remains unchanged. We support necessary and reasonable reform of the Security Council to raise its authority and efficiency. The priority should be given to wider representation of developing countries, particularly African countries. Now all parties are still conducting consultations over it. There are still differences in the international community. We hope all parties to reach a consensus and find a way acceptable to all through sufficient and democratic consultations.

Q: You criticized the report by Human Rights Watch on China's human rights to be not objective with ulterior motives. Why doesn't China invite this organization to visit China to see China's real conditions?

A: China doesn't reject dialogues with relevant parties over the human rights issue. We have conducted 22 human rights dialogues with EU. We have held talks with the US and Australia as well. China holds that the dialogues on the basis of equality and mutual respect can help narrowing differences among all parties and more dialogues and communications are beneficial. But human rights dialogues should, first of all, be based on equality and mutual respect as well as sincerity and good will. It is not constructive but harmful for some organizations and individuals to view China's human rights through colored lens or even with enmity and malice.

Q: Will President Hu Jintao visit Sudan? Will the two sides focus their attention on the Darfur issue during his visit?

A: As for relevant arrangements of President Hu Jintao's visit to Africa, I will release the information when it is fixed. It will not be very long.

As other countries of the international community, China has always followed closely the Darfur issue, caring for its peace, stability and security as well as the humanitarian situations and people's life there. China has conducted close communications with relevant countries and the UN and maintains contacts with Sudan for exchange of views over the relevant issue. The Chinese Government's envoy and Assistant Foreign Minister Zhai Jun is visiting Sudan at the moment. He has exchanged views with Sudanese leaders over the Darfur issue. Such contacts are constructive and helpful. China will continue its efforts to push the issue to be settled through political negotiations. During this process, we hope Sudan can attach importance to the concerns of international community. We also believe that communications with Sudan over the issue should be based on respecting the sovereignty of Sudan.

Q: Recently the Indian Prime Minister and Chinese Premier met in Cebu. What comment do you have on the meeting? China and India will hold the next round of consultation on the border issue in a few days. What expectations do you have on the consultation?

A: Premier Wen Jiabao and Indian Prime Minister Singh met in Cebu. The two sides had a good talk and exchanged views extensively. They spoke positively of the development of China-India relations in recent years and displayed high degree of mutual trust in the talk. Prime Minister Singh said, no matter what others say, China and India are conducting cooperation and development in harmony. This is a very important consensus. President Hu Jintao paid a mile-stone visit to India at the end of last year. Both sides made an in-depth exploration over the positioning and development orientation of China-India relations and reached broad consensus. We are convinced that India and China, two largest developing nations, will join hands in harmonious cooperation and common development to make important contribution to the progress of developing countries and peace, stability and development of the world.

As for your second question, the ninth meeting of special representatives for China-India border issue will begin tomorrow through 18th in New Delhi. China's special envoy and Deputy Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo will head the delegation to attend the meeting. The two sides will continue to follow the consensus between leaders of the two countries in exploring the framework for border issue on the basis of the agreement on political guiding principles and in line with the spirit of peace, friendliness, equal consultation, mutual respect and mutual understanding. We think it is an important meeting and also a concrete action to implement the consensus reached by the two heads of state on speeding up the negotiations on China-India border issue. We hope the meeting can make progress steadily.

Q:When Premier Wen met with Japanese Prime Minister Abe in the Philippines he said that China-Japan relationship is at a crucial juncture and it needs the joint efforts of both sides to drive China-Japan relationship back to the normal track. Can you tell us what specific measures China will take to realize this goal? What efforts does China hope Japan make to this end?

A: Premier Wen elaborated on China's views of China-Japan relationship during his meeting with Abe. He said at present China-Japan relationship is at a crucial juncture for embarking on the track of normal development. In the past several years, China-Japan political relationship was seriously undermined because of the reasons known to all. Last year China-Japan relationship returned to the track of normal development and the bilateral ties develop rapidly after that. We are satisfied with the development momentum of China-Japan relations. This year marks the 35th anniversary of the normalization of China-Japan relations. The two sides should seize the important opportunity to develop the bilateral ties. We shall set the development direction of bilateral ties from a strategic high and long-term perspective and go resolutely along the road featuring peaceful co-existence, friendship for generations, mutually-beneficial cooperation and common development. Both sides designate this year as "China-Japan Year for Friendly Exchanges", which is an important and positive effort by both sides to develop China-Japan relations.

Premier Wen stressed two points. One is that the proper handling of history issue is of extreme importance for maintaining and consolidating the bilateral ties. China hopes Japan earnestly follow the principles in the three important political documents between the two sides; honor its commitment so as to free China-Japan relations from being disturbed again by history issue. He also talked about the Taiwan question and pointed out that the Taiwan question bears on China's core interest and the political foundation for China-Japan relationship. China hopes Japan recognize the high sensitiveness of the Taiwan question, strictly abide by its one China commitment in real earnest and properly handle the Taiwan question.

Prime Minister Abe also elaborated on Japan's view. He said Japan will be continuously devoted to the development of the strategic reciprocal bilateral ties, jointly overcome the past difficulties in the bilateral relations so as to further improve and develop China-Japan relations. On the history issue, he said that Japan is ready to promote the development of bilateral ties by following the principles and spirit in the three political documents. Japan will continue its road as a pacifist country. On the Taiwan question, he said Japan will adhere to its committed position in the Joint Statement.

Both sides also agreed to enhance cooperation extensively.

We believe the meeting by the two leaders is successful, and it is beneficial for the development of our bilateral ties.

If there are no other questions, that's the end of the press conference. Thank you!

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