|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Jiang Yu's Regular Press Conference on 15 May 2007|
On the afternoon of 15 May, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Jiang Yu held a regular conference and answered questions on Sino-US Strategic Economic Dialogue, China-Africa cooperation, the Six Party Talks, May 12 collision accident and other issues.
Jiang: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I have three announcements to make:
As agreed by China and the US, the second Sino-US Strategic Economic Dialogue will be held in Washington D.C. from May 22 to 23. Vice Premier Wu Yi and US Treasury Secretary Paulson will co-chair the dialogue as special representatives of the heads of the two states respectively. Ministers and secretaries and other senior officials of relevant authorities from the two countries will also be present.
At the invitation of Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, Foreign Minister of the Republic of South Africa Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma will pay an official visit to China from May 20 to 22.
Foreign Minister of New Zealand Winston Peters will pay an official visit to China on invitation from May 21 to 26.
Now I would like to pick up your question.
Q: ROK media reports that Jinsheng, the vessel involved in the incident, continued its course without stopping to take any rescuing measures after the collision. Can it be interpreted as a hit-and-run case? It is reported that ROK has expressed concern to China. What position does China hold on that? Is there any progress in the investigation?
A: China understands ROK media's special interest in the incident. Investigation into the accident is still under way. Please consult relevant authorities for more details.
What we know at this stage is, the Chinese Government attaches great importance to the incident that happened in the Gulf of Bo Hai on May 12. Relevant Chinese authorities have dispatched three search and rescue ships, two helicopters and a fixed-wing aircraft to join the continuous search for the sailors in the possible waters and coordinated another one hundred passing-by vessels for the rescue work, which is still in process currently. The rescue work will cover a wider range as time goes on. China adopts a responsible and humanitarian approach to properly settle relevant issues concerning the tragedy in accordance with international pacts and laws. As long as there is one percent hope for the survival of the missing sailors, China will exert one hundred percent efforts to rescue them. China conveyed sympathy and condolences to the relatives of the missing sailors, and have made well-conceived arrangements for them to come to China. China keeps close coordination with ROK over the issue and would keep it informed of the investigation results.
Q: Recently Esthonia's decision to move the Soviet Red Army soldiers' monument and graves has angered Russia and lead to deterioration of Russia-Estonia relations. Do you have any comment on that?
A: China is aware of the dispute between the two countries and hopes they can solve the issue through friendly consultations. The Soviet Red Army made remarkable contribution to the victory of the worldwide anti-Fascist war. China is deeply appreciative of the support given by the Soviet Red Army during the Chinese people's war against the Japanese aggression. China will carefully preserve Soviet Red Army graves in China according to relevant agreements between China and Russia.
Q: What does China expect from the upcoming second Sino-US Strategic Economic Dialogue? President Hu Jintao said in his recent telephone conversation with US President Bush that joint efforts need to be made by both countries to overcome the trade friction. What measures is China going to take, especially in trade policies?
A: Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi will attend the second round of the Sino-US Strategic Economic Dialogue in Washington D.C. from May 22 to 23. The dialogue will be centered on topics including services, investment and transparency, energy and environment, balanced growth and innovation. China hopes to exchange views with the US side on issues of common interest so as to broaden our common ground and increase mutual trust and cooperation in various fields between the two countries and promote the development of Sino-US economic and trade relations and the Sino-US strategic cooperative relationship.
Mutual benefits and win-win cooperation remain the mainstream of Sino-US economic and trade relations. China and the United States enjoy a surging two-way trade development in recent years and have become each other's second largest trading partners. In 2006, our trade volume reached 262.68 billion U.S. dollars, more than one hundred times that of the early days when the two countries established diplomatic relationship. Chinese and United States economies are complementary with still huge potential for trade cooperation. We know that trade frictions are inevitable during the rapid growth of trade cooperation. We hope the two sides will resolve these problems with a rational attitude and a spirit of candid dialogue and equal consultation, so as to push forward the healthy and steady development of Sino-US trade relations.
Q: Some US senators tabled a draft bill on Chinese currency and exchange rate. Do you know the content? What impact will it exert on the upcoming China-US strategic economic dialogue?
A: We hope the US senators could have a clear knowledge and understanding of China's relevant policies, and play a positive and constructive role in promoting China-US economic ties and trade. Since China introduced the reform of exchange rate mechanism in July 2005, the exchange rate of RMB against US dollar has been on the rise. China will continue to improve the reform in a proactive, manageable and gradual manner.
Q: Will you update us on the case that China-exported faked drug material caused deaths of over 100 patients in Panama? Have China and Panama conducted joint investigation?
A: China's competent authorities attach great importance to this case and are making earnest joint investigation. Results will be released after the investigation. I believe relevant authorities will deal with it according to law. As to whether Panama will send officials here for joint investigation, you may consult competent authorities.
Q: Is there any new progress in the Six-Party Talks? The DPRK had not dismantled its nuclear facilities before April 13 due to the BDA DPRK-related funds transfer issue. Has this been resolved? When will the next round of the Six-Party Talks be held in Beijing?
