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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Liu Jianchao's Regular Press Conference on 15 November, 2007

2007-11-16

On the afternoon of November 15, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Liu Jianchao held a regular press conference and answered questions on Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi's visit to Iran and Afghanistan, the China-Japan East China Sea consultation, Mexican Foreign Minister's visit to China and etc.

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

At the invitation of President Hu Jintao, Mr. Nicolas Sarkozy, President of Republic of France will pay a state visit to China from November 25 to 27, 2007.

At present, the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and France maintains a sound momentum. Along with frequent exchange of high-level visits between the two countries, bilateral political mutual trust increasingly deepens, and economic and trading cooperation develops rapidly. The bilateral trade volume from January to July this year reached $17.51 billion dollars, up by 29.7% over the same period of last year. Major progress has been made in our cooperation in such fields as aviation, aerospace, nuclear energy, telecommunication, agriculture, judiciary and people-to-people exchanges. China and France are countries of major impact on international issues. Further consolidation and development of China-France relations serve the fundamental interests of the two countries and two peoples, and contribute to world peace, stability and development.

China views and handles the bilateral relations from a strategic and long-term perspective. We attach great importance to President Sarkozy's upcoming state visit to China, which is a major event in the bilateral relations. We are ready to work with France to ensure complete success of the visit. We expect and believe that President Sarkozy's visit to China will bring the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and France to a new height.

At the invitation of Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, Mr. Patricia Espinosa Cantellano, Foreign Minister of the United States of Mexico will pay an official visit to China from November 21 to 24, 2007.

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

Q: Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi recently paid a visit to Iran and Afghanistan. Whom did he meet with? Is there any progress on the Iranian nuclear issue?

A: During his visit to Iran, Minister Yang Jiechi met with President Ahmadinejad, Foreign Minister Mottaki and Mr. Jialili, Secretary of Supreme National Security Council. Minister Yang said that the friendship between China and Iran dates far back into history. New progress has been made in recent years in the exchanges and cooperation between the two countries. China values its relations with Iran, and stands ready to promote a long-term and stable relationship with Iran on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence for further benefit to the two peoples. President Ahmadinejad said that Iran is committed to developing long-term friendly cooperation with China, and that he hopes the two nations can have closer and more extensive cooperation.

On the Iranian nuclear issue, Foreign Minister Yang said that Iran has the right to peaceful use of nuclear energy, that China applauds Iran's repeated statement of having no intention to develop nuclear weapons, and its willingness to cooperate with IAEA. He also said that China maintains that the international non-proliferation regime should be safeguarded, and holds that the Iranian nuclear issue should be solved peacefully through diplomatic negotiations. He hopes that Iran will strengthen its cooperation with IAEA, and make active progress in its contact with EU. China hopes that all parties concerned will exert flexibility in their efforts for the peaceful resolution of the Iranian nuclear issue.

According to Iranian leaders, Iran is keeping sound cooperation with IAEA. It is ready to keep active contact with EU, and hopes to stay in touch with all parties concerned including China.

During his visit to Afghanistan, Minister Yang lauded the traditional friendship and good neighborly cooperation between China and Afghanistan. He said that China and Afghanistan are good neighbors, friends and partners. China applauds Afghanistan's firm support to China on such issues as the Taiwan issue, human rights, and the combat against Eastern Turkistan terrorists. China wants to see a secure Afghanistan with lasting peace, and supports the efforts of the Afghan government led by President Karzai in sustaining stability and promoting economic development. He said that China will, as always, respect the sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity of Afghanistan as well as the development path chosen by Afghanistan independently. He noted that China will continue to take an active part in the economic reconstruction of Afghanistan.

Minister Yang also put forward some proposals for the future cooperation between the two countries. Firstly, Sino-Afghan Good-Neighborly Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation as well as the consensus reached by leaders of the two countries in previous meetings should be fully implemented, high-level exchange of visits should be maintained, exchanges between the governments, parties, armies and peoples from the two nations should be extended, and mutually beneficial cooperation in commerce and trade, agriculture, education and health should be deepened. Meanwhile, cooperation in the field of non-traditional security should be consolidated so that the comprehensive cooperative partnership between the two countries will be sound and stable in its development.

President Karzai said that Afghanistan highly values its traditional friendship with China, and is proud of such a good neighbor as China. Afghanistan appreciates and is grateful of China's support and assistance in the peaceful process and economic reconstruction of Afghanistan. He hopes that the two nations will continue to explore more cooperation opportunities in order to create more favorable conditions for bilateral economic and trading cooperation, deepen anti-terrorism cooperation and strengthen coordination and communication on international issues so as to bring the bilateral relations to a new height.

Q: Can you comment on Dalai Lama's visit to Japan?

A: We have reiterated on many occasions that we are opposed to any country providing podium for Dalai or facilitate his separatist activities. We express our regret over Japan's decision to allow Dalai to enter Japan and hold activities there.

Q: Please brief us on the specific arrangements of Mexican Foreign Minister's visit to China.

