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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Liu Jianchao's Regular Press Conference on January 31, 2008

2008-02-01

On the afternoon of January 31, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Liu Jianchao held a regular press conference and answered questions on the snow storm in South China, China-exported food safety, the DPRK nuclear issue, the Nansha Islands, Sudan Darfur issue and etc.

Liu Jianchao: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.

First of all, I'd like to brief you on the incident that some Japanese consumers fell ill possibly because of having China-made frozen dumplings.

On the afternoon of January 30, China was informed that some Japanese consumers fell ill after having China-made frozen dumplings suspected of being contaminated by methamidophos. The Chinese Government, attaching great importance to that, immediately suspended the production and export of the enterprise concerned and had sampling test on relevant products. The General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (GAQSIQ) also sent task forces to assist the local authorities in the investigation.

Preliminary investigation and test of the two batches of products concerned, namely, dumplings with 13 and 14 grams' fillings of meat and cabbage produced on October 1 and October 20, 2007 respectively proves that the products are qualified. No methamidophos was found in the pre-export test of the ingredients as ginger and cabbage and in this morning's test of the left samples of those dumplings and their ingredients. The enterprise concerned has kept a complete record of production and processing.

GAQSIQ takes the safety of export food and its responsibility towards consumers at home and abroad as its first priority. The Administration has requested relevant enterprise to contact Japanese importers for the immediate recall of their products in Japan and those on the way. It has also asked Chinese public security authorities to help investigate.

We have asked for Japan's cooperation for more detailed information. The Administration will also send experts to Japan shortly to discuss how to cooperate and sort things out. We hope the Japanese consumers can recover soon.

I can understand that you are quite concerned about this incident, the Japanese media in particular. The officials and experts of the GAQSIQ will host a press briefing at 4 p.m. this afternoon in the press hall of the Administration. Your presence will be welcome.

Now, I'd like to take your questions.

Q: At present, Central and South China is suffering the heaviest ever snow in the past five decades. Has China appealed to the international community for assistance? If so, which countries and organizations have responded?

A: A severe snow storm hit South China recently. Relevant authorities and the People's Liberation Army responded immediately and are now busy in disaster relief efforts. The Chinese Government and leaders are highly concerned about it. Premier Wen Jiabao visited the snow-hit areas and directed the relief campaign. Now the work is under way in an orderly manner. The snow is rarely seen in history and we have encountered unprecedented difficulties. However, we are confident that the intensive disaster relief efforts will proceed smoothly and life in the disaster-hit areas could return to what it was at an early date with the concerted efforts of the Government and people as well as the cooperation of the PLA. Many friendly countries and people conveyed to us their sympathy and solicitude, which we appreciate. I do not have any information at this stage on the international assistance.

Q: Why is there hardly any report in Chinese media of the dumpling incident?

A: I think that is precisely the difference between the press in China and Japan in handling the coverage of the incident. The incident of the alleged poisonous Chinese frozen dumplings is still under investigation. Even the Japanese authorities haven't reached a comprehensive and scientific conclusion on the incident. In my opinion, we should be prudent in drawing any conclusion and be careful in reporting the incident when the investigation is still going on. Chinese relevant authorities will continue to exert utmost efforts to investigate the incident. We are also willing to cooperate with Japan on this issue. I think that is an attitude really responsible for the consumers.

Q: Director of the U.S. State Department's Office of Korea Affairs Sung Kim has left for the DPRK Today. Did he meet and exchange views with Chinese Foreign Ministry officials when he was in China?

A: I haven't seen the detailed report on the talks between relevant Chinese officials and Mr. Sung Kim. But according to schedule, Mr. Sung Kim should have met with his counterpart from my Ministry. Both China and the US are parties of the Six-party Talks and keep in touch and exchange views with each other on the Talks. China is willing to maintain communications with the US in this regard.

Q: It is reported that Chen Shuibian will go to Taiping Island of the Nansha Islands on this weekend. Do you have any comment?

A: I would like to reiterate China's indisputable sovereignty rights over the Nansha Islands and the adjacent waters. We have the confidence and capability to safeguard our national sovereignty and territorial integrity. We will continue to work for a peaceful and stable South China Sea.

Q: The Taiwan authorities claim the sovereignty over Taiping Island. In your opinion, should Chen Shuibian go there?

A: Taiwan is also an indispensable part of the Chinese territory.

Follow-up: Then should he go there? Some people say that it is Chen Shuibian's attempt to boost "Taiwan Independence". How does the mainland China view his act?

A: I don't want to comment more on his behavior. I would like to reiterate two points. First, Taiwan is a part of the Chinese territory. Second, Nansha Islands and the adjacent waters are also part of the Chinese territory.

Q: The US officials said yesterday that the US will exert more pressure on China to relax the restrictions on the release of financial news by foreign news agencies in China. Otherwise, the US will complain to the WTO. How do you comment on this? Does China have any contact with the US on this issue recently?

A: The reports themselves are contradictory. As for the Measures for administrating the release of economic news and information by foreign news agencies in China, Chinese leaders and relevant authorities have made it clear that China will continue to adopt an open attitude towards the foreign news agencies. In fact, we have contacted and exchanged views with foreign news agencies and they have told us clearly that they have not experienced any difficulties in the release of news in China.

Q: As for the dumpling issue, the Japanese Government has lodged a formal protest to the Chinese Government today. How do you comment on that?

A: We have not received any protest. I need to point out is that it is illogical to lodge a protest prior to the investigation. Meanwhile, I'd like to stress that the Chinese Government attaches great importance on the safety of exported food. Since 2007, China has further strengthened the supervision and inspection over the exported food and has achieved majort progress in this regard.

Q: As for the Darfur issue, the local media reported that Ambassador Liu Guijin, the special envoy of the Chinese Government on the Darfur issue, met with the Foreign Minister of Sudan on the sidelines of the African Union (AU) Summit, saying that the international community is running out of patience on the current situation of Darfur region. Do you have any comment?

A: Ambassador Liu Guijin didn't attend the AU Summit. The report is false.

China's position on the Darfur issue is very clear. The point of departure for us is to press ahead with the process of peace and reconciliation in Darfur so as to improve the humanitarian situation, restore stability and development in this region at an early date and help people there to shake off the difficulties in their life. We will continue to discuss with Sudan and consult and coordinate with the international community on the Darfur issue.

Q: Could you confirm that the US officials have expressed their dissatisfaction to China on the Measures for administrating the release of economic news and information by foreign news agencies in China?

A: I have checked with relevant authorities, and we didn't have any contact with the US on this matter in recent days.

Q: It is reported by Xinhua News Agency that in meeting with the DPRK leader Kim Jong Il, Minister of the International Department of the Communist Party of China Wang Jiarui said that the current difficulties of the DPRK nuclear issue are temporary and can be conquered. Please confirm and brief us about the meeting.

A: The Xinhua News Agency covered Minister Wang Jiarui's activities in the DPRK. We have checked with the International Department of the CPC, who confirmed the accuracy of relevant reports. I suggest you read these reports attentively.

If there are no more questions, thank you for your attendance.

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