|Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao's Press Conference on 22 March 2005|
On the afternoon of March 22, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao held a regular press conference.
Liu: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I'd like to begin with two announcements.
At the invitation of Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing, the Foreign Minister of Norway Jan Petersen will pay an official visit to China from March 28 to April 1.
Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing will visit Nepal, Maldives and Afghanistan from March 31 to April 4. He will also attend the Afghanistan Development Forum in Kabul.
Now, the floor is open.
Q: Can you brief on the visit of DPRK Premier Pak Bong Ju? What will be discussed regarding the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula? What message will China convey to the DPRK through him? Does China plan to send a special envoy to the DPRK in April or May? Who will be the special envoy? Who on the DPRK side will also be met with? Can the visit be regarded as the last effort to solve the DPRK issue? There are many reports alleging that the EU wanted to put off the removal of its arms embargo on China because China enacted the Anti-Secession Law. Do you think that reasonable?
A: Premier Pak Bong Ju arrived in Beijing this morning and started his official goodwill visit to China. According to my knowledge, he visited the NOKIA company this morning. After a welcoming ceremony in his honor in the Great Hall of the People at 5:15 this afternoon, Premier Wen Jiabao will talk with him. I believe that both sides will exchange views on bilateral relations and major regional issues of common interest during their talk. After their talk concludes, I will brief the news media on relevant information. I believe the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula will be touched upon during the talk between Premier Wen and Premier Pak Bong Ju, in which the Chinese side will elaborate on its position as well as listen to the view of the DPRK side on this issue.
You mentioned whether China is going to send a special envoy to the DPRK. I have no information on that. But I can assure that China will continue to make efforts for the early resumption of the Six-Party Talks.
As to the relation between EU arms embargo on China and the passage of the Anti-Secession Law, the Anti-Secession Law is a law to further strengthen and improve the relations across the Straits, oppose and contain ' Taiwan independence' forces and realize the peaceful reunification of motherland. I want to reiterate that this is not a law of war and the enaction of the law is conducive to the peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits. We hope parties involved can understand the principle and essential content of the Law in a comprehensive and correct way, and respect and support the Chinese people's effort to safeguard the state sovereignty and territorial integrity, realize the peaceful reunification of state and maintain the peace and stability across the Taiwan Straits and the Asian-Pacific region.
It's in order to eliminate the political discrimination that China asks EU to remove its arms embargo. It has nothing to do with the situation across the Taiwan Straits. We hope that EU can proceed from the general interest of China-EU relations, and remove the arms embargo on China as early as possible, which is in the interests of both China and EU.
Q: During her visit to China, the US State Secretary Condoleezza Rice expressed her hope that China should take measures to relax the tensions across the Taiwan Straits. Did Dr. Rice mention what specific measures can be used to relax the tension across the Taiwan Straits? It's reported that Dr. Rice put forward some 'constructive proposals' on Sino-US relations during her meeting with State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan. What do the 'constructive proposals' specifically mean?
A: During US State Secretary Condoleezza Rice's visit to China, the Chinese leaders and Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing had an in-depth exchange of views with Dr. Rice. What I'd like to stress is that the visit yielded great fruits and was conducive to the healthy and stable development of Sino-US relations. During the visit, both sides exchanged views on a number of issues including the situation across the Taiwan Straits. Dr. Rice mentioned that she hoped China can take measures to relax the tension across Taiwan Straits. I think the approval of the Anti-Secession Law by NPC is an important effort to develop relations across the Straits and relax the tension. The tension across the Straits is the result of secessionists' actions in the name of 'Taiwan independence'. The key to the question is to urge 'Taiwan independence' secessionists to stop all their actions of seceding Taiwan from the state.
Q: The US State Secretary Condoleezza Rice required China to play a greater role in resuming the Six-Party Talks. During Premier Pak Bong Ju's visit to China, how will China persuade the DPRK return to the table of Six-Party Talks?
A: China has been and will continue to make its due efforts to push forward the Six-Party Talks and seek a complete solution of the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula. We hope that China's efforts can receive the close coordination of relevant parties, and relevant parties can take a pragmatic, flexible and sincere attitude so as to create the necessary atmosphere and condition for the early resumption of the Six-Party Talks. As to on what both sides will exchange views during Premier Pak Bong Ju's visit, I think I cannot provide you any information before the conclusion of their meeting.
