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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang's Press Conference on February 27, 2007

2007-02-28

On the afternoon of February 27, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang held a regular press conference. He answered questions on China-Japan relations, the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula, the Iranian nuclear issue as well as the Myanmar issue.

Qin: First of all, I'd like to extend my best wishes to all of you for a happy and smooth new year!

Before taking questions, I have an announcement:

As agreed by China and the US, the US Deputy Secretary of State Negroponte will visit China from May 3 to 5 . The two sides will exchange views over China-US relations and major international and regional issues of common interest.

Now I would be happy to take up your questions.

Q: This morning DPRK's Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan arrived in Beijing, via which he will head for the US. Will he meet with Chinese officials before leaving? Secondly, yesterday U.S. Deputy Assistant Treasury Secretary Glaser conducted negotiations with the authority of Macao Special Administrative Region. Can you brief us on their meeting?

A: As for your first question, Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan of the DPRK arrived in Beijing today and will head for the United States for talks with the latter. As far as I know, during his stay in Beijing, he has no plan to meet with Chinese officials.

As for your second question, I have read relevant reports. Many may still remember, at the end of the last round of the Six-Party Talks, Mr. Hill, head of the US delegation, announced to resolve the issues related with Banco Delta Asia within 30 days. We hope the US can work with other parties to resolve the issue properly as soon as possible. This is conducive to promoting the process of the Talks. I don't have information for the meeting between the US and the government of Macao Special Administrative Region, please refer your question to the US.

Q: The six parties reached consensus at the last round of Six-Party Talks that five working groups will be convened. What expectation does China have on the working group's meeting for the normalization of US-DPRK relationship probably to be held in the US next month?

A: As for the talks between the DPRK and the US, a joint document to finalize the initial steps of the Joint Statement was issued at the last round of the Six-Party Talks. Accordingly, a working group will be set up for the normalization of the US-DPRK relationship. Both the US and the DPRK were committed to kicking off bilateral negotiations as soon as possible. We hope the talks between the US and the DPRK, as one of the measures at the initial stage to implement the September 19 Joint Statement, can become an important step towards the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. We hope the US and the DPRK can resolve their outstanding bilateral issues and march towards the full normalization of their relationship.

Q: Shoichi Nakagawa, Chairman of the Policy Research Council of the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan said yesterday that Japan might become another province of China within the following two decades if Taiwan were united into the mainland in the next 15 years. Moreover, China's growing military expenditure is a grave issue. Do you have any comment? Secondly, the US Vice President Cheney expressed concern over China's growing military power, deeming it incompatible with China's peaceful development and criticized China's outer space test. Do you have any comment?

A: As for your first question, it must be pointed out that the Taiwan question is China's internal affairs which brooks no interference from any foreign or outside forces. Japan has made explicit commitment on the Taiwan question in the three political documents between China and Japan. We hope Japan can adhere to its commitment and ensure healthy and normal development of our bilateral relations.

Regarding the so-called China's military build-up and intransparency of military expenditure in his statement, we have actually made clear our position and proposition on many occasions. Japan is clear about it. As a sovereign state with a long border on land and the sea, it is beyond questioning for China to maintain a certain level of national defense strengthen just to safeguard its own sovereignty and territorial integrity as well as national unity. Whereas Japan, a country with 1/25 of China's size and with 1/10 of China's population, has maintained a huge military expenditure. China's military expenditure is only 67% that of Japan and only 7% that of Japan in per capita terms. A country with a much smaller population and size than China keeps such a titanic military expenditure and constantly cries out "China Threat". What is its real intention? Isn't it strange? Japan has always asked China to increase transparency. So we also ask Japan to do the same and tell us their real intention is. Can they explain the real motives behind series of their military moves such as trying to include China's Taiwan into Japan's Contingency Plan and the above-mentioned remarks on Taiwan?

I will reiterate that China is a peace-loving country committed to the road of peaceful development. China's development is conducive to regional and world peace and stability. We will not threaten any one, nor do we hope or allow to be blackmailed or threatened by others.

