Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhang Qiyue's Press Conference on 14 October 2004
On the afternoon of October 14, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue presided over the regular press conference
Zhang Qiyue: Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon! I have no announcement to make today, so I'd like to take your questions.
Q: In the US election debate, Kerry proposed imposing ceilings on transfer of business to China by the US manufacturing industry, and criticized Bush for failing to stop China's manipulation of the exchange rate. These are domestic political issues of the United States, but they do have an impact on China-US relations. What's China's reaction to this? Have China and the United States already started to solve these problems? Have there been any achievements? In addition, US analysts consider that Kerry prefers multilateralism and Bush holds unilateralism, how do the Chinese observers assess the two presidential candidates? I know you are not willing to answer questions concerning US domestic issues, but three weeks from now, a new president will be elected with whom you will have to deal, therefore, I'd like to give you a chance to express your opinions and comments.
A: Thank you for your consideration for China. As you said, your questions are related to the US presidential elections. The US presidential election is an internal affair of the United States, I will not make any comments on anything said by any party in the election. As for China-US relations, I commented on it at last press conference. China-US relations, we could say, constitute important bilateral relations in today's world. The Chinese government pays high attention to developing constructive cooperative relations with the United States. In the past few years, China-US relations, with joint efforts by the two sides, have constantly improved and developed. As to the questions you just raised concerning China's economy and reform, experts and government officials of the two sides exchange views frequently. You may have noticed that, at the beginning of October, relevant officials from the two sides held special meetings to discuss issues of common concern, including the Renminbi exchange rate. Generally speaking, the contact and exchanges between China and the United States are satisfactory. The Chinese government puts special emphasis on cooperation in various fields with the United States.
About the assessment and comments on the two candidates in the US election, you might have to consult academics if you want to write a commentary on this.
Q: What is China's attitude towards the election of Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed as the president of the interim government of Somalia by its transitional federal assembly?
A: The election of Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed as the president of the interim government of Somalia by its transitional federal assembly marks an important step forward in the peace process in Somalia, and China hails this progress and expresses its appreciation for the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and relevant African countries for their unremitting efforts in promoting the peace process in Somalia.
The Chinese government has always paid close attention to the peace process in Somalia, acted as the United Nations Security Council coordinator for the Somali issue, supported the mediation efforts made by the international community, provided assistance to the Somali reconciliation and reconstruction council within its capability, and actively offered humanitarian aid to the Somali people. China hopes that Somalia will establish a transitional federal government at an early date, realize national reconciliation and national unity as soon as possible, and restore peace, stability and security. China will continue to play an active role to this end.
Q: The Multi-Fiber Arrangement concerning global garment trade is to expire by the end of this year. China's neighboring countries, such as Thailand, have expressed their worries that China's low costs and huge market will be destructive to their textile industry after this expiry. We have already noticed the violent incidents in Spain targeting cheap shoes made in China. Have you taken notice of the impact of the expiry of this arrangement on China's relations with other countries?
A: I understand issues related to textile products are of concern to Dow Jones news service,but I think you may contact the Ministry of Commerce for details.
Q: Russian President Putin starts his China visit today, what are China's anticipated goals in the fields of energy and other sectors?
A: Russian President Putin starts his state visit to China today. This year marks the 55th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Russia, and the two sides have made detailed preparations for this visit. This is an important visit that will push forward the strategic partnership between the two countries. I can disclose one point to you here, the two sides will sign some very important agreements during this visit.
China-Russia relations developed at a rapid rate in recent years, and the two countries have set up a series of meeting mechanisms, including the summit, and also meetings between the governments and various departments of the two countries. Not long ago, the meeting was held between the prime ministers of the two countries. In addition, the work of the Committee for Regular Meeting of Sino-Russian Prime Ministers and sub-committees in commerce, trade, science, education and culture all progressed smoothly. In the political field, the two countries share identical or similar views on many important international issues. Economic and trade cooperation between the two countries is highly supplementary to each other. The two sides also have extensive exchanges in the cultural field. This year is also the "Exchange Year for Youth from China and Russia" decided by the two heads of state.
Cooperation in energy is an important part of the overall cooperative relations between the two countries. The Chinese side is willing to further carry out and strengthen the cooperation with Russia in energy, infrastructure, science and technology and mutual investment. As to energy cooperation, I'd like to reiterate here the four consensuses reached by the prime ministers of the two countries during their meeting in Russia not long ago, which are helpful to understanding the cooperation in the field of energy between China and Russia. First, the two sides will further strengthen cooperation in the fields of oil and natural gas; second, Russia will, through adequate assessment and discussion, choose the route for the oil pipeline to the far east, and will actively consider extending the pipeline to China; third, the two sides agree to increase oil trade by land; and fourth, to map out cooperative exploration and development for natural gas as soon as possible. These consensuses were reached at the meeting of the prime ministers of China and Russia, and the two sides will continue to make efforts towards these ends. During Putin's China visit, the two sides will continue to exchange views on cooperation in this field.