Q: What are the positive and 'constructive proposals' put forward by Ms Rice during her visit? How will China cooperate with the US in future?
A: Dr. Rice's visit to China in itself is a constructive diplomatic activity. During the visit, both sides stressed that great importance should be attached to the Sino-US relations. When meeting with Dr. Rice, Chinese President Hu Jintao indicated that China and the US share broad common interests and undertake important responsibilities. Both countries should and can realize the goal of mutual benefits and win-win. The healthy, stable and sustained Sino-US relations conform to the fundamental interests of the two countries and two peoples and are important factors to promote the peace, stability and development of the region and the world as a whole. He also said China and the US should further strengthen dialogue, enhance mutual trust, promote development and push forward the Sino-US constructive and cooperative relations to a higher level. The remarks of Chinese leaders got the positive responses from US Secretary of State Rice. She also expressed on many occasions that the US hope to see a confident and prosperous China and is willing to maintain the momentum of high-level exchanges and incessantly explore new fields of cooperation. She also said the US is committed to handling differences in a mutually respectful and cooperative way so as to push forward the US-Chinese relations. The Chinese side appreciates the statement of Dr. Rice. To sum up, we are willing to implement the consensus reached together with the US, to strengthen dialogue, mutual trust and cooperation, to properly address the concerns of both sides and to promote the development of the Sino-US constructive and cooperative relations.
Q: The UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan submitted a report on UN reform on March 21. What's your comment?
A: Yesterday, Secretary-General Annan submitted a comprehensive report for deliberation at the UN Summit meeting this September. The Chinese side appreciates the Secretary-General's effort to promote multi-lateralism and the democratization of international relations.
In the report, many important proposals are put forward in such fields as peace, development, human rights and UN reform. The Chinese side is carefully studying it and will maintain contacts and consultation with all parties to actively push forward the UN reforms.
The Chinese side always holds that the UN capability of dealing with various global threats and challenges should be strengthened through necessary and reasonable reforms. The UN reforms are multi-dimensional covering all fields. The reforms should be guided by the UN Charter. The concerns of the developing countries should be fully considered and addressed. More input should be made to the development issue. The reform should go through careful discussion and preparation so as to realize the millennium development goals. On the issue of UN reforms, genuine democracy should be given full play among all member countries and wide consensus should be reached on the basis of full negotiation.
Q: Secretary of the State Rice said yesterday that, if DPRK keeps dragging on the nuclear issue, the US will adopt other measures to resolve the problem. What's your comment on that? China's relations with the US and the Europe are strained for the issue of the trade of textile products. As far as I know, the Foreign Ministry has helped the Chinese companies resolved many problems of this kind in the international community. Do you think the challenges which China is facing will become easier or more serious, on the issue of the trade of textile products?
A: Recently, the relevant sides, including DPRK and the US, have shown their willingness to resume the Six-Party Talks which is aiming at resolving the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsular. What's urgent now is the relevant sides should make positive efforts for the early resumption of the Six-Party Talks. The Six-Party Talks is a realistic and effective ways to peacefully resolve the nuclear issue on the Korean peninsular through dialogues. Up to now, the Talks have gained some hard-won results which need to be cherished by relevant sides. We hope the relevant sides and the international community could keep on supporting the Six-Party Talks, and make actual efforts for the process of the Six-Party Talks. China will keep on pursuing policies to promote the negotiation and the talks.
On the issue of the trade of the textile products, we think the current problem mainly lies in the unreasonable arrangement and over protection by the Europe and the US, who are the main importers, in the globalizing process of the textile products. Simply putting the blame on the export countries, especially China, is unreasonable. China maintains that an effective way to resolve the disputes should be strengthening dialogue and cooperation, realizing complementary advantage, thus achieving the goal of common development. We believe through positive dialogues and negotiations, the relevant problems could be resolved step by step, rather than deteriorated.
Q: Chinese Wenzhou shoe manufacturers' goods were taken away by Russian tax police on March 12. As far as we know, Wenzhou shoe manufacturers have made an official request to the Foreign Ministry to resolve this problem through diplomatic means or other means. Later, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Commerce will discuss a detailed resolution with Wenzhou shoe manufacturer. What's China's response to this issue now? Is there any progress in resolving this issue?
