Home Meetings & Statements Events & Activities China & UN Documents About China 中文
  Home > About China > Foreign Policies
Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi Answers Questions on China's Foreign Policies

2008/03/12

 

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi met domestic and overseas journalists on March 12, 2008, on the sidelines of the annual session of the National People's Congress.

 
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi answers questions of domestic and foreign journalists on March 12, 2008, on the sidelines of the annual parliament session.


China, Russia to further enhance strategic partnership of cooperation

China and Russia are ready to further enhance their strategic partnership of cooperation, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said on Wednesday.

"China-Russia relations are in good shape," Yang said in response to a question raised by a Russian journalist at a press conference on the sidelines of the annual parliamentary session.

He voiced China's "warm congratulations" for Russia's President-elect Dmitry Medvedev, and the country's high appreciation for outgoing President Vladimir Putin for his great contributions to Sino-Russian relations over the years.

The two countries, in the second decade of their strategic partnership of cooperation, have agreed to push forward bilateral ties in the spirit of the Sino-Russian Good-Neighborly Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation. "We're confident of the prospects of our relations," said Yang.

He said China and Russia will further boost high-level contacts and exchanges, enhance support for each other, particularly on issues concerning each other's core interests, expand trade and economic cooperation, and enhance cooperation on international and regional affairs so as to further boost world peace and development.

The two countries will also enhance exchanges in humanistic sectors and host well the "year of Russian language" in China in 2009 and the "year of Chinese language" in Russia in 2010.

"Many people are learning Chinese nowadays and I hope the journalists here today, foreign ladies and gentlemen, will also study Chinese," said Yang. "Chinese is one of the easiest languages to learn, otherwise it'd be hard to explain why 1.3 billion people choose Chinese as their mother tongue."

Foreign athletes may have better luck in Beijing

Foreign athletes may have a better luck in breaking world records in Beijing's Olympics, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said Wednesday.

Yang made the remarks in response to a question concerning Beijing's air quality.

Yang dismissed worries of some athletes about air pollution in Beijing, saying that many Chinese athletes have broken world records in China, especially at the venues in Beijing.

"If they (foreign athletes) cannot break world records in other places, maybe they can come to Beijing, where they will have a better luck," he said.

Yang said that China takes climate change seriously and has adopted a full range of effective measures to cope with the issue.

"I believe the air quality in Beijing will only become better and better," he said.

China is able to ensure good air quality during the Olympic Games, fulfilling its commitment made seven years ago to the Olympic bid, Zhang Lijun, deputy head of the State Environmental Protection Administration, told reporters on Tuesday.

Chinese environment authorities are keeping a close watch over major pollution indices everyday, including sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and particulate matters, Zhang said.

Beijing has put 120 billion yuan (16.9 billion U.S. dollars) in improving air quality in the past years, and the number of "blue sky" days, or days with fairly good air quality, increased to 246 last year from 100 in 1998, he said.

Meanwhile, Beijing's neighboring municipality Tianjin, the provinces of Hebei, Shanxi and Shandong, and the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region are lending a hand to the capital to attain anti-pollution goals, Zhang said.

President to visit Japan in recent time

Chinese President Hu Jintao will visit Japan in the near future, and diplomats of the two countries are discussing details of the itinerary, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said on Wednesday.

"There is no such an issue as postponement of President Hu's visit," said Yang.

He made the remarks when answering questions from a Japanese journalist on whether President Hu's state visit to Japan, scheduled for this spring when "cherries are in full bloom," would be postponed to some time after May.

"Spring is a beautiful season in Japan. Both Chinese and Japanese peoples expect President Hu's visit in spring," Yang said, adding that the two sides are engaged in active discussion about the specific date.

"This visit will be a historic one, which will boost relations between the two countries." said the foreign minister.

Speculations arise over President Hu's visit to Japan lately due to dispute on contaminated dumplings.

In January, Japanese media reported 10 people fell ill in the country after consuming frozen meat dumplings produced by a food plant based in north China's Hebei Province.

Japanese police found methamidophos in the vomit of those poisoned and in food packages at their houses.

But sample tests show the rest of dumplings in the same batch and other batches made at about the same time by the Chinese company were safe. So were the raw materials used in production.

China calls on further cooperation with Japan to investigate 'poisoned dumpling incident'

Further cooperation between China and Japan is required to investigate the so-called "poisoned dumpling incident", Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said Wednesday.

"We hope relevant departments of the two sides, the police in particular, can have more communication and cooperation in a cool-headed, fair, objective and scientific manner to conduct coordinated investigation and find the truth as early as possible," said Yang.

He believed it necessary to establish a long-term China-Japan food safety cooperation mechanism to carry out more timely and effective cooperation, adding both Chinese and Japanese expect such a mechanism can be set up at an early date.

