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Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang's Regular Press Conference on March 13, 2007

2007-03-14

On the afternoon of March 13, 2007, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang held a regular press conference and answered questions on the nuclear issue of the Korean Peninsula, China-Japan relations, China-France relations, Australia-Japan joint declaration on security and cooperation, Darfur and other issues.

 

Qin: Good afternoon! I will begin with some announcements.

 

At the invitation of the Governments of Australia, New Zealand, Vanuatu and Babua Newguinea, Vice Premier of the State Council Zeng Peiyan will pay official visits to the four countries from March 19 to 31.

 

At the invitation of Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Kurshid Mehmood Kasuri will pay an official visit to China from March 18 to 21.

 

At the invitation of the Government of Pakistan, the special envoy of the Chinese Government and Minister of Communications Li Shenglin will visit Pakistan and attend the completion ceremony of Gwadar Port from March 18 to 21.

 

According to the consultation with other parties by China, the Working Group on Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula under the framework of the Six-Party Talks has been set up with Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei as the chair. The first meeting of the Working Group will be held in Beijing on March 17.

 

Now the floor is open. 

 

Q: Which working groups of the Six-party Talks will hold meetings on March 17? How long will the meetings last? What's China's main objective?

 

A: The details of the arrangement for the working group session on denuclearization are still under close consultation between China and other parties. Other working groups, including the ones on normalization of US-DPRK relations and Japan-DPRK relations as you mentioned, have met earlier. ROK and Russia will respectively chair the Working Groups on Economic and Energy Cooperation and Northeast Asia Peace and Security Mechanism. I suggest you refer the questions on the two groups to them.

 

We hold that the objective of the five groups is to ensure that the measures to implement the Joint Statement in the initial stage will be fulfilled, so as to lay the ground for the further development of the next round of the Six-Party Talks.   

 

The Six Round of the Six-Party Talks will be held on March 19. We believe the working groups' meetings will be concluded before that.

 

Q: What's China's expectation on the visit of Elbaradei, the Director-General of IAEA to the DPRK?

 

A: At the invitation of the DPRK, the Director-General of IAEA Elbaradei is paying a visit to Pyongyang. In our view, it is an important step taken by the DPRK and the IAEA for improving their relations. We hope and believe that such kind of contact and exchanges will help to implement the initial actions of the Joint Statement. It is our hope that Mr. Elbaradei's visit to the DPRK will proceed successfully.

 

Q: Australia and Japan signed a security pact today. Do you have any comment? What will be its impact on the surrounding region? 

 

A: It is our hope that relevant countries can take into account the concern and interests of other countries in the region when they strengthen bilateral security cooperation, and do more to promote mutual trust among the countries as well as peace and stability in the region.

 

Q: The supreme court of Japan is to debate the issue of Chinese forced labor by Nishimatsu Construction in the near future. Some people believe the key of the case is whether the Chinese Government recognizes its citizen's right to demand compensation from Japan. It will produce a far-reaching impact on war compensation in the future. Does China believe that Chinese individuals still have the right to demand compensation from Japan, and that the Japanese Government should show sincerity and properly handle the issue? What's China's position on its people's demand for war compensation?

 

A: The Chinese Government clearly stated its position over war compensation in the China-Japan Joint Statement in 1972. This position remains unchanged.

 

I have to point out the conscription of the forced labor is one of the grave crimes committed by the Japanese militarism in its war of aggression. We hope Japan seriously treat and properly handle the issue with an attitude responsible for the history.       

Q:Last week, Dalai Lama delivered a speech in India on the 48th anniversary of Tibetan uprise. He criticized the newly-built Qinghai-Tibet Railway, asserting that despite some opportunities it brings to Tibet, it poses a threat to Tibet since it makes it more convenient for so many Han Chinese to get access. What's your comment? 

 

A: To begin with, you are quite wrong in describing Dalai's escape in 1958 as an "uprise". After his escape, Dalai has been in exile abroad, engaged in activities aimed to split our country and undermine national solidarity. His escape was not an act of justice, let alone an "uprise". I believe my correction will be helpful for you to better understand our position on the issues of Tibet and Dalai.

 

In his speech, Dalai continues to turn a blind eye to the development of Tibet and sticks to his wrong political platform. Since the peaceful liberalization of Tibet 50 years ago, earth-shaking changes have taken place in Tibet and remarkable progress have been made in political, economic, cultural, social, and human rights undertakings. Tibetan development with the progressing era is an irreversible trend that no one can change.

I remember that you took the first train to Tibet with other foreign correspondents on July 1st last year. You must be well aware of the real situation in Tibet and the changes Qinghai-Tibet Railway has brought to Tibet.

 

We hope Dalai could face up to history, reconcile with the trend of times, correctly assess the real situation, and reflect upon his fundamental political platform, so as to make the right choice of doing more things beneficial to Tibetan people in the rest of his life.

 

Q: Both Japanese and Australian leaders have claimed that the Japan-Australia security pact is not targeted at China, do you believe that? Australia, following the US, is the second country with which Japan signed such a deal. Will this make China expend more on military modernization?

 

A: I hope they really mean what they have said.

 

China adheres to the path of peaceful development with a defensive national defense construction. Our military modernization and maintenance of reasonable military strength is purely to safeguard our security, territorial integrity, and development interest rather than invasion or expansion. We hope relevant countries could take an objective view of China's diplomacy and national defense policy.

