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Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang's Regular Press Conference on March 27, 2007

2007-03-28

On the afternoon of March 27, 2007, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang held a regular press conference and answered questions on the Six Party Talks, Premier Wen's visit to the ROK and Japan, China-Russia energy cooperation, and Taiwan's so-called Foreign Minister's visit to Saint Lucia.

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

At the invitation of Roh Moo-hyun, President of the Republic of Korea, and Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, Chinese Premier of the State Council Wen Jiabao will pay official visits to the two countries from April 10 to 13.

At the invitation of Pakistani Foreign Minister Kasuri, Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing will pay an official visit to Pakistan from April 1 to 2.

The 14th Summit of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) will be held in New Delhi, India from April 3 to 4. At the invitation of the Government of Government, chair of the summit and the next rotating president of SAARC,Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing will head the Chinese delegation to attend the summit. This is the first time for China to attend the summit since it becomes the observer of SAARC.

The 7th Round of Consultations on the East China Sea between China and Japan will be held in Tokyo on March 29. Hu Zhengyue, Director General of the Department of Asian Affairs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China,and Kenichiro Sasae, Director General of the Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau, the Japanese Foreign Ministry,will respectively head their delegations to the consultations.

At the invitation of the Chinese Government, María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, the First Vice President and Minister of the Presidency of Spain, will pay an official visit to China from April 2 to 8.

Now the floor is open.

Q: In China's view, is the US to blame for the issue of Banco Delta Asia (BDA) that stalled the process of the Six-Party Talks? The US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Treasury Glaser has met with Chinese officials from the People's Bank of China, the Banking Regulatory Commission, the Foreign Ministry and officials on the DPRK side. Has any progress been made on the issue of BDA?

A: To my knowledge, the US side is discussing the issue with relevant departments of China and other parties concerned.

Q: Almost one week has passed since the banking issue emerged. Is the seven days counted in the 60 days of the initial stage for the implementation of the Joint Statement?

A: There is no change in the resolve of the six parties to carry out the Initial Actions for the Implementation of the Joint Statement signed on September 19.

Q: Please brief us on the specific timeframe of Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to the ROK and Japan. Secondly, Japanese Prime Minister Abe said that he hoped to see Premier Wen support the issue of the abducted Japanese to be settled within the framework of the Six-Party Talks during his visit. Will Premier Wen touch upon the issue with the Japanese side? Will China support Japan to become a permanent member of the Security Council? Thirdly, the Defense Ministry of Japan recently released a report asserting that China has been expanding its influence in Southeast Asia, building up its military capability, and posing a threat to Japan. What's your comment? Will this report affect Premier Wen's visit to Japan?

A: Premier Wen Jiabao will visit the ROK from April 10 to 11, and Japan from 11 to 13. The detailed agenda is not available since it is still under consultation.

As for the issue of the abducted of Japanese, we understand and sympathize on Japanese people's feelings and concerns. However, this is the issue between Japan and DPRK after all. We hope the two sides can properly resolve it through dialogue and consultation.

The reform of the Security Council bears on the future development of the United Nations and the interests of its member states. It is also a highly important multilateral issue which requires the UN members to reach the broadest consensus through patient and thorough consultations on the basis of full democracy.

For your third question, I want to stress that China pursues the good neighborly policy and the guidelines of building good neighborly relationship and partnership. The development of the relationship between China and its neighbors, including Southeast Asia countries, does not target at any one or threaten the interests of any other party. Countries should build political mutual trust, develop reciprocal and win-win economic cooperation, and promote mutual coordination in the security field, so as to make joint efforts for regional peace and stability as well as common development.

Q: It is reported that some Latin American countries, including Guatemala, Chile and Mexico, have expressed their interest in the purchase of the second-hand fighter jets from Taiwan. Do you have any comment?

A: The Chinese Government's principled position on the Taiwan question is clear to all, including those countries you mentioned. The Chinese Government uncompromisingly opposes any official or military ties between Taiwan and countries having diplomatic relations with China. We hope countries concerned can properly handle the issue based on the universally recognized One China principle.