He stressed China had conducted very serious and responsible investigation into the incident and had timely released initial investigation results since the government had been taking food safety very seriously and was very responsible for consumers at home and abroad.

In January, Japanese media reported that some people fell ill after consuming frozen meat dumplings produced by the Tianyang Food Plant based in north China's Hebei Province.

After thorough investigation, the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine said late February that the incident was an individual deliberate case, not a case of food safety resulting from pesticide residue.

Deadline undesirable for East China Sea consultation

It is undesirable to set a deadline for the consultation on the East China Sea issue between China and Japan, said Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi Wednesday.

Yang made the remarks when answering a question raised by a Japanese journalist.

Chinese and Japanese leaders reached four new consensus on the issue during Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda's visit to China and agreed to find early solutions that serve the overall interests, Yang said.

The foreign ministries of the two countries, guided by the consensus reached between the leaders, are building on the current progress and discussing new solutions, he added.

However, "it is undesirable to set a deadline for the consultation," the minister said.

Meanwhile, Yang said Chinese President Hu Jintao will visit Japan soon, and diplomats of the two countries are discussing details of the visit.

"There is no such an issue as postponement of President Hu's visit," said Yang in response to the question on whether Hu's visit, scheduled for this spring when "cherries are in full bloom," would be postponed to some time after May.

Speculations arise over President Hu's visit to Japan lately due to the dispute on a food poisoning incident.

In January, Japanese media reported 10 people fell ill in the country after consuming frozen meat dumplings produced by a food plant based in north China's Hebei Province.

Japanese police found methamidophos in the vomit of those poisoned and in food packages in their houses.

But sample tests show the rest of dumplings in the same batch and other batches made at about the same time by the Chinese company were safe. So were the raw materials used in production.

Further cooperation between China and Japan is required to investigate the so-called "poisoned dumpling incident," Yang said.

China confident in Sino-European relationship despite trade disputes

China has great confidence in Sino-European relationship despite rising trade disputes, said Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi Wednesday.

"These problems are like growing pains. They can be addressed," Yang said.

The Chinese-European relations have moved up three tiers, from constructive partnership, comprehensive partnership to comprehensive strategic partnership, he said. "We have great confidence in the future of this relationship."

Europe has become China's largest trading partner with annual bilateral trade volume totaling over 300 billion U.S. dollars, 100 times that of 1975 when the two sides established formal relations.

As Sino-European business relations grow, disputes are "hardly avoidable," Yang said, "These problems are like growing pains. They can be addressed."

The two sides will soon hold a high level economic dialogue, he said.

The seventh Asia Europe Meeting will be held in China in August, which will be a grand gathering for over 40 heads of states and governments from Asian and European countries, Yang said.

Through this meeting, Yang said, China hopes to further improve the cooperation between Asia and Europe in international affairs as well as in economy and trade. "We hope to promote the dialogue among different civilizations," he said.

Dalai Lama issue not religious or ethnic

The Dalai Lama issue is not a religious or ethnic issue, but one concerning China's sovereignty and territorial integrity, said Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on Wednesday.

"More and more European countries have realized this," Yang said while evaluating the Sino-European relations.

Germany openly recognized recently that Tibet is an inalienable part of China, and said it would not support any attempt of the Dalai Lama to seek "Tibet independence," Yang said.

More and more countries have realized that the Dalai Lama's conspiracy to split Tibet from China and his secessionist attempt is doomed to fail, he said.

China to handle USS Kitty Hawk's intended visit to HK according to procedures

China has not received any application of the USS Kitty Hawk's intended visit to Hong Kong, said Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on Wednesday.

"We haven't received any application of the USS Kitty Hawk visit to Hong Hong, if such an application received, we will review with the principle of sovereignty and according to our procedures."

Blaming China for climate change 'unfair, unscientific'

China is willing to join the international community in tackling climate change, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi reaffirmed on Wednesday, saying that it is "unfair and unscientific" to blame China for greenhouse gas emission and climate change.

Yang said that the combined emission of three Chinese were less than that of one person from developed countries on average.

"If one person from developed countries could eat three slices of bread for breakfast while those from developing countries could only have one slice, who do you think should be on diet if we look at greenhouse gas emission from the perspective that all men are born equal?" he said.

"I don't think it's justified for some people to take on moral high ground and speak plausibly about the overall amount of China's greenhouse gas emission," Yang said.

The foreign minister noted that when the issue of climate change was being discussed, people should look at not only the aggregate, but also per capita figures, not only the present but also the history, not only production but also consumption.

"As a good part of China's high quality products were exported, I hope overseas consumers could realize the rising pressure China is facing for emission that should have taken place in their own home country," he said.

Yang said that the climate change should mainly be attributed to the greenhouse gas emission of developed countries. In the period of time to come, however, China's greenhouse gas emission would inevitably increase.

