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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang's Regular Press Conference on December 27, 2007

2007-12-29

On the afternoon of December 27, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Qin Gang held a regular press conference and answered questions on Japanese Prime Minister Fukuda's visit to China, the six-party talks and etc.

Qin: Welcome to Foreign Ministry's last regular press conference in 2007. Now, I'd like to take your questions.

Q: Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda is to arrive in Beijing this afternoon. What is China's expectation for the visit? Will the two sides reach any consensus on the East China Sea issue?

A: Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda is to arrive in China this afternoon. We warmly welcome and attach great importance to his official visit to China. We hope that, through the visit, leaders of the two countries will have an in-depth exchange of views on the bilateral relations and other issues of common concern, with a view to further enhancing political mutual trust, promoting the pragmatic cooperation in various fields between the two countries, and consolidating and developing the good momentum of improvement in bilateral ties.

With regard to the East China Sea issue, China and Japan have different claims on the issue of East China Sea delimitation. Leaders of the two countries have reached consensus on the settlement of the issue. In light of the principle of "putting aside the disputes for joint development" and consensus reached between leaders of the two countries, we are willing to work together with Japan for an early proper settlement of the East China Sea issue, making substantial progress on the issue of joint development.

Q: China and India successfully held a joint military training exercise in Kunming lately. Could you comment on that? Will the two countries hold regular joint military training exercise and elevate the level of military exchange?

A: In accordance with the consensus between the two countries, China and India held a joint military training exercise in Kunming from December 19 to 27. The joint military training exercise is of great significance for enhancing mutual trust between the two countries and militaries. It will also help to promote bilateral cooperation, non-traditional security cooperation in particular, and that in combating the "three forces" of terrorism and extremism.

China and India are important countries in the region and each other's important neighbors. We hope such kind of exchanges will be maintained and increased. China and India should join hands in making active contributions to the tranquility in the border areas and peace, security and stability in the region. We will take a positive and constructive attitude in the discussions with India on the form of exchanges and the need to make the exercise a routine. Any suggestion in this regard from India is also welcome.

Q: Besides Beijing, Prime Minister Fukuda will also visit Tianjin and Qufu. What role will it play in improving China-Japan relations? Japanese press reported that Vice Foreign Minister Wang Yi recently went to Japan for a consultation with Japan on the East China Sea issue. Do you have any comment?

A: Tianjin is an important economic center in northern China. Developing Tianjin is top on the agenda in China's 11th Five-year Plan. There also are many Japanese enterprises in Tianjin. We hope the visit will help Prime Minister Fukuda to better understand China-Japan economic cooperation.

As for Prime Minister Fukuda's visit to Qufu, it is well known that Qufu is the hometown of China's great philosopher Confucius. The cultural exchanges between China and Japan can be traced far back to ancient times. Confucius is not only admired by Chinese people but also respected by a lot of Japanese people. We believe Prime Minister Fukuda's visit to Qufu will be helpful for a deeper understanding of Chinese culture. In a word, we hope Prime Minister Fukuda's visit will be a success and he will have a pleasant time in China.

Elevating the level of consultation on the East China Sea issue if necessary is a consensus between leaders of the two countries. China is committed to the early proper settlement of the issue. We hope Japan would work together and meet half way with China in this regard.

Q: During Prime Minster Fukuda's visit to China, what cooperation agreements will be signed? Will there be a cooperation agreement in jointly dealing with climate change?

A: China and Japan have a wide range of common interest. Cooperation between the two countries has a sound foundation. We are willing to strengthen exchanges and cooperation with Japan in the fields of environmental protection, climate change and etc. As for agreements to be signed, it is too early for me to announce now, so please be patient and wait for a few more days.

Q: According to reports, Prime Minister Fukuda has said that Japan and China may reach an agreement on the East China Sea issue. Could you brief us on the latest development of the consultation on the East China Sea issue between the two countries? During Prime Minister Fukuda's visit to China, will there be a breakthrough on this issue? Another question is, what is China's position on DPRK's declaration of its nuclear program? Do you think the declaration should include its uranium enrichment program?

A: I haven't seen Prime Minister Fukuda's remarks as you mentioned. I can check it up later. However, I would like to emphasize that it is our hope that the two sides could accelerate the process of the consultation on the East China Sea issue according to the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, so as to make substantial progress on the joint development in the area.

On your second question, we should not fail to see that the Six-Party Talks is constantly making positive progress. The Yongbyon nuclear facilities have been shut down and the disablement work has launched smoothly. The majority of the work will be completed by the end of the year. We hope that the relevant parties will continue to make joint effort in light of the "Action to Action" principle, so as to implement the second-phase actions in a comprehensive and balanced manner at an early date.

Q: It is reported that the nuclear materials which the DPRK promised to remove from the disablement process would be transferred and stored in China. Can you confirm it? What is China's position on the disablement of the nuclear facilities?

A: Concerning the disablement, first of all, there are very clear stipulations in the Joint Documents, that is, the disablement work should follow the principles accepted by all parties, scientific, safe, verifiable and in line with international criteria. As to how the disablement should proceed, the six parties should firstly maintain communications and consultations. Secondly, according to the Joint Document, the US will be presiding the disablement work. I suggest you direct your question to the US side for relevant plans and considerations.

Q: During Prime Minister Fukuda's visit to China, will the Chinese leaders exchange views with him on the process of the Six-Party Talks? Will the two sides take any actions to encourage DPRK to fulfill its commitment?

A: I believe that, during Prime Minister Fukuda's visit to China, the leaders of the two countries will exchange views on the Six-Party Talks and the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsular. China and Japan are both participants of the Six-Party Talks. We have all along maintained close communications and cooperation in the process of the talks. We hope that our cooperation can be continued and strengthened. It is the consensus of the six parties to realize the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsular, the normalization of the relations between the relevant countries and the ultimate goal of peace and stability in Northeast Asia through the Six-Party Talks, which is in the common interest of the six parties. We hope that all parties could, based on the principle of "Action to Action", commit themselves to maintaining and promoting the momentum of the Six-Party Talks, continue to enhance mutual trust and strengthen communications, coordination and cooperation, so as to press ahead with the goals set by the Six-Party Talks step by step.

If there are no further questions, we conclude here. Wish you a happy New Year, good health and smooth work. See you next year.

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