|Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ma Zhaoxu's Regular Press Conference on February 4, 2010|
On the afternoon of February 4, 2010, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Ma Zhaoxu held a regular press conference and answered questions.
Q: What is the condition of the Chinese citizens in the sunk ship in Indonesia? Can you update us on the latest developments of the search and rescue efforts. In addition, how are the seven Chinese mountain climbers in Indonesia?
A: I would like to brief you on what I have about these two incidents.
On the sunk ship in Indonesia, one Chinese has been rescued, three dead and another 20 missing. Search and rescue efforts are still underway. As far as we know, the rescued Chinese is in good physical and mental condition. The Chinese Embassy in Indonesia has sent staff to the place of accident to coordinate search and rescue on the ground, properly settle the rescued and handle relevant follow-up work. The Chinese Foreign Ministry and Embassy in Indonesia will continue to follow the search and rescue mission closely and make utmost efforts in the settlement of the issue.
On the stranded Chinese mountain climbers in Indonesia, a seven-member Chinese mountain-climbing team were stranded in the base camp of Pancak Jaya after reaching the peak on February 2 local time. The Chinese Foreign Ministry and Embassy in Indonesia take this issue seriously after receiving the report. The Center for Consular Protection and Assistance of the Foreign Ministry has launched the contingency mechanism and maintained close contact with relevant parties for the latest developments. At the instructions of the Foreign Ministry, our embassy in Indonesia has contacted the Indonesian side to push for immediate rescue efforts to ensure the safety of the climbers. At present, the climbers are safe and waiting for rescue from the Indonesian side. The Foreign Ministry and our embassy in Indonesia will continue to follow closely the developments and make all-out efforts to evacuate the climbers safely.
Q: It is reported that Iran has agreed to transfer lowly-enriched uranium overseas for uranium of higher purity. How does China comment?
A: We have taken note of relevant reports. China hopes and supports parties concerned and the IAEA to continue consultation on fuel supply of Tehran’s research reactor and reach agreement at an early date. This will be conducive to the proper settlement of the Iranian nuclear issue.
Q: Switzerland yesterday decided to receive two Uighur suspects of Guantanamo Bay. How does China comment? Will this decision of Switzerland affect China-Switzerland relations? What impact will it have on the two countries’ FTA negotiation?
A: The seven Chinese Uighur suspects who have been detained in Guantanamo Bay are members of the East Turkistan Islamic Movement, a terrorist organization on the UN Security Council 1267 Committee’s List of Comprehensive Sanctions. According to Security Council Resolution 1373, all countries should refuse to shelter those who have financed, planned and committed terrorism or provided shelter to terrorist forces pursuant to the Chapter Seven of the Charter of the United Nations. All counties have the duty to honor their international obligations, so does Switzerland as a member of the UN.
China has made representation to Switzerland on this matter and stated our principled position. China has also made clear our position in the first working group meeting of China-Switzerland FTA Joint Study.
Q: US President Obama yesterday made a speech saying he might take more hard-line measures against China and he made special reference to the RMB exchange rate. How does China comment?
A: We have noticed relevant reports. Since the reform of the RMB exchange rate formation mechanism in July 2005, we have steadily enforced the managed floating exchange rate system according to the proactive, controllable and incremental principle and the RMB has appreciated by over 20% against US dollars. Currently, in terms of the balance of international payments as well as the demand and supply in the foreign exchange market, the RMB exchange rate is basically at a rational and balanced level.
I want to point out that RMB exchange rate is not the main cause for US trade deficit with China. China has never intentionally sought for trade surplus and has always made the equilibrium of international balance of payments our major task in maintaining stability in China’s macro-economy. China-US economic cooperation and trade are mutually beneficial, bringing tangible benefits to both peoples. We hope the US side will view the problems in China-US business ties in an objective and rational perspective and adhere to the proper resolution of them through consultation on an equal footing. Finger-pointing and pressuring obviously does not help.
Q: Just now you said that Switzerland’s reception of Uighur suspects will affect China-Switzerland relations and that China has made clear its position in the first working group meeting of China-Switzerland FTA Joint Study. Can we understand that this issue will not harm the bilateral FTA negotiation?
