|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Jiang Yu's Regular Press Conference on 22 May 2007|
On the afternoon of May 22, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Jiang Yu held a regular conference and answered questions on China-US Strategic Economic Dialogue, China's policy towards Africa, German President Koehler's visit to China and other issues.
Jiang: Good afternoon, friends from the press. I have two announcements to make:
At the invitation of Premier Wen Jiabao of the State Council, Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont of the Kingdom of Thailand will pay an official visit to China from May 28 to 31.
At the invitation of Foreign Minister Steinmeier of Germany, the rotating EU president, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi will attend the China-EU foreign ministers' meeting and the 8th ASEM Foreign Ministers' Meeting in Hamburg, Germany from May 28 to 29.
Now, the floor is open.
Q: Sources from the Peruvian government said that China might discuss with Peru on free trade area in the coming July or August. Could you confirm?
A: China conducts comprehensive and friendly cooperation with Latin American countries on the basis of equality and mutual benefit. As to the arrangement of FTA negotiations, you'd better consult competent authorities.
Q: Recently, some NGOs asked China to reconsider its African policy and attach more importance to corruption, human rights and environment issues of Africa. What's your comment? Did China assess its dam projects' impact on local environment in Sudan and other countries in line with international standards?
A: China persistently pursues an independent foreign policy of peace and never imposes its ideology, values and development mode on other countries. China always adheres to the UN Charter and the fundamental principles of international relations while developing relations with other nations. We believe that the internal affairs of African countries should be handled by the governments and people there through consultation. External assistance should be conducive to African countries' efforts to achieve stability and development.
Water conservancy and hydro-electricity projects aimed at building up Africa's infrastructure are cared by all African countries and bare on the long-time social and economic development. 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 requested its enterprises to abide by the local laws and regulations while doing business in Africa. As for the Merowe Dam project in Sudan mentioned by some groups, relevant Chinese enterprises won the bidding of the project and its completion will be conducive to local economic and social development as well as local people's livelihood. In the future, China is willing to further enhance our dialogue and cooperation with the relevant countries in Africa in the field of environment protection and continue to contribute to the sustainable development of Africa.
With regard to China's loans to Africa, China decides on assistance projects through friendly consultation with recipient African countries while taking into consideration the need of those countries. China is not the major creditor of Africa and China's loans to Africa are moderate. No political string was attached to the preferential loans we provided. These loans are mainly used to enhance infrastructure construction, provide large mechanical and electrical equipment and set up manufacturing enterprises for African countries. We also promote Chinese and African enterprises to sharpen the efficiency of the loans on the basis of mutually-beneficial cooperation and to achieve just, openness and transparency. The Chinese Government has committed to provide 3-billion-dollar preferential loans and 2-billion-dollar preferential buyer's credit to African countries in 3 years. Besides, large construction projects such as stadiums, conference centers, hospitals, schools and roads use grant assistance or interest-free loans provided by China and will not increase the burden on African countries. China mainly provides interest-free loans and grant assistance to the heavily indebted and least developed countries.
One thing I have to point out is, on the issue of poverty alleviation, the international community, the developed countries in particular, should adopt more substantial measures and deduct debts by a large margin so as to help the developing countries to shed off the vicious debt circle.
We in China always say that you'd better teach someone how to fish than give him fish. The purpose of China's assistance to Africa is to enhance the self-reliance capability of African countries. China has also adopted measures to expand import from Africa and encouraged Chinese enterprises to conduct equal and mutually-beneficial cooperation with African countries, to invest in less-developed countries, to carry out economic and technical cooperation and train professionals for African countries.
Q: What's China's expectation for the upcoming China-US Strategic Economic Dialogue in Washington? What topics will be discussed?
A: Last week, Vice-Premier Wu Yi published an article on China-US economic ties and trade in the Wall Street Journal, expounding on the relevant stance of the Chinese Government. The 2nd round of China-US Strategic Economic Dialogue will be held in Washington, focusing on comprehensive, strategic and long-term economic issues. There will also be some exchanges of views on the hot issues in current economic relations.
On the morning of May 22, Vice-Premier Wu Yi will meet with the US Secretary of Treasury Paulson. They will attend the opening ceremony of the 2nd round of the Strategic Economic Dialogue and take part in ad hoc meetings focused on four fields including economy, energy resources and environment, balanced development of economy and scientific and technological innovation. During her stay there, Vice-Premier will also meet with US leaders and House representatives and Senators, attend and address the banquet hosted by friendly groups including the US-China Business Council, the US Chamber of Commerce and the US-China Chamber of Commerce. She will also visit the Boeing Company in Seattle.
Mutual benefits and win-win cooperation remain the mainstream of Sino-US economic and trade relations. The two sides should set rid of some non-economic disturbing factors on the basis of mutual understanding and trust, and resolve the problems and frictions propping up during the rapid development in a positive and pragmatic approach so as to push forward the healthy and steady development of Sino-US trade relations.
Q: Recently, the US congress has been very critical of China, drafting bills in disfavor of China on its export to the US. If the SED dialogue fails, they will implement these bills. Will Vice Premier Wu Yi meet US congressmen this time? What is on the agenda?
A: I mentioned earlier that Vice Premier Wu Yi will meet with the Senators and House Representatives in the US, and exchange views with them on issues of mutual interest. We hope this will help the US congressmen to better understand China-US economic relations and trade, so as to make constructive efforts for promoting China-US economic ties and trade.
