|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang's Regular Press Conference on December 4, 2007|
On the afternoon of December 4, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Qin Gang held a regular press conference and answered questions on the Six-Party Talks, the Iranian nuclear issue, Russian State Duma election, China-US Strategic Economic Dialogue, China-Germany relations and etc.
Qin: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I will start with an announcement.
At the invitation of Premier Wen Jiabao of the State Council, Prime Minister Han Duck-soo of the Republic of Korea will pay an official visit to China from December 10 to 11.
Now, the floor is open.
Q: Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi had a phone conversation with US Secretary of State Rice, exchanging views over the Iranian nuclear issue. Could you tell us more details?
A: During the phone conversation with US Secretary of State Rice this morning, Foreign Minister Yang reiterated China's consistent position over the issue. He stressed that China upholds the international nuclear non-proliferation regime and hopes to see a peaceful and stable Middle East. A peaceful settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue through diplomatic negotiations serves the common interest of the international community including China and the US. We hope relevant parties continue their diplomatic efforts in creating conditions for the resumption of negotiations and maintaining the momentum of talks. China will stay in communication and coordination with other parties including the US and take part in discussions for the proper resolution of the issue in a constructive manner.
Q: It is reported that in his phone conversations with Rice, US Secretary of State and Solana, High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy of the EU, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi talked about the report released by the US intelligence authorities which claimed that Iran had suspended its nuclear plans in 2003 but did not stop uranium enrichment activities. What's China's position over a new round of sanctions against Iran? What did Foreign Minister Yang say on the report?
A: China's position on the Iranian nuclear issue is consistent. As I just said, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi reiterated China's position over the issue in his talk with Secretary Rice. We uphold the international nuclear non-proliferation regime, opposing proliferation of nuclear weapons, and look forward to seeing a peaceful and stable Middle East. China urges Iran to earnestly fulfill relevant resolutions of the UN Security Council, conduct all-round cooperation with the IAEA and continue to clarify on pending issues. Meanwhile, Iran should stay in communication with the EU, creating favorable conditions for the resumption of negotiations. On the other hand, other parties should remain committed to diplomacy to seek for a lasting, comprehensive, and proper settlement of the issue. Steps taken by the Security Council should be conducive to peacefully resolving this issue through diplomatic negotiations. In their conversation, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, Mr. Solana and Secretary Rice agreed to maintain close communication and coordination for a proper resolution of this issue.
Q: Can you comment on the result of Venezuela's referendum on constitutional amendments?
A: We have noted the result of the Venezuelan referendum. China and Venezuela are friendly countries, and we hope Venezuela make new achievements in national stability and economic development.
Q: Foreign Minister Yang will pay visits to European and Asian countries. Could you tell me his schedule in Malaysia?
A: Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi started his visit to the UK, Malaysia and Laos this noon. He is scheduled to arrive in Kuala Lumpur on the evening of December 7. On December 8, he will have talks with Foreign Minister Syed in the morning, Prime Minister Badawi in the afternoon and leave for Laos in the evening.
Q: Last weekend, German Chancellor Merkel expressed willingness to maintain sound relations with China. German Foreign Minister Steinmeier also said that Germany rejects Taiwan's "referendum on UN membership". How do you comment on these remarks? And how do you assess the current China-Germany relations?
A: China applauds German Foreign Minister Steinmeier's remarks that Germany rejects Taiwan's "referendum on UN membership" and adheres to the one-China policy. In dealing with China-Germany relations, China always believes in developing friendly relations and cooperation between the two countries on the basis of mutual respect and equality. We expect to see more efforts on the German side to this end.
Q: An MI5 official said that British banks and companies should stay alert to cyber attacks organized by the Chinese Government. Can you comment on that?
A: It is known to all that "hacking" is a global issue. China has also been frequently attacked by "hackers". The Chinese Government always opposes and forbids any cyber crimes including "hacking" that undermine the security of computer networks. Chinese laws and regulations are explicit in this regard. Law-enforcement authorities of the two countries are having cooperation on combating cyber crimes and we hope this cooperation is based on mutual respect and objectivity.
The British media disregarded the facts and spread the rumor that China was involved in cyber espionage activities. We express our strong dissatisfaction to the extremely irresponsible reporting.
Q: I have two questions. First, has the agenda of the unofficial meeting of the heads of delegations of the Six-Party Talks been fixed? Second, Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association says on its website that there is going to be an ordination ceremony for the new bishop of the Guangzhou parish. It is reported that the appointment of the new bishop was approved by the Vatican. If it is true, what will be its impact on Sino-Vatican relations?
