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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang's Regular Press Conference on June 3, 2008
2008-06-04 00:00

On the afternoon of June 3, 2008, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Qin Gang held a regular press conference and answered questions on the earthquake relief efforts, the Six-Party Talks, Indian Foreign Minister's visit to China and etc.

Qin Gang: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen.

I would like to begin with an announcement.

From June 7 to 12, at the invitation of Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos, Slovenian Foreign Minister Dimitrij Rupel, Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini and the EU, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi will visit the three countries and the EU Headquarter, attend the China-EU Foreign Ministers' meeting in Slovenia and the International Conference in Support of Afghanistan held in France.

Now the floor is open for your questions.

Q: It is reported that the US Republican Presidential Candidate John McCain proposed the other day to set up a new international organization with Russia and China excluded since they deter the effective work of the UN. Do you have any comment?

A: It is known to all that the UN is the most universal and authoritative intergovernmental organization with the widest representation. Since the founding of the UN, it has played an irreplaceable and significant role in safeguarding world peace and promoting common development. It is an important platform for the international community to excise multilateralism, enhance cooperation, and jointly tackle various threats and challenges facing the current world. It is the universal consensus of the international community.

As the founding member of the UN, one of the permanent members of the UN Security Council, China has firmly supported the UN and participated in its work. China is a responsible member both in the UN and in the international community. China has been all along respecting and preserving the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, dealing with its foreign relations in light of the universally-recognized norms governing international relations, faithfully fulfilling its due responsibilities and obligations, and participating in various affairs of the UN in a comprehensive, broad, and in-depth way. China will continue to firmly support the important role of the UN in international affairs and make its constructive contribution thereof.

As to whether China is an obstacle in the UN, you will get a better idea if you check the UN record.

Q: Could you please brief us on Indian Foreign Minister's visit to China?

A: Indian Foreign Minister Mukherjee will pay an official visit to China from June 4 to 7. This has been released to the public. During his visit, he will meet with Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, Premier Wen Jiabao and other Chinese leaders. This is the first visit to China for Foreign Minister Mukherjee. Both countries attach great importance to the visit. The interlocutors will have extensive and in-depth discussions on bilateral relations and international and regional issues of mutual interest.

Q: I have two questions. First, will the Foreign Ministers of China, Japan and the ROK meet in Japan in the coming days? What is China's expectation on the meting? Second, is there any progress for the Six-Party Talks? When will the next round of talks be held? Has the DPRK submitted its nuclear declaration?

A: On the China-Japan-ROK Foreign Ministers' meeting, we will keep you updated in due course.

The China-Japan-ROK Foreign Ministers' meeting is an important mechanism for the three countries to have regular exchanges and consultation. We attach great importance to the mechanism and hope the three Foreign Ministers to have in-depth exchange of views during the meeting on the current major regional issues and problems facing the three countries so as to further promote the cooperation between the three countries. As countries of major impact in the region, it is of great significance for the three countries to enhance exchanges and cooperation with a view to promoting peace, stability, and development of the region. We look forward to positive achievements out of the meeting generated by the concerted efforts of the three countries.

On the Six-Party Talks, at the end of last month, Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei, Head of the Chinese Delegation to the Six-Party Talks met with the Heads of the US, the DPRK, the ROK and Japan as well as the Russian Ambassador to China respectively in Beijing. They discussed how to comprehensively implement the remaining action for the second phase, and how to promote new progress of the Six-Party Talks. In addition, those parties also had some bilateral meetings. From those meetings and interactions, we believe relevant parties have built up quite a few important consensuses. The will of relevant parties to implement their commitment and promote the Six-Party Talks remains unchanged. We believe the Talks is now face with new opportunities to march forward, hoping that the six parties can further intensify communication, coordination and overcome difficulties on the basis of this round of consultation as to promote fresh progress of the Talks. China is ready to play its due role and make constructive efforts to this end.

The specifics are still under discussion and coordination.

Q: President Bush will attend the Beijing Olympic Games. Will China make concessions on the human rights issue?

A: Countries should have human rights dialogue based on equality and mutual respect to enhance mutual understanding and narrow differences. We oppose applying double standard on the human rights issue and exerting pressure or interfering with other countries' internal affairs under the pretext of human rights. As you know, the 14th China-US human rights dialogue was held in Beijing days ago. Participants had candid and constructive dialogue on relevant issues, briefed each other on their respective progress in human rights, and exchanged views on the freedom of speech of citizens as well as other issues in a comprehensive and in-depth way. Both China and the US believe the dialogue is positive and constructive, which will contribute to further exchanges and dialogue in human rights based on equality and mutual respect as well as the healthy and stable development of China-US relations.

