On the afternoon of January 17, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Jiang Yu held a regular press conference and answered questions on UK Prime Minister Brown's upcoming visit to China, China-US Strategic Dialogue, the attack against some Chinese fishing boats in the Beibu Gulf, the terrorist attack against the Foreign Minister of Norway, the Iranian nuclear issue and etc.
Jiang Yu: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. First of all, I'd like to welcome the diplomats from Kenya present here today. I have no announcement to make.
Now the floor is open.
Q: A Russian official said yesterday that Kosovo will never become a member of the UN if it unilaterally declares its independence. How do you comment on this?
A: We are worried about the report that Kosovo might unilaterally declare independence. How to solve the Kosovo issue bears on peace and stability in the Balkan region and the fundamental norms of international relations. China believes that finding a solution acceptable to both Serbia and the Kosovo Provisional Institution of Self-Governance is the best way out, and the international community should continue to make efforts towards this direction.
Q: British Prime Minister Brown will visit China tomorrow. What's China's expectation?
A: We attach great importance to British Prime Minister Brown's upcoming visit to China. We hope to strengthen strategic dialogue between the two countries, enhance the mutual-trust, deepen the cooperation and press ahead with the long-term, healthy and stable development of the Sino-British comprehensive and strategic partnership through this visit. Tomorrow, Prime Minister Brown will meet with Premier Wen Jiabao, attend and address the China-UK business summit. China-UK economic and trade cooperation maintains a good momentum of development. Recently, Britain has remained as the largest EU investor in China. The bilateral trade volume has been rising over the past years and it was estimated to have reached US$40 billion during last year. China is willing to strengthen the friendly and mutually-beneficial cooperation in all fields including finance, science and technology, culture and education, environmental protection, sustainable development and etc. We hope this visit could push forward the in-depth development of the mutual-beneficial cooperation between the two countries.
Q: Iran's chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili will arrive in Beijing today. Who will he meet with and what issues will be discussed? US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte noted that China would support a new round of sanctions against Iran. Will China review its position on sanctions against Iran?
A: Iran's Secretary of Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) and chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili will be in China today and tomorrow to exchange views with China on the bilateral ties and the Iranian nuclear issue. Mr. Jalili will talk with Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi this evening, and meet with State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan tomorrow.
China's position on the Iranian nuclear issue is consistent. The point of departure for us is to maintain the international nuclear non-proliferation regime, safeguard peace and stability in the Middle East and solve the Iranian nuclear issue peacefully through diplomatic negotiations. We hope to see the international community to intensify diplomatic efforts to find out a comprehensive, durable and proper solution.
Q: German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently said that she would come to China for the Asia-Europe Summit. She also expressed her willingness to improve Sino-German relations and her best wishes for Beijing Olympic Games. Do you have any comment on her remarks?
A: We value Chancellor Merkel's remarks. China attaches great importance to its relations with Germany, and holds that the bilateral relations should develop on the basis of mutual respect, equality, mutual benefit and non-interference in each other's internal affairs. We hope that Germany will, as China does, handle the bilateral relations from a strategic and comprehensive perspective, take seriously each other's major concerns, so as to ensure the sound and stable development of the bilateral relations.
Q: Is China concerned about Iran's uranium enrichment and missile program?
A: China's position on the Iranian nuclear issue is consistent. We hope that Iran will abide by relevant UN Security Council resolutions, continue to exert flexibility and cooperate with the international community. We also hope that the international community will intensify diplomatic efforts to break the deadlock for an early resumption of talks so that the issue will be solved in a comprehensive, lasting and proper manner.
Q: Has the China-US Strategic Dialogue already begun? What are the major topics?