Q: During Putin's visit to China, will China support Russia to join the World Trade Organization? If not, what are China's considerations?
A: As to the question you raised, I can expressly tell you: China and Russia will sign a document during President Putin's China visit, and China will explicitly state its support for Russia to become a formal member of the World Trade Organization as early as possible.
Q: In the week following the National Day holiday, French President Chirac, UN Secretary-general and Russian President Putin all visited China. It is unprecedented for three important persons to visit China in such a short period of time. First, please tell us the achievements of Chirac and Annan's China visits. Second, do such intense diplomatic arrangements indicate any trend of China's diplomacy? Do you think this is related to China's rising international influence or not? Do you think this has a correlation with multilateralism advocated by China?
A: Recently, leaders of many important countries and international organizations visited China, but I don't think this is anything special. This year, particularly during the season of busy diplomacy, there were several important visits virtually every week. July and August, in many countries, are the holiday seasons. China's diplomatic activities have been very busy since mid-September, and this is very normal. This is consistent with the fact that China has so many friendly countries in the world.
In the past days, news media made a lot of reports on French President Chirac's China visit. I think this visit has made great achievements. The two sides issued a "Joint Press Communiqué" and summarized the consensuses between the two sides in various fields. The business circles of the two sides also carried out exchanges and discussions. Leaders of the two countries signed 20 agreements, the number and contents of which all indicate the depth and width in the development of China-France relations.
When President Chirac was in Beijing, the two sides jointly announced the opening of the Year of French Culture. This activity could not only reveal the charm and achievements of French culture to the Chinese people and demonstrate the artistic level and innovative spirit of the French people, but also is a grand event in cultural exchanges between countries. It manifests the idea advocated by China to conduct cultural exchanges among different countries. At the Asia-Europe summit meeting concluded not long ago in Vietnam, China and France jointly initiated the ASEM Declaration on Dialogues among Cultures and Civilizations. We believe that countries with different cultures and history should work together to improve mutual understanding and trust through cultural exchanges, and strengthen friendly relations among them. Therefore, the visit by French President Chirac was a great success.
Secretary-General Annan's visit to China was also fruitful, and this was his sixth visit to China. China, as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, plays an important role in the United Nations system. During his talks with Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing and other Chinese leaders, Secretary-general Annan highly praised China's constructive role in international affairs, and highly praised China's positive contributions in safeguarding world peace and in participating in the United Nations peacekeeping efforts. During his visit to China, he also visited China's training center for peacekeeping police and other projects. The Chinese leaders stressed, during their meetings with Annan, that China pays high attention to the unique role played by the United Nations in today's world. In today's world with complicated situation, in particular, the United Nations, as the most important and most authoritative international inter-government organization, should play a leading role in promoting the international affairs to develop towards multilateral and multi-polar direction.
Beginning from today, Russian President Putin starts his China visit. Just now, I made a brief introduction to his visit, and I will also be willing to further explain the achievements of his visit after its conclusion.
Q: It is reported that IAEA officials claimed Taiwan used to conduct plutonium extraction experiments, what is your government's comment?
A: We have noticed relevant reports, but whatever the actual situation is, it needs further inquiry.
Q: Is President Putin's visit a courtesy visit or a visit of substantial significance? Which Chinese leaders will he meet? What agreements will the two sides sign? China and Russia will reach an agreement on energy issues during the visit, isn't it a bit late to reach an agreement now?
A: President Putin's visit to China will bring the activities marking the 55th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and Russia to a climax. This visit will be a practical and fruitful visit. Because President Putin just arrived in Beijing at noon, I find it difficult to brief you on his visit. Major Chinese leaders such as President Hu Jintao, (NPC) Chairman Wu Bangguo and Premier Wen Jiabao will meet President Putin. This afternoon, President Hu Jintao will hold talks with him, and will sign a series of agreements following their talks. You will soon have the relevant information.
About natural gas cooperation between the two sides, the meeting of prime ministers of the two countries, indicated that they would make a natural gas exploration and development plan as soon as possible. The two sides are now conducting consultations on this issue. But, the overall goal has been set, that is, the two sides will continue to strengthen cooperation in this field.
Q: I have heard that US Secretary of State Powell could visit China as early as next week, whom will he meet with? What issues will the Chinese officials discuss with him?
A: I have not heard that he will make a visit to China soon.
Q: What is the latest information about the kidnapping of Chinese engineers in Pakistan? We have noticed that talks with the kidnappers have failed. We fear that some people advocate solving the kidnapping by force or request police involvement, I'd like to know whether or not China is opposed to this option? How do you expect the kidnapping incident to develop?
A: The current situation is that the two engineers have not been rescued yet. I want to stress that the safety of the two engineers is a concern to all of us. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is working round the clock to make the utmost efforts, anticipate an early settlement of this incident and ensure the safety of the two engineers. We have noted that the Pakistani side pays high attention to this issue, we express our appreciation to the Pakistani government and relevant departments for their hard work to rescue the two engineers, and we also believe the Pakistani side can deal with this incident properly.
Thank you all!