A: I have expounded on China’s position in detail just now and have nothing more to add.
Q: Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi will attend the Munich Security Conference tomorrow and make a speech. What propositions will China make and will China and the US have bilateral talks on the sidelines?
A: Foreign Minister Yang will attend the Munich Security Conference tomorrow. This is the first time for the Chinese foreign minister to attend such a meeting. There are four issues on the agenda: energy security and transport route security, climate change, nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament, new strategy of NATO which includes the Afghanistan issue. During the meeting, Foreign Minister Yang will expound on China’s position and view on the above items and maintain contact with relevant parties. Please follow closely the information we are going to release about Foreign Minister Yang’s attendance of the conference.
Relevant bilateral meetings are still under arrangement. I don’t have anything more to provide at this stage.
Q: Are the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Bangladesh going to visit China shortly?
A: We will keep you updated.
Q: US companies involved in US arms sales to Taiwan claimed that the arms sales plan is the agreement between the US government and Taiwan authorities and it’s something they cannot control. The US believes that sanctions on these companies are “inappropriate”. How does China react?
A: I have responded to this question at the last press conference. China will sanction US companies involved. This decision of China is reasonable and in line with our consistent position.
Q: US President Obama made quite general remarks about the RMB exchange rate, but implied that he will be tougher on trade with China. How does China comment?
A: I made China’s position clear in detail earlier and don’t have anything to add.
Q: I would like to know according to what laws China imposes sanctions on US companies involved in the arms sales to Taiwan. Is it the Anti-Secession Law?
A: I’ve made our stance clear on this issue. The US insists on selling arms to Taiwan despite China’s solemn representations, which severely violates the principles set in the three Sino-US Joint Communiqués, especially the August 17 Communiqué and gravely jeopardizes China’s national security and peaceful reunification. Relevant US companies involved in arms sales despite China’s resolute opposition will be sanctioned.
Q: Arms sales plan to Taiwan announced by the Bush Administration in 2008 mainly affected bilateral military relations, but China didn’t sanction those US companies. How do you explain the inconsistency of China’s reaction to the Bush Administration and that of Obama? Is it due to the problems arising in bilateral relations?
A: It should not be me to answer your question. My job is to expound on China’s position and view on relevant issues. You have the discretion to interpret and compare.
Q: You just mentioned that NATO’s new strategy will be discussed at the Munich Security Conference. Will China strengthen its ties with NATO?
A: On China’s relations with NATO，the two sides have some exchange and contact which will be continued.
Q: The US said it will cooperate with Google to investigate in the hacking attacks. How do you comment? Given that China is a country ruled by law, what laws are followed when Google censors the search results?
A: I have made our position clear on the Google issue and it is consistent and clear. My colleagues from the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology as well as the State Council Information Office also elaborated on China’s stance in detail in different ways. I’d like to emphasize that China is a country under the rule of law. The Google issue is also handled according to Chinese laws.
Q: From the US arms sales to Taiwan to the coming meeting between President Obama and the Dalai Lama, the US has twice touched upon China’s core interests consecutively. Do you think China-US relations are in the hardest times?
A: China has made solemn representations to the US and made its position clear publicly for many times on the issues of arms sales to Taiwan and the possible meeting between the US leader and Dalai. I’d like to stress that a sound and stable China-US relationship which calls for joint efforts of both sides is conducive not only to the common interests of both countries, but also to world peace, stability and prosperity. The key to a sound and stable China-US relationship is to respect each other’s core interests and major concerns. We hope the US abide by the principles set in the three Sino-US Joint Communiqués and China-US Joint Statement, take China’s position seriously and meet with China half way so as to jointly safeguard the overall interests of China-US relations.
Q: China’s current reaction to the arms sales is mainly targeted at the US and no comments have been made on Taiwan. Will US arms sales to Taiwan undermine Cross-Strait relations, including Cross-Strait trade negotiations?
A: It is up to the Spokesperson of Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council to answer this question.
Thanks for your presence. See you!