The Chinese Government is devoted to the protection and improvement of human rights. In recent years, we have done a lot of work to develop the rule of law, promote economic progress and improve people's livelihood, as well as to safeguard various rights and freedom of Chinese citizens in accordance with law. We have made tremendous progress in this regard. Let me make it clear, our commitment to the development of China's human rights cause is not decided by the will of any country, group, organization or person, and our efforts should not be measured by their criteria. We will not make any concession or compromise for the sake of certain activities. Our position and policy to protect and promote human rights are consistent, no matter what others say or how the situation changes. We will unswervingly build socialism with Chinese characteristics and promote China's human rights cause.

Q: This morning, Vice Foreign Minister Wang Yi was appointed as the Director of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council. The Chinese Government has been saying that the Taiwan question is China's internal affairs. Do you have any comment for the first appointment of a diplomat as the Director of the Taiwan Affairs Office? Does that mean any change of mainland's policy to Taiwan after Ma Ying-jeou took office? Will China change its position on Taiwan's accession to the World Health Organization?

A: On the latest appointment concerning Mr. Wang Yi, the arrangement is quite normal. Mr. Wang Yi was a diplomat, but he is a Chinese in the first place, hense a Chinese diplomat. As for other questions, please refer to the Taiwan Affairs Office with Mr. Wang Yi as the new chief.

General Secretary Hu Jintao has already made clear our position on Taiwan's participation in the activities of the WHO.

Q: First question, during Indian Foreign Minister's visit to China, will the two countries discuss the boundary issue? Does China expect any substantive progress on the issue? Second, on the Six-Party Talks, you once said that China hopes relevant parties to show flexibility to overcome the current difficulties. What are the difficulties you mentioned?

A: The visit to China by Indian Foreign Minister Mukherjee is very important. The two countries will exchange views on a series of issues in bilateral relations, including the boundary issue.

On the China-India boundary talks, the two countries have special negotiation mechanism, with special representatives of the two governments meeting regularly. This is a major platform for the two countries to discuss boundary issue. In recent years, the China-India boundary talks have made positive and important progress and the two countries have reached consensus on the political principles to resolve the boundary issue. Guided by this principle, up to now, the special representatives of the two governments have had 11 rounds of talks. Now the two countries are having talks on the framework to resolve the boundary issue. China is ready to make joint efforts with India to discuss the boundary issue in line with the political guiding principles so as to find a plan that is fair, rational and acceptable to both sides at an early date. Before the settlement of the issue, we should maintain stability and tranquility in the border region and not let the issue disturb the current sound development of China-India relations.

On the Korean Peninsular nuclear issue, it involves various aspects, including the denuclearization, the economic and energy cooperation, and the normalization of relations between countries, as well as the future establishment of Northeast Asia peace and security mechanism and etc. Since these issues are complicated and products of history, it takes some time to get them settled. Relevant parties have their respective concerns, interests and considerations. Most importantly, it takes time to integrate the interests and concerns of relevant countries into the denuclearization of the Peninsula and the long-term and fundamental goal of maintaining peace and stability of Northeast Asia for constant progress. It needs greater efforts of related parties to enhance communication and coordination, mutual understanding and trust, as well as overcome difficulties so as to march towards the goal of denuclearization.

Parties are having serious consultation on the specifics.

Q: You once appealed to the international community to provide tents first in offering aids to the quake-hit areas. Are tents still in great need in those areas? If so, how many do they need? Second question, NHK correspondents were blocked by local officials for safety reasons when they tried to enter Mianzhu City. Do you believe that the current situation there made it more difficult for journalists? Will China set new restrictions over foreign journalists' coverage in the affected areas?

A: In order to shelter homeless people in the affected areas, we appealed to the international community for tents among other things. The international community responded proactively. Many countries, including Japan, have provided large amount of assistance in capital and materials including tents. China expresses heartfelt gratitude towards that.

The latest information I have is, the international donation of tents is 251,100, among which 111,900 have arrived in the affected area. I believe the rest will continue to roll in.

