On the afternoon of January 15, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Jiang Yu held a regular press conference and answered questions on the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Malawi, UK Prime Minister Brown's upcoming visit to China, Indian Prime Minister Singh's visit to China, the Six-party Talks, explosion in Icheon, ROK and etc.
Jiang Yu: Good afternoon. I would like to begin with two announcements.
At the invitation of Premier Wen Jiabao of the State Council, Gordon Brown,Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland will pay an official visit to China from January 18 to 20.
At the invitation of State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan, Pham Gia Khiem, Vice Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam will visit China from January 22 to 26. He will co-chair the second meeting of the Guiding Committee for China-Vietnam Bilateral Cooperation with State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan.
Now the floor is open.
Q: The Chinese Government declared the establishment of diplomatic relations with Malawi yesterday. Why China released the information two weeks after signing the communiqué? Is China actively trying to build up diplomatic relations with the countries having ties with Taiwan currently?
A: Through friendly negotiation, the governments of Malawi and China decide to establish diplomatic relations at ambassadorial level. China and Malawi are both developing countries facing common tasks of development and having common languages on a broad range of major international issues. The establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Malawi conforms to the fundamental interests of the two countries and peoples. It has laid a foundation and opened up a sound prospect for their cooperation in various field. We believe the friendly cooperation between China and Malawi on the basis of "Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence" will develop rapidly and comprehensively. As to the specific arrangements, issues related to the establishment of diplomatic relations have been discussed and determined by the two sides.
The One China Principle is universally recognized by the international community. The Chinese Government is willing to establish and develop friendly relations and cooperation with all countries in the world on the basis of the "Five Principles of Peaceful Co-existence" and the One China Principle.
Q: How do you evaluate the current Sino-UK relations? Second, do you have any updated information on the Icheon explosion? Also, a Taiwan fishing boat was in danger in waters near the Fiji Islands. How is the rescue work going on?
A: On your first question, currently, Sino-UK relations maintain a good momentum of development with frequent high-level exchanges and growing strategic mutual trust. Since taking office in June 2007, Prime Minister Brown has held several phone talks and exchanged correspondence with Premier Wen Jiabao. Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi paid a successful visit to Britain last December and the two countries held the second round of strategic dialogue. Important mechanisms such as Sino-UK Task Forces on bilateral relations are working well. Meanwhile, bilateral trade and economic cooperation have enjoyed continued development. Britain has remained as the largest EU investor in China over the past years. Last year, the trade volume between China and Britain was estimated to have reached US$40 billion. Fruitful results have also been achieved in cooperation in key areas such as finance, education, science and technology, culture, health, Olympics, environmental protection and sustainable development.
The two countries have also maintained close contact and coordination on major international and regional issues. Both China and Britain are permanent members of UN Security Council and countries of significant influence in the world. Further development of their bilateral ties conforms to the fundamental interests of the two nations as well as the two peoples and is conducive to peace, stability and prosperity in the world.
The Chinese Government attaches great importance to Prime Minister Brown's visit and is willing to take the opportunity to strengthen strategic dialogue, enhance mutual trust, deepen cooperation and push forward long-term healthy and stable development of a comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries.
As for your second question, so far, the identities of the 12 Chinese victims have been verified and more than 80 relatives have arrived in the ROK. As far as I know, the negotiation on the compensation for the victims has concluded, and that on the compensation for the injured workers will start soon. The Chinese Ambassador to the ROK went to Icheon for several times. He comforted the families of the victims and the injured and urged the ROK Government to actively rescue the injured Chinese workers and properly handle the aftermath. Meanwhile, China has also asked the ROK to take effective measures to ensure the safety of Chinese workers in the ROK and prevent similar accidents from happening again. Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who is visiting the ROK as special envoy of the Chinese Government, also expressed condolence and sympathy on behalf of the Chinese Government to the bereaved. In his meeting with the ROK officials, he also expressed China's concern and hoped that the ROK Government spared no efforts to properly handle the aftermath. The ROK Government was deplored to learn the news, stressing that they will coordinate all departments concerned to properly handle the aftermath.
With regard to your third question, on January 12, a Taiwan fishing boat hit a rock about 250 sea miles from the Fiji Islands. Chinese Foreign Ministry launched an emergency response mechanism immediately upon receiving the information. The Chinese embassies in Fiji and New Zealand actively coordinated with the Fiji government to launch rescue work. Currently, all the fishermen in the boat have been rescued and arrived in Suva, capital of the Fiji Islands. They are all in good conditions.
Q: The visiting Commander-in-chief of the U.S. Pacific Command Timothy Keating said that China has sent out a positive signal on U.S. military vessels scheduled to visit Hong Kong at the end of this month. Could you confirm? Will China allow U.S. military vessels to visit Hong Kong?
A: On the issue of the port calls by U.S. military planes or vessels to Hong Kong, we will continue to handle it case by case in accordance with the existing principle and procedure. We will also keep in touch with the U.S. in this regard.
Q: Could you please brief us on the purpose of British Prime Minister Brown's visit to China? Whom will he meet with in China?
