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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Liu Jianchao's Regular Press Conference on 13 November, 2007

2007-11-14

On the afternoon of November 13, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Liu Jianchao held a regular press conference and answered questions on Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to Singapore and his attendance in the ASEAN summits, the China-Japan East China Sea consultation, the Six-Party Talks, the Myanmar issue, the Iranian nuclear issue and etc.

Liu: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. First of all, I will start with some announcements.

At the invitation of President Hu Jintao, President Rafael Vicente Correa Delgado of the Republic of Ecuador will pay a state visit to China from November 19 to 25.

At the invitation of the governments of the Democratic People's Republic of Algeria, the Republic of Cyprus, and the Kingdom of Spain, Vice Premier Hui Liangyu of the State Council will pay official visits to the three countries and attend the opening ceremony of the 4th Meeting of the China-Spain Forum from November 18 to 29, 2007.

At the invitation of Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Premier Wen Jiabao of the State Council will pay an official visit to Singapore and attend the 11th ASEAN Plus China, Japan and ROK Summit, the 11th ASEAN Plus China Summit, as well as the 3rd East Asia Summit from November 18 to 22. Premier Wen Jiabao will also attend the 8th China-Japan-ROK Leaders' Meeting on the sidelines of the summits.

For your better understanding of Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to Singapore and his attendance in the ASEAN summits, Assistant Foreign Minister He Yafei will brief you here in the Press Hall at 3 p.m., Wednesday, November 14. Your presence will be welcome.

The High-level International Food Safety Forum, co-hosted by the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization will be held at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing from November 26 to 27. Senior officials from over 40 countries and regions and a dozen of international organizations will attend the forum with the theme of enhancing exchanges and cooperation and ensuring food safety and discuss measures to strengthen food safety globally. You are welcome to cover the event. For more information, you can log on the IPC webpage or check with the Information Office of the GAQSIQ.

With that, I'd be glad to take your questions.

Q: China Daily reported yesterday, an official of the General Administration of Press and Publication said that China would set up an information database of over 20,000 foreign journalists interested in covering the Beijing Olympics. Could you give us more details of the database and why do you set up the database? What information of journalists will be included? And how do you get the information?

A: After reading relevant reports, the Foreign Ministry immediately consulted the GAPP. The reports are proven to be incorrect. Foreign journalists covering the Beijing Olympics are divided into two categories. A, registered journalists. The IOC and the Beijing Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games (BOCOG) have made arrangement for their registration to cover the Games. B, unregistered journalists. We welcome their coverage of the Games after they go through necessary formalities. We will exert our utmost efforts to facilitate journalists' coverage of the Games and China during the Beijing Olympics, whether they are registered, unregistered journalists or resident correspondents.

I'd like to reiterate that relevant reports are incorrect. There is no such a database, and I have never heard of any plan of its kind.

Q: Then how did the reports come if there are no such plans?

A: That's why I believe relevant press should make necessary clarifications on that.

Besides, the Foreign Ministry, as designated by the State Council, is the competent authority in charge of the affairs of foreign journalists, and we will facilitate and provide services to foreign journalists' coverage of the Games in coordination with the BOCOG.

Q: The ASEAN summits to be held in Singapore next week is likely to discuss the Myanmar issue. What's China's position on the future situation in Myanmar? UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon claimed that the Myanmar government should set a timetable for its political reform. Can your comment on that? Some experts said that though China claimed to have joined the UN urging Myanmar to launch political reform, in reality, China did not do so. Do you have any comment?

A: As to your first question, during the ASEAN summits in Singapore, state leaders will mainly exchange views on promoting cooperation, common prosperity, stability and development in East Asia.

Myanmar is a member of ASEAN. It is up to all parties to decide whether the summits will discuss the Myanmar issue. We will respect ASEAN's decision. However, what happens in Myanmar, in essence, is an internal matter of itself. Its settlement eventually relies on the Myanmar people and their government and should be properly resolved through consultation. The Chinese Government has expounded on is position over the issue on many occasions that we hope to see a stable, developed, democratic and reconciled Myanmar. Myanmar is a close neighbor of China and its stability, development, democracy and reconciliation conforms to the interest of China, to that of Asia, and of the ASEAN in particular. China has no private interest over this issue and we proceed from the common interest of all countries in this region in our consideration over this issue.

