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Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang's Regular Press Conference on 12 June, 2007

2007-06-13

On the afternoon of 12 June, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang held a regular press conference and answered questions on China-US strategic dialogue, China-US and China-EU economic relations, the Darfur issue, the Middle East issue, the Six-party Talks, the protection of the rights and interests of the labour and other issues.

Qin: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I shall begin with two announcements:

As agreed by China and the US, the Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo and the US Deputy Secretary of State Negroponte will hold the 4th China-US Strategic Dialogue in Washington from June 20 to 21.

The Dialogue Mechanism is established in line with the consensus reached by the two leaders. It is an important platform for the two sides to have communications at strategic and political level. Based on the last three dialogues, the two sides will have an in-depth exchange of ideas on major issues related to China-US relations.

Ms. Haya, President of the 61st session of the General Assembly of the UN will pay an official visit to China at invitation from June 19 to 24, during which she will attend the 10th IAESCSI international meeting.

Now I am happy to take your questions.

Q: What is the progress of the Six-party Talks? When will it be resumed? Will Hill come to China in the coming days? The US and Russia are planning to transfer the DPRK-related fund in BDA through the central banks of the two countries. What is your comment?

A: Your questions are related to the Six-party Talks. We have taken note that recently the relevant parties of the Talks are making efforts to resolve the current difficulties. We hope the issue can be properly handled at an early date with the concerns of related parties being met so as to implement the initial actions as early as possible and continue the process of the Six-party Talks. China is ready to maintain communication and consultation with other parties. I can not tell you now the exact date for the resumption of the Talks, neither can other parties tell. It still needs further consultation by related parties.

Q: Not long ago, China and the US successfully held the 2nd SED. According to my knowledge, the US Senate may adopt a legislation to increase the tariff on the imports from China because they believe the RMB is undervalued. What is your response?

A: As you said, the 2nd SED was successfully held in Washington not long ago. The two sides had an exchange of ideas in a in-depth and comprehensive manner on the healthy and stable development of China-US economic ties and reached a lot of consensus in this regard. China always holds that the development of China-US economic relations serves the common interests of China and the US. The two sides shall make joint efforts and address their mutual concerns based on mutual respect and equal consultation, so as to solve the issues coming forth in the development process. What shall be stressed is that the economic and trade issues shall not be politicized, and the concerned questions, especially the domestic issues of the US shall not be shifted on to the bilateral economic and trade relationship.

As for the RMB exchange rate, some US congressmen think it is undervalued. But whose criterion is this, the US criterion? The RMB exchange rate shall be in line with China's national conditions and benefit China's economic development as well as that of the region and world at large. We have already made reform on the RMB exchange rate mechanism, while the reform is still under going. The aim of the reform is to better reflect the supply and demand of the market, instead of listening to the dictation from somewhere else, for example, the Capitol.

You mentioned that the US Congress may adopt a bill to increase the tariff on the imports from China. I think the competent department of China will have a response once the bill is adopted.

Q: Please brief us on Palestinian Foreign Minister Ziad Abu-Amr's visit to China scheduled on June 16? Particularly, the schedule, purpose and topics.

A: We have already made the announcement yesterday. At the invitation of Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Palestinian National Authority Ziad Abu-Amr will visit China soon. Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi will have a talk with Mr. Amr. Chinese leaders will also meet him. The two sides will exchange views on Sino-Palestinian relations, Palestinian-Israeli situation and other issues of common interest. It is our hope that this visit will be conducive to the further development of Sino-Palestinian relations. The detailed schedule is still under discussion.

Q: Why did China, a major donator to African countries, not attend G8's meeting with some African countries on the development of Africa? What is the major difference between China and G8 on the issue of Sudan Darfur?

A: With regard to why China did not attend G8's meeting with some African countries, you should refer your question to G8, particularly the host country.

On the issue of African development, China and international community share the commitment to poverty reduction and development cause. The issue of African development is a part of South-North dialogue as well as South-South cooperation. China has been working relentlessly for the development of Africa under the framework of South-South cooperation. During the outreach session of the G8 summit, President Hu Jintao already presented China's stance and proposition on supporting and helping African development, and narrowing the gap between the South and North, so it is unnecessary for me to repeat the constructive and positive role that China has played in this regard.