A: Prime Minister Brown has a full and tight schedule in China. He will meet with Chinese leaders. He and Premier Wen Jiaobao will jointly attend the signing ceremony of relevant agreements between the two countries and meet the press and representatives from the business arena. They will also interact with people from the two countries jointly. In addition, Prime Minister Brown will also visit several Olympic stadiums and facilities.
This is Prime Minister Brown's first visit to China since he took office. He is also the first European leader to visit China this year. We attach great importance to his visit and believe that it will insert new momentum to the development of China-UK relations.
Q: The Dutch Government and some human rights organizations, including Amnesty International, will hold a round-table conference shortly on the topic of "China's human rights and the Olympic Games". What is your response to this?
A: We are opposed to any attempts to politicize the Olympic Games. The Olympic Games are sports gala for all the people around the world. It is their common aspiration to see a successful Beijing Olympic Games. The Chinese Government is earnestly implementing its commitment in bidding for the Olympics and going all out in the preparation works. At the moment, some organizations, out of ulterior motives, play up some topics and link them with the Olympic Games in an attempt to bespatter China's image and exert pressure on China. These actions obviously violate the Olympic spirit and principles and are doomed to failure.
On the issue of human rights, no country is perfect. Therefore, no country is entitled to make indiscreet remarks or attack the human rights condition of others. No one knows better than the Chinese people the human rights condition in China. The Chinese Government is committed to promoting and protecting the human rights of the Chinese people. In the past three decades since reform and opening up, the Chinese society has progressed comprehensively and the Chinese people are enjoying all kinds of rights which were not available before. On the issue of international exchanges in the human rights field, we have all along upheld that all countries should narrow their differences through exchanges, dialogues and cooperation on the basis of mutual respect and equal treatment, so as to jointly promote the development of the world human rights cause.
Q: Pak Geun Hye, former member of the Grand National Party of the ROK will pay a visit to China as the special envoy of the President-elect Lee Myung-bak. Would you brief us on her scheduled arrangements? Whom she will meet with in China?
A: China attaches great importance to the visit of Pak Geun Hye, former member of the Grand National Party and member of the National Assembly of the ROK, also the special envoy of the President-elect Lee Myung-bak. Expecting to enhance strategic communications with the new ROK government, we hope to further develop the sustained and sound bilateral relations through this visit. The schedule is still under consultation, and we will release information in due course.
Q: People's Daily ran an editorial on the 14th, saying that western democracy is unfitted and disastrous for Africa and Kenya is a case in point. Is this also the official opinion of China? Do you think only Chinese democracy fits Africa?
A: I'm not in a position to make comments on media's views. As for China-Africa relations, China always adheres to the principle of non-interference into others' internal affairs, and respects African countries' independent choice for the development road in light of their own national conditions. We support the efforts of African countries to conduct sound governance by strengthening democracy and legal system. We are willing to exchange experiences with African countries in administration, but we never impose our own will on others nor take advantage of aid to exert pressure. China and African countries have been sincere and friendly to each other, treating each other as equals in an effort to seek mutually-beneficial cooperation and shared development. China-Africa relations are a part of international development and cooperation, and render each other mutual assistance as developing countries do within the framework of the South-South Cooperation. This relationship is open and transparent, not targeted against any third party.
Q:Indian Prime Minister Singh made a proposal in today's speech on China-India civilian nuclear energy cooperation. Does China accept it? The election of Taiwan's Legislative Yuan last weekend is a total fiasco for Chen Shui-bian. Do you have any comment?
A: We have also watched the live broadcast of Prime Minister Singh's speech this morning. He talked about India's experiences of rapid development, spoke positively of China-India relations and made constructive proposals on the enhancement of China-Indian cooperation in the 21st century. We applaud Prime Minister Singh's view that the world is big enough for India and China to develop and prosper simultaneously by enhancing cooperation.
On the civilian nuclear energy cooperation, it is clearly stipulated in the "A Shared Vision for the 21st Century" issued yesterday. Both India and China are committed to promoting the bilateral cooperation in civilian nuclear energy under the precondition of abiding by their respective international obligations.
On your second question, I am not in a position to make comments on the election in the Taiwan island.
Q: Chen Shui-bian said in an interview that he would encourage countries having "diplomatic relations" with Taiwan to open trade office on the mainland while they maintain the "diplomatic ties" with Taiwan. Will China allow those countries to establish trade offices in China?
A: The One-China principle is universally recognized by the international community and is an important fundamental principle for China in dealing with Taiwan-related questions. We hope countries concerned abide by the principle.
Q: Has the arrangement of the next heads of delegation's meeting of the Six-party Talks been fixed?
A: Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei met with Mr. Hill in Beijing last week. They had in an in-depth exchange of views on the current situation and the prospect of the Talks. We hold that it is not easy for the Six-party Talks to come this far today. We hope relevant parties make joint efforts to meet half way in promoting the implementation of the agreements in a comprehensive and balanced way and press ahead with the Talks and the denuclearization process. I believe that the parties concerned will have consultation on the next meeting when the time is ripe.
If there are no more questions, thank you!