China welcomes the Bali Road Map and would make great efforts and contributions to joint international cooperation in tackling climate change, he said.

China-Africa cooperation a driving force behind African development

China-Africa cooperation is a driving force behind African development, said Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on Wednesday.

Defending China's engagement with Africa, Yang said that "if one wants to comment on China-Africa cooperation, he should first respect the will and views of the African people."

African countries and people welcome China, said Yang.

"We're committed to a new strategic partnership with African countries and this partnership is based on sincerity, friendship, equality, mutual support, and common development," Yang said.

He said the African countries have the right to choose their own partners of cooperation, and they have the right to translate their advantage in resources into advantages in development, and to translate the potential advantages into real advantages through cooperation.

China one of safest places in world

China is one of the safest places in the world, said Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi Wednesday morning.

"If you don't believe it, you can ask your ambassador in China, or any ambassadors from western countries. Do they feel safer in China or elsewhere?" Yang said when answering a question raised by a British journalist.

The question came following reports about a foiled attack on a passenger plane of the China Southern Airlines on March 7.

Some passengers were caught carrying "suspicious liquid" on board the CZ6901flight, destined to Beijing from Urumqi, capital of the northwestern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

The suspects were controlled by air police and the plane landed at an airport in Lanzhou, capital of Gansu Province. The flight arrived in Beijing with all the passengers and crew members safe and sound the next morning.

Yang told reporters that investigation into the aborted attack is underway and he reassured that China is safe, and people who want to watch the Olympic Games in Beijing should be carefree.

More and more tourists are coming to China every year, and it is reportedly not easy to reserve a hotel room in Beijing during the coming Olympic Games, though they will be more expensive during the Games, Yang said.

"So I think people believe Beijing is a safe place," he said.

Investigation underway on passenger plane incident

Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said that investigation is underway on a China Southern Airlines passenger flight during which suspicious liquid was found on board on March 7.

It's time for all parties to work harder to advance six-party talks

Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said it is time for all parties to work even harder to push forward the six-party talks on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue.

"The Chinese side will play a constructive role in realizing Korean Peninsula denuclearization, maintaining peace and stability on the Korean Peninsula and achieving harmony in northeast Asia," Yang said.

He said all parties should be patient, creative and make concerted efforts to implement the Second-Phase Actions for the Implementation of the Joint Statement of Sept. 19, 2005.

China is aware that U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Christopher Hill and DPRK's Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan will soon be meeting in a third country, said Yang.

"We hope their meeting will help improve U.S.-DPRK relations and push forward the six-party talks," he said.

The minister also voiced China's warm congratulations to President Lee Myung-bak of the Republic of Korea (ROK), who swore in the 17th ROK president in February.

China is willing to work together with the ROK side to step up their comprehensive and cooperative partnership, which is under stable development and is in line with the fundamental interests of their people, said Yang.

He said the two countries are ready to enhance high-level exchanges and communication, further expand trade and economic cooperation, deepen cooperation in science and technology, culture, education and health sectors, and step up their coordination in international and regional affairs.

China's relations with DPRK is also "on the track of normal development", Yang said in response to a question raised by an ROK reporter.

China 'very prudent' on death penalty

Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi defended the country's death penalty on Wednesday, saying the government is very "prudent" in this regard.

Whether there is death penalty or not is decided by a country in light of its own conditions, and China is not the only one in the world that has death penalty, he said.

"China's position on death penalty is very prudent, serious and responsible," he said, noting that the Supreme People's Court took back the power of reviewing death penalty on Jan. 1 last year.

The Supreme People's Court loosened its control over death penalty review in 1983 amid a strike-hard national campaign against soaring crimes following the decade-long Cultural Revolution. But over the years, judges in different areas have been found to handle similar cases in varied ways.

Chinese top judge Xiao Yang said on Monday at the parliamentary session that capital punishment has been "strictly, cautiously and fairly" meted out to a tiny number of serious criminal offenders since Jan. 1 last year.

The very few forces who politicize Beijing Olympics cannot represent int'l community

It is only a very few anti-China individuals and groups with bias against China who want to politicize the Beijing Olympics, and they cannot represent the international community, said Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi.

"These people could never get their way. Those who want to tarnish the image of China ... would only have their own images tarnished," said Yang.

Those anti-China forces will be opposed by both Chinese people and the international community, he said.

Non-politicization has been provided for in the Olympic Charter, and their political attacks are in violation of the Charter's principles, Yang said, adding that leaders and people from many countries have shown their support to China.

China is willing to discuss with the world and people from all walks of life to make the Beijing Olympic Games a success. "We welcome suggestion and criticism out of good will," he said.

Despite political row over the forthcoming Beijing Olympic Games, foreign governments and dignitaries have shown support for the Chinese stance. More than 100 state or government leaders across the world have expressed willingness to attend the Beijing Olympics in August. "The figure is still on the rise everyday," a senior diplomat said.