A: Relevant parties have been conducting close consultation and making arduous efforts to resolve the BDA DPRK-related funds transfer issue. China has kept close coordination and communication with relevant parties. We hope that this issue could be resolved appropriately while taking all parties' concern into consideration so that the initial actions could be implemented and the process of the Six-Party Talks could be pushed forward. In the process of the Talks, we still have arduous tasks and a long way ahead. Sometimes we do encounter difficulties and vicissitudes. However, we believe that the parties concerned are capable of overcoming the difficulties and pushing forward the Talks continuously.
Q: Could you share with us the schedule of UK Foreign Secretary Beckett's visit to China? What topics will she discuss with China?
A: The UK Foreign Secretary Beckett will pay a visit to China from May 16 to 21. This is her first visit to China in this capacity. Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi will exchange views with her on promoting the China-UK comprehensive strategic partnership and enhancing the cooperation between the two foreign ministries, and also exchange in-depth views on international and regional issues of common interest. One Chinese leader will meet her. Mrs. Beckett will visit Guangzhou and Hong Kong after Beijing.
This year marks the 35th anniversary of the establishment of China-UK diplomatic relations at the ambassador level. We hope to take this opportunity along with the UK, expand our cooperation in all fields after reviewing and summarizing the bilateral relationship so as to push forward our comprehensive strategic partnership to a higher level and broader perspective.
Q: Recently, Japan's Diet passed the Constitution referendum bill. What's your comment?
A: It's a domestic political issue of Japan. Due to historical reasons, Asian neighboring countries follow closely the internal political moves of Japan concerning its Peace Constitution. Facts have proved that the path of peaceful development chosen by the Japanese people after WWII is a right decision. We hope that Japan adhere to this direction.
Q: Chinese Foreign Minister and his Japanese counterpart will both attend the international meeting held in Germany and South Korea late this month and early next month. Will they meet with each other on the sidelines of the meeting? If yes, will the issue of history be on the agenda of their talks? Besides, the Xinhua News Agency today said that the high-level officials' meeting of China, Japan and ROK will be held in Beijing next week. What are the topics of the meeting?
A: The Eigth Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Foreign Ministers' Meeting will be held in Hamburg, Germany on May 28 and 29. The Chinese delegation will attend this meeting. We will release information once we work out relevant arrangements. It is necessary for the heads of the Chinese and Japanese foreign ministries to maintain contact on various occasions including international occasions. As you mentioned, their meeting are still under consultation between the two countries.
You also mentioned the cooperation among China, Japan and the ROK. To fulfill the consensus of the Seventh annual meeting of Leaders of China, Japan and ROK, the first round consultation among senior foreign affairs officials of the three countries will be held in Beijing on May 19. China's Assistant Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai, Japanese Deputy Foreign Minister Mitoji Yabunaka and the ROK Deputy Minster of Foreign Affairs and Trade Shim Yoon-joe will attend the consultation.
On the Seventh annual meeting of Leaders of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea held in January this year, Premier Wen Jiabao reached consensus with Japanese and ROK leaders in establishing a mechanism of regular consultations among senior foreign affairs officials of the three countries and its first meeting being hosted by China.
China, Japan and South Korea are important countries in the Asian-Pacific region. We are willing to promote the friendship and cooperation on the basis of mutual trust and respect, equal benefit and seeking win-win situation. Since their leaders' first meeting in 1999, the three countries have established dialogue mechanisms in various fields, including 10 ministerial meeting mechanisms on diplomacy, economy, finance, science and technology, environment, intellectual property, marine transportation and logistics.
Q: The World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz has been under pressure to resign. What's China's comment on that?
A: The World Bank is an important global financial development institution. We take note of its recent problems, hoping its normal business not to be affected. We also believe that the executive directors of the World Bank will properly deal with the current complicated situation in light of the principles of just, fair and effectiveness so as to bring the work of the World Bank back to its normal track. We have always believed that this issue should be addressed in accordance with the principle of seeking consensus through consultation, rather than confrontation.
Q: On May 9, 108 congressmen of the US House of Representatives wrote to President Hu Jintao, urging China to stop providing assistance to the Sudanese government, so as to avoid the deterioration of the Darfur issue. If China's position remains unchanged on this issue, they would boycott the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. What's your comment? The second question, not long ago, the Chinese Government released the route of the 2008 Beijing Olympics torch relay but it was rejected by the Taiwan Authorities. Is there any new development?
A: We hope that US congressmen can correctly understand China's position and constructive role on the Darfur issue and positively promote the Sino-US relations.
We have elaborated on China's position on the Darfur issue on many occasions. We believe that to properly resolve the Darfur issue, the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Sudan should be respected in the first place. Dialogue and equal consultation should be adhered to in resolving this issue peacefully. The Sudanese government, the UN and African Union have held positive talks on the Annan plan and reached relevant consensus. We hope they reach agreement on the implementation of this plan on the basis of equal consultation at an early date. China believes that the international community should promote peacekeeping missions and political process in a positive and balanced way.