A: China and Mexico are both developing countries. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations 35 years ago, the two countries have enjoyed sound development of bilateral relations with frequent high-level contacts and growing political mutual trust. We have established strategic partnership and a standing committee. Economic and trade cooperation has developed rapidly with mutual investment on the rise. Constant progress has been made in exchanges and cooperation in all fields including culture, science and technology, education, tourism and energy.

China is ready to further enrich and develop the strategic partnership with Mexico, which is not only conductive to the development and cooperation between the two countries but also to the solidarity and cooperation among developing countries.

We highly value Foreign Minister Espinosa's visit to China. Premier Wen Jiabao will meet with him, and Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi will have talks with him. We believe that his visit will further enhance the mutual understanding and cooperation between our two countries.

Q: Recently a cargo vessel with Chinese sailors collided with the Bay Bridge of Oakland in San Francisco. It was reported that this vessel belongs to COSCO, can you brief us on that? Besides, Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda reportedly wrote a letter to his Chinese counterpart, saying that he would like to visit China at an early date. Do you have any comment?

A: As for your first question, I have noted some relevant reports that a cargo vessel of a ROK company collided with the Bay Bridge of Oakland in San Francisco. We hope that this matter will be properly handled immediately so as to diminish the impact on environment by fuel leakage. We have learnt that there are Chinese sailors hired by owner of the ship. The Chinese Foreign Ministry and Consulate General in San Francisco have urged the US side to guarantee their safety and lawful rights. This vessel is neither affiliated to nor run by COSCO or any of its subsidiaries.

As for your second question, high-level exchange of visits between China and Japan plays an important role in the constant improvement and development of bilateral relations. China welcomes Prime Minister Fukuda's visit to China at an early date and looks forward to positive results out of the visit.

Q: It's reported that an official of China Overseas Friendship Association was sentenced to death for revealing state secrets to Japan. Could you give us some details?

A: I am not aware of the issue that you mentioned. But if it's true, I believe that competent authorities will deal with it according to law.

Q: British Olympic Minister Jowell is here for a visit. She says that she was told by China that some foreign websites were blocked in China because of technical problems instead of policy considerations. However, since China has launched a lunar orbiter to the space, it can surely fix simple technical problems. What's your opinion?

A: I don't know the specifics that the British side referred to. As for relevant policies and regulations on the internet in China, we have explained on many occasions here. If she has concerns over this issue, she is welcome to discuss with China.

Q: China and Japan have agreed to raise East China Sea consultation to the ministerial-level. It's reported that failure to reach a consensus may affect Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda's visit to China. Do you have any comment?

A: During the just concluded round of East China Sea consultation between China and Japan, China fully expressed its positive attitude and sincerity to settle the differences and realize joint exploration through friendly consultation. China is ready to press ahead with the consultation in line with the principle and spirit in the Five-Point Consensus reached by leaders of the two countries. We will make positive efforts to safeguard the stability of the East China Sea and realize joint exploration. China also hopes that the Japanese side can make due efforts to this end.

As to whether the East China Sea issue will affect bilateral high-level exchanges, I believe both China and Japan, as countries of major impact in the region, attach great importance to bilateral relations. Given the extensive shared interest and wide-ranged cooperation between the two, the East China Sea issue is just a slice of the bilateral ties. As I said earlier, China values the high-level exchanges and is looking forward to Prime Minister Fukuda's visit. We also hope his visit yield positive results so as to further improve and develop China-Japan relations.

Q: The annual report of the US-China Economic and Security Review Commission of the US Congress described China's espionage as the biggest threat to US technological advancement. And China's unfair trade policy, including manipulation of RMB exchange rate and export subsidies, endangers the interest of US small and medium-sized enterprises. Have you read any relevant reports? Do you have any comment?

A: We have taken note of the report of the Commission which includes many issues. As to China's so-called economic espionage against the US, China has solemnly stated on many occasions that China never does anything undermining the interest of others and China advocates cooperation between countries on the basis of fairness, justice, equality and mutual benefit. China and the US do have some differences over the RMB exchange rate and trade and economic cooperation. However, promoting sound, stable and long-term development of bilateral trade and economic ties conforms to the common interest of both sides. We should narrow and eventually bridge our differences through equal consultation on the basis of mutual respect and taking into consideration of the concerns of each other.

Q: Does China believe Iran is developing nuclear weapons? What do you think the purpose of Iran's nuclear plan is? Does China believe the US should make compromise over this issue? The US accused Iran as a sponsor of terrorism, does China agree?

A: Iran has expressed on many occasions that it does not want to develop nuclear weapons. As to how the international community sees it, I think it is the issue that needs to be clarified and resolved through dialogue and consultation. Therefore, we stand for a peaceful resolution through dialogue and consultation. China firmly upholds the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and encourages Iran to continue cooperation with the IAEA and enhance dialogue and consultation with the EU.

As to the US policy towards Iran, that's up to the US to decide. We believe that countries should, on the basis of equality and mutual respect, deal with mutual relations in line with international law and the fundamental norms governing international relations.

If there are no more questions, thanks for your attendance.

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