As to the timetable you mentioned, I have not heard of that yet. Mr. Gambari, the Special Advisor to the UN Secretary General just concluded his visit to Myanmar on November 8. During the visit, he met with Myanmar officials and opposition groups and the visit yielded certain progress in general. Meanwhile, we must realize that the Myanmar issue is very complicated. It can not be solved overnight and we could not expect one or two mediations will lead to a thorough solution. China will continue to support the mediation efforts of the UN Secretary General and Mr. Gambari.

Thirdly, the accusation that China pretends to cooperate was groundless and out of ulterior motives. As I explained earlier, a proper settlement of the Myanmar issue is in the interest of the Myanmar people, China and the whole region as well. We sincerely hope Myanmar achieve stability, development, democracy and reconciliation. China has always played and will continue to play a constructive role in this regard.

Q: China and Japan will hold the East China Sea consultation in Tokyo on November 14. Can the two sides reach an agreement on specific plans before this autumn? Someone inside the Japanese government suggested that if the two sides fail to reach any agreement, they should make compromises and find a middle plan. Does China share this view?

A: During Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to Japan this April, leaders of the two countries reached an important consensus on pushing forward the East China Sea consultation. As agreed by both, the 11th round of East China Sea consultation will be held in Tokyo tomorrow. Mr. Hu Zhengyue, Director-General of the Department of Asian Affairs of the Chinese Foreign Ministry and Mr. Kenichiro Sasae, Director-General of the Bureau of Asian and Oceanian Affairs of the Japanese Foreign Ministry will attend the consultation as heads of the two delegations respectively.

China takes the East China Sea consultation seriously and has made due efforts to press ahead. We will continue to base our work on the consensus reached between the leaders of the two countries, conducting the consultation in a positive and pragmatic manner. We hope Japan make its due efforts to meet with us half way. We are open to proposals that might be raised during the consultation. I'd like to stress that whether any consensus could be reached over this issue depends on the joint efforts of the two parties.

Q: US Deputy Secretary of the Treasury is here in Beijing for a visit. Whom will he meet with and what will be discussed? I believe he wants to discuss the suspension of trade between Iran and foreign companies. What's China's position on that?

A: I have not got the specific information about the visit. You may refer your question to the Ministry of Finance.

China and the US have maintained communication over the Iranian nuclear issue. China upholds the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and hopes Iran can respond positively to the concerns and appeals of the international community and adopt some flexibility. We hope that parties can exert patience and sincerity in their efforts to press ahead with the resolution of the Iranian nuclear issue through dialogue and consultation. We believe that unbridled use of sanctions, unilateral sanctions in particular, will do no good to the resolution.

Q: Could you brief us on the arrangement of Ecuadorian President's visit to China?

A: During President Correa's visit, President Hu Jintao will have talks with him and Chairman Wu Bangguo and Mr. Li Changchun, standing member of the political bureau of the Central Committee of CPC will meet with him respectively. They will exchange views on bilateral relations and issues of common interest. Apart from Beijing, President Correa and his delegation will also visit Xi'an and Shanghai. China attaches great importance to his visit and wish it a success. We believe this visit will further promote our bilateral relations.

I'd like to give you some background information. Since our two countries established diplomatic relations in 1980, the bilateral relationship has been developing smoothly with frequent exchange of high-level visits. The bilateral trade volume registered $802 million in 2006 and $669 million in the first nine months of this year.

Q: ROK President Roh Moo-hyun proposed to hold "China-DPRK-US-ROK" four party talks to discuss the issue of establishing peace mechanism in Northeast Asia. What's the position of China? Can you update us on the Six-Party Talks Foreign Ministers' Meeting? Some US congressmen tabled a motion to support Taiwan holding a referendum on "joining the UN". What's the response of China? US Treasury Secretary calls for RMB appreciation. Do you have any comment?

