|Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Jiang Yu's Regular Press Conference on 6 February 2007|
On the afternoon of February 6, 2007, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Jiang Yu held a regular press conference and answered questions on President Hu Jintao's visit to Africa, sailing of Chinese scientific research ship, climate change, the Six-Party Talks and other issues.
Jiang: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I would like to begin with an announcement:
At the invitation Indian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mukherjee and Japanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Taro Aso, Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Li Zhaoxing will pay an official visit to India and Japan from February 11 to 17. During his visit to India, he will hold a tripartite foreign ministers' meeting jointly with Indian Foreign Minister Mukherjee and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov.
Now, the floor is open.
Q: I have three questions on the mechanism of informing marine survey between China and Japan. First, during the consultation on marine survey in East China Sea in 2001, China and Japan agreed upon informing each other in advance of such survey. What is the purpose and significance of this decision in your opinion? Second, this agreement clearly stipulates that China ought to inform Japan in advance of its activity within Japanese offshore waters. Does China still comply with this agreement? Third, Chinese marine research ship entered the waters adjacent to Diaoyu Island for scientific research devoid of prior informing. Does this contravene that agreement?
A: Our position on this question is quite clear. Diaoyu Island and its adjacent isles have been Chinese territory since ancient time, and China has indisputable sovereignty over them. China will not accept any representations by Japan on the premise of territorial claim over Diaoyu Island. Chinese ship's normal marine research in the waters near Diaoyu Island is an exercise of China's legitimate sovereignty and has nothing to do with the informing mechanism. We have expressed our dissatisfaction to Japan through diplomatic channel for unreasonably making an issue of this matter.
Q: According to Takungpao in Hong Kong, Chunxiao oil and gas field has been put into operation and started to supply Ningbo with gas. Please confirm. The Six-Party Talks will resume on 8th. Please brief on the meeting arrangement for this session.
A: The report you quoted is not true. I'd like to reiterate that China's oil and gas exploration is a normal activity on the continental shelf near China's coast, and thus irreproachable. China and Japan have dispute on the delimitation of East China Sea. We have always stood for resolving the question through bilateral dialogue and consultation.
On your second question, the third session of the fifth round of Six-Party Talks will open on the afternoon of 8th. Like the arrangement of past rounds, this session will have meeting of heads of delegations, plenary meeting and bilateral consultations. The core of the session is to discuss the action and measures to be taken by the parties concerned at the initial stage in order to implement the September 19 Joint Statement. We hope all the parties will make joint efforts for positive outcome at this session.
Q: Come back to the marine research matter. Do you mean the Chinese research ship sailed in the area out of Japanese offshore waters?
A: I said that Chinese ship's normal marine research in the waters near Diaoyu Island is an exercise of China's legitimate sovereignty and has nothing to do with the informing mechanism in your question.
Q: It is reported that China's investment in the DPRK declined after the DPRK's nuclear test last year. Please confirm. In addition, it is reported that some DPRK border troops fled to China. Can you confirm?
A: We are firmly and clearly committed to developing good-neighborly and friendly relations with the DPRK and advocating a denuclearized Korean Peninsula. China and the DPRK have maintained normal trade and economic exchanges. From January to November last year, bilateral trade volume topped $1.52 billion with an increase of 5.5%.
As for the order along the border between China and DPRK, I can't confirm what you said. Over years, relevant departments from China and DPRK have formed a system of effective practices for the maintaining the border order. The two sides can properly handle all kinds of cases. Such practices are conducted in accordance with international rules.
Q: According to statistics released by China, China's national defense expenditure has an increase of 14.7% in 2006 compared with 2005. Did the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula last year and Japan's national defense policy affect China's national defense expenditure?
A: China has another department in charge of this issue. According to information at my hands, in line with the guideline of coordinating development of national defense and economic development as well as the law of national defense and the law of budget, the Chinese Government reasonably determines the amount and input orientation of our national defense expenditure and always pays attention to controlling the scale of national defense expenditure. Compared with other countries, China's input in national defense is at a relatively low level taking account of the total amount of China's national defense expenditure, per capita expense for military personnel as well as the ratio of national defense expenditure in GDP.