A: As for the first question, the schedule of the unofficial meeting of heads of delegations is not fixed and still under discussion. We will update you as soon as we have it.
As for the second, China's two fundamental principles in handling Sino-Vatican relations are quite explicit. China is willing to have constructive dialogue with the Vatican on the basis of the two principles and to find ways to improve bilateral relations. We hope the Vatican can proceed from the overall interest of Sino-Vatican relations, take into full consideration the history and reality of Chinese Catholic Church, and view positively the efforts of Chinese churches in promoting Pastoral and Evangelical undertaking and improving church management so as to create favorable conditions for the improvement of bilateral ties.
Q: The British Conservative Party leader David Cameron will pay a visit to China starting from December17. Could you tell us his agenda here?
A: I've also heard about that Mr. Cameron will visit China but the Foreign Ministry is not the host. I suggest that you refer your question to relevant authorities. If you wish, I can also help you to check it out.
Q: Has President Hu Jintao accepted the invitation to visit Japan next year?
A: China and Japan have reached an important consensus on strengthening high-level exchanges of visits. President Hu is going to visit Japan upon invitation next year. The date of the visit is still under discussion through diplomatic channels.
Q: The United Russia Party, led by Putin, won an overwhelming victory in State Duma election. However, some Westerners accused the election as unfair. Do you have any comment?
A: The election of Russian State Duma was held smoothly and United Russia Party won the election. It is a choice of the Russian people and in the interest of Russia's political stability, economic growth and people's life, and also conducive to regional and world peace and stability. We believe the newly-elected Duma will make new and significant contribution to the development of Sino-Russian Strategic Partnership of Coordination.
Q: The Third China-US Strategic Economic Dialogue (SED) will be held in the middle of this month. What is China's expectation to this round of dialogue? People from the US business community said that since the last two rounds were not successful, it is unlikely that there will be any achievements this time. What is China's reaction to this?
A: I'm not aware of whom from which department or community you are talking about. But in our communication with the US and from their public comments, we could see that the US gives high and positive evaluation on SED. We hold that SED is an important mechanism and platform for the development of China-US relationship and deeper cooperation between the two countries. The establishment of SED is an important consensus reached by the leaders of two countries. To enhance the strategic mutual trust and understanding as well as deepen the cooperation in various field is not only in the fundamental interest of the two countries but also conducive to peace, stability and development of the world. Through SED, the two countries could have candid exchanges of views on the long term and strategic economic issues that bear on the overall interest in the bilateral relationship. It thus plays an important role in the economic and the overall relationship of two countries. We would like to work actively with the US to make the new round of SED a success in order to enhance mutual understanding and trust, improve cooperation, promote trade as well as the constructive relationship of cooperation between China and the US.
Q: Recently, the Reporters without Borders sent a letter to the IOC President Rogge, asserting that Chinese security authorities intend to use the journalists database to prevent the unfriendly journalists from coming to China to cover the Olympic Games. How do you comment on this?
A: Given its previous practices relating to China, I believe you must be well aware of the nature of the organization.
My colleagues have clarified this matter on various occasions. This organization is only trying to stir up this issue again. I would like to emphasize that, with the approaching of the Beijing Olympic Games, the Chinese Government and people sincerely welcome journalists from all over the world to cover the Games and China objectively and fairly. We stand ready to provide better service so as to facilitate their work here in Beijing. This position remains unchanged.
Q: Mr. Hill, the Assistant US Secretary of State, is now visiting the DPRK. Will he visit China afterwards? And at what time will China hope to have him here? Whom will he meet with in China?
A: Assistant Secretary Hill will arrive in Beijing on December 5. Relevant officials of China will meet him and discuss issues including the Six-Party Talks.
Q: We've heard that British Prime Minister Gordon Brown will visit China next January. Would you please confirm? Will he meet with President Hu Jintao and other Chinese leaders?
A: Prime Minister Gordon Brown will visit China shortly. The final schedule and arrangement is yet to be confirmed through consultation. We will release relevant information in due course. China attaches great importance to Sino-British relationship as well as Prime Minister Brown's visit. This will be his first visit to China since taking office. China would like to take this opportunity to exchange views with him in an in-depth manner over extensive issues of mutual interest, including major international and regional issues. In the meantime, how to promote cooperation in each field will also come up in the discussions. Prime Minister Brown will be received warmly with hospitality. We hope that, by working together, we can make the visit a crowned success so as to further promote the development of the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries.
If there are no more questions, thanks for your attendance.