 

We are willing to develop mutually-beneficial and cooperative friendship with other countries in the region in line with the spirit of the UN Charter and the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, as well as the new security concept featuring mutual-trust, mutual-benefit, equality, and coordination, so as to maintain regional peace and stability.

 

China will not invade others, or threaten others. We have nothing to be afraid of. We fell unperturbed.

 

Q: French president Chirac announced last Sunday that he would not seek a third term in elections. What's your comment given Chirac is a good friend of China?

 

A: In recent years, the all-round strategic partnership between China and France has made comprehensive and thorough headways, which is the result of joint effort and active moves adopted by both leaders. Mr. Chirac, during his 12 years as French president, has played an active role in promoting China-France and China-Europe relations. We applaud his important contributions. We also appreciate the stance France has adhered to on the issue of Taiwan and the lift of EU's embargo. We are satisfied with the development of China-France relations.

 

Under current volatile international circumstances, China and France, as permanent members of the UN Security Council, share comprehensive common interests and shoulder important responsibility in international affairs. No matter how international and domestic situation changes, we will be firmly devoted to the cooperative friendship with France. We are willing to push forward the all-round strategic partnership in the spirit of the three joint statements between us.

 

Q: Who will be Chinese representatives in the working groups of Economy and Energy Cooperation and Northeast Asia Peace and Security Mechanism? Will the next round of the Six-Party Talks beginning next Monday last for a relatively short period because most discussions will be within the working groups? Besides, did IAEA Director General ElBaradei meet with Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei? What topics did they discuss?

 

A: China will assign the right persons to take part in the two working groups, but I am afraid I am not able to offer you the list at this point. The 6th round of the Six-Party Talks will begin from March 19. As for the duration of the talks, it's up to the six parties to decide according to the progress of the talks.

 

Mr. ElBaradei stopped over here enroute for the DPRK. Yesterday, Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei met with him and briefed him on the progress of the Six-Party Talks.

 

Q: Does the China-Japan Joint Statement in 1972 mean that the Chinese citizens have given up the right for war compensation

accordingly?  What is the position of the Chinese government towards Chinese citizens' compensation lawsuits against Japan?

 

A: Please be aware, my early response has two parts. First, the Chinese government adheres to the position elaborated in the 1972 Joint Statement. Second, the conscription of the forced labor is one of the grave crimes committed by the Japanese militarism during World War .

 

 We hope Japan can treat earnestly the issue left over from history and handle it properly. This is also a humanitarian issue.

 

Q: The Sudanese President Bashir said he hopes to see some restrictions on the UN peacekeeping mission in Sudan. What is the position of China on the deployment of UN peacekeeping mission in Sudan? President Bashir wrote to the UN Secretary General on the issue. What is your reaction?

 

A: The international community including the Sudanese government has reached principled consensus on the hybrid operation of the UN and AU in the Darfur region. We believe that with the concerted efforts of all parties, the Sudanese Government, the UN and AU can reach consensus on the rest of the details and translate it into action at an early date.

 

Q: In the WG of the Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, besides Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei, will the heads of the other five parties also be the members of the group? If it is true, what is the difference between the WG meetings and the Sixth Round of the Six-party Talks on March 19? Can you tell us the specific arrangement of this round of the Talks?

 

A: China is having consultation with the relevant parties on the representatives of the other five parties in the WG of Denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. I have no exact information up to now.

The February 13th Joint Document clearly stipulated that the task of the WG is to discuss and formulate the plans for the implementation of the Joint Statement in their respective field and to report the results to the meetings of heads of delegations of the Six-party Talks. We expect the WGs to report their plans and achievements in the implementation of the initial actions since February 13 to the meetings of heads of delegations on March 19. The latter may have discussion when necessary.

 

The time for the Six-party Talks to open has yet to be decided. We will release the relevant information in due course. As in the past several rounds of Talks, our Press Center for the Six-party Talks will be in the Diaoyutai Hotel, where relevant information will be released. You may pay attention to the information we release. Our Press Center will be happy to facilitate your coverage of the event.

 

Q: Yesterday China and Sri Lanka signed an agreement on the construction of a port, which is based on the consensus reached by the Presidents of the two countries during Sri Lankan President's visit to China. What impact will it have on China-Sri Lanka relations?

 

A: The companies of China and Sri Lanka signed an agreement on a port project yesterday. This is a business deal.

China and Sri Lanka are friendly neighbours. The development of our bilateral ties is based on mutual respect, equality, and mutual benefit. China has all along taken a positive attitude to the economic cooperation and trade with Sri Lanka. The cooperation is not only beneficial to China but also conducive to local economic and social development of Sri Lanka.

 

Q: Japanese Prime Minister Abe apologized from the bottom of his heart to the mentally-hurt "comfort women" in the NHK TV programme. What is your comment? I asked the question at the last press conference that in 1993 former Japanese Prime Minister Kono acknowledged the responsibility of the Japanese army on the "comfort women" issue and he expressed heart-felt apology and remorse. How do you comment on the Kono Statement? Do you expect the present Japanese government inherit the spirit of the Kono Statement?

 

A: You question is very long but my answer is fairly short. Recently we have reiterated our position on the "comfort women" question on many occasions. Our position remains unchanged.

 

Q: President Hu Jintao will visit Russia. Do you have the specific date for his visit?

 

A: As agreed by China and Russia, President Hu Jintao will pay a state visit to Russia later this month. The specific date will be released in due course.

 

If there is no other question, thank you and bye!

 

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