As for the Darfur issue, what I would like to emphasize is that, China and other countries have a common goal, that is, to solve the issue properly through political means at an early date so as to achieve peace, stability and development in the region. It is our view that under the current circumstances, the international community should encourage the relevant parties to implement the Annan three-phase peace-keeping plan through continuous dialogue and consultation, and to find a way to speed up the political process and improve the humanitarian and security situation in the Darfur region. We are pleased to see that with the joint efforts of all parties, some positive progress has been made on the political process and peace keeping mission. We hope that relevant parties continue consultation and dialogue, and promote the strategy of "double track", which includes political process and peace keeping mission, in a balanced manner. China will continue to contribute to the solution of this issue together with the concerned parties.

Q: Today is World Day Against Child Labor. The labor rights group FairPlay 2008 released a report saying that child labor was employed to make Olympic-licensed products in Chinese factories. What's your comment on this?

A: The Chinese government has all along attached great importance to the protection of the legal rights of workers. China has promulgated and implemented Labor Law and other relevant laws. China has also implemented the system of minimum wages, set minimum wage standard, and ratified four of the eight major Conventions of the International Labor Organization; including Convention concerning Equal Remuneration for Men & Women for Work of Equal Value, Convention concerning Minimum Age for Admission to Employment, Convention concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labor, and Convention on Eliminating the Employment and Occupation Discrimination. China is also actively evaluating on the ratification of other conventions. The Chinese government has taken a series of measures in law enforcement and executive administration to effectively protect the rights and interests of workers.

As for your question on the production of the 2008 Beijing Olympic-licensed products, Beijing Organizing Committee for 2008 Olympic Games (BOCOG) has strict rules on the social responsibilities of the contracting firms. The licensees are explicitly required to abide by the Labor Law and relevant regulations in the BOCOG's contract on making Olympic-licensed products. The BOCOG has also conducted special assessment and inspection on the licensees' working condition, labor and employment, and employees' social security and welfare. Those licensees that violate the relevant regulations will be serious dealt with by the BOCOG in accordance with the stipulations in the contract. Their licenses could even be revoked if the problem is grave. As far as I know, BOCOG is checking with the cited licensees. I think you should have also noted that yesterday, the Executive Vice President of BOCOG Jiang Xiaoyu already made response on this issue in Hong Kong.

Q: Today China and EU will hold a meeting of Sino-EU Economic and Trade Joint Committee, and discuss the issue of Sino-EU partnership and cooperation agreement (PCA). What is China's expectation for the meeting? Does China expect EU to acknowledge China's full market economy status in the meeting?

A: At present, Sino-EU relations enjoy good momentum. The two sides have established all-round strategic partnership. Both China and EU are major powers in the world, and share responsibilities and interests in safeguarding peace, security, stability and promoting common development in the world. China and EU have great potentials for cooperation in a wide range of fields. The purpose of the Sino-EU partnership cooperation agreement is to adapt to the current situation that Sino-EU relations are constantly improving, and further strengthen Sino-EU cooperation at a higher level and in a wider field. It is our hope that the two sides, in the spirit of mutual respect, mutual understanding and mutual accommodation, reach consensus at an early date through friendly consultation on an equal footing, so as to promote the development of Sino-EU relations.

To acknowledge China's market economy status is not only in line with WTO's principle of fair trade, but also conducive to the promotion of China's trade with other countries and the achievement of mutual benefits and win-win result. Over 70 countries in the world have acknowledged China's market economy status. It is regretful that EU has yet to do so. We hope that EU could have an objective understanding of the remarkable achievement that China has made in the development of market economy since the reform and opening up, recognize the complementarities, mutual benefits and reciprocity of Sino-EU economic and trade cooperation, and actively take into consideration the acknowledgement of China's full market economy status at an early date.

Q: The EU trade commissioner Mandelson will meet Chinese Commerce Minister Bo Xilai today. He said before that the EU may adopt new trade restriction measures against China. Do you have any comment?

A: China consistently stands for a proper solution of the trade friction between China and the EU through equal consultation while taking into consideration the concerns of both sides and resolutely opposes any form of unfair trade. So far I cannot predict on Mandelson's meeting with Commerce Minister Bo Xilai. You may refer your question to the Ministry of Commerce after the meeting.

