Q: Since last October, tension on the Korean Peninsula has again intensified centering on the nuclear issue, which has drawn wide attention from the international community. What is the basic position of the Chinese side on this issue?
A: The Korean Peninsula and China are connected by mountains and rivers, and whether its stability can be maintained concerns the fundamental interests of the north and the south, and directly affects the peaceful environment surrounding China, and affects peace and tranquility of Northeast Asia and the Asia-Pacific region at large. Consequently, China has always taken safeguarding peace and stability of the peninsula as the starting point for tackling the peninsula issue, and so does it on the nuclear issue.
We hold that the Korean Peninsula should be nuclear-free. At the same time, the DPRK's security concerns should also be addressed through the only means of dialogue and peaceful talks so as to maintain peace and stability on the peninsula. Last October when the Korean nuclear tension intensified again, then Chinese President Jiang Zemin, while meeting with US President George W. Bush at the Crawford Ranch, Texas, clearly stated China's stance of peacefully resolving the nuclear issue. The stance represents China's consistent position, serves the fundamental interests of all parties, and has been welcomed by the international community and become the common consensus for resolving the issue at present.
Q: Both the April three-party Beijing talks and the six-party talks have not come by easily. However, many people have the feeling that the Chinese government has been more deeds than words. Can you talk about the past diplomatic efforts by the Chinese government?
A: The root of the nuclear issue derives from the remaining shadow of the Cold War on the Korean peninsula. After the problem became acute, the main views and proposition between the DPRK and the US became confrontational, leading to the escalation of situation on the Korean peninsula. All surrounding countries, including China, are widely concerned about the situation. We are against such actions as sanctions or coerce, least to mention war. We sincerely hope the nuclear issue can be resolved peacefully. The DPRK and US also showed willingness to hold peace talks. The Chinese leaders and government, thus far, made unremitting efforts to promote the peace talks.
The focus of the talks is by what way and about what contents. China holds an open and flexible attitude on the talks. We pay high heed to the opinions of all sides, in particular the DPRK and the US, and try to seek common points and draw rational parts from all sides. The format of the talks is important but the contents are even more so. The talks should be the equal dialogue with substantial contents and a channel to find solution to the issue. China has carried out several rounds of diplomatic mediation since March this year. The China-DPRK-US three-party talks were first realized, making the first step towards the peaceful solution to the nuclear issue through dialogue. The Chinese government has recently sent envoys to shuttle among countries concerned to continue to promote the peace talks process. At present, the six-party talks are going to be held in Beijing. I would like to emphasize that the DPRK has made important and resolute decisions for the realization of the six-party talks. The United States and other parties concerned also tabled important proposals for the talks. The Chinese side supports and welcomes all efforts conducive to promoting dialogue and pushing forward peace talks.
Q: The upcoming six-party Beijing talks have drawn attention from the whole world. Can you talk about your expectations of the talks and forecast the future prospects?
A: The six-party Beijing talks are another important step towards peacefully resolving the nuclear issue since the three-party talks in April. The holding of the talks shows the willingness of the parties to peacefully solve differences through dialogue and their spirit to seek reconciliation and cooperation. The get-together of six parties itself has sent out a positive signal. However, the nuclear issue is very complicated and acute, and it is impossible to solve all problems through one or two discussions. Moreover, other issues may still arise during negotiations, but it all depends on people's efforts. China, as the host country, will provide every facility for the progress of the six-party talks. China hopes all parties will take into consideration the general situation of safeguarding peace and stability of the Korean peninsula, show sincerity to solve the issue, adopt a calm and patient attitude, respect each other, conduct consultations on an equal footing, seek common grounds, and reduce disputes, so as to ensure the talks to continue and yield peace.