Q: Since China conducted an outer space test, the US announced suspending space cooperation with China. What comment does China have?
A: China's test is not directed at any country, nor does it pose any threat to any country. We have repeatedly reiterated our consistent position of peaceful use of outer space and opposing the weaponization of outer space and arms race.
As for space cooperation between China and the US, as far as I know, according to the consensus reached between Administrator of NASA Michael Griff and China National Space Administration during his visit to China in September 2006, the administrators of two sides will hold regular meetings and conduct cooperation in space science and geo-science. Now there are still no specific plans.
Q: A heavy flood recently hit Jakarta of Indonesia, causing huge casualties. Does China have any assistance plans? Please brief on Foreign Minister Li's upcoming visit to India, Japan and his attendance at foreign ministers' meeting between China, Russia and India.
A: Recently a heavy flood hit Jakara of Indonesia, causing 29 people dead and 350,000 people homeless. Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing has sent a telegraph of solicitudes to Indonesian Foreign Minister Hassan, expressing condolence to the dead in the grave natural disaster. In order to assist the Indonesian Government against the flood, China's Red Cross will offer an aid of US$20,000 in cash to Indonesia's Red Cross.
As for your second question, Foreign Minsiter Li Zhaoxing will pay an official visit to India from 11th to 14th. During his stay in India, he will attend the foreign ministers' meeting between China, Russia and India. He will meet with Indian Prime Minister Singh and hold a talk with Indian Foreign Minister Mukherjee. The two sides will exchange views over bilateral relations and issues of common interest. Foreign Minister Li will attend the completion ceremony of "Renovated Memorial House for Xuan Zang " and the opening ceremony of "China-India Tourism and Friendship Year".
During President Hu's visit to India last year, the two sides signed a joint declaration, which marked this year as the Year for China-India Tourism and Friendship. We hope the activities of Tourism and Friendship Year can deepen exchanges and friendship between the two peoples and push forward the development of bilateral strategic partnership oriented towards peace and prosperity. People of China and India exchanged 450,000 visits in 2006. The two sides have a broad prospect for cooperation in tourism.
As for the agenda of Foreign Minister Li's visit to Japan, Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing will pay an official visit to Japan from February 15th to 17th. During his visit, Foreign Minister Li will hold talks with Japanese Foreign Minister Aso. Other specific agenda will be released after the consultations between the two sides.
The foreign ministers of China, Russia and India will exchange views on international and regional issues of common interest during their meeting, and discuss cooperation in economic fields. This meeting will help the three countries to expand common ground and push forward trilateral mutually-beneficial cooperation.
Q: It is reported that President Hu Jintao has asked Sudanese President Bashir to accept the UN peacekeeping forces during his visit to Sudan. Please confirm this. Some critics say that China pursues new colonialism in Africa. What's your comment?
A: During his visit to Sudan, President Hu Jintao held a meeting with President Bashir and clarified China's stance on the Darfur issue. President Hu appreciated the efforts made by the Sudanese government and other parties concerned to resolve the Darfur issue, and hoped for an early and appropriate resolution of this issue. President Hu also put forward several principles to be abided by when dealing with this issue: First, respecting the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sudan; second, adhering to dialogue and equal consultation and resolving the issue in a peaceful way; third, the African Union and UN should play a constructive role in the peacekeeping mission in Darfur; fourth, promoting regional stability and improving the livelihood. President Hu also declared that China supplied an assistance of another RMB40 million to the Darfur region.
President Bashir appreciated the efforts made by China to resolve the Darfur issue, and said Sudan accepts Annan's proposal in principle, and will actively push forward the process of resolving the Darfur issue through peaceful negotiation, and restore peace and stability in the region.
As to new colonialism, we've never heard this word from our African friend, because they and we are so clearly aware of colonialism. The China-Africa relationship features sincerity and friendship, equality and mutual benefit, solidarity and cooperation and common development. People of China and Africa have benefited from bilateral practical cooperation, and we also attach importance to strengthening Africa's capability to develop by its own. We are willing to adopt open and cooperative attitude, conduct exchanges and cooperation with countries and organizations sincerely caring about the peace and development of Africa, jointly enhance the concern of the international community on African issues, and eventually promote peace, stability and development of Africa.