Q: Dalai Lama is in Australia at the moment. Australian Prime Minister John Howard has agreed to meet him, hoping to promote the human rights situation in Tibet. Do you have any comment?

A: Dalai Lama is not a simple religious figure but a political exile, who has been long engaged in activities aimed at splitting the motherland and undermining national unity. The Chinese government is firmly opposed to any country for allowing Dalai Lama to engage in secessionist activities on their territory.

China has made representation with and expressed concerns to the Australian Government on Dalai's visit to Australia. Disregarding the solemn stance of China, the Australian side insists on allowing Dalai Lama to visit Australia and have official meetings with him. We expressed strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition on that.

We hope the Australian side can recognize the nature of Dalai Lama. The Tibetan issue is not a human rights issue but a one concerning secession and anti-secession. We hope the Australian government can fully recognize this and refrain from providing venues and conveniences for Dalai Lama's secessionist activities, bearing in mind a large picture of the healthy development of China-Australia relations.

Q: What views will China state in the 4th Sino-US Strategic Dialogue?

A: Not only stakeholders but also constructive partners, China and the United States share many topics that deserve in-depth discussion on bilateral relationship and on a wide range of international and regional issues. The Strategic Dialogue between Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte will fully reflect this. As for the arrangement of the dialogue, the two sides are having consultation.

Q: Iranian officials said that Iran is now discussing with some Asian countries, including China, on establishing the strategic oil reserve. Can you elaborate on that? Is there any arrangement for the meeting of Ambassador Liu Guijin, Chinese Special Representative on the Darfur Issue with the US President's Envoy to Sudan Natsios?

A: On your first question, I didn't see the report until this morning. Now I cannot confirm the news for it was released by Iran in Malaysia. We are trying to contact relevant authorities to confirm it. There is normal economic and trade cooperation between China and Iran.

Ambassador Liu Guijin has been making positive efforts for the resolution of Darfur issue since he was appointed Special Representative on the Darfur issue, including communicating with the US side. According to my knowledge, Ambassador Liu Guijin will visit relevant countries and exchange views with parties concerned on the Darfur issue. He may have contact with the US side recently. But it needs further consultation of the two sides. We will keep you updated on Special Representative Liu's activities.

Q: The organization "Human Rights in China" released a report today which criticized China for its legislation on the national secrets. It said that China's relevant laws were too strict for citizens to get access to information. What's your comment? Do you think there is any difference between China and other countries on public access to government information?

A: The Chinese Government rules the country and administrates by law, and makes polices and works according to the principle of "putting people first" and "administration for the people". The Chinese government had made great progress in information and administration transparency in recent years and we will continue to do so in the future.

This report also claims that the Chinese citizens' freedom of speech is restricted. The fact is that the Chinese citizens enjoy full freedom of speech in accordance with the law, and the Chinese Government protects the citizens' freedom of speech in line with law. The citizens will be punished only when they violate the law. Nobody will be punished because of his speech.

It's impossible for any country to be completely open and transparent. I haven't heard that there is a country with no national secret. Could you name one? I'm not aware why the organization is so interested in China's national secret, and I wonder what its intensions are.

Q: China has played an important role in international affairs this year, for example, the Six-party Talks and the Sudan Darfur issue. What's China's role on the Middle East issue?

A: First of all, I'd like to thank you for your positive comments on China's foreign affairs and China's role in international affairs. As for a responsible and peace-loving country, China is committed to the peace, stability and common development of the world. We also hope the international society could view China's role from an objective prospective, and cooperate China's constructive endeavors on the Six-party Talks, the Darfur issue and so on.

China pays great attention to the Middle East issue, especially the Palestine-Israel relations, and we are deeply concerned about the current tensions. We appeal for the two sides to keep restraint and refrain from any actions which may escalate the tensions, so as to return to the track of political negotiations.

The core of the Middle East issue is the Palestine issue. China always advocates that the relevant parties should properly resolve their disputes through political negotiation and realize the peaceful coexistence of the two countries on the basis of the relevant UN solutions and the principle of "land for peace". We welcome any proposal and endeavor which is beneficial to press ahead with the peaceful process in the Middle East and conducive to the long-lasting peace and stability in this region. China will continue to play a constructive role on the peace process in the Middle East and the comprehensive resolution of the Middle East issue.

If there are no more questions, thanks for coming. See you next time!

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