Q: In his interview with the Italian newspaper La Stampa last Saturday, Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan listed the five conditions for the future of Afghanistan. And the day after, Mr. Prodi, President of the European Commission, commented by saying that these five conditions by Mr. Tang were reasonable and said that the United States should not be left alone in deciding the future of Afghanistan. Does the Foreign Ministry have any comment on Mr. Prodi's remarks?
A: At the moment, the post-war government arrangement in Afghanistan is a question being closely watched by various sides. The international community has already reached some consensus on this issue. The Chinese side has stressed on many occasions that the final settlement of the Afghan issue should be decided independently by the Afghan people themselves. There is clear agreement on this point in the relevant resolutions by the UN and its Security Council. The Afghan history has shown that any foreign force could not individually dominate the affairs in Afghanistan. We hold that, at the moment, the UN and the international community should guide and encourage the various parties in Afghanistan to step up their political dialogue and reach an consensus as soon as possible on the composition of the transitional government and other issues.
Q: Last week, the Dalai Lama claimed in Portugal that China is carrying out "cultural genocide" in Tibet. What is your comment?
A: Anyone with some knowledge of the situation in China's Tibet will not agree to the Dalai Lama's claim. Over the years, great progress has been made in Tibet. The Tibetan culture is also under well protection. The recent remarks by the Dalai Lama are entirely out of ulterior motives. They do not deserve a comment.
Q: The International Liaison Department of the CPC lately announced that Secretary General Nong Duc Manh of the Communist Party of Viet Nam will pay an official visit to China shortly. What is your comment on the visit?
A: It is quite true that Party Secretary Nong Duc Manh will pay a visit to China soon. The relevant departments of China are making full preparations for the visit. China enjoys sound relations with Viet Nam. We believe that the forthcoming visit will greatly push ahead the bilateral ties in the new century.
Q: It is reported that there are massive Afghan refugees along its border with Iran. Does China have any plan of assistance?
A: The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan is very grave at the moment. In particular, with the onset of the winter, the afghan refugees are in a more and more dire situation. Under such circumstances, the international community should pay more attention to their plight and step up their assistance. Over a long period of time, China has provided assistance to the Afghan refugees on several occasions. Not long ago, we provided assistance to Afghan refugees through Pakistan and the relevant agencies of the UN. Out of humanitarian consideration, the Chinese Government is also providing some assistance to the Afghan refugees in Iran through the Iranian government. The Chinese side is consulting with Iran on the assistant commodities, the transportation and other issues.
Q: After the attacks by the Maoist group, Nepal has announced a state of emergency. What is your comment? Does China have any plan to provide military assistance to Nepal in the fight against the Maoist?
A: China has closely followed the situation in Nepal. As its friendly neighbour, we hope and believe that, under the leadership of the Nepalese King and government, Nepal will maintain peace, stability and development.
In our relations with Nepal, we always adhere to the principle of non-interference in each other's internal affairs. We trust that the Nepalese government will properly handle its own affairs.
Q: A few days ago, Israeli troops used heavy weapons to attack Palestine, leading to heavy casualties. The Palestinian side accused Israel of intentionally creating an incident. What is your comment?
A: China condemns the Israeli armed invasion of Palestine controlled areas, leading to heavy casualties. We are greatly unease at the escalation of tensions between the two. China hope that the two sides, especially the Israeli side, earnestly adopt measures to implement the cease-fire agreement and actively go along with the international mediation efforts, so as to bring an early end to the violence.
Q: What is China's comment on the current situation in the Middle East? Will there be some high level Chinese delegations to the Middle East shortly?
A: I have just made clear our views and position on the current situation in the Middle East. We hope the relevant parties take concrete measures to carry forth the cease-fire agreement, so as to bring an early end to the violent conflict.
China, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, has been closely watching the development of the situation in the Middle East. We have made our efforts for an early restoration of peace in the Middle East. We have been in close contact and links with the countries of the Middle East. The Chinese side is also talking with the relevant countries on the topic of possible high level visits. If there is any news, I will brief you in due course.
Q: It is reported and speculated that, after the end of the military action in Afghanistan, the Untied States may expand its anti-terrorist war to other countries. Iraq and Somali may be the next target. What is your comment?
A: Our position against terrorism is very clear. We are resolutely opposed to all sorts of terrorism. We support the series of resolutions by the UN and its Security Council. We are in favor of the fight against terrorism. At the same time, we hold that the combat should be based on concrete evidence, aimed at specific targets and avoid harming the innocent. The fight against terrorism is a long-term, arduous and complicated task. International efforts should be stepped up. The UN should play a leading role. In this fight, comprehensive measures should be adopted, dealing not only with the symptoms, but also the root-causes. Efforts should be made to eradicate the international terrorist forces.
Q: There is speculation that President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan will visit China shortly. Could you please confirm?
A: At the invitation of President Jiang, President Musharraf will visit China before the end of the year. The specific programme of the visit is being discussed through diplomatic channels. On the date and programme of the visit, I will brief you in due course.
Q: Deputy Foreign Minister Wang Guangya will go to Washington for consultations on non-proliferation. Could you please brief us on the visit?
A: China and the United States will hold consultations on arms control and non-proliferation issues at the deputy foreign minister level in Washington on 30 November. Deputy Foreign Minister Wang Guangya will lead the Chinese delegation. We are looking forward to having in-depth exchange of views with the United States on missile defense and other issues.
Q: It is reported that Deputy Foreign Minister Wang Yi will visit Pakistan lately. Could you please confirm?
A: At the invitation of Foreign Secretary Enamul Haq, Deputy Foreign Minister Wang Yi left Beijing on the afternoon of 26th November for Pakistan to attend the annual diplomatic consultations. The two sides will exchange views with each other on bilateral issues, Afghan issue and other questions.
Q: Has China begun its consultation with Japan on nuclear and bio-chemical arms control? If so, what level will it be? What will be the topics?
A: This morning, China and Japan held arms control consultations at the director-general level in Beijing. The two sides exchanged views on international security and arms control situation, nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation, conventions on the prohibition of biological and chemical weapons, conference on disarmament and other issues. It is a regular consultation on arms control.
Q: You mentioned last time that China and Russia will hold consultations on terrorism. When will it be? Who will lead the Chinese side?
A: The first meeting of the Sino-Russian anti-terrorist working group will be held in Beijing on 28 and 29 November. Deputy Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and his Russian counterpart A. E. Safonov will exchange views on the international fight against terrorism and ways to strengthen Sino-Russian anti-terrorist cooperation.