Q: When does China expect the Six-Party Talks to be resumed? Do you have any comment on Abe's apology on the "Comfort Women" issue yesterday?

A: The time for the resumption of the Talks still needs the consultation of relevant parties.

China's position on the "Comfort Women" issue has been repeatedly stated before and it stays unchanged.

Q: Currently, is there any "meimu" (progress) for the DPRK's fund's transfer at the BDA? And how many days are still needed before the issue is solved? Is it still the Bank of China, to China's consideration, that might receive the funds or are you thinking about some other solutions?

A: In the first place, let me congratulate you on the impressive improvement of your Chinese for the use of the Chinese word "meimu".

Well, I can only tell you that the question you raised just now is still under consultation among all parties concerned.

Q: Has the Chinese Government protested against the Saint Lucia Government on the recent Taiwan officials' visit there? Does China worry that Saint Lucia might establish "diplomatic relations" with Taiwan? Second question, what result does China expect for this round of consultation on East China Sea between China and Japan?

A: The Saint Lucia Government's permission on the visit of the so-called "Foreign Minister" of Taiwan and arrangement for his meeting with the Saint Lucia's leaders recently contravenes the Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between China and Saint Lucia and hurt the Chinese People's feelings. The Chinese Government expresses strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition to that. The Chinese Ambassador to Saint Lucia has made solemn representation with the government of Saint Lucia as instructed.

The One China Principle is an important principle that is universally recognized by the international community. China hopes the Saint Lucia Government faithfully abides by the One China principle affirmed in the Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between China and Saint Lucia to jointly promote the healthy and steady development of China-Saint Lucia relations.

The Taiwan Authorities attempt to establish "Two China" in the world in order to achieve the political goal of the Independence of Taiwan and undermine the friendly relations between China and the countries with diplomatic relations with China. Their scheme will never succeed.

On the China-Japan consultation on the East China Sea. It is known to all that China and Japan hold different views on the East China Sea which hasn't been delimitated yet. Therefore, we propose to have joint exploration while putting aside our disputes. We need to hold on to the course of joint exploration to properly handle the issue through negotiation and consultation. We look forward to deep and full exchanges of views on this issue with Japan during the seventh round of consultation. I cannot forecast the result of it for it hasn't started.

Q: The US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Peter Pace paid a visit to China a couple of days ago. Besides Beijing, he also visited Shenyang and Nanjing Military Area. Can you tell us the objective of his visit? The Russian delegate to the Six Party Talks said that the US should be responsible for the stagnation of this round of talks. Does China agree with him?

A: On the first question, Mr. Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the US, was in China for a visit several days ago. It is an important component of the Sino-US military exchanges. During his visit, the Chinese military leaders and Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing met with him and exchanged views on the strengthening of military exchanges and cooperation between the two and the promotion of the healthy and steady development the Sino-US constructive cooperation. As for his visit to some military areas, I suggest you consult relevant authorities since the visit is not arranged by the Foreign Ministry.

On your second question, I cannot speak for the Russians and I am not in a position to interpret the comment made by the Head of the Russian delegation.

Q: Is the fund's transfer issue a monetary problem or an issue concerning the DPRK's access to the international financial system? Has the Chinese Government discussed with the Bank of China on the fund's transfer issue before the US and the DPRK reached an agreement to unfreeze the funds? And why hasn't the Chinese Government done more to solve this issue?

A: I can tell you that all parties, including China, are still discussing this issue in order to solve it properly. Besides that, I have nothing more to add. If you still want to squeeze more from me, I suggest you stop raising your hand.

Q: Some people argue that China undercuts the well-being of some small and medium-sized developing countries while boosting its own foreign trade. How does China comment on that?