Q: Could you share with us the time and schedule of Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to Japan? Some reports say that energy assistance meeting will be held outside the six-party talks, could you confirm this? How long will this round of six-party talks last?
A: Detailed arrangements of Premier Wen's visit to Japan are still under bilateral consultation, and we will release news in due time as usual.
This year marks the 35th anniversary of the normalization of China-Japan relations, and also is the Exchange Year of Culture and Sports. The improvement and development of China-Japan relations is confronted with a new opportunity. We hope to seize this opportunity and promote further improvement and development of the bilateral ties.
As to the six-party talks, we will set up a press center to provide journalists with information and assistance as usual. Detailed arrangements of the meeting will be released by the press center. As to issues including energy resources, parties have made respective commitments in the September 19 Joint Statement. We hope that parties take coordinated measures, fulfill their commitments, implement the Joint Statement, and realize the goal of denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.
Q: There are some protests and demonstrations during President Hu's visit to Zambia, what's your comment on this?
A: The state visit paid by President Hu Jintao to Zambia has been warmly welcomed by the Zambian government and its people. No demonstration or protest has taken place during this visit, thus the report you referred to is groundless. The economic and trade cooperation between China and Africa is aimed to achieve mutual benefit and common development through mutual complementation with their own advantages and mutually-beneficial cooperation. China's policy towards Africa, welcomed by the African governments and people, is an important force driving the social and economic development of African countries.
I wonder if you noted Zambian leaders' evaluation of China-Zambia relations. Zambian President Mwanawasa said that the intimate China-Zambia relations based on mutual respect, friendship, and cooperation is developing continuously. Zambia is devoted to developing the friendly cooperative ties with China. He believes that China has become the strategic cooperative partner of African development. Zambia welcomes China to set up an economic trade cooperative zone in Zambia, and also welcomes more Chinese enterprises to invest in Zambia, so as to better promote the bilateral cooperation.
The problems you mentioned took place during the cooperation between enterprises, which I believe are normal and could be taking place anywhere anytime in the world. We have always adopted an active attitude to coordinate with relevant parties so as to promote a sustained, sound, and rapid development of bilateral trade.
Q: According to some reports, AIDS activist Gao Yaojie has been house arrested in Zhengzhou, Henan Province after she got the invitation from the US. Which competent department could I consult for her latest information?
A: I have not heard of the report you mentioned, so I am not in the position to comment. You could consult local departments.
The Chinese government has always attached great importance to the prevention and treatment of AIDS, done lots of work in medical service, promoted public awareness of relevant law with a responsible attitude and achieved remarkable effects. We hold a positive attitude towards international cooperation in prevention and treatment of AIDS.
Q: What's China's comment on adjustment to the Kyoto Protocol? What measures China will take to respond to the global warming? Will China accept a compulsory emission reduction obligation?
A: Climate change is caused by long-term previous emissions and current high per capita emissions of developed countries which shoulder unshirkable responsibility. At present, the key to negotiations on climate change is that the developed countries must fulfill the obligation of emission reduction and take emission reduction measures according to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Protocol.
At present, developing countries have low emissions and small potential for emission reduction. However, China is willing to make its due contribution to respond to climate change according to our strategy of sustainable development. The Chinese government attaches great importance to environmental protection, and establishes it as one of our fundamental national policies, and sustainable development as an essential strategy. In recent years, we have made remarkable achievements in adopting powerful measures including adjustment to industries and energy structure, afforestation, population control, drawing up a series of laws and regulations including the Law on Prevention of Air Pollution, and popularizing knowledge of environmental protection. The 11th Five-Year Program explicitly set forth objectives of controlling greenhouse gas emission and a 20% reduction in energy consumption per unit GDP, and measures including shutting down 50 million kilowatt small thermal power generators so as to guarantee the goal of emission reduction. These tasks are challenging, but we are willing to cooperate with the international community and make efforts to realize these goals so as to make new contribution to coping with climate change.
Q: When will the nine Chinese citizens rescued in Nigeria come back?
A: The nine Chinese citizens kidnapped in Nigeria have been rescued safely, and competent authorities are making relevant arrangements. We will release news in due time.
Thanks for your presence, see you next time.