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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang's Regular Press Conference on March 6, 2008

2008-03-07

On the afternoon of March 6, 2008, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Qin Gang held a regular press conference and answered questions on the dumpling issue in Japan, China's role on the international stage and etc.

Qin Gang: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. Now I'd like to take your questions.

Q: I have two questions. The first one is, what kind of changes do you expect in China-Taiwan relations immediately following the Presidential election on March 22nd? How do you think these changes will affect ordinary people in China and Taiwan? The other question is, in the past five years, China's been playing an increasingly larger and more visible role on the international stage, particularly in the Six-Party Talks, the Iranian nuclear issue, and Myanmar issue. What can we expect from China on the international stage within the next five years?

A: As for your first question, I'm not in a position to respond as a Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, and I suggest that you refer it to the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council. But before you do that, I'd like to remind you of two things: firstly, it's not relations between China and Taiwan, but between the Mainland and Taiwan. Secondly, the forthcoming election in Taiwan is not a Presidential election, but an election of a provincial governor. I believe that the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council would be happier to answer you question if you use the accurate terminology.

As for your second question, China pursues an independent foreign policy of peace by devoting itself to safeguarding world peace and promoting common development. We advocate and are committed to working together with other countries to build a harmonious world of lasting peace and common prosperity. That's exactly what we've been saying and doing, just like you said, on the DPRK nuclear issue, the Iranian nuclear issue and other international and regional hotspots and disputes.

Justice is what we uphold and do on the international stage. We believe that all countries in the world should make friends with one another by following the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and conforming to the UN Charter and universally recognized international laws and norms that govern international relations. All countries should strengthen dialogue to build up political mutual trust, intensify mutually beneficial economic cooperation. Different civilizations should respect each other's civilization and live in harmony. All in all, China will continue to follow the path of peaceful development, adopt an open policy of mutual benefit, and make our due contributions together with other countries to the lasting peace, stability and prosperity of the world. We also appeal for other countries' understanding and support in this regard.

Q: On Wednesday, a Chinese hijacker took some Australian tourists as hostages in Xi'an. Is this an embarrassment to China as this comes only months ahead of the Olympics? Why doesn't China reveal more information on what happened? My second question is, when will President Hu Jintao visit Japan? Some media reports say that his visit is postponed because of the dumpling issue.

A: As for your first question, Chinese authorities and media have already released the relevant information of the case, including how it was handled. So I disagree with you in saying that China is reluctant to reveal more information. The case has been solved on spot, and foreign hostages have been safely rescued. Investigation is underway to find out more details of the case.

The Chinese Government attaches great importance to protecting the legitimate rights and interests of foreign citizens in China. In fact, China is a safer destination for foreigners in comparison with other countries. We will continue to provide a safe environment for foreigners working, studying, living and travelling in China. We expect a large number of foreigners coming to China during the Olympics, and security measures will be intensified accordingly. I don't view this case as an embarrassment for China because such things could happen anywhere else in the world, what matters is that they could be handled promptly and effectively. Here, I'd like to extend my sincere sympathy to the Australian tourists in the case, and hope that they will continue to choose to travel in China. I don't think China has all of a sudden turned out to be an unsafe destination because of this single case.

As for the specific date of President Hu Jintao's visit to Japan, it is still under consultation between the two countries. We believe this historic visit will exert positive and far-reaching impact on the long-term, healthy and stable development of the bilateral relations.

Here, I'd like to point out that China and Japan are committed to building a strategic relations of mutual benefit. For a strategic relationship, both countries should handle the bilateral relations with vision and proceed from the whole picture of overall interest, instead of swinging back and forth because of any single issue.

As for the dumpling issue in Japan, the Chinese Government attaches great importance to food security, and takes a highly responsible attitude towards consumers at home and abroad. China is highly concerned with the dumpling issue in Japan. Competent departments in China have taken every measure necessary to carry out serious and responsible investigation, and released initial results in due course. Here, I would like to emphasize that China will continue with the investigation to find out the truth. Meanwhile, the settlement of this cross-border food security issue would call for efforts from both sides. We hope that competent authorities, especially police on both sides will continue to intensify communication, have closer cooperation, and conduct coordinated investigation in a calm, objective, just and scientific manner to find out what happened and give a responsible assessment of the case to the two peoples. Prior to this, neither side should issue unilateral conclusions. To make sure that the two countries will have more timely and effective cooperation on similar issues in the future, we would like to establish a long-term mechanism for food security cooperation with Japan.

If there are no more questions, thank you for your attendance. See you next time!

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