A: Isn't this theory somewhat of your own speculation? However, I want to emphasize that developing countries, including those small and medium ones, have all expressed their willingness to expand trade and economic cooperation with China. As one of the developing countries itself, China cooperates with other developing countries, including the small and medium ones, on the basis of mutual respect, equality and win-win result. As a Chinese saying goes, the poor and needy should help each other. Not rich as we are, we still lend a helping hand to other developing countries within our capacity, in order to help them shake off poverty and attain sustainable social and economic development. We call on developed countries to join us.

The social and economic cooperation between China and other countries, both in and outside Africa, benefits the well-being of local people and helps these countries in their effort to build their own capacity for sustainable development. Moreover, we abide by the rule of market and market-based pricing mechanism when importing raw materials and other commodities from developing countries. This catalyzes the translation of their resource advantage into competitive edge in market, and is not in the least similar to the driving-down price maneuver by some countries in the past.

Recently, I have come across such arguments from time to time. This is not a surprise to me, because some people are reluctant to see the growth of economic and trade ties between China and other developing countries. Our actions will speak the truth.

Q: Can you offer more details on the visit by the Spanish First Vice President to China?

A: María Teresa Fernández de la Vega, First Vice President and Minister of the Presidency of Spain, will visit China from April 2 to 8. During her visit, she will attend the opening ceremony for the Spain Year in China. Besides Beijing, she will also visit Shanghai and Xi'an. Premier Wen Jiabao will meet with him, and State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan will hold talks with her, exchanging views on bilateral relations and questions of common interest.

We believe that China-Spain relations have developed with sound momentum, with a strategic partnership established, high-level visits frequently exchanged and cooperation increasingly strengthened in education, culture, science and technology and judiciary work. This year, the two countries will respectively launch a Spain Year and a Festival Chinese Art in each other's hand. We hope the colorful events may enhance the mutual understanding between the two countries and facilitate a better development of our bilateral relations.

Q: President Hu Jintao is visiting Russia. Can you tell us Russia's role in China's energy security? How much oil is transported by railway between China and Russia? Does China ask Russia to accelerate the construction of oil and natural gas pipe lines?

A: The visit by President Hu Jintao to Russia is a highly important state visit. The two leaders had a full exchange of views on the cooperation in various fields and on major international and regional issues. I have taken note that the foreign media are especially sensitive to the energy cooperation, which has been widely covered. So now I would like to share with you some information.

China-Russia energy cooperation is an important part of the cooperation between the two countries. Both China and Russia are major players in international energy market. Our mutually-beneficial energy cooperation not only serves the interest of the two sides but benefits the security and stability of international energy market. Both of the countries attach importance to the energy cooperation. President Hu and President Putin discussed the issue during their meeting. They reached further consensus on phasing in the bilateral energy cooperation so as to let it become an important part of China-Russia strategic and cooperative partnership. I suggest you reread the just-issued China-Russia Joint Statement in which the spirit is enshrined.

On the oil transportation by railway. China and Russia have agreement on it. From 2006, the supply of crude oil from Russia to China by railway is no less than 15 million tons a year. Besides, China and Russia have agreement on oil and gas pipelines and other cooperation projects. China is ready to press ahead with the projects in accordance with the set objectives and timetable.

Q: Recently Japanese Prime Minister Abe apologized for the "comfort women" issue. Meanwhile, Japanese high-level official Hirofumi Shimomura said that the Japanese military was not involved in the "comfort women" issue. What is your comment? Will the Foreign Ministers of China and Japan have a meeting during the SAARC Summit in India?

A: Actually you shall refer your question to the Japanese government on who on the Japanese side have the final say on the issue.

On the second question, Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing's bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the SAARC Summit are still under arrangement.

Q: What role will China play in the cooperation of SAARC?

A: SAARC is an important regional cooperation organization in South Asia. China has been following and supporting the cooperation process of SAARC. Not long ago, China was accepted as an observer of SAARC and we welcome that. As a friendly neighbour of South Asia, we are ready to conduct exchanges and cooperation with SAARC in light of the principle of equality, mutual benefit, and win-win cooperation with a view to making positive contributions to the cooperation, development and prosperity of South Asia.

If there are no more questions, thank you and bye!

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