A: China attaches great importance to proposals put forward by parties concerned on the process of the Six-Party Talks and peace mechanism in Northeast Asia. China maintains communication with countries concerned and stands ready to have further discussions.

With regard to the date of the Six-Party Talks Foreign Ministers' Meeting, parties concerned agreed to do so in due course when they signed the Joint Document on October 3. At present, they are concentrating on the implementation of the Joint Document on February 13. China hopes that parties concerned can make joint efforts to press ahead with the Talks and denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.

On your second question, I want to emphasize that China is resolutely against the so-called motion tabled by US congressmen. It's known to all that there's only one China in the world with Taiwan an inalienable part of the Chinese territory. The government of the PRC is the only legitimate government representing the whole of China. This is the common consensus of the international community, including the U.S. It's also confirmed by Resolution 2758 of the UN Assembly, which is beyond any doubt and brooks no denial.

As for the exchange rate of RMB, competent authorities have explained the position of the Chinese Government on many occasions. The position remains unchanged.

Q: What kind of message will Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi convey to Iran during his visit there? Is China concerned that its economic interest and energy security would be affected if sanctions are imposed on Iran?

A: Foreign minister Yang Jiechi has started his journey to Iran for a visit, during which he will exchange views with the Iranian side on bilateral relations, the Iranian nuclear issue, and other international and regional issues of mutual interest. To my knowledge, the meeting has not begun so far. I'll brief you on his discussions there in due course. In terms of the Iranian nuclear issue, I believe a comprehensive, long-term and proper solution through diplomatic negotiations conforms to the interest of all parties.

Q: It's been a decade since the Ottawa Convention on Landmines was concluded. Still, according to reports from non-governmental organizations, many people are being killed or wounded by landmine explosions. Will China halt the production of antipersonnel landmines? If not, why?

A: The Chinese Government has been supportive of the humanitarian efforts made by the international community to solve the landmine problem. Although China is not a signatory of the Ottawa Convention on Landmines, it agrees with the purpose of the Convention and supports the ultimate goal of comprehensive prohibition of landmines. In the meantime, China has kept sound communication and cooperation with the signatories of the Convention. China, a signatory of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons and the Amended Landmine Protocol, has always honored its commitment, and remains dedicated to the international landmine clearing. China is ready to work with all parties and continue to make contributions to solving the problem.

Q: The Tenth China-EU leaders' meeting will be held at the end of this month. To my knowledge, the Taiwan question is currently under discussion between the two sides. What does China expect the EU to say on the Taiwan issue at the meeting?

A: We welcome EU leaders to attend the meeting in Beijing at the end of this month and have consultation with Chinese leaders over the China-EU relations and a broad range of other issues. We hope that this summit, which is held at an important historical period of China-EU relations, will achieve substantive results on a series of major issues. The EU has always adhered to the policy of "One China", and we hope that it will stick to the correct policy over the Taiwan issue, which bears on the core interest of China.

Q: The 17th CPC Congress reiterated China's strategy of "peaceful development". Also, it is widely noticed that China is trying to solve international problems with its "soft power". Is there a direct relationship between the "soft power" and "peaceful development"? Are they in line with China's long-term diplomatic strategy?

A: Scholars have mixed understandings of the "soft power" concept. In my view the "soft power" of a nation includes many aspects, such as its ability to communicate with other countries via its culture and to deal with international issues in a just and responsible manner. China will unswervingly follow the path of peaceful development, as the Report of the 17th Party Congress explicitly noted. This serves the fundamental interest of China itself and contributes to the peace and development of the world as a whole. The Chinese people share the identical goal with other peoples in the world on this point. We are ready to make joint efforts with people around the globe to build a harmonious world of lasting peace and common prosperity where nations will respect and consult each other on an equal footing politically, collaborate and complement each other economically, have better cultural exchanges and mutual emulation, seek common ground while shelving differences and build mutual trust and stronger cooperation on security.

If there are no further questions, thank you for attendance.

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