China-US economic links and trade have developed very rapidly in recent years. In the past decade, Chinese goods have saved more than $600 billion for US consumers. China has become the fastest growing export market for the US, and created a lot of jobs for the US. China has become one of the main sources of overseas profit for US companies. The US export to China increased by 31.7% last year.
There are a number of complicated factors in the imbalance of China-US trade, such as different ways of statistics and different industrial structure. The US has trade deficit in manufacture trade while surplus in the service trade, as we find out from the industrial structure.
China never pursues trade surplus. The Chinese Government takes the expansion of domestic needs as the starting point to drive domestic economic growth to ensure a balanced international trade and macroeconomic stability. We will go on expanding import of the US goods. In the meantime, we hope the US give its competitive advantage into full play, enhance mutual trust, loose export control, turn around the sliding trend of the US high-tech export to China, so as to reduce the US trade deficit to China.
Q: The UK Foreign Secretary visited Hong Kong yesterday. She says that early universal suffrage is good for HK. What's your comment?
A: This is the first time for Madam Beckett to visit China in the capacity of British Foreign Secretary. Premier Wen met with her. Foreign minister Yang Jiechi had a good conversation with her. Both agree to maintain high level exchanges, strengthen strategic dialogue, ensure that bilateral relations interaction group function well, deepen bilateral cooperation in various fields, strengthen coordination and cooperation in international affairs, and properly handle concerns of both countries, so as to further promote China-UK comprehensive strategic partnership.
The "one country, two systems" implemented in Hong Kong since its return to the motherland 10 years ago has proven to be successful. The various rights and freedom enjoyed by HK people are fully guaranteed. HK maintains the status as center of international trade and hub for finance and shipping. HK is the universal-recognized freest economy in the world. The HK democracy system makes progress gradually in line with basic law and relevant regulations. The Central Government is unswervingly implementing the policy of "one country, two systems", "HK people administrating HK" and high degree of autonomy in strict accordance with the basic law. The Central Government fully supports the HK SAR government to administrate HK according to law and have contact with foreign countries, so as to maintain HK's prosperity and stability.
Q: What's your expectation of German President Koehler's visit to China? There are sharp differences between two parties during China-EU Human Rights Dialogue held in Berlin last week. Will it have negative impact on this visit?
A: German Federal President Koehler will visit China from 23rd to 26th. This is his first visit to China since assuming this position. This visit is very important on the 35 anniversary of establishment of China-Germany diplomatic relations. China attaches great importance to that.
We believe that under the current international situation, it's in the fundamental interest of our two countries to maintain the momentum of exchanges of high level visit, expand and deepen cooperation in various fields and further consultation and cooperation in international issues. We are ready to reduce our differences, expand consensus, and enhance bilateral relations to a new height.
On the human rights dialogue between China and EU. China and EU held 23rd human rights dialogue in Berlin from 15th to 16th. Both parties briefed each other on new achievement in human rights respectively. Both agree that the dialogue is constructive and makes positive progress. Both parties agree to continue the sound momentum in China-EU human rights dialogue, strengthen mutual understanding and communication to press ahead with all-round strategic partnership. Both parties agree to hold the 24th human rights dialogue in Beijing in the latter half of this year.
Q:Is there any new progress in the investigation on the Chinese made diglycol-contained paste found in Dominica? And how goes the investigation on the cough syrup in Panama?
A: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is not in charge of that. Please consult relevant authorities for details.
The Chinese Government cares much about the safety of the consumer goods. Having made considerable efforts in recent years, China has established and improved step by step the legal, standard, supervision import and export inspection systems, and launched campaigns to rectify and standardize the market order. We would like to cooperate with the international community in exploring effective measures to ensure the quality and safety of consumer goods. China has established consultation and cooperation mechanism with Europe on consumer goods safety and holds regular summit with the United States on consumer goods safety. Besides, China has established cooperation mechanism with Japan and ROK on consumer goods safety respectively.
Relevant authorities attach great importance to the case you mentioned and are conducting serious investigations. The result will be released once the investigation concludes.
Q: Can you tell us some information about Cape Verde Foreign Minister's visit to China? Was there any agreement sighed between China and Cape Verde?
A: Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi held talks with visiting Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Communities of Cape Verde. Relevant information has already been released.
Q: Is there any progress in the BDA funds transfer issue? I wonder whether Mr. Hill has any plan to visit China since he is in Asia presently.
A: All parties concerned are working positively for the resolution of the BDA funds transfer issue. We look forward to a proper solution as soon as possible. Currently I don't have any information on whether Mr. Hill will visit China.
Q: Indian Army Chief of Staff General Singh is now in China for a visit. Chinese leaders met with him yesterday. Can you brief us on that?
A: Indian Army Chief of Staff General Joginder Jaswant Singh is visiting China presently. He has exchanged views with Chinese leaders and leaders from the army on bilateral issues of common concerns. Recent years have witnessed increasing contacts and expanding exchanges between Chinese and Indian armies. General Singh's visit will certainly be conducive to further development of the military ties.
Further development of friendly cooperation and good-neighborly relationship with India is an important component of China's foreign policy. We are willing to work with India to expand the exchanges and cooperation in various areas and further promote the strategic partnership between the two countries for the benefit of peace and prosperity.
If there is no more question, thanks for coming. See you next time.