As for your second question, China firmly pursues a path of peaceful development and is an important force to safeguard world peace and promote common development. China's position and role in the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula is a sufficient proof. China opposes to the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery vehicles. China's position is consistent in peaceful use of outer space and against weaponization and arms race in outer space. China is always pushing forward the international community to negotiate and sign an agreement on banning weapons and arms race in outer space as soon as possible. China's path of peaceful development and its efforts have been widely applauded by the international community, particularly Asia-Pacific countries.

We are ready to work with the US to implement the important consensus reached by the two heads of state, strengthen dialogues, exchanges and cooperation in all fields and properly address differences, so as to promote continuous, healthy and stable development of China-US constructive and cooperative relations.

Q: Six nations met in London yesterday for the Iranian nuclear issue. The Security Council is discussing a new resolution on sanctions against Iran. Will China support tougher measures, for instance, travel ban upon Iran? Russia recently expressed concern over possible US military strikes against Iran. How China is concerned over that?

A: Political chief in charge of the Iranian nuclear issue from six nations had a meeting in London yesterday. Chinese Ambassador to the UK, Zha Peixin attended the meeting. Discussions were focused on next step of the Security Council and on how to resume contact with Iran. Parties are all devoted to seeking for ways to address the issue properly through peaceful negotiations.

We have always endorsed a peaceful solution through diplomacy and negotiation. Sanction should not be the purpose. Any measure the Security Council is to take should be conducive to a proper solution to the issue through peaceful talks.

Q: Please brief us on the scheduling of the Working Group on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula? Secondly, Amnesty International issued a report, asserting that two North Korean soldiers will be executed for helping their people to enter the territory of China without permission. Do you have any comment?

A: On your first question, it is agreed during the fifth round of the Six Party Talks that five Working Groups (WG) are to be set up. My knowledge is that the arrangements of the two WGs on normalization of DPRK-US relations and DPRK-Japan relations will be worked out by the DPRK, US and the DPRK and Japan respectively. Parties are still having close contact on the arrangements for the other three WGs, namely that for Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, Economy and Energy Cooperation and Northeast Asia Peace and Security Mechanism. I do not have further details. I will keep you updated.

On your second question, I haven't seen the reports. Neither do I know the backgrounds of the issue. As to those transgressors from the DPRK, we have always dealt with issue properly in light of domestic law, international law and the humanitarian principles.

Q: LTTE attacked some diplomats in Sri Lanka. Do you have any comment?

A: As a friendly neighbour of Sri Lanka, China has always followed closely the developments of the situation there. We support the efforts of the Sri Lankan Government to promote national stability, ethnic reconciliation as well as economic and social development. We hope it can achieve peace and stability at an early date.

Q: What's China's conclusion to charges on the involvement of Banco Delta Asia in money laundering? State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan concluded his visit to Myanmar. Did he bring up the issue of Aung San Suu Kyi to Myanmar?

A: On your first question, the position of the Chinese Government on combating financial crimes including money laundering is clear, consistent and resolute. BDA is registered in Macao, a Special Administrative Region of China. The issue will be settled properly in light of law by the Macao SAR Government.

On your second question, China always believes issues happened inside Myanmar are its domestic affairs, which should be solved the Government and people of Myanmar through independent discussions. The international community should help Myanmar to press ahead with the process of peaceful reconciliation in an active and constructive attitude under the condition of respecting the sovereignty and national dignity of Myanmar.

During his stay there, State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan exchanged views with Myanmar leaders on bilateral relations. He stated that the Chinese Government sincerely hopes to see Myanmar enjoy political stability, economic progress, and ethnic harmony and ensure happy life for its people.

Q: Since the last round of the Six Party Talks, there are speculations that North Korea might accelerate its economic development, including establishing a special economic zone near Dandong. Do you have any comment? Is China involved in helping their efforts?

A: China hopes to see the DPRK, our neighbour, enjoy economic and social progress with its people living happily. The international community should provide helpful and constructive assistance. In developing relations with the DPRK, we have always proceeded from two principles, one, peace and stability of the Peninsula, two, joint interest of both countries. We are ready to explore economic cooperation with the DPRK on the basis of equality and mutual benefit.

If there are no further questions, thank you and bye.

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