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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang's Regular Press Conference on March 15 2007

2007-03-15

On the afternoon of March 15, 2007, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang held a regular press conference and answered questions on the US Treasury Department's decision on the BDA, Japan's Supreme Court to open debate on the suit by Chinese forced labors and interpret Sino-Japanese Joint Statement and the Six Party Talks.

Qin: Good afternoon! The floor is open now.

Q: Will the ruling of the US Treasury Department on the BDA, issued early this morning, have any impact on the Six Party Talks? I heard that ElBaradei, IAEA's Director General met with Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei at noon. Can you give me some details of their talks?

A: US Treasury Department today disclosed the ruling on the BDA. We express deep regret over the US decision on the BDA according to its domestic laws, despite of the repeated concerns expressed by the Central and Macau SAR Government over the issue.

The Central Government supports Macau SAR Government to properly handle the issue by law.

The issue shall be handled in a way conducive to both the progress of the Six-Party Talks and the financial and social stability of the Macau SAR.

ElBaradei, IAEA's Director General, arrived in Beijing yesterday after his visit to the DPRK. This morning he met with Assistant Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai and exchanged views on the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula and the Iranian nuclear issue.

Q: Why does China express "deep regret" over the US Treasury Department's ruling on the BDA? Why will the US decision have negative impact on the Six Party Talks? And what is China's position on the DPRK's nuclear facilities in Yongbyon? Has the DPRK fulfilled its commitment to seal up the nuclear facilities in Yongbyon at the initial phase?

A: China has two major concerns over this issue, both of which should be adequately considered and properly addressed.

All parties concerned, including the DPRK, have made solemn commitment in the September 19 Joint Statement and February 13 Joint Document aimed to reach the goal of denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula. We hope currently all parties can keep their words and earnestly implement their obligations at the initial phase. We also noticed and welcome ElBaradei's positive views on his trip to the DPRK at the press conference yesterday. We believe it is helpful for the DPRK and the IAEA to improve their relations through dialogue.

Q: The US Treasury Department's ruling on the BDA indicates that the US banks can no longer do business with the BDA. But it also means that it will be up to the Chinese Central and Macau SAR Governments to decide whether to unfreeze the account of BDA. Why does China still express regret?

A: The Chinese Government, as well as Chinese financial institutions, holds firm position on countering illegal financial activities including money laundering. We earnestly fulfill relevant international obligations by taking effective measures.

I suggest you to think over China's two concerns that I have mentioned earlier. They must be satisfied at the same time.

Q: What measures will China take towards the BDA since the US Treasury Department found it involved with money laundering?

A: Macau is a Special Administrative Region of China which adopts One Country, Two Systems Policy and enjoys high degree of autonomy. Macau SAR Government will properly handle this issue according to law.

You may have already seen Macau SAR Government's statement on the BDA this morning. We endorse the statement.

Q: Wu Bangguo, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, mentioned in the work report last Sunday that during 2006 the National People's Congress ratified eighteen agreements China signed with other countries and approved China's accession to three international conventions. Can you tell me what exactly they are?

A: 2006 witnessed China's entry to nine multilateral treaties. You can get the details after the press conference.

Q: FBI recently accused many Chinese companies of stealing US high technology by various ways. Do you have any comment?

A: The accusation is groundless.

China has friendly cooperation with many countries including the US on the basis of equality and mutual benefit. Chinese companies are always running their business normally and legally in the US. We feel astonished and find the US accusation unacceptable.

Why some tend to regard others as threats or even thieves? I think it is because their nerve is fragile.

Q: The DPRK representative to the Six-Party Talks told the media at the airport today that they were not able to make positive comments on the US measure owing to the US Treasury Department's financial ruling on the BDA earlier today and the recent US-ROK joint military operation. Can you comment on that?

A: I do not speak for the DPRK. Yet we hope the BDA issue can be handled properly. Actions taken by parties concerned should be conducive to the Six-Party Talks.

Q: Has the US informed China of its BDA ruling beforehand? Has the Central Government assessed its impact on Macau's financial system?

A: There were discussions on this issue between China and the US. We are very concerned with the impact of US Treasury Department's decision on Macau's financial and social stability. We will follow closely over it.

Q: Did China contact the DPRK on the US ruling on the BDA? And why do you feel surprised towards the US decision?

A: There had been some consultation between the US and the DPRK before that. We don't know much about the specifics. But the DPRK has indeed talked about the financial sanction issue within the framework of the Six-Party Talks, which was the major cause for the previous trouble and difficulties of the Six Party Talks.

By the way, I didn't say we were surprised by the decision. Rather, we express deep regret over it.

Q: Is there any specific arrangement of the Denuclearization Working Group's meeting scheduled on March 17? Who will be the members of the delegations?

A: The Denuclearization Working Group's meeting is to start in Beijing on March 17. Chinese representative is Wu Dawei, Vice Foreign Minister of China and Head of the Chinese Delegation to the Six Party Talks; the US representative is Christopher Hill, Head of the US Delegation to the Six Party Talks; Head of the ROK Delegation to the Six Party Talks Chung Yung-woo will represent the ROK; and there are two Japanese representatives, Suda Akio, Japanese Envoy of the Nuclear Issue on the Korean Peninsula and Kenichiro Sasae, Head of the Japanese Delegation to the Six Party Talks; and the Russian representative is Ambassador-at-large G.Berdennikov.

Q: The Macau SAR Government appoints a Portuguese instead of a Chinese to supervise the BDA. Does the Central Government mind that?

A: Macau SAR adopts the Policy of One Country, Two Systems and Macau People Administering Macau with high degree of autonomy. In light of the Basic Law, the Central Government respects Macau SAR Government's decisions.

Q: I learned that the Japanese Supreme Court will open up debate tomorrow over the compensation law suit filed by the Chinese forced labors. This will be the first time for Japan's highest judicial authority to interpret the Sino-Japanese Joint Statement. What position does China hold?

A: As a solemn political and diplomatic document signed by Chinese and Japanese Governments, Sino-Japanese Joint Statement constitutes the political basis of the restoration and development of post-war Sino-Japanese relations. Neither country should unilaterally interpret any crucial principle or issues in the document, including judicial interpretation.

Q: One more question about the BDA. How will China bring up this issue to the US? Particularly, will China discuss this issue with the US within the Six Party Talks?

A: We will express our concern to the US through appropriate channel as we did before.

Q: The Joint Economic and Trade Committee of China and Angola will meet today in the Ministry of Commerce of China. Can you tell us the agenda of this meeting?

A: I suggest you consult the Ministry of Commerce.

Q: What comment do you have on Pakistani Foreign Minister's trip to China next week? And what issues will be discussed?

A: Pakistani Foreign Minister will have talks with Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing during his visit to China. Leaders of China will also meet him. China and Pakistan are friendly neighbors. Both countries have sound and mutually beneficial cooperation. We hope both sides can have adequate exchanges of views over bilateral relations as well as international and regional issues of common concern through the visit so as to further promote the bilateral relationship.

Q: Does China hope to see the DPRK reject the US Treasury Department's ruling?

A: I am not in a position to speak for the DPRK.

Q: What time on Sunday will the Denuclearization Working Group meet? Is it at the Diaoyutai Guest House?

A: My information is that the meeting starts at 10 o'clock on Sunday at the Diaoyutai Guest House.

If there are no other questions, thanks for coming. Goodbye!

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