As to your second question, after the earthquake took place, we have been open, transparent, and timely with respect to information release and matters relative to reporting in the affected areas. Many foreign journalists including those with the NHK are there for coverage. Both the Foreign Ministry and local authorities of Sichuan Province have exerted their utmost to provide assistance and convenience for journalists' coverage there. The principle will not be changed.

I am not aware of the specific situation you just mentioned. Reporting activities of journalists should be conducted according to the local situation and the disaster relief work. Measures, if taken by local authorities in light of the reality and disaster relief situation, are not intended to obstruct your work or block your access. I hope you can understand that and cooperate with them.

Q: Japanese Defense Minister noted, considering the feeling of the Chinese people towards historical issues, the Japanese Government has decided not to use planes of Self-Defense Forces to deliver disaster relief materials. How do you comment? When will the vessel from Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force visit China? Please brief us on that.

A: I answered the question concerning the Japanese assistance to China, including its army providing disaster relief goods at last Thursday's press conference. I'd like to stress that we greatly appreciate the timely and strong support and assistance of the Japanese Government and its people to the Chinese people after the major earthquake in Sichuan, which has demonstrated the friendly affections of the Japanese people towards the Chinese people. As to what kind of assistance we need and how to provide it, that is to be discussed between both sides. We respect the decision of the Japanese side to use civil aircraft to deliver the assistance. There was just some misunderstanding stemming from the incorrect reports from certain Japanese media.

Under the new circumstances, both China and Japan should work together to enhance the exchanges between the two peoples and strengthen our friendship. Our policies and position on this matter remain unchanged. This is also an important consensus reached during President Hu Jintao's visit to Japan.

As agreed by leaders of the two countries, vessel Takanami of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force will visit China in June to reciprocate the visit of destroyer "Shenzhen" of the Chinese Navy to Japan last year. It will be the first trip of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force to China. This visit will boost the exchanges and cooperation between the defense ministries of the two sides and enhance mutual understanding and friendship. The specifics are still under discussion.

Q: Local officials of Sichuan said to our correspondents there that there is a new regulation requesting foreign journalists to seek approval from relevant authorities of the State Council if they want to report there. This seems not to be in line with the Regulations on Reporting Activities in China by Foreign Journalists during the Beijing Olympic Games and the Preparatory Period. Could you clarify? Is the previous Regulation still valid?

A: In our disaster relief work, the principle of openness and transparency towards media remains unchanged. In responding to reporting requests, local authorities need to take the developments of disaster relief and local situation into consideration. We will continue to provide assistance and convenience to your reporting of the affected areas.

Q: Could you give us more details of Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi's upcoming visit to Spain?

A: According to the preliminary schedule, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi will leave for Spain on June 7 and arrive in Madrid on June 8. During his stay in Spain, he will have talks with Foreign Minister Moratinos and meet with King Carlos and Prime Minister Zapatero respectively.

Q: You just said that some Japanese media caused misunderstanding over the issue of Japanese military planes coming to China. What does that mean?

A: What I meant is some Japanese media ran incorrect reports over that. For instance, some media reported the "decision" while the issues were still under discussion and no conclusions were reached.

Q: The Indian army is reportedly planning to reopen a military airbase in Kashmir, close to its border with China. Some analysts believe that India's plan is an evidence of its concern over China's increasing strength and impact. Is China concerned with India's recent move?

A: Not long ago, Indian Prime Minister Singh paid a successful visit to China, which is an integral part of the improving bilateral relations with frequent high-level exchanges of visits. The critical consensus between China and India is to view each other as a good neighbor and partner, rather than a threat. We look forward to the growing exchanges, further mutual trust and expanding cooperation. A stable and developing China-India relationship serves not only the fundamental interests of both countries and peoples, but also regional peace, stability and security. This is both the consensus between leaders and common aspiration of the peoples.

Q: We heard that the tourism bureau of Beijing requested all travel agencies to stop organizing trips to France and the French Foreign Ministry has urged China to clarify on that. Does China prohibit its citizens traveling to France? Why did China make this decision? What's your response to the request of France?

A: I don't have the specific information for that and I suggest you refer to relevant authorities.

Yesterday, Chairman Shao Qiwei of the China National Tourism Administration met with French Ambassador Ladsous. Related information of the meeting was released on the CNTA website and I suggest you check it out.

If there are no more questions, thanks for your attendance.

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