As the honorary president of the U.S. delegation for the Olympic Games, U.S. President George Bush called the Games a world sports festival and said that he opposed politicizing the event and expected a complete success for the Games.

British Justice Secretary Jack Straw said that Britain did not agree on linking the Olympics with the Darfur issue. The issue was the excuse at which Hollywood director Steven Spielberg's made a high-profile withdrawal as artistic consultant of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG).

Rules of games for sovereign wealth fund should be made by all

All international participants should have a say in the establishment of rules for sovereign wealth funds, said Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi when asked to comment on the code of conduct being established by the European Union and International Monetary Fund.

"It's in everyone's interest to make good use of sovereign funds in line with international financial rules. But of course, the rules of games should be set up by all involved," he said.

A dozen of countries have established sovereign wealth funds so far. The China Investment Corporate Ltd. (CIC) has been operating well according to commercial rules and was welcomed by many countries, he said.

CIC deputy general manager Wang Jianxi, a member of the 11th National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, said early March that the company had contacted about 100 foreign fund managers for the highly-dispersed and little-related allocation of assets in an effort to achieve long-term investment returns.

Wang believed that long-term investment could ease the risks of stock market fluctuations and tap the potentials of the most valuable investment means.

The CIC was set up in September 2007 to increase the value of China's huge foreign exchange reserve, which stood at 1.53 trillion U.S. dollars at the end of last year.

Last December, the CIC agreed to take a 5-billion-U.S.-dollar stake in the U.S.-based Morgan Stanley. It also invested 3 billion U.S. dollars in the U.S. private equity firm Blackstone Group and put 100 million U.S. dollars into the initial public offering of the China Railway Group in Hong Kong.

Wang admitted that the CIC now faced much pressure in the wake of U.S. subprime mortgage crisis as the world capital market fluctuated. Meanwhile, the company had to cope with the debt cost of the 200-billion-U.S.-dollar initial capital of the CIC coming from the 15.5-trillion-yuan special treasury bond issued by the Ministry of Finance.

"The risk tolerance for the CIC is rather low, which brings higher requirement for the company operation," he said. "We should make more profits while limiting investment risks."

Wang noted that company management, risk management and talented people recruitment and management are the top issues for the CIC to profit.

"We will maintain transparency of company operations on the premise of safeguarding our commercial interests and deal with forex investment business independently by persisting in the principle of separating government functions from company management," he said.

China willing to increase imports from US, conduct human rights dialogue

China is willing to increase imports from the United States and resume human rights dialogue with the U.S. side, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said Wednesday.

"China is ready to hold human rights dialogue with the U.S. side on the basis of equality and mutual respect," Yang said.

Yang's remark also came in wake of a U.S. government annual report on human rights across the world, which is critical of China.

"But we are strongly opposed to the practices of clinging to the Cold War mentality, drawing lines according to ideology, launching confrontation and exercising double standards on human rights issues, and interfering in China's domestic affairs in the name of human rights."

Yang said trade and economic cooperation benefit both sides and the trade imbalance can be attributable to economic globalization on the one hand and the trade structure on the other.

China has been a favored destination for international investment. Some 60 percent of China's exports to the United States are produced by foreign companies or Chinese-foreign joint ventures.

"Many of them are U.S. companies," the foreign minister said.

While China has surplus in commodity trade, the U.S. side enjoys surplus in service trade, said Yang.

The minister went on to emphasize that "the United States' strict limitation on high-tech export to China is a major reason for China's surplus and the U.S. deficit in China-U.S. trade."

China is willing to increase imports from the U.S. although it is already one of the fastest growing exports market for the United States, said Yang.

China would work with the U.S. side to ensure bilateral trade and economic cooperation brings more benefits to people of the two countries, he added.

China faces more opportunities than challenges in external relations

China is facing more opportunities than challenges to develop its external relations, said Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi Wednesday.

Calling it a general trend in past five years, Yang told a press conference that most countries in the world see a stronger China as a chance of development but some who have doubts would advocate containing China.

The international situation will become more complex in next five years with both positive and negative factors, Yang said. "We are ready to meet challenges and translate them into opportunities, and opportunities into reality."

The international balance of power is changing in favor of peace and development but the world is not entirely peaceful, he said.

China is ready to work with people in the world for a better future, he said. "We have full confidence in the future of China and the future of the world."

As a new foreign minister, Yang said that he will work with his foreign counterparts in promoting bilateral and multilateral relations and for solutions to global and regional issues.

Yang took the post of Foreign Minister last April and this was the first time for him to meet domestic and foreign media in the country's legislative season.

 

(Xinhua News Agency March 12, 2008)

 

Suggest to a friend
  Print