A: The two-day Fifth China-US Strategic Dialogue started today. Premier Wen Jiabao and Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi met with US Deputy Secretary of State Negroponte, who is here for the Dialogue yesterday. Today, participants of the Dialogue left for Guizhou city today to continue their talks. During yesterday's meeting, China stressed that the China-US relations is one of the most important state-to-state relations, that a sound bilateral relationship is not only in the fundamental interest of the two countries, but also conducive to world peace, stability and prosperity. The two countries should handle their relations from a strategic and long-term perspective, enhance mutual understanding and trust through the strategic dialogue mechanism, expand cooperation in a wide range of fields and properly handle relevant sensitive issues so that the bilateral relations will enjoy long-term, sound and stable development. I believe that the two countries will continue to have in-depth exchange of views on the bilateral relations as well as major international and regional issues of common interest during the dialogue.
Q: Premier Wen Jiabao and Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi both mentioned Taiwan "referendum for UN membership" in their talks with Mr. Negroponte. Did China ask the US to take actions to stop the referendum? Is China satisfied with the US position?
A: China expounded on its principled position on the Taiwan issue during yesterday's meeting. Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi underlined that under the current circumstances, firmer opposition against "Taiwan Independence" separatist activities including the referendum for UN membership is of great significance to peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait as well as the China-US relations. China applauds the reiterated US position to support the "One China" Policy and oppose the referendum.
Q: Yesterday, the spokesperson of the US embassy in China strongly criticized China for the arrest of Hu Jia, urging China to respect the universal principle of human rights so as to present a good image as the Beijing Olympics is approaching. Could you comment on her remarks?
A: As we said on many occasions, China is a country under the rule of law, and it will handle relevant cases according to law. We firmly oppose any attempt to interfere into China's internal affairs under the pretext of "freedom" and human rights.
China respects the universality of human rights. Joining 23 international human rights conventions, China has earnestly delivered its obligations. Among the nine core conventions, China is a signatory to five, while the one more than the US. We maintain that all countries should conduct constructive dialogues and communication on the basis of equality and mutual respect in order to join hands to promote international human rights undertaking.
Q: A US military ship has recently asked for a port call to Hong Kong, what is China's reaction? China expressed concern over Kitty Hawk's passage through the Taiwan Strait after it was denied access to Hong Kong. Should the ships of the US and other foreign countries get China's permission in advance before passing through the Taiwan Strait?
A: We will continue to consider permission for port calls of foreign military aircrafts and ships to Hong Kong case by case on the basis of established principles and procedures. China lauds Admiral Keating's reiteration of the US adherence of the "One China" Policy during his visit. The sound and stable development of relations between the two countries and militaries are in the fundamental interest of the two countries and also conducive to peace and stability of the Asia-Pacific region and the world as a whole. We hope that the US will earnestly honor its commitment to China on the Taiwan issue, act with prudence on issues related to the Taiwan Strait, a highly sensitive area, and take concrete actions to safeguard peace and stability across the Strait and China-US relations.
Q: Reports said that a Chinese fishing boat from Hainan Province was robbed by an armed Vietnamese boat in the shared fishing area of the Beibu Gulf on January 7. How do you comment on this? Also, a five-star hotel in Afghanistan was attacked by terrorists on the 4th, leaving many killed or wounded. It's said that Norwegian Foreign Minister StØre was the target. Can you comment on this?
A: On January 7, a Chinese fishing boat from Hainan Province was robbed by an armed Vietnamese boat when working as usual in the shared fishing area of the Beibu Gulf, causing economic losses. China is highly concerned and has made representations to Vietnam, urging it to conduct serious investigation and adopt effective measures to prevent such things from happening again. Vietnam said that it will cooperate with China in investigation. China is ready to work with Vietnam to safeguard stability of the Beibu Gulf and the vital interests of fishermen of both countries along the Gulf.
As for your second question, China is astonished to hear that Norwegian Foreign Minister and his delegation were under terrorist attack which caused casualties. Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi has sent a telegram to Foreign Minister StØre, expressing condolence to the victims, sympathy and solicitude to the Foreign Minister, those injured and the bereaved families.
China strongly condemns and resolutely opposes terrorism of whatever form. We are ready to make unremitting efforts with the international community to safeguard world peace and stability.
Q: It's reported that US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice may visit China next month and talk with China about the DPRK nuclear issue. Could you confirm and when will she come?
A: I have not heard of that. I will double check for you.
If there are no more questions, thanks for your attendance.