|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Liu Jianchao's Regular Press Conference on 18 January, 2007|
On the afternoon of January 18, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao held a regular press conference. Liu answered questions related to the DPRK-US talks in Berlin, Hill's visit to China, China-Japan relations, the release of the hijacked Chinese workers in Nigeria, and China-Vatican relationship.
Liu: Good afternoon! I shall begin with several announcements.
At the invitation of the World Economic Forum, and the governments of the Republic of Austria and the Hellenic Republic, State Councilor Hua Jianmin will attend the 2007 Annual Meeting of WEF in Davos, Switzerland and visit Austria and Greece from January 24 to February 2.
At the invitation of Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, Foreign Minister Paet of the Republic of Estonia will pay an official visit to China from January 24 to 26.
At the invitation of Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Song Min-soon of the Republic of Korea will pay an official visit to China from January 25 to 27.
The 2007 Spring Festival is approaching, the Information Department of Foreign Ministry will hold the New Year reception for the friends from the press at Beijing Planning Exhibition Hall from 5 to 8 p.m., January 19, 2007 (Friday). The Foreign Ministry officials, spokespersons of Ministries under the State Council and the leaders of relevant departments of Beijing Municipality will attend the reception. The presence of foreign correspondents in Beijing and press officials of foreign embassies in China is welcome. You may log onto the website of IPC for detailed arrangement.
Now the floor is open.
Q: The five Chinese citizens hijacked in Nigeria were released yesterday. Could you tell us more about that? Who hijacked them? Will President Hu Jintao visit Sudan and South Africa?
A: We are very pleased to know that the five Chinese workers hijacked in Nigeria by unidentified persons on January 5 were released on January 17, local time. The Chinese government expresses gratitude for support and assistance by the relevant parties in Nigeria. This is the result of arduous efforts.
On the second question, President Hu has the plan to visit eight African countries including Sudan and South Africa in the near future. The visits are under discussion. When the arrangements are fixed, we will make official announcement.
Q: Please brief us on the itinerary of the visit by IMF President to China. Is there any update on Hill's visit to China? Who will he meet with? Last week, a rock-propelled missile made in China hit the US embassy in Greece. According to the statement from China last week, China always adopts a serious and responsible attitude to arms trade, and only sells arms to sovereign states. Will China investigate why China-made bomber was used in terrorist attack? Besides, the Greek police said the rocket was made in 1970s, and how does China make sure the older arms will not fall into the hands of terrorists?
A: On the first question, I will help you get more information from competent authorities.
On the second question, China and the US are making arrangement for Hill's visit to China. The specific itinerary is under consultation. We welcome his visit and are ready to have an exchange of views with him on the Six-Party Talks.
On the third one, I clarified relevant information last Saturday evening. China has three principles in this aspect. First, we only conduct conventional arms trade with sovereign states. Second, we demand relevant countries not to transfer arms to the third party without the prior consent of Chinese government. Third, it shall be conducive to regional peace and stability. As for whether this rocket was made in China in 1970, the reports are not confirmed. China is not informed by relevant parties. In one word, China will continue to adopt a serious and responsible attitude to military arms trade. We hope other countries make joint efforts to ensure the order of international arms market.
Q: Recently, Japan has taken a series of moves to build its military strength, such as upgrading the Defense Agency to Ministry of Defense. Meanwhile, Japan voiced its opposition to lifting EU's arms embargo against China on many occasions. What's China comment on this?
A: As a matter of fact, I answered this question at the press conference last week. We have noticed the new military developments in Japan. Given the historical reasons, Japan's development in the military aspect has always concerned its neighboring countries. We believe that sticking to the road of development through peace will serve the fundamental interest of Japan itself as well as benefit the peace, stability and development in this region.
Lifting EU's arms embargo is a matter between China and the EU. Neither does it have anything to do with Japan, nor pose any threat to Japan. China expresses strong dissatisfaction at Japan's thwarting EU from lifting arms embargo and has made clear to Japan its grave concern through diplomatic channel. Under the current circumstances, we hope Japan will do more in the benefit of improving and developing bilateral relations, instead of making trouble, so as to avoid affecting the improving China-Japan relations. This is in the common interest of China and Japan.
Q: Can you tell us more details about the rescue of kidnapped Chinese workers in Nigeria?According to Hong Kong media,the newly consecration of a bishop in Guangzhou has been concurred by both China and Vatican. Please confrim. How will it influence China-Vatican relations?
A: As for your first question, it's a piece good news for the five hijacked Chinese workers in Nigeria to get rescued. I can't share more in the rescue process.
As for your second question, relevant information should still be checked from relevant departments. China's position on developing relations with Vatican remains unchanged.
Q: Representatives for the DPRK and the US held talks in Berlin this week. Is it conducive to the resumption of Six-Party Talks? Will the US and the DPRK hold dialogues on financial issues in Beijing next week?
A: As for your first question, China welcomes the meeting between the US and the DPRK in Berlin. We always support the direct contact between the US and DPRK. We hope this meeting to achieve positive results and create conditions for the early resumption of Six-Party Talks. China will continue to push forward the process of Six-Party Talks through close coordination and communications with all other parties.
As for your second question, I haven't heard the news that the US and the DPRK will hold dialogues on financial issue in Beijing. Please refer your question to the US or DPRK.
Q: It is said that former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin is in China. Please confirm.
A: I don't know where he is.
Q: Vatican will hold a meeting to discuss China-Vatican relations. Have you heard of the news? How do you evaluate the current China-Vatican relations?
A: China is ready to establish normal state-to-state realtions with Vatican. But we have two principles on the issue: first, Vatican must sever its so-called "diplomatic relations" with Taiwan and recognize the People's Republic of China is the only legal government representing China and Taiwan is an inseparable part of Chinese territory. Secondly, Vatican should not interefere in China's internal affairs, including the interference under the name of religious affairs. On the basis of the two priniples, China-Vatican relations will have a good prospect for improvement.
Q: Can you confirm the news reported by Hong Kong media that China and Vatican jointly apppointed a bishop? Secondly, what other African countries will President Hu Jintao visit besides Sudan and South Africa?
A: As for your first question, I still need to check relevant reports. Just now I have briefed you on China's position on developing relations with Vatican.
As for your second question, we will annouce the official news of President Hu Jintao's upcoming visit to Africa as soon as possible.
If there are no other questions, let's call it a day. I'm expecting to see all of you at the New Year reception meeting tomorrow evening.