A: Chinese government paid great attention to the event of the Chinese shoes taken away by the Russian side as soon as it took place. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Commerce and the Chinese Embassy in Russia negotiated with Russian side in time. This is a complex problem with the 'grey customs clearance' phenomenon mainly involved. China always maintains that the China-Russia nongovernmental trade should be treated historically and objectively. The enterprises of both sides should do the business according to the law. Russia's 'grey customs clearance' problem is a symptom of the nonstandard trade system between China and Russia. The two sides should resolve the problem through consultation in the mechanism of China-Russia working group regulating bilateral trade. The Russian side especially should take stronger measures to fight against the illegal custom clearance companies more strongly. Now, the case is under further investigation. In the next step, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Commerce and other relevant authorities will keep on following the case closely, to maintain the legal rights of our enterprises and businessmen in Russia. As far as I know, there will be a negotiating meeting this afternoon, to discuss the relevant questions by the authorities concerned.
Now the trade between China and Russia maintains a good momentum. After the historical record of 21.2 billion dollars bilateral trade volume, the trade volume in the first 2 months in 2005 keeps on increasing steadily. The Chinese shoes taken away in Russia is a partial incident in the standardizing process of the nongovernmental trade between China and Russia. China hopes to make a joint effort with Russia, to standardize the nongovernmental trade system and promote the healthy development of trade cooperation between the two countries through friendly consultation.
At the same time, we also remind the Chinese enterprises exporting goods to Russia to be more conscious of managing according to the law, including applying to customs through legal means and asking for the whole set of voucher, thus maintaining one's own legal rights consciously.
Q: The Secretary-General Annan said that Japan should become a Permanent Member of the Security Council. What's China's comment on that?
A: We have noticed Secretary-General Annan's remarks on relevant issues. UN's reform should be democratic among all member countries, and reach common consensus through sufficient negotiation. China supports UN's reform. At the same time, we think the reform of the Security Council should aim at improving the efficiency, pay more attention the development problem and increase the representation of developing countries.
Q: Secretary of State Rice threatened to adopt other means to solve the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsular. Did she tell China what she referred to by saying other means? Besides, China said a peaceful resolution to the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsular tallies with China's basic interests. Can we think that China's basic interests will be harmed if the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsular cannot be peacefully resolved? What do the basic interests refer to?
A: You'd better raise your first question to the US. I think they will give you a clearer explanation. Resolving the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsular does not only tally with China's interest, but also tally with interests of other countries in this region. China needs a beneficial international environment, especially a peaceful, stable and good surrounding environment for the country's modernization drive, for the establishment of a harmonious society and for the building of an all-round well-off society. We don't want to see a turbulent situation or even war or conflict in our surroundings. Any country in this region need a peaceful and stable environment to development. It's for China's interest, for other countries' interests in this region and for the US's interest to resolve the nuclear issue on Korean Peninsular through peaceful dialogue.
Q: Besides Beijing, Premier Pak Bong Ju will pay a visit to Shanghai and Shenyang. What is his visiting agenda?
A: Finishing visiting Beijing, Premier Pak Bong Ju will pay a visit to Shanghai and Shenyang. He will meet local Principals and do some sight-seeing in these two cities.
Q: Some reports say that Tokyo superior court make a judgment on a 'comfort woman' suit case, and rules against claims of the Chinese 'comfort women'. According to the judgment, one of the reason of rejecting is that China has abandoned its rights of claim for compensation including individual claim in the 'Treaty of Peace between the Republic of China and Japan', which was made between Japanese government and Taiwan authority in 1952. Will China accept this viewpoint?
A: Actually, the judgment you mentioned is a judgment on personal claim for compensation. The Chinese government consider the 'comfort woman' is one of the severe crimes that Japanese militarism committed to the people of Asian victim countries including China. It extremely devastates those victim women's self-esteem and physical and mental health and leaves unrenewable injuries to their soul. We require the Japanese Government to face up to this issue, reflect on the history and apologize sincerely. We hope the Japanese government handle these revelant issues properly and responsibly. The history fact is clear, we wish the Japanese Government to adopt a responsible attitude towards it.
Q: The EU may postpone the removal of arms embargo against China. The adoption of the Anti-secession Law seems to have caused widespread worries. The British Foreign Secretary Straw has expressed worry, and last weekend the US State Secretary Rice also expressed concern. There are reports that the EU leaders' decision had been shaken by the law. Did the Chinese Government foresee that influence that the law would bring about on the EU removal of its arms embargo against China before the legislation? Does China still insist it's a right decision?