China has been playing a constructive role on the Darfur issue. We have been communicating, consulting and mediating with relevant parties to solve the issue peacefully through equal negotiation. We have provided humanitarian material and assistance to the Darfur region and the African Union. We have also actively participated in the UN peace-keeping mission in Sudan. Last week, China has announced to send a contingent of military engineers to participate in the implementation of the second phase of the Annan plan. Chinese peace-keepers in Sudan will go up to more than 700.
Facts have proven that it is a correct and effective way to resolve the Darfur issue through dialogue and consultation. We hope the relevant parties to stick to this direction in the future.
As for the issue of Olympic torch relay that you mentioned, the officials of the Organizing Committee for the Beijing Olympic Games have given a response. The torch relay is the prelude of the Olympic Games and an important ceremony to spread the Olympic spirit. We hope that the torch relay of Beijing Olympic Games help bring the Olympic spirit, peace and friendship to all over the world.
Recently, some organizations and individuals politicized the Olympic Games issue, making use of it to exert pressure on China. China expresses its resolute opposition. It goes against the Olympic spirit as well as the common aspiration of the people in the world. We are opposed to any attempt to politicize the Olympic Games.
Q: African Development Bank is having a meeting in Shanghai. What are China's objectives for this meeting? Also, what international standards and practices does China follow in helping other developing countries build dams?
A: The annual meeting of the African Development Bank will be held in Shanghai from May 16th to 17th. The Chinese Government supports the annual meeting of the AFDB affirmatively, applauding the AFDB's efforts in poverty relief and the development of Africa. We are also willing to take the opportunity to exchange and borrow each other's experiences of development with members of the AFDB, so as to promote the comprehensive cooperation between China and Africa. AFDB now has 53 African members and another 24 members outside the region. Ever since China joined the AFDB in 1985, China has strongly supported the infrastructure construction, poverty relief, education and other projects in the African region. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will attend the opening ceremony of the AFDB annual meeting and deliver a speech in Shanghai tomorrow morning. He will also meet with the presidents of Rwanda, Cape Verde and Madagascar, who are in Shanghai for the meeting.
With regards to the criticism by some organization that China's dam construction in some African countries has threaten the local environment, the Chinese Government always adheres to the principle of sincerity and friendship, mutual respect, equal treatment and mutual benefit in enhancing our economic relationship and trade with Africa so as to realize the common development of China and Africa. During this process, we attach great importance to the elevation of Africa's ability of self-development. In the past half a century, China helped Africa construct over 900 set projects, which has vigrously promoted the social and economic development of Africa and was appreciated by the peoples of the African countries.
Water conservancy and hydro-electricity projects are to build up Africa's infrastructure commonly, which are cared by African countries and bare on the long-time development of their national economies. In the relevant cooperation, China attaches great importance to the local people's livelihood, takes the possible environment effect seriously and applies strict environment evaluation and standards. China has always asked its enterprises to abide by the local laws and regulations while doing business in Africa. A report today mentioned the Merowe Dam projects in Sudan. The completion of this project will promote the development of the social and economic development of Sudan and improve the livelihood of the local people. In the future, China is willing to further enhance our dialogue and cooperation in the field of environment protection with the relevant countries in Africa and continue to contribute to the sustainable development of Africa.
Q: What important role does China play in the development of Africa? Besides, as far as I know, the president of Vietnam is coming to visit China this week. Which Chinese leaders will he be meeting with? Will the two countries sign any agreements or declaration?
A: The cooperation between China and Africa has always been based on mutual benefits and win-win results. During the Beijing Summit of FOCAC last year, China proposed 8 measures to be taken in helping the African countries elevate their ability of self-development, including aids and preferential loans, deduction and exemption of debts, personnel training, construction of countryside schools, agricultural model centers and anti-malaria center. At present, China is actively working with relevant African countries in putting into place these measures.
By the end of last year, Chinese investment in African had reached $11.7 billion, with emphasis on infrastructure such as agricultural development, manufacturing and production, transportation, telecommunication, water conservancy, hydro-electricity and so on. China has helped Africa complete over 900 projects during the past 50 years. In the next 3 years, China will help Africa build 30 hospitals, 100 Countryside schools, 30 anti-malaria centers and 10 agricultural model centers. I believe you are also quite clear about some of our measures in the deduction and exemption of debts from Africa.
I would now like to brief you on the upcoming visit of Vietnamese President Nguyen Triet Minh. President Nguyen Triet Minh will pay a state visit to China from today to the 18th. His visit will start from Yunnan and then Beijing tomorrow. President Hu Jintao and other Chinese leaders will meet and hold talks with him. The two sides will exchange views on bilateral issues and other issues of common interest.
The Sino-Vietnamese relationship has developed smoothly during the past several years under the guidelines of lasting stability, facing into the future, friendly neighborhood and comprehensive cooperation. High level exchanges of visits are quite frequent. The two countries have also established a guiding committee of bilateral cooperation to strengthen the macro guiding of bilateral cooperation in all fields. Our bilateral economic cooperation and trade made notable achievements last year, with trade volume reaching 9.95 billion US dollars. We have also made great progress in our negotiation on border issues. Cooperation in fields like science, education, culture and tourism has also continued to expand. We believe President Nguyen Triet Minh's visit will further promote the relations of our two countries.
If there is no more question, thanks for coming. See you next time.