A: Actually I have expounded on the issue when answering your colleague's question just now. The Chinese side has an explicit position on this issue. The EU arms embargo against China is a political discrimination against China, which has long been not in line with today's reality. We hope the EU can lift its arms embargo against as early as possible, thus creating a favorable atmosphere for the 30th anniversary of the establishment of China-EU relationship, and sound conditions for developing China-EU friendly and cooperative relations. There is no correlation between the EU removal of its arms embargo against China and China's passing of Anti-secession Law. It's unreasonable to link the two issues together. We urge the EU to lift the arms embargo against China for the sake of eliminating EU political discrimination against China. The Anti-secession Law is a law for peace, a law for safeguarding state sovereignty and territorial integrity, and a right decision.
Q: The DPRK yesterday announced reinforcement of its nuclear arsenal, what reaction does the Chinese side have? The second question is, some media say Premier Wen Jiabao is about to visit Nepal from the March 31th. Can you confirm the news?
A: In regard to your first question, I want to stress that a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula is the common goal of international community and also the persistent and consistent position of the Chinese Government. The Chinese side maintains continued promotion of the Six-Party Talks, denuclearization of the Peninsula and safeguarding the peace and stability of the Peninsula and the region as well. China stands firm in this respect.
As for your second question, I think your information may be not quite exact. Premier Wen Jiabao has no recent plan to visit Nepal. It is Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing that will visit Nepal from March 31th. Besides, he will also visit Maldives and Afghanistan and attend the 'Afghanistan Development Forum' held in Kabul.
Q: There are reports that Yang Jiechi will replace Zhou Wenzhong as vice foreign minister. Who will succeed Yang Jiechi? What new position will Zhou Wenzhong take? Can you disclose some details?
A: Mr. Yang Jiechi has concluded his term as the Chinese Ambassador to the US and appointed as the vice foreign minister. I still can't tell you the working arrangement of Mr. Zhou Wenzhong.
Q: Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing's visit to Nepal this time will make him the first foreign leader to visit Nepal after the change of Nepal's political situation. What message will China send the Nepal people? During Rice's talks with Chinese leaders, did the two sides touch upon the Nepal issue?
A: Regarding your first question, Nepal is a traditional friendly neighbor of China. This year marks the 50th anniversary for the establishment of our bilateral relations. During his upcoming visit to Nepal, Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing will exchange views with Nepal over further development of China-Nepal relations and other relevant issues. Meanwhile, he will also extend good wishes of the Chinese people to the Nepal people, hoping Nepal can maintain national stability and realize social and economic development.
As for your second question, I haven't heard that State Secretary Rice talked with the Chinese side about the Nepal issue during her visit to China.
Q: If the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula continued procrastination, the US may submit the issue to the UN, what reactions would China have?
A: Right now the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula encounters some difficulties and problems. We hope all relevant parties can show patience and sincerity, not lose heart, continue their joint efforts to promote an early resumption of the Six-Party Talks.
Q: The DPRK premier Pak Bong Ju will talk with President Hu Jintao tomorrow. Can you tell us the specific time and the issue to be touched upon?
A: President Hu Jintao will meet with Premier Pak Bong Ju tomorrow afternoon. The chairman of CPPCC(Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference) will also meet with him. As for what they will talk about, we will release relevant news after the meetings.
Q: Yesterday State Secretary Rice said the US would not use forces to resolve the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula and support all parties to help the DPRK face its energy demand. Since this is the first time that the US expresses it's willing to help in this respect, are you optimistic with the early resumption of the Six-Party Talks?
A: When meeting with Chinese leaders during her visit to China, State Secretary Rice expressed her confidence that the nuclear issue on the Korean Peninsula can resolved within the framework of the Six-Party Talks. We welcome all positive stances and actions helpful to resume Six-Party Talks on this issue. We hope that all parties concerned don't lose heart but continue to work hard on this issue.
Follow-up: Now as soon as the State Secretary Rice just expressed her position, the DPRK premier visited China. Does that mean it is very likely to resume the Six-Party Talks.
A: It's difficult to speculate on the next step. But I believe any positive stances of all parties are helpful. Regarding how each party analyses and understand stances of other parties, it depends on their own judgment. We hope all parties concerned address relevant issues with a pragmatic, sincere and patient attitude and convey more good-will, so as to continue the process of the Six-Party Talks.
If there are no other questions, the press conference is over. Thank you!